JANG Yong Kim is so eager to fight for the vacant Pacific X-Treme Combat featherweight crown that he doesn’t mind fighting Mark Striegl, a worthy opponent who was given the title shot on a silver platter.
While the Korean had to go through a title eliminator bout where he beat Nate Thorell in the 37th edition of the PXC to gain a shot at the championship, Striegl earned a chance at the belt following an odd turn of events.
Striegl, one of the country’s top mixed martial artists and unbeaten in 12 bouts, was supposed to face Yusuke Yachi in PXC 37, but his Japanese opponent suffered from an unusual skin rash and withdrew at the last minute.
Set for a replacement fight, Striegl himself suffered a minor sprained shoulder later. By the time the injury healed, he was ready for his own featherweight eliminator fight.
“But Jang Yong Kim doesn’t want to sit around and wait. So he said, 'Bring on Striegl,'” PXC CEO EJ Calvo recalled about the string of events that led to this weekend’s exciting title match at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
“It wasn’t as planned, but Striegl and Kim would’ve ended up against each other anyway,” added Calvo.
Still, the set-up appears unfair for Kim, who sports a deceiving 6-5 win-loss card.
“It doesn’t matter. I just want to fight,” Kim told Spin.ph on Thursday through his interpreter and sparring partner, TK Kim, while waiting for the press launch of the event. “I just want to get the championship belt.”
The result of Kim’s eagerness - or impatience - will be known on Saturday night when he faces Striegl in the main event of PXC 39.
Aside from the title fight, the other seven bouts in the fight card are a must-see, according to Calvo.
Four all-Filipino bouts are in store for fans, with Isaiah Ordiz facing Glen Ranillo in the lightweight division, Ernesto Montilla Jr. taking on Roldan Sangcha-an in a bantamweight bout, Harold Banario tangling with Rolan Romero in the flyweight class, and Jinel Lausa squaring off against Adam Cacay in another bantamweight bout.
Two other Pinoys in Rolando Dy and Jessie Rafols are also seeing action, taking on Kyle Reyes of Guam and US-born Louis Smolka, respectively.
An all-foreigner bout between Zebaztian Kadestam of Sweden and Ross Ebanez of Hawaii completes the fight card of the event, presented by Sports5 and San Mig Strong Ice, and supported by Beer Below Zero, FHM Magazine, FHM.com.ph, Real Sports, Fitness First, Healthway Agility Philippines, Loqal, and Spin.ph.