Eustaquio takes cue from time as champ in return

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Former ONE Championship world flyweight champion Geje Eustaquio (right) of the Philippines makes his fight return on May 17 at “ONE: Enter the Dragon” in Singapore. -- ONE CHAMPIONSHIP

FILIPINO fighter Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio was ONE Championship world champion for only six months but it has taught him a lot in so many ways and something he is now taking cue from as he makes his fight return.

Set to take on South Korean Kim Kyu Sung in a flyweight world grand prix alternate bout at “ONE: Enter The Dragon” in Singapore on May 17, Mr. Eustaquio (11-7) said he is now ready, armed with the lessons during his time as world flyweight champion and from the split decision loss he absorbed in January at the hands of Brazilian Adriano Moraes where he lost his title.

“So I didn’t win the fight in front of my countrymen but I believe there is a greater purpose for that. Maybe it’s God’s way of saying that I need to develop more my skills so that when I get the chance to get back at it I’ll be better,” said Mr. Eustaquio in an interview with BusinessWorld in the lead-up to his upcoming fight.

The Benguet fighter lost to Mr. Moraes in January by split decision.

Mr. Eustaquio fought gallantly in his third fight with the Brazilian, even bucking a solid leg grab from the latter in the fourth round to survive until the end.

The decision though would not go Mr. Eustaquio’s way as the scorecards swayed in favor of Mr. Moraes, whom the Filipino defeated in June last year for the flyweight belt.

Mr. Eustaquio, 30, shared that he has accepted the decision and has been preparing for his return following a brief recuperation from a hyperextended left leg after the Moraes fight.

He also said that his time as champion has helped him develop not only as a fighter but as an individual as well and he is bent on using it as he makes his way back into the mix in his division.

“Being a world champion is not easy. Everyone dreams to become one but it does come easy. You have to put in the work and continue developing. It’s also a big responsibility in so many ways. But despite that I’m honored that I was able to experience becoming one and hoping to experience it once again,” Mr. Eustaquio said.

Adding, “In my next fight, I’ll be better.”

ONE: Enter The Dragon, happening at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, is headlined by the world lightweight championship fight between reigning champion Shinya Aoki of Japan and Singaporean challenger Christian Lee.

Mr. Aoki is coming off reclaiming the title in Japan in March over erstwhile Filipino champ Eduard Folayang.

Serving as co-main event is the lightweight kickboxing world championship between Dutch compatriots Nieky Holzken and Regian Eersel.

Also on tap are the featherweight kickboxing world grand prix quarterfinals between Thai Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy and Italian Petrosyan in one pairing, and Thai Yodsanklai Iwe Fairtex versus French Samy Sana in another.

The event also marks the ONE debut of former Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Sage Northcutt of the United States against Cosmo Alexandre of Brazil.

Another Filipino fighting is Richard Corminal in a lightweight clash with Rahul Raju of India.

ONE: Enter The Dragon will be available live for viewing on the ONE Championship super mobile app while in the Philippines it can be seen at ABS-CBN S+A beginning at 8 p.m. and iWant Sports. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo