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ONE: Ex-champ Banario draws interest from Malaysian fighter

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 06:43 PM April 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — A broken shin momentarily shelved Malaysian featherweight Keanu Subba, but the injury never discouraged him from keeping his focus on his goal of becoming a world champion.

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Subba, though, is aware that the journey to the top will be an uphill climb especially that he’s yet to fully recover.

He is, however, already looking at a fight he thinks would fit him best when he makes his return.

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“Honorio Banario is the perfect opponent for me. After him, I have a whole list of guys I want to compete against, but Honorio is the guy now. Beating him, a former world champion, is going to put me right back in the mix,” he said in a story on ONE Championship’s website.

Subba has been out since suffering the injury during a bout against Ryogo Takahashi in May last year and he believes fighting and beating an ex-champion in Banario would be the kind of “statement” that he needs in his comeback.

Banario was the inaugural ONE featherweight champion in 2013 before moving up to lightweight where he beat the likes of Eddie Ng and Adrian Pang.

But after a string of losses, Banario went back down to featherweight and got back on track following a split decision win over Thailand’s Shannon Wiratchai last February.

“Honorio is a big name,” Subba said.

“Just look at his experience – he has fought guys like Shinya Aoki, Lowen Tynanes, and Ev Ting. He was even winning that fight against Amir Khan until Amir took him down and choked him out.”

Subba said apart from the Filipino warrior’s impressive resumé, Banario’s big fanbase is what also piqued his interest in fighting him.

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“At first, I thought about facing Bruno Pucci. But after doing some research, I realized that [Honorio] has a bigger fanbase, and that is why I want to face him.

“There are other newcomers, too, but I don’t want people to go around saying, ‘Oh, he’s only beat a new guy.’ I want to prove my point in the division.”

But with all ONE Championship events still suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic coupled with his continuous recovery, Subba will have to keep waiting patiently for his shot.

“I need to ease my way back, and, ideally, I would love to fight just before the year ends, maybe on the Kuala Lumpur card in December.

“A win is important to me because I want to kickstart a winning run and be a world champion within the next two years.”

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TAGS: featherweight, Honorio Banario, Keanu Subba, MMA, Team Lakay
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