Fil-Am Jackie Buntan hopes to make PH proud in ONE debut
MANILA, Philippines — Jackie Buntan hopes to join the long list of Filipino athletes who have made a name for themselves in the fight scene with the golden standard no less than boxing’s only eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao.
Buntan, born in the United States to Filipino parents, takes her first step into achieving her goal when she makes her ONE Championship debut on Friday in ONE: Fists of Fury in Singapore.
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) February 10, 2021
“I know it’s like the most common thing, but definitely inspired by Manny Pacquiao. Especially being a Filipino, there’s always a big family party watching his fights. I didn’t even know much about boxing, but it was just still cool to see him do what he does, and all that he does for the Filipino people as well,” said Buntan.
Pacquiao is considered one of the best ever in his sport. But more than his success, what impressed the 23-year-old Buntan more was his attitude and work ethic.
“I saw his work ethic and how he started literally from nothing to where he is now, it inspired me. It just made me realize that if you really love something and are passionate about something, you can just put your head down and put the work in, and you can achieve whatever you want,” she said.
“That’s one of the biggest things I’ve learned from just watching him train, his fights, and little snippets of his camps and whatnot.”
Buntan, who was raised in Los Angeles, will test her mettle against Thailand’s rising star Wondergirl Fairtex in a three-round Muay Thai bout.
The Filipino-American, the youngest of four sisters, also hopes to showcase her abilities in front of a hometown crowd.
“I’ve never been to the Philippines before, but it’s definitely one of the things that excite me about joining ONE. When I told my family about ONE, the first thing they said was I needed to fight in the Philippines,” she said.
“I have so many relatives over there. It will be great to be able to fight in front of them for the first time, and have them see what I do.”
Get the hottest sports news straight into your inbox
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.