Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen just cannot wait to mark his return to the Philippines.
The reigning ONE Featherweight World Champion will be back in the Mall of Asia Arena as he stars in the main event of ONE: DAWN OF HEROES when he defends his World Title against Koyomi Matsushima of Japan, on 2 August.
Bannering such a loaded card, which includes a mix of local and international heroes like Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and Eddie Alvarez, Nguyen is certainly honored to headline the event.
Add to it that he will be doing it in front of an appreciative Filipino crowd, Nguyen certainly isn’t lacking motivation as he makes his fifth appearance in Manila.
“I’ve always got a sweet spot for the Philippines. Having a Filipino family, with my brother-in-law being a Filipino, I feel like we already have Filipino blood in our family,” said Nguyen.
“In general, the Philippine crowd is one of the most educated crowds in the world,” he added.
Nguyen is certainly talking from experience, as the fans remained appreciative of him even after he knocked out Folayang back in 2017 in the same venue to become a two-division World Champion in The Home Of Martial Arts.
The local fans love Nguyen so much to the point that the Vietnamese-Australian feels like he’s an adopted Filipino already.
“There’s no better way to perform than to do it in front of 20,000 people. I know that, having four bouts there already. Going into my fifth, I feel that I’m an adopted Filipino already,” the 30-year old said.
“The crowd is ecstatic. As soon as you start throwing punches and start putting on a show, it’s defeaning in there. You just got to try and shut it out and not let the emotions and noise get to you.”
Focusing on Matsushima, Nguyen believes that the Japanese is the rightful challenger to his crown, having taken out everyone that’s put in front of him.
But at the end of the day, Nguyen believes his experience will eventually lead him to another victory in Manila.
“I think he’s an outstanding athlete. He worked his way up as a contender to fight for a World Title so there’s no denying him,” said Nguyen.
“However, [what he brings to the table] it’s nothing that I haven’t seen before so experience will be playing a major factor.”