John McLeary Ornido and Anacleto “L.A.” Lauron’s gamble to step out of their comfort zones paid off handsomely on Saturday.
Lady Luck smiled at both alumni of the ONE Warrior Series Philippines reality television series in their respective kickboxing debuts on the undercard of TNT Kickboxing 2. The event took place at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
Ornido delivered one of the evening’s most exhilarating finishes, securing a technical knockout against Jesse Bucog in the second round of a featherweight bout.
From the onset, Ornido dictated the pace with blistering combinations, leaving Bucog on the defensive.
As the match progressed, “Pirata” intensified his offense, ultimately sending Bucog crashing to the canvas in the second stanza.
Despite his opponent beating the count, Ornido sealed the deal with a series of leg kicks and a staggering overhand right.
The elation was evident as he celebrated with backflips, conveying the relief of shedding a heavy burden after a challenging year.
The 20-year-old prospect had faced setbacks earlier in 2023, including a no-contest verdict due to an accidental low blow in his first overseas assignment against Kunihisa Sasa this past January and an upset loss to Marwin Quirante by unanimous decision six months later.
“It’s a huge relief. I’ve waited for this all year long. I’m so grateful that I got the win. I couldn’t ask for more,” Ornido told Tiebreaker Times.
Ornido concedes that this triumph sets the tone for his planned return to mixed martial arts next year.
“This win brings my confidence back, and as much as possible, I would like to sustain this momentum heading into 2024. The next target for me is to win an MMA fight,” he said.
“MMA is the sport that brought me to where I am today, and the goal is to get to the next level.”
In a parallel narrative, Lauron also defied the odds with a clear-cut unanimous decision victory over Muay Thai savant Richard Lachica in a lightweight clash.
Known for his grappling prowess as a mixed martial artist, Lauron exceeded expectations in his maiden foray into kickboxing by outstriking his veteran foe throughout from bell to bell.
It’s worth noting that Lauron was eager to bounce back from a first-round submission defeat to Team Lakay’s Jhanlo Sangiao in his ONE Championship debut in December 2022.
Thrilled with the taste of redemption, Lauron emphasized the importance of his performance at TNT Kickboxing 2.
“My victory in this fight means a lot to me because I waited almost a year for a chance to fight again. Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to prove myself in kickboxing, and I delivered,” Lauron stated.
“I showed everyone what I am capable of.”
Lauron believes that he authored the perfect response to his naysayers with his successful transition from MMA to kickboxing.
“To my doubters, this is for all of you. I love you all,” Lauron quipped.
Looking ahead, Ornido and Lauron expressed openness to suiting up once again for future events promoted by TNT Kickboxing.