Entering the biggest match of his career in his own home, Eduard “Landslide” Folayang weighed in on the differences between competing here in the Philippines and abroad.
There are certainly a few difficulties when he’s battling ‘far from home,’ but there’s a certain kind of push he receives when representing the country overseas.
“When you fight outside of the country, there’s always this opportunity to represent the flag,” said Folayang.
“Of course, you’d give your all cause you’re carrying the Philippine flag on your shoulder.”
The 35-year-old from Baguio became a World Champion for the first time when he pulled off a shock upset by defeating Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki via third-round technical knockout in the main event of ONE: Defending Honor in November 2016.
It was a highly-anticipated showdown that took place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium where countless OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) flocked to the venue to support “Landslide” in his bid for the ONE Lightweight World Title.
Unlike competing at home, Folayang somehow feels more motivated instead of being pressured when stepping inside the Circle on foreign soil.
“There’s more motivation I think [having OFWs watch me live]. Out here, there’s pressure, but there’s motivation as well. However, when you’re overseas and the outcome isn’t that good, it’s more difficult to swallow,” he said.
“They give that extra-boost cause they’re supposed to be there to work, but they find the time to support athletes like us. That’s heartwarming. That’s where we feel motivation.”
Asked where he feels at ‘home’ outside of the Philippines, Folayang had no second thoughts – naming Singapore as his second home.
“Singapore holds a special place in my heart cause that’s where I became a World Champion,” he explained.
“Winning a World Championship outside of the Philippines has huge implications for our countrymen there. I saw that sense of pride among my fellow Filipinos in Singapore when I won the World Title. That makes it extra special.”