ONE Championship (ONE), recently held the ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES Official Kick-Off Press Conference last Monday, 22 January at the Manila Grand Ballroom of the City of Dreams. Main event competitors Geje Eustaquio the Philippines and Kairat Akhmetov of Kazakhstan faced-off for media in attendance. They will be competing for the ONE Interim Flyweight World Championship in the headline bout of ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES which takes place Friday night, 26 January at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila.
Also in attendance at the ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES Official Kick-Off Press Conference were Chairman and CEO of ONE Championship, Chatri Sityodtong, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Global Citizen, Wei Soo, Vice President for Gaming Operations of City of Dreams Manila, Kevin Benning, co-main event competitors Joshua Pacio and Lan Ming Qiang, as well as Filipino martial arts veteran Eric Kelly and his opponent, Rafael Nunes.
Ticket information for ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES is available at www.onefc.com
Chatri Sityodtong, Chairman and CEO of ONE Championship, stated: “It is always great to be back in Manila because the Philippines is one of the countries that truly and deeply appreciates martial arts. This is the reason why ONE Championship continually upkeeps holding blockbuster shows for our passionate Filipino fans. ONE Championship is set to hold four events in the country for 2018, and our first Manila card for this year will put fans on the edge of their seats, making them crave for more authentic martial arts action.”
Headquartered in New York with offices in Canada, Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom, Global Citizen was founded in 2012 with the goal of building the largest platform where people can learn about issues, take action on what matters most, and join a global movement working to end extreme poverty by 2030. Since then, millions of Global Citizens around the world have taken over ten million actions, which includes millions of emails, tweets, petition signatures, and phone calls targeting world leaders to end extreme poverty by 2030. To date, the actions by Global Citizen’s global community, along with its high-level advocacy efforts and various partners, have resulted in 130 commitments and policy announcements from leaders, including financial aid valued at over US $35-billion, that is set to affect the lives of over 1.3 billion people.
Wei Soo, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Global Citizen, stated: “We are thrilled to be joining forces with ONE Championship to bring Global Citizen to Asia. ONE Championship reaches millions of young people around the region and together we will engage them on issues that impact the entire world. Since we launched Global Citizen in 2012, over 13 million actions have been taken, and we are excited to drive more actions and increase our impact for the world’s most marginalized people through this partnership.”
Geje Eustaquio, ONE World Title Challenger, stated: “I am expecting another difficult bout. Kairat Akhmetov is tough and has a huge heart inside the cage. That is why I am preparing very well for this rematch. A victory over Kairat would land me a rematch against Adriano Moraes. I believe I have what it takes to become the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion in the future.”
Kairat Akhmetov, ONE World Title Challenger, stated: “I am coming into this interim title match-up with the mentality that it will be me versus the world, and I am ready for it. In 2017, I had ups and downs. I do not want to look back. In 2018, I am looking forward to reaching my dream to battle Adriano Moraes for the third time. But of course, I have to beat Geje Eustaquio first to fulfill my dream.”
Joshua Pacio, ONE Athlete, stated: “I have more experience, and I believe the two losses that I have suffered in my career have taught me a lot. I see those setbacks as an advantage, rather than just a blemish on my record. This match means a lot to me. I want to prove that I deserve to be competing on this international stage. I want to show to my countrymen that we also excel in martial arts, and to inspire more youths to pursue their respective dreams.”
Lan Ming Qiang, ONE Athlete, stated: “I am proud to be part of a great martial arts organization like ONE Championship, but my pride is without exaggeration. My pride cannot be moved. It only grows. I want more people to see Chinese athletes at the highest stage. I am looking forward to the match. I do not know what is going to happen, or how the match is going to end, but it is surely going to be exciting.”
Eric Kelly, ONE Athlete, stated: “Rafael Nunes has been away for a while, so I am not sure if he got stronger or improved. All I know is that I am training to achieve a win. My opponent is a human like me, and everyone is beatable. I always put that in my mind. Right now, I have to redeem myself in front of my countrymen. I might be 35 years old, but I am not giving up. I am here to stay.”
Rafael Nunes, ONE Athlete, stated: “I feel so honored to face a Filipino martial arts veteran like Eric Kelly in my return to ONE Championship. I see me keeping the match standing, and I will be using my distance to box with him and use some kicks. If he wants to go to the ground, I will be trying to finish him.”
Top flyweight contender and former world title challenger Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio of Baguio City, Philippines, is one of the most skilled martial artists in Asia, and a highly-decorated wushu practitioner. His solid striking and grappling skill set has led to huge victories over the course of a seven-year professional career. Training in the high altitudes of the Philippines’ Summer capital, Eustaquio hones his craft alongside world-class teammates at the fabled Team Lakay. Known for his incredible ability to keep calm in the face of adversity, Eustaquio is set to headline ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES opposite Kairat Akhmetov for the ONE Interim Flyweight World Championship.
Former ONE Flyweight World Champion Kairat Akhmetov is a veteran martial artist from Almaty, Kazakhstan. The 30-year-old boasts a solid 24-1 professional record amassed during a stellar martial arts career which has seen him dominate his opponents with tenacious wrestling and powerful striking. In his most recent appearance inside the ONE Championship cage, Akhmetov defeated Geje Eustaquio via closely-contested three-round split decision. Now he faces Eustaquio in a rematch, this time for the ONE Interim Flyweight World Championship.
22-year-old Joshua Pacio of Baguio City is one of the fastest rising martial arts stars from the Philippines. He is one of the promotion’s most talented strawweights and a proud member of the famed Team Lakay. Pacio is a wushu practitioner with a solid grappling repertoire. All but one of his 10 career victories have come by spectacular finish, which includes five wins by submission and four by devastating knockout. In his most recent bout, Pacio knocked out veteran Roy Doliguez with a second-round spinning back fist. A former ONE Strawweight World Championship Title Challenger, Pacio is looking to bring himself back to title contention with another victory. A tough task is ahead of Pacio, however, as he is slated to lock horns with China’s Lan Ming Qiang.
Lan Ming Qiang is a national sanda champion, who trains alongside ONE Championship flyweight standout “The Southern Eagle” Ma Hao Bin at the Jincan Defense Club. After a 16-2 sanda record and several championship titles, the 24-year-old native of Guangxi, China recently made his transition to the cage and already has a pair of stunning victories to his credit. Lan is set to make his promotional debut under the ONE Championship banner against former world title contender Joshua Pacio.
Featherweight standout Eric “The Natural” Kelly of Baguio City is widely considered one of the best homegrown martial arts athletes to come out of the Philippines. The wushu practitioner combines solid striking techniques with high-level grappling skills, which has resulted in nine impressive submissions and one knockout out of 12 total victories. Kelly’s most impressive showing to date came in a submission win over Rob Lisita in 2014. In his next bout, Kelly will face Rafael Nunes.
20-year-old Rafael Nunes is a martial artist from Sao Paulo, Brazil with a 10-1 record. He is the former Premier FC Lightweight Champion and has steamrolled through the competition in his home country with a knack for winning by exciting finish. All but one of Nunes’ 10 wins have ended within the distance. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt, Nunes is equally comfortable finishing his opponents by submission or by strikes. He looks to showcase his multifaceted skill set in his next bout, and will face a tough challenge when he takes on veteran Eric Kelly.