ONE Championship star Kevin Belingon is on the verge of one of the biggest bouts of his career, but he is still committed to helping to improve the lives of others in Baguio City, the Philippines.
“The Silencer” is preparing for his clash with Martin Nguyen, which is for the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Title on Friday, 27 July at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila.
A victory would take him to new heights in his martial arts career, and provide a huge boost for his extra-curricular activities.
The Filipino has used his status as a martial arts star in his homeland to help improve the lives of others as he plays an active part in giving back to the next generation. World Champion status could take those efforts to the next level.
“We join outreach programs in Baguio City,” he explains.
“I particularly enjoy working with and encouraging youth to gravitate towards sports, rather than to vices.
“I remember when I first discovered martial arts and fell in love with it. It completely changed my life, and led me down a path of continuous self-improvement. I want every kid to have that experience and to have that opportunity, especially the less fortunate.
“Falling into vices should be avoided, because it ruins lives.”
Belingon grew up in a small village in the Ifugao province, a mountainous region that was hit by clashes between militants and the local authorities.
It meant the people of the region often found themselves caught in the crossfire. “The Silencer” has taken those experiences and turned them to fuel as he looks to become a strong role model and someone who gives back to the community. Indeed, as a national sporting hero, he believes it’s his duty.
“Whenever I see the look in children’s eyes, the innocence, it gives me a sense of responsibility to protect that innocence, and help teach them good values,” he says.
“We visit schools, and we hold talks and outreach programs. This is part of my career, and it is a big privilege for me to give back. It makes me happy and fills my soul.
“You always see us training very hard in the gym and working tirelessly to become the fighters we are today. But there is so much more to martial arts than just fighting. We make sure to take the time to share with the kids the other benefits of martial arts.”
While some only notice the combative nature of mixed martial arts, Belingon always makes a point of accentuating everything that comes before the bouts.
He wants to accentuate the dedication, respect and self-discipline required in the ring or the cage – and encourage people to embrace those qualities in their daily lives.
His ability to inspire others will only increase if he succeeds in capturing the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Title on July 27 when he faces off against two-division World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen at ONE: REIGN OF KINGS.
The prospect of being able to reach even more people as a ONE World Champion excites Belingon hugely, and the Filipino star says he’s grateful for being able to help those in need.
“Compassion, for me, is a way of caring for others who are in need of care, whether emotionally or physically,” he says.
“You never know what one person is going through. They could be fighting the biggest battle of their lives, and we would not be able to recognise that.
“If by some chance they are inspired by my work in the cage, then I am happy. I am successful, win or lose. I am very thankful for the position I am in because of martial arts.”