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Eric Kelly Dreams of Becoming the First Ever Filipino MMA World Champion

PhilBoxing.com




Ever since Francisco Guilledo won the World Flyweight title in New York in 1923 the Philippines has produced more than its fair share of boxing world champions. Despite the growing popularity of mixed martial arts (MMA) none of its Filipino practitioners has ever won a world title but Baguio native Eric Kelly is determined to become the first.

The 30 year old has a perfect professional record of 9-0 and on February 2nd in Kuala Lumpur he will get the opportunity to become the inaugural ONE Fighting Championship Featherweight World Champion. For Kelly it will be the culmination of six years of hard work since he first decided to take up MMA,
“Before I was a boxer but I got injured and so I decided to start learning MMA. Ever since I started fighting my dream has been to be a world champion and in 2013 with God’s will I will make that dream come true.”

To win the title he will have to get past fellow Filipino Honorio Banario at ONE FC: ‘Return of Warriors. Their fight is the main event of a card taking place at the 15,000 capacity Stadium Putra which will be the biggest MMA event in Malaysian history and Kelly is desperate to walk away with the belt,
“Honorio is from also from Baguio and we have trained together before but now he is standing between me and my dream. This is a big opportunity for me and my family and nothing is going to stop me from making my dream come true, I am training hard and will be ready for a war.”

It is testament to how rapidly Filipino MMA is developing that 15,000 Malaysian fans will be buying tickets to witness an event which is headlined by a fight between two Pinoys. ONE FC was only founded in 2011 but is already established as Asia’s biggest MMA organization and has signed all of the top fighters from the Philippines.

Another Baguio based fighter, Rey Docyogen, will also be on the card at ONE FC: ‘Return of Warriors’ taking on a Japanese veteran in an eliminator which will see the winner fight for the World Flyweight Title. Filipino fighters Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon and Geje Eustaquio have also made a big impression since signing with the Singapore based organization.

Kelly’s last fight for ONE FC was in front of 16,500 fans in the Araneta Coliseum in Manila when he defeated former UFC Lightweight Champion Jens Pulver by round two TKO. He also holds wins over top Korean featherweight Bae Young Kwon and American Mitch Chilson but believes the February 2nd fight with Banario is his biggest yet,

“Beating an MMA legend like Jens Pulver in front of my fellow Pinoys was very special for me but if I can become the first ever ONE FC World Featherweight Champion that will be the best moment in my career.”

ONE FC: ‘Return of Warriors’ is set to take place at Stadium Putra in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on February 2nd and will be streamed live on the internet and shown at a later date on ESPN Star Sports. For more information visit: www.onefc.com.


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