Filipino standout April Osenio, a Philippine national Wushu champion and a ONE Championship atomweight contender, has added another feather to her cap.
Although it is devoid of martial arts competition, it is a milestone in itself, as she has earned a college diploma.
Along with three other Team Lakay colleagues, Osenio graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Criminal Justice Education at the University of Cordilleras In Baguio City last September 1.
According to Osenio, it was an accomplishment on her part to disprove the stereotype that prizefighters do not put a premium on education.
“Pursuing your passion in martial arts is not a hindrance in securing your future through education,” she stated. “It is also a way of breaking the stigma that fighters have in our society.
“It’s an achievement that I was able to set an example for others to follow.”
Osenio is also aware that being a professional athlete is not a lifetime job, and having a college degree will open avenues for her in the future.
“Education is very important because my career as a fighter will not last for long time,” said Osenio who had her first professional bout under the ONE Championship banner in 2015.
“By the time I reach 38 or 40 years old, I need to retire and have another job to support my family.”
Although Osenio is reviewing for the Criminologist Licensure Examination in June 2018, she shies away a little from her books to put her attention on wearing her four-ounce combat gloves again.
Osenio is set to close out 2017 for Team Lakay as she returns to the ONE Championship cage on Saturday, December 9, at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.
The 23-year-old Baguio City native is moving up to the strawweight division to face promotion newcomer “The Panda” Xiong Jingnan of China on the undercard of ONE: Warriors of the World.
Osenio, who has not competed since her submission loss to Jenny “Lady GoGo” Huang in December 2016, knows of the tough challenge that lies ahead of her.
Xiong is an upcoming female strawweight contender in ONE Championship and is known as one of the top three leading female martial arts talents in China.
With a penchant for scoring highlight-reel finishes and executing powerful slams, Xiong holds an impressive professional record of 9-1.
Despite the gigantic opposition in front of her, Osenio promises to give fans her best effort and turn her three-round match with Xiong into a stand-up war
“It has been a while since fans last saw me in the cage. I would say I have not changed a lot, I have just been working on improving my skills,” Osenio explained. “My style is still the same. I focus on my Wushu and really want to test my opponent’s striking abilities.
“I am excited to show everyone how much better I am this time around.”
When she steps back into the cage at Warriors of the World, Osenio stressed that she is eager to make a strong statement.
“I have been really working on sharpening my skills and fixing a lot of my weaknesses,” the fresh grad said. “This next bout is so important because my opponent is one of China’s best martial artists, and a win will really speak volumes of where I am at as a professional.
“This is one of the toughest training camps I have ever had so far, and I am ready to showcase the results in Bangkok.”