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Inspired by his father, Geje Eustaquio aims for ONE world title success

ONE Interim Flyweight Champion explains how his father inspires him to success

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Baguio City’s Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio has been an integral part of Team Lakay for years, and now the Igorot warrior carries the hopes and dreams of his team as he looks to unify the ONE Flyweight World Title at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER.

Eustaquio holds the interim version of the title, having defeated former world champion Kairat “The Kazakh” Akhmetov back in January. Now he’s looking to upgrade that belt to the full world title when he faces returning world champion Adriano Moraes in the co-main event in Macau on 23 June.

It’s been a long journey to the top for “Gravity”, who attributes his success to the influence of his father.

“My dad and I were very close,” the explained.

“He has always been my greatest teacher and mentor. He was the man of the house and an amazing provider for our family.

“Although he left the family to work overseas, I always understood his reasons.”

Leaving the Philippines to find employment is a common occurrence, and Eustaquio’s father moved to South Korea, sacrificing quality time with his family in order to better provide for their future.

Young Eustaquio found his father’s departure tough to deal with. He was just nine years old at the time, and he looked up to his father as a hero. But he recognised the sacrifice his father was making for his family.

It meant Eustaquio had to grow up quickly.

“Life was very tough, because I had to stand up for myself and my siblings,” he explained.

“I had to basically take care of the responsibilities my dad left behind. He was away for 10 years. I really missed him.

“Luckily, I had martial arts to lean on. The money that I earned competing on the Philippine National Wushu Team, as well as from small, local promotions, really helped.”

By immersing himself in martial arts, Eustaquio gained the valuable life skills of discipline, perseverance and respect, and those characteristics have helped shape him as a person and driven him to success in his chosen field.

“In the end, the experience made me a better person. I choose to look at it as a positive thing in my life,” he said.

“Us Igorots were born to conquer huge mountains, so no matter how hard things got, my warrior spirit did not allow me to give up. I kept pushing forward.”

Happily, Eustaquio was reunited with his father, who now lives back at home, and it’s given “Gravity” added inspiration and impetus as he chases his dream of becoming the ONE Flyweight World Champion. His father attends all of his bouts and is there at cageside, cheering on his son as he aims for glory inside the ONE Championship cage.

The Team Lakay star has seen the sacrifices his father has made, but has resolved to keep his family close, regardless of where his career takes him.

“Leaving my son is not an option for me, and it will never happen,” he stated.

“If I had to travel overseas for work for a long time, then I would have to make sure that he is with me.

“Fathers are incredibly important in the lives of their sons. There is no stronger bond. I am grateful for my dad, who was there to guide me when I was little, and made sure I did not go down the wrong path.

“He taught me the greatness of humility, and that failure is the foundation of success. This I will forever live by.”

Those foundations have helped Eustaquio build his way towards the top of the ONE flyweight division. Now the interim world champion, “Gravity” faces Moraes in the biggest bout of his career as he makes his second attempt to become the ONE Flyweight World Champion.

The bout is a rematch of the inaugural ONE Flyweight Title bout contested between the pair. Back then Moraes’ grappling skills held sway as he defeated the wushu star via submission.

Now, almost four years on, Eustaquio believes he is ready to assume the mantle of world champion.

And his father will be right there, supporting his son all the way.

Interview by ONE Championship. Story by Simon Head.

Freelance sports writer and MMA reporter with 19 years’ experience in the UK's national media covering major sporting events including the FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Championships, Olympic Games, UFC world title fights, The Grand National and The FA Cup Final.

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