By Jun Ray Navarres
Filipina-American Jackie Buntan was overwhelmed by the support that she received from Filipino fans ahead of her return to ONE Circle.
The ONE Super Series rising star will be taking on veteran Ekaterina “Barbie” Vandaryeva in ONE on TNT IV and Buntan is proud to represent both the United States of America and the Philippines, where her family was originally from.
“Being a Filipina-American born and raised in the U.S., and having never even visited the country yet, it’s insane to have this much coverage coming from the Philippines. My whole family is originally from the Philippines. I’m very proud of my heritage. I’m thankful for all the support. It shows me that people believe in me and that athlete that I am,” said Buntan.
“Both my mom and my dad are really proud to hear that their family and friends from back home know about me and have watched my fight.”
The 23-year-old fighter kicked off her professional career with a one-sided win against Wondergirl Fairtex earlier this year.
Moving forward into her endeavor, Buntan expressed her gratitude to her Filipino fans. Despite being the underdog in her upcoming fight, Buntan believes that the constant stream of support keeps her pushing forward.
“I’d like to thank all my fans and supporters in the Philippines for believing in me,” said Buntan who hopes to score another spectacular performance.
“Knowing I have an entire nation behind me only motivates me to push myself hard to achieve my goals and dreams. This is just the beginning, and the journey ahead is long. I am grateful for the support everyone has shown, and I’m glad I can bring you all along for the ride.”
However, it’s the support from her parents that drives Buntan more and she was glad that they she could make them be proud of her.
Buntan shared that her parents were the happiest when she came home to California after her debut and they are nothing but proud of her achievement as a young professional fighter.
“When I got home from Singapore, my parents expressed how proud and excited they were for me. I think they were more excited than I was at the time. They said I looked like a completely different fighter and athlete in that fight,” said Buntan.
“My family said it was something special for them to witness my professional debut on such a grand stage like ONE Championship. Lots of doubt came on my end when I was younger and having a debut like that really solidified the fact that I can take this chapter in my life seriously.”
Follow the writer on Twitter: @burnsports