ONE Championship gets its December offering going on Friday with “ONE: Big Bang”, which will feature two Filipino fighters in Rene “D’Challenger” Catalan and Jomary “The Zamboanginian Fighter” Torres in the card.
Happening at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, Mr. Catalan (6-3) takes on Bokang “Little Giant” Masunyane (7-0) of South Africa in a strawweight clash while atomweight Torres (4-4) collides with Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat (3-0) in a pair of three-rounders.
Catalan-Masunyane is a replacement fight to that involving Filipino flyweight Danny Kingad, which had to be cancelled after one member of his team tested positive for the coronavirus.
Mr. Catalan, 41, who is the third ranked fighter in his division, is out to bounce back after losing (submission) in his title shot in November last year to reigning champion and compatriot Joshua Pacio.
He is using the Masunyane fight as springboard to position himself for another go at the strawweight division apart from being back in the swing of things after months without Circle action because of the pandemic.
“I feel excited to be back in competition. This is what I love to do. It’s where I belong,” said Mr. Catalan, who won a silver medal for the Philippines in sambo in last year’s Southeast Asian Games.
“My goal is to come up and take the top ranking in the division, so expect me to fight strong. I am hungry and I will fight like it so I can reach my goal of being number one again and challenging the champion once more,” he added.
Meanwhile, Ms. Torres is looking to go back to the win column, after coming out empty in her last fight fives, the most recent being a no-contest.
The Filipina fighter, out of the Catalan Fighting System, opened her ONE career by winning her first three fights before hitting the rough patch.
“I want to win this fight for my family, to make them proud, and to help them. I want to knock her (Phogat) out,” said Ms. Torres, who made her ONE debut in 2017.
Adding, “I know I’m the underdog here and people think I have very little chance in beating her. But I think I will surprise a lot of people.”
ONE: Big Bang is headlined by the light heavyweight kickboxing world championship fight between titleholder Roman Kryklia of Ukraine against challenger Murat Aygun, who is representing the Netherlands and Turkey.
It will be broadcast over One Sports+ at 8:30 p.m. One Sports will air the event on a same-day delay at 9 p.m. TV5, meanwhile, will air the event on a next-day delay at 11 p.m. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo