EDUARD Folayang expects another tough draw when he defends his ONE Lightweight Championship against hometwon favorite Shinya Aoki at ONE: A New Era on Sunday at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan.
"I am well-prepared for this bout," said the Igorot warrior during the press conference on Thursday at Ritz Carlton in Tokyo.
"I know Shinya has prepared well also and I am expecting the very best from him."
Folayang (21-6) first won the promotion's lightweight title from Aoki with a third-round technical knockout win back in November 2016 in Singapore.
Though he lost the title to Martin Nguyen a year later, he reclaimed the throne to become a two-time division king with a unanimous decision victory over Amir Khan last November in Manila.
"This rematch is three years in the making. It’s an honor to face Shinya again. I believe this event is going to be explosive. History will be made," said Folayang.
But this is a different version of Aoki (42-8, 1 NC), who has won his last three fights in emphatic fashion, with his latest victim being Ev Ting last October in Bangkok.
"I am laser-focused for this coming match. I’ve trained very hard for my opponent. This Sunday night, I am confident I can achieve victory and become World Champion once again," he said.
Also on the challenger's side is the hometown crowd, with ONE staging this stacked card for the first time in the Japanese capital.