Wed, Apr 03, 2013 - Page 18 News List

Aoki, Boku eyeing ONE FC world lightweight title

By James Goyder  /  Contributing reporter

Kotetsu Boku prepares to face Zorobabel Moreira ahead of their world title fight at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Oct. 6 last year.

Photo courtesy of Kotetsu Boku

ONE Fighting Championship: “Kings & Champions” hits the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday night, featuring 10 mixed martial arts (MMA) fights with some of the top fighters in Asia in action.

In the main event, former Shooto and Dream champion Shinya Aoki (32-6) will be looking to add another belt to his collection when he challenges fellow Japanese Kotetsu Boku (20-7-2) for the ONE FC world lightweight title.

As well as signing existing superstars such as Aoki, ONE FC has a strong emphasis on recruiting up-and-coming local talent and the first bout of the night features the latest homegrown fighter looking to make his mark with Asia’s biggest MMA organization.

Singaporean Ronald Low (1-0) will have the crowd behind him, but with that support comes plenty of pressure. He is up against a Malaysian opponent, Yun Ting Chen, who is making his professional debut and will be looking to silence the fans by winning the flyweight bout.

Two veterans are also set to meet, with feared Dutch kickboxer Melvin Manhoef (27-9-1-1) taking on American wrestler Brock Larson (36-7).

The former has 25 knockouts and technical knockouts to his name, while the latter has submitted 26 opponents, making the middleweight matchup the sort of clash of styles which has made the sport of MMA so popular.

The ONE FC Bantamweight Grand Prix was launched in October last year and the four remaining fighters are set to faceoff on Friday.

Former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver (27-17-1) of the US faces Japanese former Shooto champion Masakatsu Ueda (16-2-2) in one semi-final, while Filipino Kevin Belingon (10-2) takes on Vietnamese-Australian Thanh Vu (3-1) in the other.

There is also an eagerly anticipated match up between Hong Kong’s Eddie Ng (5-1) and French fighter Arnaud Lepont (9-2).

The two lightweights were originally set to meet at ONE FC: ‘Destiny of Warriors’ in June last year, but Ng suffered a serious shoulder injury in training, meaning the fight has been almost a year in the making.

Leandro Issa (10-3) and Yusup Saadulaev (9-2-1) will be looking to erase the bitter taste of defeat when they go head-to-head in another bantamweight clash.

Both suffered surprise losses at ONE FC: “Rise of Kings” in October last year, making it a make-or-break contest in terms of their respective careers.

It will be the fourth ONE FC card to take place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium and it is being screened all over Asia by Star Sports, as well as being available to view online. For more information visit www.onefc.com.

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