Highly touted flyweight prospect Andrew Leone is in for a tough test on February 5th when he takes on Kyung Ho Kang at Road FC next month in the opening round of the Bantamweight Grand Prix.
Kang is is Korea's top ranked 135 lbs fighter and has fought for major promotions in Japan and China as well as domestically. He is a veteran of Deep, Sengoku and Road FC and has faced some experienced opponents, running up a workmanlike 8-5 record in the process.
Despite having been active as a professional fighter for five years Kang is still only 24 and looks to have a bright future in the sport. Leone is a couple of years younger and is much less experienced, his record stands at 2-1, and he is coming off a very impressive win over the previously unbeaten Soo Chul Kim who he choked out in under 30 seconds.
Leone has a strong wrestling background and was a two time all state wrestler in New York and a two time county champion. He has also been making waves on the BJJ scene winnng gold medals at multiple tournaments and beating a few black belts in the process.
He currently has a contract with ONE FC which allows him to fight for any promotion within their network including the URCC in the Philippines, DARE Championship in Thailand, Cage Fighting Championship in Australia and DREAM in Japan, as well as Road FC.
After spending his career as bantamweight Leone had planned to drop down to 125 lbs in 2012 and is going to have to bulk up again for this eight man tournament, having already begun the physical process of becoming a flyweight. He has already fought at 135 lbs three times already in his career with his only loss coming to Jasor Ablasi on his professional debut so the size shouldn't be a major issue.
A win would potentially delay Leone's flyweight debut even longer as it would set up a semi final with the possibility of another fight in Korea if he won that. Winning the tournament would give him a lot of momentum which he could carry into the flyweight division but it is quite possible that two best fighters in it have been thrown together in the opening round.
Kyung Ho Kang in kicking action against Min Jung Song at Road FC 5
Road FC 6 is scheduled to take place on February 5th at the Jangchung Gymnasium in Seoul and there will be three more match ups in the bantamweight tournament. Jae Hoon Moon will take on Jin Suk Jung, Kwang Su Park will face Dae Hwan Kim, and fan favorite Jae Hyun So will battle Myung Sik Kwak.
The main focus will be on the conclusion of the Middleweight Grand Prix where the first ever Road FC 185 lbs champion will be crowned. Shungo Oyama faces Jong Dae Kim in one semifinal and Eun Soo Lee will take on Hae Suk Son in the other with the final taking place the same night. The tournament winner is also likely to get a ONE FC contract to go with the belt.
Road FC 6, Jangchung Gymnasium, February 5th 2012
? vs ? (Middleweight Grand Prix Final)
Shungo Oyama vs Jong Dae Kim (Middleweight Grand Prix Semi Final)
Eun Soo Lee vs Hae Suk Son (Middleweight Grand Prix Semi Final)
Hyun Suk Lee vs Tae Ho Jin
Seok Mo Kim vs Jung Mi
Eun Soo Kim vs Sang Soo Lee
Andrew Leone vs Kyung Ho Kang (Bantamweight Grand Prix Quarter Final)
Jae Hoon Moon vs Jin Suk Jung (Bantamweight Grand Prix Qualifier)
Kwang Su Park vs Dae Hwan Kim (Bantamweight Grand Prix Qualifier)
Jae Hyun So vs Myung Sik Kwak (Bantamweight Grand Prix Qualifier)