Shinya Aoki excited to fight for ONE lightweight belt vs Eduard Folayang in hometown Japan
MANILA, Philippines—Shinya Aoki waited more than two years to have a crack at the ONE World lightweight championship that he once owned.
The Japanese fighter reigned as the promotion’s lightweight champion from April 2013 to November 2016 before losing the strap to Eduard Folayang via technical knockout.
Hell bent on regaining that he held for more than three years, Aoki (42-8) went on a 3-1 stomp on the next four fights after his loss to Folayang including three straight victories in 2018.
And it’s after those victories that Aoki finally got a chance at the title he once owned against the very same fighter who defeated him.
Aoki will be facing Folayang in the main event of ONE: A New Era in Tokyo, the first time ONE Championship will hold a card in Japan, on March 31, and the Japanese icon expressed his delight in facing his rival in his home country.
“I am happy to get the chance to fight in my home country for ONE Championship,” said Aoki.
As if fate had it, Aoki and Folayang had a similar path to their rematch.
Folayang (21-6) needed just one more day to complete a full year as champion but he suffered a stunning knockout loss to Martin Nguyen 2:20 into the second round of their fight on Nov. 10, 2017.
The Landslide also two straight fights to set up a match with Singapore’s Amir Khan that the Filipino won via unanimous decision to regain the ONE World lightweight belt.
Aoki did not comment on an outcome but he did it would be another firecracker of a bout between him and his once conqueror.
“I don’t know what will happen in the rematch, all I know is that it will be a tough fight and I look forward to it.”
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