‘I Trust Them With My Life’ – Regian Eersel Talks Unbreakable Bond With His Longtime Coaches

Regian Eersel Dmitry Menshikov ONE Fight Night 11 37

Although they’re not bound by blood, Regian “The Immortal” Eersel has family in Paul and Vincent Pengel.

The Sityodtong Amsterdam coaches have played a crucial part in Eersel’s journey from boy to man, and they’re still by his side as he prepares for his latest ONE Lightweight Kickboxing World Title defense at ONE Fight Night 21 on Prime Video on Friday, April 5.

By the time “The Immortal” steps into the ring to face Alexis “Barboza” Nicolas at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, he will have been under the tutelage of the Pengel brothers for more than half of his life.

Eersel stepped through their gym doors at 15 years old with nothing but enthusiasm, and now at 31, he is a two-sport ONE World Champion who has looked unstoppable in the world’s largest martial arts organization.

Sharing his thoughts on the two men who have shaped his career more than anyone else, the Surinamese star said:

“They are like my second family. They’re like fathers to me. I have three fathers now. We have a good connection. We talk about almost everything and they have their heart in a good place. I trust them with my life. That’s the kind of relationship we have.”

Trust is crucial in a sport that requires you to put your body on the line in every outing, and for Eersel, that’s something that took a long time to build.

However, it has led to a bond between them that cannot be broken, and the trio know each other so well that they integrate seamlessly both in the gym and in the ring.

“The Immortal” credits this for much of his success, and he couldn’t ever think of doing it with anybody else in his corner.

He explained:

“I think for me it [took] long to build that trust, I think maybe eight or nine years. But I’m the type of guy who doesn’t trust people very quickly. It takes a lot of time, energy, and effort from both sides until I can say, ‘OK, I’m really trusting you now.’

“It’s very important to know you can trust them so in a fight you don’t have hesitation. Because if you don’t have that trust yet, then you’re not 100 percent. And one mistake is enough. So you trust them and just do [what they say].”

Regian Eersel’s Relationship With His Coaches Extends Beyond Combat

Regian Eersel was just an energetic kid who needed a positive outlet when he found Sityodtong Amsterdam, but now he’s an accomplished World Champion, as well as a father, husband, and role model to many.

Although that transition has been a gradual one, Paul and Vincent Pengel have been present for their young charge every step of the way, helping to mold him both as an athlete and as a man.

Eersel offered:

“As well as fighting, they also guide me in private situations. Sometimes when I have a problem, I just ask my trainers how I can solve it or how they can help me.”

For “The Immortal,” some of the best advice his coaches have given him is about the fleeting nature of life as a fighter and how he should be prepared for his time after competition.

This shows they care for more than just Eersel’s prowess in the ring. They want the best for Eersel and his young family for the long term – not just while he is their star athlete at the Amsterdam gym.

Sharing the brothers’ most important counsel, the 31-year-old kickboxing king said:

“They give me advice like, ‘Hey, listen, kickboxing is not everything, it’s gonna stop one day, and then you have to get money on your own.’

“And they always say to me, ‘Listen, you have to have a job besides kickboxing because you don’t know when it will end. You have only one body and a lot of things can happen so you must have a Plan B, Plan C, and Plan D.’”

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