KEVIN Belingon has a golden chance to prove once and for all that he is the righteous king of the ONE bantamweight division.
The Team Lakay stud ends his trilogy with longtime division king Bibiano Fernandes when they clash for the ONE Bamtamweight Championship at ONE: A New Era on Sunday at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan.
The 31-year-old Belingon (20-5) is well aware of the gravity this fight has for his career, as well as its weight in his rivalry against Fernandes.
"I know how important this third fight is with Bibiano. I’ve trained very hard and fans will be happy with my performance," he said.
Belingon dislodged Fernandes from his pedestal back in November, earning a split decision victory in Singapore to snare the title.
That was his seventh straight win since losing to the Brazilian star back in January 2016, and would love to stretch that victory run to eight in this stacked card.
Belingon is confident that with this being his third fight with Fernandes, he already knows his foe all too well.
"Looking back at our previous encounters, I know my opponent well now. I think he knows who I am also. I’m looking forward to putting on another show and hopefully get the knockout," he said.
However, Fernandes (22-4) is driven to show that the defeat last year was nothing more than a fluke, which was his first defeat under the ONE umbrella.
And as much as he respects the work Belingon has made, in his mind, there's no question who the real champion is.
"Kevin is a great champion. He has earned everything he has now, and I’m happy for him," he said.
"But I really truly believe I won the first two fights. In this third fight, I’m going to take the belt back. I’m going to prove to everyone that I’m still the best in the world and start a new reign as World Champion.”