ONE heavyweight world champion Brandon Vera expects to retain his title when he meets challenger Mauro Cerilli at ONE: Conquest of Champions on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
"I owe the Philippines a lot for inspiring me to work harder than I ever have before. Am I ready after spending two years away from the cage? Hell yes. I've prepared very hard for this bout. I've trained every day, in between traffic, shoots, and everything in the middle," Vera told the media at the press conference on Tuesday.
"I am confident of victory. I'm still hungry and I want it more now. Mauro [Cerilli] is a worthy opponent, he's been knocking guys out while I was away, and I am in no way underestimating him," Vera added.
Cerilli, on the other hand, is just grateful to have an opportunity to fight someone like Vera, and at the same time a chance to win a title.
"I know Brandon [Vera] is the local hero, and I have all the respect for him. But I will do my best to win the title. If you would have told me years ago I would be facing a legend like Brandon, I would not have believed you. I've worked very hard to get to this point, so I am grateful for the opportunity," said Cerilli.
Meanwhile, Team Lakay's Eduard Folayang will face Amir Khan of Singapore for the vacant lightweight title. The Filipino fighter said he is ready to reclaim the title he once owned.
"Last year, things didn't go as I expected. I lost the title. But this year is a new chapter. I worked extremely hard to come back here for another opportunity at the belt. I've been inspired by my teammates, my coach, and all the fans. This is the biggest bout of my career, and I am excited to give the best performance of my life," said Folayang.
Khan, though, is prepared to take Folayang down.
"I have all due respect for Folayang, he is a great martial artist. But I am coming for the title. I've worked extremely hard on my game since the beginning of my career, and I am one hundred percent confident of becoming world champion. Winning that title means everything to me. Me and my coach, we have a solid game plan for this fight. The odds may be stacked against me. I'm fighting the hometown hero, but I won't let it affect my performance," he said.