It will take some time for Jomary “The Zamboanganian Fighter” Torres (3-0) to get used to the spotlight.
While the Filipina never asked for it, she has become a celebrated figure following back-to-back wins on the global stage of ONE Championship.
Three months after she submitted Thai heroine Rika “Tinydoll” Ishige in her promotional debut at ONE: KINGS & CONQUERORS in August 2017, the soft-spoken competitor out-grappled Indonesia’s Nita Dea en route to a unanimous decision victory at ONE: HERO’S DREAM.
Still, even though she was dominant in her most recent encounter, she still says the nerves got the best of her.
“I really planned on stopping her in the first round, but my body would not co-operate. I got a lot of locks in, but I just could not finish her off. My muscles were shaking during the match,” the 21-year-old Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines native explains.
“I think it was more because I was nervous, but there was probably some fatigue there, also.”
Thus far, it has been an incredible journey for Torres. While working as a nanny in Manila back in 2015, she met Ruel Catalan, who eventually introduced her to his older brother, two-time wushu world champion Rene “The Challenger” Catalan.
Rene promptly invited her to train at the family gym, Catalan Fighting Systems. Torres was fascinated by martial arts, and immediately quit her job to begin training. In merely three years, the Filipina has emerged as a promising talent, and has compiled an undefeated professional record of 3-0.
She credits all of her success to the man who equipped her with the necessary tools to flourish, that being her personal hero, Rene Catalan.
“Although he may be a bit strict sometimes, I know that it is for my own good,” she says. “He is the one who introduced me to this world of martial arts, and I really admire how he manages to do what he does.”
Catalan will be coaching Torres in her next battle on Friday, 26 January. The Zamboanganian’s nerves will be tested once again, as she meets fellow Filipina April Osenio in a three-round atomweight clash at ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES. The event takes place at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila.
If there is anyone who knows about the pressure of following up back-to-back victories, it would be Osenio. In 2016, Team Lakay athlete rebounded from a 2015 loss with back-to-back victories over Natalie Gonzales Hills and Malaysian star Ann Osman.
However, she could not capitalize on her momentum, as she stumbled with consecutive losses after that, to former atomweight world title contender Jenny Huang, and most recently to ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title challenger “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan.
Even with the recent setbacks, Osenio is a two-time Philippines’ national wushu champion who has competed against world-class talent at the top of both the women’s atomweight and strawweight divisions.
Torres acknowledges the talent her adversary possesses. She is training diligently in every aspect of the game and, from the sounds of it, she may her a few new tricks up her sleeve.
“I am still not certain how I will go about with the match. She will have to wait and be surprised with what I am going to do in the cage,” says Torres.
As the Filipina keeps her eyes on the prize, she will need to acclimate herself with the spotlight, as she will definitely gain more attention with every new conquest on her way to the top.