The Crucial Role Rene Catalan Has Played In Jomary Torres' Life

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Over the past two years, Jomary “The Zamboanginian Fighter” Torres has emerged as a promising talent in ONE Championship’s women’s atomweight division.

The Filipina kicked off her promotional campaign with three sensational victories against the likes of Thai star Rika “Tiny Doll” Ishige, Indonesian prospect Nita Dea, and Team Lakay’s April Osenio.

Now, she is gearing up for a three-round mixed martial arts encounter with Malaysian phenom Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan at ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, 12 July.

Torres has clearly found a sport where she excels on the highest level. However, discovering it was not something she originally sought.

Filipina warrior Jomary Torres takes on Malaysian sensation Jihin Radzuan on 12 July!

Filipina warrior Jomary Torres takes on Malaysian sensation Jihin Radzuan on 12 July!????: Kuala Lumpur | 12 July | 7PM | ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY????: Get your tickets at ???? Check local listings for global TV broadcast????: Watch on the ONE Super App ???? ????‍????: Prelims LIVE on Facebook | Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE on Twitter

Posted by ONE Championship on Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The 23-year-old left her grandmother and the confines of Zamboanga del Norte for better opportunities in Manila.

While working as a nanny, she met Ruel Catalan, who introduced her to the world of martial arts.

Torres would spend her time waiting for her employer’s kid to finish school by watching people train at the Catalan Fighting System MMA and Fitness Gym, which was near the educational institution where the child was studying.  

Eventually, she contacted the gym’s Facebook page, and unknowingly communicated with head coach and ONE Strawweight World Title contender Rene “The Challenger” Catalan.

“I kept interacting with the Catalan Fighting System fan page, and I didn’t know that Coach Rene manages it,” she recalls.

“He offered me a job as a receptionist for the gym, taking inquiries and managing members. At first, I was hesitant because I was still working at the time.”

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Torres went to the facility with a friend and met Rene to gain a better understanding of the potential gig.

“I thought it was a good offer, so I asked my employers if I could take the opportunity,” she says. “They were gracious enough to let me go, so I just took my things, and I was at the gym the next day.”

With very little knowledge about martial arts, Rene took the Filipina under his wing when she expressed her interest in learning the various disciplines.

She quickly showed promise, and soon found herself in competition.

“At first, Coach Rene let me train a bit with his class, and when he saw that I had potential to compete, he let me fight in amateur kickboxing,” she shares.

“I didn’t expect to win at first, but it was the start of a series of matches in Muay Thai and kickboxing in the amateur scene.”

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Although Ruel left the gym for a while, Torres developed new relationships with Rene and Robin “The Ilonggo” Catalan during her martial arts journey.

It took some time to solidify and nurture those relationships because the Filipina felt slightly intimidated.

“They looked grouchy at first. The first time that I came to the gym, I didn’t know that Coach Robin and Coach Rene were brothers — the others just told me about it,” she explains.

“I rarely got to talk to them because they didn’t look approachable, so I was afraid to talk to them.

“As time went by, I got to know them a little better and I got to train with them, and I realized that they’re far from my first impression of them.”

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Ultimately, through years of training, she formed a close bond with the two of them.

Rene comes across like a father figure because of his strict demeanor and his penchant for watching over his students. As for Robin, Torres views him more as a brother who she trains with just like everyone else in the gym.

Also, the culture in the gym has a familial atmosphere, so everyone works together in achieving their goals and helping each other in times of crisis.

“We don’t have problems. If one of us does, then everyone else helps in resolving it. We’re like a huge family here – we provide for those who have none, help those who are in need, and things like that,” she says.

“I’ve been here for over three years already, so we’ve gotten to know each other a lot better. Some of us may not get along so well at times, but that’s just like with any other family.”

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To this day, Rene continues to be a pillar of inspiration in her life.

Not only does he continue to cultivate her martial arts skills, but he drops gems of wisdom to Torres and helps strengthen her faith.

“He always tells us to always do good because nothing good will come out of doing bad things,” she offers.

“He also speaks about God highly, and he always allots time for us to worship every Sunday. He always tells us to give thanks and praise God before we do anything else in our day.

“We’re thankful he steered us that way because we wake up every day feeling inspired.”

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With Rene in her corner, “The Zamboanginian Fighter” will fearlessly make her return to action on 12 July.

Torres will enter the women’s atomweight showdown motivated to defeat the hometown favorite, and she will bring a heightened skill set to the ring and a strong faith reinforced by her coach.

“I follow Coach Rene’s advice to always pray at night for me to succeed in my career,” she says.

“I always pray for a win, and even though there is no certainty that God will give me the win, I always do my part in training and preparing for every fight.”

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