Former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang is still in the United States honing his skills, and in doing so, he’s been able to reconnect with old friends.
At Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Gym in Los Angeles, California, Folayang trained with high school classmate Marvin Somodio – Roach’s top deputy and the guy running things around the legendary boxing gym.
Somodio and Folayang were classmates at Baguio City National High School Rizal Annex, and the former has a theory on why “Landslide’s” kicks pack real power.
“We were both athletes. I was a boxer, he played sepak takraw, which is why he kicks so hard. I think we were in our third year in high school in around 1998, 1999, because we graduated as part of batch 2000,” he said.
Since then, Somodio and Folayang have walked different paths, but both led to success in their respective fields.
Folayang went on to win gold medals for the Philippines in wushu before sparking the country’s MMA revolution when he began headlining local promotions. Soon after, he went on to become a two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion.
Somodio’s career isn’t too shabby either. While his career as a boxer never really took off, Roach took note of him as a trainer when he and Manny Pacquiao visited Somodio’s Shape Up Boxing Gym and noticed his skills.
Since then, he’s been part of Team Pacquiao and handling trainer duties at Wild Card.
“He and I just went our separate paths. It came as a surprise to me that he was practicing wushu. When we were in college, he was already doing wushu, then he became a Southeast Asian Games champion,” he said.
“At the time, I already gave up boxing and was working as a coach. It made me really happy to see someone become so successful in their field, especially if it was a good friend.”
Having reconnected after more than two decades, Somodio still sees the competitive fire burning inside Folayang, and he’s rooting for his old pal to continue reaching for his goals.
“I believe he can [still compete at a high level]. When we were spending time on the mitts, the fire was still there. I think because of his age, I’m of the opinion that he just needs to train correctly for his fights,” he said.
“He can’t overtrain anymore. He has a lot left to learn, which is why I applaud [Folayang] for visiting different gyms and knowing more about the different styles here in the U.S. Learning never stops. If I’m basing it on his abilities, I think he can definitely keep doing it.”