Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Tiebreaker Times

Mixed Martial Arts

Rene Catalan wanted to be like ‘Onyok’

Rene “The Challenger” Catalan is known as one of the most successful wushu practitioners in the Philippines. 

With World Titles in the Wushu World Championship and gold medals in the Asian and Southeast Asian Games, it seems that Catalan has done it all in the sport.

But little do people know that before he became a wushu sensation, he thought of entering a different sport altogether.

Buoyed by Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco’s silver-medal finish in the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, Catalan wanted to follow the Negrense’s footsteps. But it just was not meant to be.

“At first, I dreamed of making the national team in boxing because of Velasco,” Catalan said, “but I have to admit I wasn’t that good in boxing.”

With the country overcrowded with boxing aspirants, the Ilonggo tried his luck in wushu, and he later found out that he had the skills for it.

“I tried Muay Thai, but at that time, there wasn’t any allowance in Muay Thai for the Philippines around that time,” he said.

“I tried my hand in wushu, where I competed in the Wushu National Games. I won the gold medal and they got me in the national team.”

Catalan’s success in wushu got him in the radar of ONE Championship, where he would later become a staple in the strawweight division.

Just last November 2019, Catalan headlined ONE: Masters of Fate when he faced Joshua “The Passion” Pacio for the ONE Strawweight World Title.

Catalan may have lost against the explosive World Champion, but he only proved how far he has gone in martial arts.

#ReadMore  Rene Catalan welcomes Indonesian Wushu Team to Philippines

“I worked hard every single day and I endured for my family,” he said.

“I was rewarded eventually. Through wushu I was given a chance to fulfill my dream of representing the country in sports, like Velasco.”

Catch all the ONE Championship action for free by downloading the ONE Super App.

Read More From ONE Championship:

All-New Official Online Shop of ONE Championship, ONE.SHOP, Launches Today

How Rene Catalan Made One Of Martial Arts’ Most Incredible Comebacks

Why Robin Catalan’s Brother, Rene, Is His Hero

Written By

Tiebreaker Times Logo

You May Also Like


The Philippine Sports Hall of Fame announced the ten sports heroes selected for induction in this year’s class, Friday. The inductees are Paulino Alcantara...

Mixed Martial Arts

Robin “The Ilonggo” Catalan fell flat in his return to ONE Championship.  The 32-year-old Filipino dropped a first-round submission loss to Ryuto “Dragon Boy”...

Mixed Martial Arts

The year 2021 is officially in full swing.  There is plenty to look forward to in the Philippine mixed martial arts scene – from...

Mixed Martial Arts

Rene “The Challenger” Catalan offered no excuses after suffering one of the worst losses of his career last Friday, December 4, at ONE: Big...

Mixed Martial Arts

It was a terrible night for Catalan Fighting System.  Moments after Jomary Torres suffered defeat to Ritu Phogat, CFS head Rene Catalan was knocked...

Mixed Martial Arts

Jomary Torres suffered another first round defeat as Ritu Phogat of India took a technical knockout win (3:56), Friday to open ONE: Big Bang...

Mixed Martial Arts

Rene “The Challenger” Catalan is on the comeback trail.  Catalan, the no. 3-ranked strawweight contender, will take on undefeated stinger Bokang “Little Giant” Masunyane...

Mixed Martial Arts

Bokang “Little Giant” Masunyane plans to send a message to the entire ONE Championship strawweight division, and he vows to do so at Rene...