BANGKOK — April Osenio may have been inactive in the ring for over a year, but that doesn’t mean she stopped training.
While finishing her criminology degree at the University of the Cordilleras, the 23-year-old still maintained her training regimen with her Team Lakay stablemates.
“I never stopped. It was studies-training-studies-training for me except for the three months I had for OJT,” she shared in Filipino.
With her seniors at Team Lakay as inspiration, Osenio momentarily stepped away from the cage to earn her diploma, looking beyond her mixed martial arts career.
“My seniors in Team Lakay was my motivation. Everyone of them had degrees so I thought I also need that. It’s like a parachute, that if ever I end my fighting career, I could do something else,” she admitted.
But for now, Osenio (2-2) is looking to make a triumphant return when she faces Chinese Xiong Jingnan (9-1) at ONE: Warriors of the World on Saturday here.
Seeing how the famed Team Lakay suffered a string of losses in the past few months, the Igorot atomweight is determined to pick up the slack and hoist the Philippine flag high and proud to end the year on a positive note.
“It was a motivation for me, on what happened to coach Eduard (Folayang), Gina (Iniong), and the like. The year is coming to a close so I think I need to work hard too,” she said.
Though it has been over a year since she tapped out to Jenny Huang, Osenio is convinced that she’s more than prepared for this new challenge, shrugging off talks about rust.
“There’s always pressure, but I know I can do this. I really prepared for this because this is my career and I should take good care of it,” she said.
And if there’s something Osenio learned from getting her degree that she’ll take to the cage, it’s this: “Self-defense,” she said.
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