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Eustaquio ready for challenge from on-the-rebound Akhmetov

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Eustaquio ready for challenge from on-the-rebound Akhmetov

FACING an opponent angling to get back to the lofty position he was at once, Filipino mixed martial arts fighter Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio said he is coming in prepared for his upcoming fight in ONE Championship, knowing fully he is set to face some serious challenge.

Set to take on former champion Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov in the main event for “ONE: Total Victory” on Sept. 16 in Jakarta, Indonesia, 28-year-old Eustaquio, representing Team Lakay of Baguio City, said he understands that the fighter from Kazakhstan is not short in motivation and that he has to keep in step with him, if not better, to see his mission of getting back in the title mix through.

“I know Kairat (Akhmetov) wants to get back in the cage with Adriano [Moraes], and so do I. This bout will show the world who is ready for another title opportunity,” said Mr. Eustaquio (9-5), referring to reigning ONE world flyweight champion Adriano Moraes of Brazil, who reclaimed the title from Mr. Akhmetov last month in Macau.

“I have worked long and hard, and have been waiting a long time for this. Win or lose, I’m going to come into this bout at my best, and give my full effort,” he added.

Known by the moniker “Gravity,” Mr. Eustaquio has won three of his last five matches, including a first-round knockout victory over Malaysian stalwart Saiful Merican in January 2016 and a split decision win over Thai rival Anatpong Bunrad in their rematch last May.

He vied for the title against Mr. Moraes in September 2014 but was submitted in the second round by way of a guillotine choke.

A victory on Saturday over the highly touted Mr. Akhmetov (20-1) would move him closer to another title shot.

“I know it’s not going to be easy against Akhmetov. But a person has to go through hardship to become successful. I know it will be hard, but I am willing to dig deep and get that victory. In order to be a winner, you have to endure. I am here to endure all the hardships because I want to be the best,” said Mr. Eustaquio, who also shared that he has been training hard with help from coach Mark Sangiao and his Team Lakay “brothers,” including reigning ONE lightweight champ Eduard “Landslide” Folayang.

“I want this win. I want to have a remarkable winning result, and then I want to move forward onto that flyweight belt. I am back in the main event. My next goal is to be back in the title hunt,” he said.

Apart from Mr. Eustaquio, Filipinos seeing action at ONE: Total Victory at the Jakarta Convention Center are strawweight Roy Doliguez, who will take on Brazil’s Yago Bryan, and Ramon “The Bicolano” Gonzales against Mongolia’s Liu De Li Ge Ri Hu. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo

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