February 7, 2023

Former two-time ONE lightweight world champion Eduard Folayang suffered another defeat in the hands of Antonio Caruso via unanimous decision in Singapore on weekend.

The 36-year-old Folayang was relentless in connecting leg kicks on Caruso on the third and final round of their lightweight bout but it was not enough to convince the three judges in his favor.

It was the younger Caruso who dominated the match with multiple takedowns and ground control in the first and second rounds, though the Igorot fighter successfully defended several submission attempts from his opponent.

With a height advantage, Caruso, who is 5-foot-11, also had no trouble landing his jabs against the 5-foot-9 Folayang.

Knowing that Caruso was ahead in the judges’ scorecards, Folayang was aiming for a knockout in the final round, but admitted he just could not find his rhythm for a solid blow.

“I could not execute it well. It’s my mistake and I wasn’t able to cope with it,” Folayang said.

Folayang dropped to 22 wins against 10 losses while Caruso improved his professional mixed martial art record to eight wins and one loss.

It was a back-to-back loss for Folayang, who was outpointed by Pieter Buist in their lightweight bout last January.

Before the fight, Folayang dispelled rumors of retirement after supposed veteran sports journalists suggested that he should consider hanging up his gloves if the former champion suffers defeat in the hands of Caruso.

But Folayang has responded to talks of retirement with a display of confidence, and is coming into his next bout with positivity. The Filipino icon also wanted to show fans how much he’s gotten better, even at his age.

“I know there are a lot of people who think I should retire, especially if I lose this fight against Caruso. That’s understandable. But the word retirement is not yet in my vocabulary. I believe there is still a lot of potential to be unleashed,” Folayang said. – Harley F. Palangchao