Filipina-American striker Jackie Buntan will rely on her fight IQ when she battles Wondergirl Fairtex at ONE: Fists of Fury this Friday, February 26, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Buntan represents the famed Boxing Works Gym, which has produced ONE Women’s Atomweight Kickboxing World Champion Janet “J.T” Todd. And she believes her experience working with the titleholder and her coach, Bryan Popejoy, will get her the win when she makes her much-awaited debut in Singapore.
“I’m not trying to sound cocky, [but by] training with Bryan for so long, I’ve developed a higher fight IQ than where I was a year ago,” Buntan said.
“Even during quarantine, I took that time to be as consistent as possible and sharpen the tools I already have, and sharpen the fight IQ. So I think, it’s my brain really [that is my advantage]. Being able to make smart decisions there.”
It certainly helps to have the two by her side, considering the success that the Todd–Popejoy partnership has enjoyed in The Home Of Martial Arts.
Todd has been on a roll, winning her last four bouts in the promotion, including a tough split-decision over former two-sport queen Stamp Fairtex to win the ONE Women’s Atomweight Kickboxing World Title.
Though Buntan admits there are still plenty of areas for her to work on, particularly in the ‘clinch’, she thinks it will pay off having great minds in her corner.
“[Todd] is really strong in the clinch. We always finish training with clinching. It’s usually me and Janet and the rest of the people training with us. The clinch is about flow and feel and feeling your energy and your partner’s energy,” Buntan said. “So it’s really kind of a get-in-there-and-do-your-thing with Janet. She’ll put me in a vulnerable position and land some good elbows.
“Instead of getting annoyed, I’m just like, ‘How did she do that? How did I end up in this position?’ I learn a lot from what she does.”
Not only is she learning from Todd, but she’s also inspired by the World Champion. Buntan believes that if her teammate can succeed on the biggest stage for strikers, then she can too.
“When she won that belt it was right before the lockdown, and at the time, I was supposed to make my debut. [Seeing her win] got me so pumped up to represent myself, my gym, my coaches – so that really lit a fire in me,” she said.
“Just seeing my friend – someone I’ve known for so long – achieve this, [it made me believe] I can achieve this as well.”
Also, TV5 will air the show on a next-day delay at 11 p.m. PHT on Saturday, 27 February.
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