ONE: Eustaquio hopes his sacrifices pay off in rematch vs Akhmetov | Inquirer Sports

ONE: Eustaquio hopes his sacrifices pay off in rematch vs Akhmetov

/ 04:01 PM January 15, 2018

Photo from ONE Championship

Second chances don’t come often.

And Geje Eustaquio is raring to make the most of this opportunity as he gets a chance to atone his tight defeat to Kazakhstan’s Kairat Akhmetov in their rematch at ONE: Global Superheroes at Mall of Asia Arena on January 26.


“It was a learning experience for me, the first time I met Kairat,” recounted the Team Lakay stalwart.


Eustaquio suffered a split decision loss to Akhmetov, a former titlist, at ONE: Total Victory in Jakarta last September.

“I knew going into the match that it would be one of the biggest challenges of my career, given that he is a former world champion. Honestly, I was a little flustered. I thought I could have pushed the pace more, and maybe forced him to defend my strikes,” he said. “I lost focus of the game plan and allowed myself to operate at Akhmetov’s pace instead of dictating the action on the feet. I also could have had better takedown defense. I would have loved to have won, but it is what it is.”

But the stakes are higher this time out as their bout in the Manila card is not just any rematch, but a title fight as well with the winner becoming the interim flyweight champion.

Eustaquio knows how import the fight is and that’s the reason why he didn’t have much hesitation in making huge sacrifices like missing family time during the holiday season just to train.

“The life of a professional martial artist is difficult, but I understand that in order to be the best, we have to make certain sacrifices. Spending time away from friends and family to train isn’t easy,” he said.

“It’s part of being a professional martial artist. A lot of sacrifices have been made and training in December was one of them. I had to give up Christmas celebrations for this fight, I missed a lot of family activities such as birthdays and reunions. But if I want to consider myself as a championship-quality athlete in this sport, I have to make that sacrifice. In the end, I will reap the fruits of my labor. Hard work cannot be denied forever.”


The 28-year-old Eustaquio is hoping that all of his sacrifices and effort will pay off in the end.

“Kairat is a tricky opponent. After three rounds with him, I have gotten to know him a little bit better. I am able to understand what makes him a great martial artist,” he said. “He he has a big heart. Kazakh martial artists have big hearts and lots of pride. They do not go down easily, and are very tough, so I am expecting another difficult bout.”

Eustaquio also sees the duel as his ticket to get another crack at reigning ONE flyweight champion Adriano Moraes as he wishes to be the third fighter out of the famed Team Lakay stable to hold the gold in the promotion.

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“A victory over Kairat would land me a rematch against Adriano. I believe I have what it takes to become the undisputed ONE flyweight world champion,” he said.

TAGS: Geje Eustaquio, One Championship, Team Lakay

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