It has been an outrageous, roller-coaster year for Geje Eustaquio. Although he has gone 1-2 in his last three outings, the man known as “Gravity” never has to look far to find motivation to pick himself up. The celebrated Team Lakay member is bolstered by his five-year-old son Castiel Achilles Gerard Eustaquio, "Cage" for short.
“He is my ultimate golden title. He means the world to me,” the 29-year-old fighter says. “Cage is a very energetic kid. I love living with him because he is the one that fuels me to push myself every single day.”
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According to Eustaquio, his son gives him an extra jolt of energy that has helped him get through some rough days. “Every time I see my son, I feel so refreshed. He gives me joy inside my heart that can’t be bought. He can’t be replaced in my life,” he states.
He cherishes every moment he shares with his son as it is something that he did not have the same experience growing up. His father moved to South Korea, sacrificing quality time with his family in order to better provide for their future. “I try to be there for Cage most of the time. I send him to school. I fetch him from school. We play. We go to the park. We tour around. We go to the mountains,” he says.
But Eustaquio admits that their usual father-and-son bonding lessened ever since he captured the interim flyweight championship in January 2018. He then became the undisputed champion by edging Brazilian arch-nemesis Adriano Moraes in their title unification rematch five months later.
“When I became a world champion last year, I had to divide my time. I have to spend four hours in the gym,” he says, adding that he makes it up to Cage by sparing at least a few hours with him in the morning. "It’s just me and him together, knowing his thoughts and sharing mine.”
And the man for Baguio makes it a point to explain his absence, especially when he has an upcoming bout. “I always tell him that I am doing this for him. I fight now, so he does not need to fight in the future, in order to have a better life,” he shares.
While most combat sports athletes would wish that their kids rather not follow in their footsteps, Eustaquio believes otherwise. "If he loves martial arts, I will be the happiest father in the world," he declares. "As I said before, martial arts is not about fighting. It’s not even about striking your opponent. Martial arts should be looked at as a way of life."
If Cage decides to take a different path, Eustaquio assures that his support will still be there for his son. "It does not matter if he chooses basketball or soccer, my support will still be a hundred percent," he guarantees.
Love and loss
Losing the flyweight championship in a rubber match against Moraes this past January was already a bitter pill to swallow, but failing to bring home the gold-plated strap to his son was more difficult for Eustaquio. “There was a little kid waiting for me to come home after the fight with the title. I just told my son that it’s part of the sport,” he discloses.
"I've been through this before. It's time to get back to the drawing board. It hurts to smile, but we are people of the mountains and there is no mountain we cannot conquer," he expresses.
Unfortunately, Eustaquio is back to square one. After redeeming himself with a shutout unanimous decision win over Kim Kyu Sung in May, he yielded to Japanese hard-hitter Yuya Wakamatsu by way of first-round knockout last August.
He returns to action this Friday, November 8, slated to lock horns with Finnish grappling wizard Toni Tauru on the undercard of ONE: Masters Of Fate. Held at the Mall of Asia Arena, the riveting featherweight affair serves as a rematch of the pair’s initial clash nearly three years ago.
Back in December 2016, Eustaquio was submitted by Tauru with a tight rear-naked choke in the first round. The Filipino is confident that the outcome will be different this time.
“I learned my lessons and I will do my best not to repeat the same mistakes. I think staying focused and making sure that I am ready for everything when we’re in the Circle will make it a different story. I am looking forward to our rematch,” Eustaquio articulates.
In a sense, the Pinoy will be hitting two birds with one stone if he comes away with the victory. With his sights set on another run at the world title, he concedes this is a match that he cannot afford to lose.
“I don’t have any plans of wasting this golden opportunity. I really want to end the year with a victory. This will play a huge factor as I start 2020 and continue my goal of reclaiming my world title,” he concludes.
For more information on ONE: Masters of Fate, visit ONEFC.com.