Interview with Jackie Buntan above
Jackie Buntan could be the next big star for ONE Championship in the Philippines.
Heading into her promotional debut as a relative unknown to the Asian audience, the 23-year-old Buntan blew the doors off by completely outclassing Thai prospect Wondergirl Fairtex last February in Singapore at ONE: Fist of Fury.
The ONE Super Series strawweight caught the attention of the combat sports world especially the country of the Philippines. The support has been tremendous from all angles.
“I feel like I have that whole nation rocking with me,” Buntan told MyMMANews. “It’s pretty incredible really given the fact that I have never even been to the Philippines. All my sisters were born there but I was the only one born and raised here in America.
“That definitely just wants me to work harder and to achieve my goals for them, for my friends, family, and for myself. I did like several interviews maybe like just two interviews with the Philippines media before [Wondergirl] fight. And then after the fight, those two interviews just spiraled into ten different articles and videos. I don’t even know who these people were but they were showing nothing but love and support so it was awesome.”
The media attention could be overwhelming for a fighter just embarking on her journey with a new promotion across the globe yet there is a uniqueness to the frenzy.
“I think it’s different just because it’s all online,” the Boxing Works representative stated. “I feel like it would be different if it was a physical interaction. I had them all in my face. Taking it in virtually and stuff it is kinda surreal to know that these people know who I am. These people all the way from the Philippines know who I am. I’m just some girl from L.A. Like it’s insane.
“The thing with Filipinos is like they are so, so, so prideful. They will rock with you. If you are Filipino and you are doing it, making it happen, they will rock with you. So I can’t complain about that.”
Buntan will take all that love and adulation into her next bout against #5-ranked Belarusian kickboxer Ekaterina Vandaryeva at ONE on TNT 4 on April 28. It is a step up in competition and she is looking to put on a show.
“I’ve never actually finished any of my opponents,” the South Bay native said. “So I feel like it’ll be cool to finish her with hands just to actually do it this time versus my last fight.
“But any knockout with knees, elbows, kicks are always beautiful to watch. As gruesome as they are, they’re still beautiful technique-wise. So I’m down for either if I can make it happen.”
South Korea-based combat sports reporter that covers many of the major organizations around the world.