ONE Championship: Rene Catalan still won't fight a fellow Filipino, not even for a championship
Santino Honasan on Sep 20, 2018 07:09 PM
Rene Catalan still isn't keen on having to face a fellow Filipino inside the cage, not even for a world championship. (Photo courtesy of ONE Championship)
Veteran martial artist and ONE Championship strawweight contender Rene Catalan is standing his ground with regards to his statement about not wanting to fight a fellow Filipino.
In an interview with ONE Championship back in August, the former Asian Games Gold Medalist in Wushu stated that he'd rather not fight a fellow Filipino, regardless of the stakes.
Back then, Catalan and fellow pinoy strawweight contender Joshua Pacio were thought to be on a collision course, with both having put together respective winning streaks.
"I’d rather not face a fellow Filipino.” said Catalan. “Since 2003, I’ve been representing for the Philippines, and until now, I try to avoid having to compete against one of my countrymen.”
Both Catalan and Pacio were coming off impressive wins in Manila, but it was Pacio who was rewared the opportunity for the championship. The Team Lakay strawweight standout will challenge reigning ONE Championship Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka Naito at ONE: Conquest of Heroes in Jakarta, Indonesia.
When asked about the possiblity of having to face Pacio with a world title on the line, Catalan's answer didn't change.
"Ibibigay ko na siguro kay Joshua 'yun," the 39-year old said. "Kung manalo siya, maraming foreigner na mag-hahabol sa kanya at sa belt. Andiyan si Hayato Suzuki, si Alex Silva, marami."
Catalan is also in Jakarta, cornering prized pupil Jomary Torres as she takes on Indonesia's own Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol.
"Naniniwala ako na may time din ako." he added.
Catalan even hinted at playing gatekeeper for Pacio, should the Baguio-based fighter pull off a victory on Saturday night.
"Pwedeng ako yung kalabanin nung mga ibang challenger, pero hindi talaga natin kakalabanin yung kababayan natin."
"Yung kapwa natin Pilipino, tutulungan dapat natin." he added.
Catalan was slated to meet Japanese submission specialist Hayato Suzuki at ONE's return to Bangkok in October, but had to pull out due to an ankle injury.
Taking Catalan's place against Suzuki will be his younger brother Robin.
Before anything else of course, Pacio will have to take care of business against Naito.
Saturday's main event will be a rematch of their 2016 title bout which saw Naito defeat Pacio in the third round via submission.
Catch ONE Championship: Conquest of Heroes on Saturday, September 22nd at 10:30 PM LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23!