Jakarta. Asia's largest sports media property ONE Championship has recently announced its partnership with China's Great Sports Media ahead of ONE: Battle for the Heavens that will take place on May 26 at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center.
The main event features the reigning ONE Women's Strawweight World Champion Xiong Jing Nan "The Panda," who will be defending her title against Laura "La Gladiadora" Balin of Argentina.
ONE Championship International chief executive Victor Cui said the partnership aims to promote world class martial arts in China.
"Martial arts are on the rise globally, and ONE Championship is the home of martial arts. Xiong is an incredible martial arts champion and we are extremely proud of her accomplishments. 'ONE: Battle for the Heavens' is going to be a spectacular evening that fans will not forget soon. We are excited to continue delivering an authentic martial arts experience to fans in China," Cui said.
In response, Great Sports Media general manager Weng Weimin said: "We believe ONE Championship has a bright future in China and we share the same culture and values. We hope that through our joint efforts we will introduce this sport to a wider Chinese audience, makes them fall in love with ONE more."
Great Sports Media, a holding company of Shanghai Media Group Inc., is one of China's largest sports broadcasters. It will broadcast all of the ONE Championship events in a weekly show. Both ONE Championship and Great Sports Media are set for a longer collaboration, as two top talents from Great Sports — Ni Tianqi and Zhuang Ningyu — have joined ONE Championship as commentators in the Chinese language.
ONE: Battle of the Heavens
Xiong thanked the martial arts organization for providing her the opportunity to perform at home in Shanghai.
"It's really an honor for me as an athlete. Although I have experienced competing in China so many times, this time I feel so much more excited, because I have the chance to showcase the beauty and strength of Chinese martial arts to the entire world on the ONE Championship platform. I will do my best to defend my title and bring honor and glory to my country," she said.
Xiong has a professional record of 14 wins and a loss. She began her career with professional boxing. In 2017, she bagged a gold medal at the prestigious China Open Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournament in 2017.
Her opponent, Balin, will be making her ONE Championship debut.
"My opponent Xiong is a talented athlete, and it will be a difficult test for me. But I will bring my absolute best to the cage to bring the title back home to Argentina," she said.
Balin, who has been competing mostly in Argentina, will fight in Asia for the first time. She owns a professional record of 10 wins and two losses. Her nine out of 10 wins were gained by exciting finishes, including five submissions and four knockouts.