In one of the most highly-anticipated matchups at ONE: GLOBAL RIVALS, Team Lakay's Geje "Gravity" Eustaquio took on top Malaysian prospect Gianni Subba.
It was a three-round bantamweight contest that pit two devastating strikers against each other in a battle of attrition. By the time the fight was finished, fans knew they had just witnessed one of the best tussles this year.
Eustaquio (8-4) duked it out with Subba (7-2) to a unanimous decision verdict last Friday night, 15 April at the 20,000-seat Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines. The bout served as the evening’s co-main event.
“The fight went as expected. I requested [Subba] to stand with me, and it was a very tough decision for Gianni to make to stand up with me, but I’m so happy that he made my request possible,” said Eustaquio, who before the fight expressed his interest in making it exciting for the fans. “It was a good test for each of us in terms of striking. Perhaps he did take me down one time, but I think I surprised him by standing up immediately.”
Eustaquio kept Subba tentative all night with his snappy head kicks and sharp counterpunching. The younger Subba would do his best to stand with Eustaquio, but the Filipino’s experience as a former Wushu champion showed. Eustaquio characteristically remained cool, calm, and collected in the face of constant pressure from Subba, and turned in a masterful performance.
After the bout, Eustaquio revealed he had been dealing with nagging left and right shoulder injuries in the lead up to the fight. He said his team contemplated postponing the matchup, but ultimately decided against it.
“I was going into the fight with low morale, but it’s good that I have a great team with me who have my back, and encourage me and motivate me to go on,” said Eustaquio.
It turned out to be the right choice as Eustaquio put in one of his best showings to date. The once ONE flyweight title challenger also showcased improved mat control and cage composure, when Subba tried to avert striking and went for a takedown. Although the Malaysian was successful, Eustaquio showed grit and skill in getting back up to his feet swiftly.
With the victory, Eustaquio is back on track for a shot at the title once again. The reigning ONE Flyweight World Champion is Kairat Akhmetov while the ONE Bantamweight World Champion is Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes, both of whom Eustaquio can most definitely challenge.
He’ll most likely be put up against another solid contender first, however, before being given another shot at ONE Championship gold. With title opportunities looming, right now Eustaquio says he’s just ready to just kick back and relax at home.
“I’m going back to the mountains, feel the breeze, because I really need it,” said Eustaquio. “Do some cardio, get back to training, and of course, enjoy every moment of my life.”
Eustaquio also didn’t let Subba off without showering the youngster with some mutual admiration and praise. Kind words of encouragement were let out by the humble Eustaquio, who is happy with the victory.
“You’re young, chances are we’ll meet again sooner or later because I believe you’re one of the best,” Eustaquio said in a message to Subba. “It’s just that I’m luckier this day that I’m better than you, but don’t be dismayed because sooner or later we will meet again. Both of us will become champions.”
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)