ONE Lightweight Kickboxing World Champion Regian “The Immortal” Eersel wants to be an inspiration for the next generation in his home country of Suriname – and the striking icon is well on his way to achieving that.
Before he defends his strap against Mustapha “Dynamite” Haida at the previously recorded ONE: FISTS OF FURY III – which went down at the Singapore Indoor Stadium and airs this Friday, 19 March – Eersel recalled the first time he returned home with his World Championship gold.
“When I went back, I noticed that the young kids saw me as a role model. They look up to me because of what I’ve accomplished,” he said.
“Taking the World Title back to Suriname, and when you see the smiling faces, it motivates me more and more. And that’s why I want to defend this belt as much as possible.”
Although Eersel occasionally visits Suriname, he moved to the Netherlands when he was a little boy. However, he never cut his roots.
Having trained with kickboxing legends Remy Bonjasky and Tyrone Spong – also from Suriname – in his adopted homeland, he’s always stayed connected to his beginnings.
Eersel was even welcomed back by one of Suriname’s most prominent figures.
“I was invited to the president’s palace, where I showed him the belt, and I visited some schools to give motivational speeches,” the kickboxing star said.
“I also visited some gyms to train with the local guys and girls, just to motivate them and talk with them. It was a nice experience and I think I will do it again.”
It’s like a real-life “Rocky” story. But if you ask Eersel, he’s not expecting his compatriots to celebrate him with stone.
“I don’t think I will have a statue, but you never know. You can dream big,” he laughed.
“I have to go back [to Suriname] more often to motivate the kids and the young people. The upcoming fighters also. I was very proud when I was there.”
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