Another convincing win in ONE Championship would not only bring “Dynamite” Eko Roni Saputra a step closer to World Title contention — it would also be a sweet gift for his significant other.
The Indonesian flyweight sensation will face Liu Peng Shuai in a three-round mixed martial arts bout at ONE: BATTLEGROUND II, which airs this Friday, 13 August, just three days before his wife, Nurdila Agusta, celebrates her birthday.
Saputra, who is riding a four-bout winning streak, has made his intentions clear: showcase his improved striking repertoire and secure another victory for himself, his country, and his family.
Before the multiple-time Indonesian Wrestling Champion squares off against his Chinese rival, find out how he met his wife, took a turbulent journey to success, and eventually received a miracle in his son.
High School Sweethearts
Saputra has known Dila — Nurdila’s nickname — since junior high. They didn’t attend the same school, but the Samarinda-born superstar had the opportunity to meet her thanks to their shared interest in sports.
The 30-year-old fighter was a well-known sprinter back then, while Dila often represented her school in track and field. This meant they would often see each other at events or training camps ahead of competitions in East Kalimantan.
“Dynamite” confesses that Dila was initially elusive and often ignored him. But as time went by, he gained the confidence to try and catch her attention.
“I was 13 years old at that time. We were middle schoolers, and I only knew her name at first,” Saputra says.
“It wasn’t until two years later that I got to know her better. I often saw her going home by public minivan [traditionally known as an angkot], so I saw an opportunity to ask her to go home on my motorbike.
“We were just kids back then, and I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. I felt she was out of my league, and I wasn’t a good-looking guy either. So, what I had was only confidence and courage.”
Thanks to his never-give-up attitude – the same one he’s exhibited throughout his sporting career – Saputra eventually won Dila’s heart. She was his first love, and she remains his only love to this day.
“It’s over 15 years that we’ve been together. There were times when we decided to break up, but we always ended up together again,” the Evolve representative says.
“Getting her attention was full of struggles. I had many competitors, and honestly, I wasn’t her type. But I didn’t want to pretend to be someone I was not.
“One thing that stood out was my achievement in sports. I think she saw me as a hard worker.”
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Starting From Nothing – Together
Saputra came from a poor family, with a father who faced bankruptcy and had very little in the way of material wealth.
That meant unlike many of his friends who could give luxurious presents to their love interests, the young Indonesian had very little to offer. But this didn’t bother Dila.
“The reason why I felt she was so special was because she wasn’t demanding. Back when we were young, I remembered that we had to share a plate because we couldn’t afford to buy any meals,” Saputra says.
“As an amateur athlete, I heavily relied on competitions as my ultimate source of income. If there weren’t any competitions, then I would have no money.”
Saputra even remembers the time he needed to sell his motorcycle because he could no longer afford it.
“I had to borrow some money to survive, and it’s not a secret that living as an athlete in Indonesia [at that time] was not the most ideal option,” he says. “I once became a parking attendant to earn a penny.”
“Luckily, her parents were so kind and supportive to me. They welcomed me with an open hand whenever I needed anything.”
With his strong will and perseverance, Saputra ultimately found success in wrestling. He represented Indonesia in various international competitions, including the 2018 Asian Games.
That wrestling success – paired with an extraordinary work ethic – has paved the way for “Dynamite” to win four consecutive matches in the world’s largest martial arts organization.
But his achievements outside of sports could be considered just as significant.
Becoming A Father
Saputra and Dila tied the knot in 2014, but they had to wait four years before welcoming their son, as Dila was diagnosed with endometriosis, which affected her chances of getting pregnant.
That diagnosis led to a challenging time for the newlyweds.
Prior to joining ONE, “Dynamite” wasn’t earning much from wrestling competitions, while medical treatment was very expensive.
“We always wanted to have a child, so we did everything in our power, even if it meant we had to spend all the money we had,” Saputra recalls. “We went from one doctor to another.”
And after years of waiting, the couple finally announced that Dila was pregnant.
“Logically, it’s nearly impossible for us to have a biological child, so it was a miracle to finally see our son, Adam Alliyev Cleon Syahputra,” the flyweight phenom says.
“He was a fighter even before he was born.”
Next, the creator of “The Eko Lock” is aiming for another set of massive achievements – maintaining his winning streak on the global stage, making his nation proud ahead of its independence day, and continuing to be the best husband and father he can be.