“If they don’t transition to MMA, they will still have places to go. It’s well known, and it has good pay and that’s why a lot of our athletes can focus on Muay Thai now. ONE Championship is a huge help for our local athletes in contact sports.” – Philippine Muay Thai National Team head coach Billy Alumno
It is only a matter of time before the Philippines produces its next Manny Pacquiao or Eduard “Landslide” Folayang in the world of Muay Thai according to Billy Alumno, head coach of the Philippine Muay Thai National Team.
The Baguio-based striking guru lauded ONE Championship‘s efforts in promoting the “the art of eight limbs.” He said that ONE Super Series, which includes Muay Thai and kickboxing, helps spread awareness in the country that is home to talented warriors in need of a platform.
“ONE Championship is a big help because they showcase Muay Thai and kickboxing. It’s a big help for our local fighters,” Alumno said.
“If they don’t transition to MMA, they will still have places to go. It’s well known, and it has good pay and that’s why a lot of our athletes can focus on Muay Thai now. ONE Championship is a huge help for our local athletes in contact sports.”
Just last Friday, 6 September, The Home Of Martial Arts held its first all-Super Series event with ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH in Vietnam.
Though no Filipino athlete competed in it, pundits and coaches alike believe that it is only a matter of time until other athletes follow the footsteps of Ryan Jakiri.
For Asian combat sports expert and journalist Nissi Icasiano, the Philippines is certainly getting there.
“Any kind of sport goes through a gestational period. Fortunately we now have the machinery and the program to develop the sport of kickboxing from the grassroots level,” Icasiano said.
“The process of developing and seeing its fruit takes time. Seeing a butterfly emerge from its cocoon cannot be rushed. The biggest leverage we have is that we have the programs to hone these athletes.”
For Alumno, Filipinos can be globally competitive in Muay Thai or kickboxing if given the right mentorship and opportunity.
After all, practice makes perfect.
“I think we’re on the cusp of producing a world class talent in the sport, because most of our national team athletes are now being exposed in different countries,” Alumno said.
“So when they get to the professional level, I don’t think the disparity in the skills will be too much.”
Grooming a kid to get in the world of combat sports has never been the first career choice of a traditional Filipino family. But Alumno is confident that Muay Thai in the Philippines has grown so much over the years that it has now become a feasible career option.
“If a person is passionate in martial arts, then it could be a career,” Alumno shared.
“For example, you look at Team Lakay, most of them are professionals with degrees, but they opted to choose this career. With ONE Super Series, the same can be said with Muay Thai.”
ONE: CENTURY is the biggest World Championship martial arts event in history. No organization has ever promoted two full-scale World Championship events in one day.
The Home Of Martial Arts breaks new ground as 28 World Champions compete in multiple World Title bouts, three World Grand Prix Championship Finals, and several World Champion versus World Champion matches at the famous Ryogoku Kokugikan on 13 October in Tokyo, Japan.
Catch it LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23!
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