Eduard Folayang tries to defy age when he steps up in the Circle tonight (Friday) at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
And the Team Lakay veteran is not looking very far where he draws inspiration for fighting at 35 years old.
Speaking to ONE Sports’ Sports Page aired Thursday, Folayang cited Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao as the man who had influenced the spirit of a fighter in him no matter the adversities are.
“Si Manny, in that age, he can still compete with the best,” said the two-time ONE Championship lightweight champion. “Even those athletes na nasa prima pa nila, he can still outbox them.”
Pacquiao, who was 40 years old then, proved this by defeating American pug Keith Thurman in their WBA super welterweight bout July last year.
The Filipino pound-for-pound king handed Thurman, who is 10 years younger older than Pacquiao, his first career loss via split decision to become the oldest welterweight champion in boxing history.
‘Yun ‘yung maganda talaga, makikita natin ‘yung experience and discipline. Actually ‘yun ‘yung nakikita natin kay Manny, ‘yung dedication and discipline niya,” said Folayang, who recently shrugged off calls for retirement due to his age.
“Alam mo rin na iniiba niya ‘yung parang traditional mind ng karamihan na kapag tumatanda na, e humihina na sa laban. Pero for Manny himself, he defies that thinking.”
Folayang, who holds a 22-9 record, also recalled the time when Pacquiao graced a ONE Championship event last April 2017 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Pacquiao witnessed how Folayang defended his lightweight belt against Ev Ting in a thrilling five-round match in ONE: Kings of Dynasty in front of the Filipino crowd.
“Very blessed ako na, ‘Uy, si Manny ‘yung nag-hand sa akin ng belt,’” recalled Folayang. “Looking at Manny siya ‘yung nandon, it’s an honor talaga na ‘yung isang legend ng sports ng boxing, he is there supporting ‘yung ginagawa natin. Although in a different field pero martial arts pa rin.”
The Igorot warrior will be put on the ultimate test when he takes on 29-year-old Australian fighter Antonio Caruso (7-1).