IT was a forgettable night for Filipino mixed martial arts fighters Rene Catalan and Jomary Torres as they suffered first-round defeats in their respective fights at ONE Championship’s “Big Bang” event on Friday in Singapore.
Back in action following months of “forced break” because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, strawweight Catalan and atomweight Torres just could not get their game going on their way to slumping to quick defeats.
Mr. Catalan (6-4) was knocked out (head kick) by South African Bokang Masunyane just 37 seconds into the opening round, while Ms. Torres (4-5) suffered a technical knockout loss (elbows) in the first round at the hands of Ritu Phogat of India.
“I was expecting that Bokang was going to wrestle, being a high-level wrestler. I was thinking that he would shoot for it, but I did not see his front kick so I got caught,” said Mr. Catalan in the vernacular in an interview with Tiebreaker Vods’ The Hit List podcast after his fight.
The defeat was his second straight after losing to reigning champion Joshua Pacio also of the Philippines in their title clash in October last year.
Ms. Torres, for her part, admitted that her latest loss, fifth straight in ONE, showed work still needs to be done on her game.
“For me, it showed that my game still needs work, including wrestling. I’m working on it but obviously, it is still not enough,” she said.
While not using it as an excuse, Mr. Catalan and Ms Torres also shared that the ongoing episode with the pandemic has greatly affected their training.
“It has had a great effect, especially in terms of financials. It’s tough to get sponsors right now and there is the lockdown, and you cannot train as much as you want. You can train on your own, but it’s still different,” said 41-year-old Catalan.
He was seconded by Ms. Torres, saying, “Because of the lockdown, we cannot really attend to our needs… 2020 has really been tough.”
But despite the latest setbacks, the two fighters said they will continue to forge ahead and deal with the cards given them the best way they can.
“Training continues for us. We have to be ready and bounce back,” said Mr. Catalan.
Next for ONE Championship is “ONE: Big Bang II” on Dec. 11, which will be headlined by the flyweight muay thai battle between Taiki Naito of Japan and Jonathan Haggerty of the United Kingdom. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo