Yuya "Little Piranha" Wakamatsu returns to the ring on Friday, 2 August when he faces former ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio in a ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix reserve match at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
In his recent bout at ONE: NEW ERA in Tokyo, Wakamatsu lost to Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson via submission, a guillotine choke in the second round.
“It was in Japan, so a lot was expected of me, and I was a bit scared that I’d lose quickly. That was the scariest thing for me. I wanted to weave a statement,” he explained.
“Right after it, I realized that I can compete at a world-class level, but I know it’s not an easy world.”
Despite the loss, “Little Piranha” landed solid shots during the match and put up a fight against the American legend. The fact that he was able to hold his own against a 12-time World Champion boosted his confidence.
“I noticed that what I’ve been doing has raised me to a high level all around – my condition, mental strength, and skills have given me confidence,” he said.
“I had no idea if I could compete at a world-class level before, but [that bout] gave me the confidence to realize I could.”
Yuya is ready and once again motivated to take on an elite athlete from Team Lakay. Though he’s more experienced now, he remains cautious of Eustaqio’s abilities and doesn’t want to repeat the same mistakes.
“He’s a veteran, so I don’t think he’ll fight very differently from what I’ve seen. He’ll look to time his takedowns off my attacks, and look for counter punches,” he said.
“I’m now used to ONE, so I think if I fight hard for the full three rounds, there’ll be no problem. I’ve fought DJ and stronger opponents than him, so I’m not really bothered about his experience.”
Yuya, though, wants to dictate how the fight will end and doesn’t want to leave the results in the hands of the judges to show everyone how strong he can bounce back.
“The fans can expect to see what I’m known for – knockout finishes. I want to show them not just my hands, but my kicks, takedowns, and other techniques,” he concluded.
“I need a win to stay alive. I’ve absorbed everything from my losses and become stronger. I want to show everyone a strong comeback.”Published 26 Jul 2019, 22:39 IST