By DAN PAULO ERRAZO
Former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario has been given a chance to redeem himself when he returns to the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES against Timofey Nastyukhin in the semi-finals of the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix on August 2.
“I was disappointed with how I performed that night,” Banario said.
“After that match, I had to take a break and pursue some important personal matters that I had on hold.”
Unfortunately for Tynanes, the top lightweight suffered yet another debilitating injury forced him to withdraw from the tournament. Banario was tapped by ONE to take his place against Nastyukhin.
“Now that I have this rare opportunity of moving on to the semi-finals, I have been training non-stop with Eduard [Folayang] and the rest of the guys at Team Lakay to keep me in top shape. I am determined more than ever to not commit the same mistakes in the past and victory is the only option for me,” Banario added.
Banario joins three other Team Lakay members who will grace the ONE Championship ring in Manila. Eduard Folayang takes on legend Eddie Alvarez in the co-main event of the evening, Danny Kingad takes on Kairat Akhmetov in the semi-finals of the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix, and Edward Kelly faces China’s Xie Bin.
“I have mixed feelings with my teammates competing on the same card,” Banario said.
“They give me assurance and added motivation that I am not alone but at the same time, I feel a little pressure to win, more so if they are both victorious. I don’t want to be the only Team Lakay member to lose. In the end, we may be focused on our individual matches but we still win and lose as a team.”
The 29-year-old recently got married and now has a baby on the way. Starting a family of his own and being given a second chance at the tournament has given Banario more reasons to put forth the performance of his life.
Admittedly, Banario says his family has given him renewed focus and extra motivation.
“I feel blessed to be receiving all these great things like being married to the love of my life who is currently expecting our first born and having a second shot at the tournament,” Banario concluded.
“This new family is my strongest source of motivation right now and I will do everything I can to win this tournament and make them proud of me.”