Going from a blue-chip talent in Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series to becoming a standout on the Evolve Fight Team’s global tryouts, Ryuto “Dragon Boy” Sawada has no quit in him.
Sawada, who cuts a diminutive figure, has great ambitions and an even bigger desire to achieve them. It has brought him to the shores of Singapore where he continues to pursue his dreams of making it to the top of the martial arts world.
The latest episode of ONE Warrior Series featured the Japanese takedown specialist trying his hand at navigating “The Lion City.”
Naturally, Sawada accepted the challenge.
His ultimate objective?
To get to Newton Food Center and join the OWS crew of Franklin and co-host Jonathan Fong for dinner.
Franklin and Fong further set him up with a series of side quests, which included taking selfies at some of the island’s most prominent tourist spots.
For the 23-year-old Tokyo native, who is barely four months into his stay in Singapore, this seemed like a tall task.
Sawada had been taking English lessons since arriving to better understand his teammates, and it appeared that his efforts would pay off in more ways than he expected.
However, beneath the veneer of his demeanor and poise that earned him such high praise from Evolve’s coaches, Sawada still had to overcome his nerves to approach bystanders for directions.
Fortunately, he had good friend and fellow teammate Amir Khan as a chaperone for the challenge, and moments of banter between the two revealed a cheerful and affable side of Sawada.
Traveling every morning by MRT to the gym at Evolve where he trains twice a day, Sawada experienced little trouble using the train and managed to get to Orchard.
Prohibited from using a mobile phone, however – a stipulation by Franklin – made the next part of his challenge tricky.
The convenience of Singapore, with its well-networked public transport system, is a boon for commuters using the MRT.
However, the bus system can spell confusion for foreigners like Sawada, who have yet to familiarize themselves with the arcane maze of roads and intersecting bus routes.
Without the use of handy map apps and navigation tools, Sawada once again sought help from friendly onlookers and successfully boarded a bus that took him within walking distance of Newton Food Center.
Once there, it looked to be the supposed homestretch for a starving Sawada, who yearned for a hearty dinner. Instead, he met another challenge.
A test of his knowledge on local delights, Sawada needed to order four delicacies for his party.
When the stingray, chicken satay, chicken wings, and Hokkien mee finally arrived, the wait was well worth it – not only for Sawada, but for the two hungry hosts of OWS, who had their patience rewarded with a delicious meal.
Not many things can bring greater satisfaction than having OWS head honcho Rich Franklin admit that you’ve “aced” the challenge he threw at you.
Sawada’s next test will take him to the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand, where he competes against Aziz Calim at ONE: DREAMS OF GOLD.
For Sawada, Singapore may be the first challenge he has to conquer, but it certainly will not be the last.
Want to catch the latest action from ONE Championship? Watch ONE: DREAMS OF GOLD on Friday, 16 August on Toggle at 9:30pm SGT.
At 10:00pm SGT, Channel 5 will cut into the live broadcast, just in time for the co-main event and main event.
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