They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Andrew Leone, a then 10-1 win/loss flyweight, jetted off to South Korea for the finals of the Bantamweight Grand Prix. He returns after a bittersweet experience; 11-2, a win and a loss, having suplexed one foe and had his eye closed by the second. Ultimately, punishing Min Jung Song for three rounds with a barrage of punches, takedowns and even a suplex, took too much out of the gas tank for the full-time flyweight to compete blow for blow against former lightweight Kyung Ho Kang in the final, and the far bigger, stronger Korean managed to land the shots that counted. Round 2, and Leone was taking damage from his back. He got, as he put it, “blasted. (I) just didn’t have enough power (after the first fight) to keep up with Kang for three rounds”.
At the end of the day, Kang is a huge guy who kills himself to cut down to 125lbs. The man competed most of his career at lightweight, or 70kg/155lbs, which is a full thirty pounds heavier than Andrew’s weight division of flyweight. But the boy done good, it’s another step on the young American star’s journey, and now the Asia Bantamweight Grand Prix finalist is set to make his debut for the première promotion on this side of the planet, One FC, and at flyweight to boot.
Roy Docyogen is first up.
Hopefully, with the likes of Docyogen and Kevin Belington competing down at 125lbs in One FC, Leone will have a sufficiently deep talent pool to both challenge him, and allow him to shine. He will grow as a fighter as a result of his Korean experience, fighting in a higher weight class against a far bigger opponent who was himself dropping down, twice in one night on national (South Korean) television on prime-time hours, in front of thousands of people on what is essentially a large stage, at least in this part of the world.
The bantamweight adventure is over, now let’s see if the now 11-2 Leone can be all that he can be, and send some shockwaves through the flyweight division and assert himself with a virtual stranglehold over One FC. Hopefully next time he fights at another weight class, it will be out of necessity with no suitable challengers left to face at fly.
A highlight of the event and no doubt a highlight reel moment was the huge suplex Andrew landed in the semi-finals! (looking forward to video clips of the fights)