It has been a tough 13 months for Team Lakay’s youngest female star, April Osenio.
After dropping two consecutive matches, a submission loss to Jenny Huang and a technical knockout by newly-inaugurated ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan, things have not been easy.
Yet, the 22-year-old wushu stylist believes she has learned from those setbacks, and is now ready for a statement-making victory.
“Expect to see a more composed April Osenio. I will not be rushing in so recklessly. It is all part of the maturity process,” says Osenio, a native of Baguio City, Philippines, who trains alongside former ONE World Champions Eduard “Landslide” Folayang and Honorio “The Rock” Banario.
“I am so fortunate to be a member of Team Lakay. My coaches and seniors, especially Coach Mark, have really helped me a lot in my martial arts career. Now that I have finished my studies, I can dedicate more time to training, and really focus on getting better.”
On Friday, 26 January, at ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES, Osenio will take to the cage once again at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila. This time, she will meet fellow compatriot Jomary “The Zamboanginian Fighter” Torres, in what should be an exciting atomweight clash between a pair of young and talented female warriors.
Osenio believes the work she has put into her skills will soon reap results.
“I am a young martial artist, and still have a long way to go before I reach the top,” she explains. “There are so many things to improve on, but I am working very hard on polishing my striking game, improving my footwork and tightening up my wushu.
“We just have to trust the process and have faith that soon my hard work will pay off.”
The Filipina is merely a month removed from her last outing.
In December, she took on Chinese superstar “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan in a rousing strawweight affair. Xiong lit up Osenio on the feet, and overwhelmed her with a barrage of strikes against the cage, forcing the referee to stop the contest at the 3:44 mark of the first round.
“I made the mistake of trying to trade with her when I got caught along the fence,” Osenio admits.
“At the time, I just fired back because it was instinctive. I should have competed more intelligently, but we win or we learn. That is the bottom line, and I learned a big lesson that day.”
If Osenio has indeed picked up the lessons from another devastating defeat, then there is no better opportunity to showcase her newfound knowledge, than when she steps back inside the ONE cage. Against Torres, the Team Lakay product will be moving back down to her natural weight class to clash with a martial artist who experienced a completely different 2017.
Torres, who trains out of Catalan Fighting Systems, has enjoyed an unbeaten run as a professional. She has impressed fans with a stunning submission of Thai star Rika “Tinydoll” Ishige back in August, and followed up with a dominant unanimous decision victory over Indonesia’s Nita Dea later that November.
The 21-year-old has undoubtedly surprised many with her toughness and unwavering will to win, and Osenio knows she has a lively challenger standing before her at ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES.
“Jomary Torres is a tremendous competitor, and I have lots of respect for her,” she says.
“To be able to do the things that she did, beating both Rika Ishige and Nita Dea, is no easy task. I think Jomary is the real deal. She is tough, talented, and strong-willed. It will no doubt be a great test for me to face her.”
The two talented strikers will go head-to-head in what should be a fan-friendly contest. Both Osenio and Torres are looking to break into the upper echelon of the atomweight division, which is being ruled by ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee.
Though she is just at the start of a new campaign, she is nonetheless grateful for the chance to display her skills on the global stage, and hopes to one day challenge for the world title.
“My ONE Championship career is a blessing to me,” Osenio states.
“To be able to compete on the biggest stage of competition in Asia is a privilege, and I will do everything I can so that this opportunity does not go to waste. I will put everything I have into my career and see how far I can go.”