Ever since Robin “The Ilonggo” Catalan went to Manila to gamble on his dreams of becoming a successful martial artist, it has been his older brother, Rene “The Challenger” Catalan, supporting him.
The transition from living a simple life in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo to a fast-paced life in Manila was not easy, but the younger of the Catalans was lucky to have Rene with him.
With his brother by his side, “The Ilonggo” would go on to win World Titles in Muay Thai before becoming a staple in the ONE Championship strawweight division.
“We’ve been together for 12 years here in Manila. It was in 2007 where I travelled to Manila, and he’s been with me since,” Robin said.
“He’s more than just a father to us. If there’s no Rene Catalan, we would not be here.”
But Rene is not just a father figure to his brothers — he’s the father of the entire Catalan Fighting System stable.
Ever since the group’s inception in 2012, the older of the Catalans has taken care of his athletes’ housing, food, and allowances. And though it is a challenge at times, Rene makes it a point to provide.
“In any home, there has to be a foundation and that is kuya Rene for us. Not just for me as his brother, but also for all our athletes,” Robin said.
“He guided us and taught us discipline so we can all achieve our goals and dreams of making it big in the world of martial arts.”
For Robin, the only way he can truly repay his brother’s sacrifices is by committing himself to their cause.
If he becomes the best athlete he can be with his brother’s guidance, then that is the best way of honoring his father-figure.
“I want to repay him by bringing honor to this camp. There’s no better way to repay someone than to show him that you’ve reached your goals and dreams because of him,” Robin said.
“Every win, every victory, is for him. That’s how I repay him.”
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