February 1, 2023

Former ONE Championship lightweight world champion Eduard Folayang is coming into his next bout full of motivation, after witnessing his Team Lakay teammates claim victories early into the year.

Folayang is in the most difficult stretch of his 14-year professional career, as he has dropped four of his last five fights under Asia’s leading mixed martial arts promotion.

The 37-year-old Folayang, however, remains hopeful and determined to power himself out of his most recent slump.

ONE has confirmed Folayang’s highly anticipated return to action, taking on Korean-Japanese fighter Yoshihiro Akiyama at “ONE on TNT IV,” scheduled for April 28 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore. 

It’s the fourth ins-tallment in the “ONE on TNT” event series, which is broadcast to American audiences on U.S. prime time television.

Folayang is excited to face the 45-year-old Akiyama, and is currently deep in training, looking for his first victory in nearly two years.

“This will be a great fight for me. I’m working hard with the team right now, and I’m definitely up for the challenge. Everyone is gearing up,” said Folayang.

“Our victories in the first half of the year have boosted our morale. I have been inspired by my team’s victories. With our hard work, and discipline, and by the grace of God, 2021 will be a good year for Team Lakay,” he added.

Folayang’s last victory in the circle came against tough Mongolian Amarsanaa Tsogookhuu in November 2019. Prior to that, he dropped submission losses to Japanese rival Shinya Aoki and former Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez.

Most recently, Folayang experienced decision losses to highly-regarded lightweights Pieter Buist and Antonio Caruso.

“It is always an honor to share the circle with legends. It gives me added motivation. Yoshihiro Akiyama is a legend and a veteran of the cage. His name is known throughout the world. This fight excites me because I know I’m going up against a great fighter. I’m working hard to come into the circle well-conditioned with my mind and body,” Folayang said. – Harley F. Palangchao