The largest global sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), recently held the official ONE: A NEW ERA Kick-Off Press Conference on 28 March at the Ritz Carlton in Tokyo. In attendance were main event competitors, reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang and the challenger, former titleholder Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki, who were both accompanied by Chairman and CEO of ONE Championship, Mr. Chatri Sityodtong.
Also in attendance were competitors in three co-main events, including ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan and her challenger, ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee, ONE Middleweight World Champion “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang who defends his title against Ken Hasegawa, ONE Bantamweight World Champion Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon who puts his belt on the line against the legendary Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes, and finally, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez who are set to make their ONE Championship debuts.
Chatri Sityodtong, Chairman and CEO of ONE Championship, stated: “We don’t sell fights like every other organization in the world. We build heroes who ignite the world with hope, strength, dreams, and inspiration. This is ONE Championship. As a lifelong martial artist, I want the world to see the true beauty of martial arts. Our heroes, our World Champions, they exemplify the very best of humanity. I am very excited to be here in Japan. We are the only truly global sports media property in Asia celebrating our greatest cultural treasure, martial arts. ONE: A NEW ERA is the biggest martial arts event in the history of the world.”
Eduard Folayang, ONE Lightweight World Champion, stated: “I am well-prepared for this bout. I am so happy to be here in Japan for this historic event. I know Shinya [Aoki] has prepared well also and I am expecting the very best from him. This rematch is three years in the making. It’s an honor to face Shinya again. I believe this event is going to be explosive. History will be made.”
Shinya Aoki, ONE World Title Challenger, stated: “I am thankful that ONE Championship is in my home country. This is a great step forward for martial arts in Japan. I am laser focused for this coming match. I’ve trained very hard for my opponent. This Sunday night, I am confident I can achieve victory and become World Champion once again.”
Xiong Jing Nan, ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion, stated: “I will face a tough opponent in Angela Lee, but I am confident I can defend my title. Sunday, Angela and I will bring the best of us. I would like to say thank you for the opportunity to compete and showcase my skills on such a huge platform. I want to give the fans a fight they will never forget.”
Angela Lee, ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion, stated: “We’ve been training for Xiong Jing Nan for a while now. I think her style and my style match up perfectly. We’re both very aggressive. Going for this second World Title at strawweight is a dream I’ve had for a long time. Thank you so much for the warm welcome, Japan. I am so excited. This Sunday, 31 March, history will be made.”
Aung La N Sang, ONE Middleweight World Champion, stated: “It’s an honor and a dream come true for me to be fighting here in Japan. I want to thank Japan for the hospitality. Ken Hasegawa is a worthy opponent and I can’t wait to run it back with him. This is going to be a fight that fans will definitely enjoy. I am super excited to put on a show for you all this Sunday.”
Ken Hasegawa, ONE World Title Challenger, stated: “This rematch is very important for my career. Last year, we did battle and I gave everything I had. This time, I plan to do the same. I am willing to do whatever it takes to win. Aung La N Sang is an amazing champion, but I plan to shock the world this Sunday.”
Kevin Belingon, ONE Bantamweight World Champion, stated: “This is my first time fighting in Japan, and I’m very happy to be here. I know how important this third fight is with Bibiano [Fernandes]. I’ve trained very hard and fans will be happy with my performance. Looking back at our previous encounters, I know my opponent well now. I think he knows who I am also. I’m looking forward to putting on another show and hopefully get the knockout.”
Bibiano Fernandes, ONE World Title Challenger, stated: “Kevin [Belingon] is a great champion. He has earned everything he has now, and I’m happy for him. But I really truly believe I won the first fight. In this third fight, I’m going to take the belt back. I’m going to prove to everyone that I’m still the best in the world and start a new reign as World Champion.”
Eddie Alvarez, ONE Athlete, stated: “I am focused on my opponent, Timofey [Nastyukhin]. I asked for the most dangerous guy, and I got him. I’ve trained very hard for this fight. My mind and body are ready. I’m looking at that shiny belt right there, it’s the only one I don’t have. That’s the goal. Whatever it takes, however long it takes, my goal is to win the ONE Championship World Title.”
Demetrious Johnson, ONE Athlete, stated: “This is the next step in my evolution as an athlete. It should be interesting. For me it’s a long time coming, fighting in front of my Japanese fan base. I’m not taking Yuya Wakamatsu lightly. I just want to go out there and do what I do best, be the best Demetrious Johnson I can be.”