EDUARD Folayang has expressed willingness to fight ONE featherweight champion Marat Gafurov even though the Russian has shown no interest in a match with the newly-crowned Filipino champion.
Moments after he won the featherweight title by beating Jadamba Naratungalag on Friday, Gafurov bared plans to move up in weight and challenge Shinya Aoki, likely for the lightweight crown.
Aoki, however, lost the title to Folayang via a technical knockout in the third round, when the Filipino fighter connected on a knee to the jaw before ending the fight with a flurry of punches.
Gafurov appeared disinterested in a fight with Folayang, maintaining that he is still interested in an Aoki fight.
“It’s not as interesting as Shinya,” Gafurov, a grappling specialist like the Japanese legend Aoki, said through an interpreter. “I was interested in Shinya because I admire his grappling and I want to check it myself.”
When asked why he is not interested in a fight with Folayang, Gafurov said, “Because he (Aoki) is a good grappler. I admire his style and I wanted to show that I’m better at grappling.”
Folayang said he understands why Gafurov is not interested to fight him.
“Siguro, gusto niya si Shinya doon sa fact na legend siya. Even them, they are not expecting me to win,” said Folayang. “Puwede naman sila maglaban.”
Nevertheless, Folayang expressed readiness for a possible fight against Gafurov.
“Maganda rin kung ganun ‘yung pupuntahan niya. Super fight. Para sa akin, ready naman ako basta ang importante, ‘yung training. Si Shinya nga na legend, na-kaya natin basta pinaghahandaan,” said Folayang.