Top Malaysian flyweight prospect Gianni Subba will never forget the last time he felt the sting of defeat, and that it was to Filipino fighter Eugene Toquero. Now that he’s scheduled for a three-round bout against another Filipino at ONE: GLOBAL RIVALS in Manila on 15 April, he vows to do whatever it takes to come away with a victory.
Subba (7-1), battles Team Lakay’s striking ace Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio (7-4) in a highly-anticipated flyweight contest that will have serious title implications. The winner could be moving on to face ONE Flyweight World Champion Kairat Akhmetov in the near future.
“I always knew that I would eventually be fighting Geje, so I wasn’t surprised that I got the matchup,” said Subba. “He’s fought some of the best in the division and I’m working my way up. It was inevitable.”
The 26-year-old Eustaquio is fresh off a stunning first-round knockout victory over Malaysia’s Saiful “The Vampire” Merican last January in Kuala Lumpur. Eustaquio was impressive in the short affair, dropping Merican with a left hook to the temple and finishing him off with technical ground kicks.
Prior to that, Eustaquio was also once a title challenger, when he dropped a submission loss to then-champion Adriano Moraes back in 2014.
The title, Subba says, is one thing that’s always been on his mind although he’s in no hurry to achieve this goal. Fighting Eustaquio brings him one step closer, he says.
“Whatever ONE Championship has planned for me, the goal is to win a world title for Malaysia, if I have to wait, it will just be more time to work on my game,” said Subba.
Subba has lost just once in his career, in May of 2014 to Eustaquio’s Filipino countryman, the charismatic Eugene Toquero. Toquero utilized his crafty striking combinations and lightning quickness to stifle Subba into mental submission.
Subba couldn’t figure out a way to time Toquero’s erratic pace, and as a result, lost via unanimous decision. Now, the 23-year-old is eager to prove that the loss taught him many lessons.
“It’s just another fight,” said Subba, recalling his experience against Toquero. “I learned a lot from that loss and have moved on. I’ve grown a lot in the fights after, this fight will showcase that.”
Subba is currently riding a four-fight win streak against tough competition. In his last bout, he battled through adversity against highly-regarded Anatpong “Mak” Bunrad last December. Just a few months before, he also defeated submission specialist Almiro Barros.
Against Eustaquio, however, Subba will face his toughest test to date, and he knows exactly what he needs to do to earn the victory.
“Filipinos are known to be durable and strong,” said Subba. “The strategy is to beat Geje everywhere. I’m not afraid to test my striking and I’m confident in my ground game.”
The Subba-Eustaquio bout is the penultimate bout of ONE: GLOBAL RIVALS, which takes place April 15 at the 20,000-capacity Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. The card will be headlined by ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben “Funky” Askren as he defends his title against Russian opponent Nikolay Aleksakhin. – By Carlos Cinco
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