Honorio Banario promises more explosiveness, power in his 2021 campaign


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Former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario wants to remind fans of Team Lakay’s resilience and promises them something to look forward to in the new year.

“Next year, I want to be more productive, continue winning, and stay strong. There are a lot of tough challenges waiting for me in my career, a lot of strong opponents. I want to be ready to face them and keep coming out on the winning end,” said Banario.

He only not want to return to his winning ways, he intends to do it in abbreviated fashion. He tells fans he has something special planned for his return in 2021, and that everyone should pay attention to what he will bring to the cage.

“I’m working on a few things, adding a few skills and techniques, and working on my power. I want to end fights quicker. I want to bring back my fire. Fans can expect a more explosive and exciting Honorio Banario next year.” he quipped.

Banario was last seen inside the ONE Circle last February, when he took apart highly-regarded featherweight contender, Thailand’s Shannon “OneShin” Wiratchai to win by a narrow split decision.

Before this win, he was dealing with a cold stretch of his career, losing three straight and four of his last five fights while campaigning as a lightweight.

His return to featherweight after a short stint at lightweight might be to his liking but many stark challengers await him there. Possible matchups include showdowns with Martin Nguyen, Sage Northcutt, and Koyomi Matsushima.

Banario maintains that he never picks and chooses his opponents, but that he can promise to be ready for whoever stands across from him in the Circle.

“For me, I don’t have any expected opponent to face next year. I’ll be ready for who is in front of me. My goal is to get the belt so I’ll be ready for anyone,” said Banario.

On a lighter note, his long layoff due to the quarantine experience enabled Banario to spend more time with his son, Stone.

When the Philippines announced a series of community quarantine measures that kept gyms closed and people locked away inside their homes, Banario and the rest of Team Lakay took advantage of the opportunity to spend some good quality time with their families.

“My biggest accomplishment this year is returning to the winning track in my career, also, watching my son grow. Just seeing him crawl and seeing him start to walk and speak, it’s a great feeling and it makes me happy,” said Banario.

“I think the biggest lesson I learned, especially in this pandemic, is to stay healthy, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Watching out for your family’s health and staying positive in times of crisis.”

Banario was among the very few bright spots for Team Lakay this year, as the 31-year-old veteran was able to return to his winning capacity with a victory back in February, just before COVID-19 hit.

When lockdowns and travel restrictions were eased months later, and ONE was able to resume holding events in Bangkok and Singapore, Team Lakay was one of the first groups to be given fights.

Unfortunately, many of the athletes including former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang, former ONE Bantamweight World Champion Kevin Belingon, and rising star Lito Adiwang, suffered heartbreaking setbacks.

“I think the string of losses for our team is just another roadblock to greatness. We always learn from our mistakes and come back stronger. I’m very proud of our team. We may not have the best gym, the best equipment, but we have each other. I think that’s more than enough.We’re going to bounce back in a big way next year,” he warned.

By Armando M. Bolislis