Eduard Folayang fought on the inaugural ONE Championship event in 2011. The Filipino is still on the roster but some of the new signings have been fans of his since childhood.
Stephen Loman is one of them. Ahead of ONE: ‘Winter Warriors’ part II, which is being broadcast tonight, he talked about his respect and admiration for Folayang,
“The person I look up to the most has to be Eduard. When I was only starting out and I didn’t know much about this sport, I was already watching him. I was already a fan. He was representing our country and he became a champion.”
Long term fan
In fact Loman has been following Folayang’s career since well before ONE Championship was launched,
“It was way back then when Eduard was in URCC and Martial Combat. In a sense, I was inspired by him. I was a fan from that point on, through to his crowning glory in ONE when he became the world champion, up until now,” he said.
URCC and Martial Combat are long gone. But Folayang has managed one thing that Loman has not, he has earned the right to call himself a ONE Championship title holder.
Watch in awe
A title shot is potentially at stake when Loman faces Kairat Akhmetov at ONE: ‘Winter Warriors’ Part II and he wants to follow in the footsteps of his hero Folayang by reaching the pinnacle of the promotion,
“His achievements really motivate me. Seeing that he’s done all those things makes me feel like I can do it too. I’m really proud of how he has represented the team and this country as well.”
To begin with Loman wasn’t training alongside Folayang. But he would stick around to witness first hand the legendary work rate of the Filipino lightweight,
“Back when I enrolled as a newbie (the pro team) would train first, and then we’d come after. I could really see the focus in him during training sessions. I could only watch in awe back then.”
Folayang has always remained humble despite being a local hero in Baguio and it is an example Loman wants to follow,
“When I actually got to meet him, I really saw how he carries his values with him. I was in awe at how humble this guy is and how disciplined he is. He’s not only a really good fighter; he’s an even better human being.”
But it is not just Folayang’s attitude that Loman is trying to emulate. He wants to take the same approach to training and hopes it will lead him to the flyweight title,
“The main thing I got from him really was the discipline. The discipline in training, the discipline in our body, and the value of developing new skills.”