Kadestam cred­its in­ter­na­tional ex­po­sure to four-year stint in PH

Sun.Star Baguio - - PRIME SPORTS -

ONE Cham­pi­onship wel­ter­weight con­tender Ze­baz­tian Kadestam might have been born and raised in Stock­holm, Swe­den, but he found his sec­ond home 5,792 miles away from his birth­place.

With a professional record of nine wins and three losses, Kadestam be­lieves that the well-es­tab­lished mixed mar­tial arts scene in the Philip­pines played a piv­otal role in his ca­reer and to where he is presently.

Kadestam is one of the few for­eign na­tion­als who opted to make a run for the money and com­pete pro­fes­sion­ally in the coun­try, join­ing the in­dus­try’s house­hold names such as Pete Brooks, Hideo Morikawa, Ni­cholas Mann, and fel­low ONE Cham­pi­onship com­peti­tor Igor Sub­ora.

The 26-year-old Swedish striker raised his stock as a cage com­bat­ant in the Philip­pines, train­ing out of Le­gacy Gym in Bo­ra­cay, Ak­lan un­der the tute­lage of dec­o­rated kick­boxer Ole Laursen since 2012.

Kadestam had four ex­cit­ing bouts in the Philip­pines, in­clud­ing an 11-sec­ond stop­page of Fin­nish ri­val Glenn Sparv in April 2016 to cap­ture the wel­ter­weight cham­pi­onship of a re­gional pro­mo­tion.

Kadestam’s im­pres­sive run in the lo­cal mixed mar­tial arts cir­cuit served as his foot­stool to be no­ticed by ONE Cham­pi­onship, which is widely re­garded as the premier or­ga­ni­za­tion of the sport in Asia.

When asked if the Philip­pines had a big con­tri­bu­tion to his suc­cess, Kadestam sim­ply replied, “Def­i­nitely, I would not have come to this coun­try if I were not cer­tain of hav­ing a ca­reer here.”

“The Philip­pines is my home away from home. It’s a beau­ti­ful coun­try. My stay in the Philip­pines for four years spark­plugged my professional ca­reer in the sport. I am grate­ful for ev­ery­thing that this coun­try has given me,” he added.

A late with­drawal opened up an op­por­tu­nity for Kadestam to jump to the up­per ech­e­lon of ONE Cham­pi­onship’s wel­ter­weight di­vi­sion.

Af­ter Vuy­isile Colossa was forced to with­draw from his bout, Kadestam agreed to re­place him on two weeks no­tice and test his met­tle with for­mer ONE Wel­ter­weight World Ti­tle chal­lenger Luis San­tos on the un­der­card of ONE: Dy­nasty of He­roes in May.

Kadestam made head­lines when he de­feated San­tos as the lit­tle-known Swede had been com­pletely dom­i­nated in the open­ing two rounds of the con­test be­fore pulling off a mirac­u­lous knock­out in the fi­nal stanza.

“The Ban­dit” turned the tide mid­way of the third round by sprawl­ing a slug­gish takedown at­tempt from the Brazil­ian, then re­versed po­si­tion, and ham­mered his op­po­nent with strikes from side con­trol.

A pair of hard knees put the fin­ish­ing touches as the ref­eree stepped in to call a halt to the match at 2:18 of the third and fi­nal frame.

Kadestam’s as­tound­ing vic­tory over San­tos swiftly earned him a world ti­tle op­por­tu­nity as he is set to lock horns with the toughest op­po­nent of his professional ca­reer in Ben Askren.

Both men are set to face each other in the main event of ONE: Shang­hai, which hap­pens at the 15,000-ca­pac­ity Shang­hai Ori­en­tal Sports Cen­ter in Shang­hai, China on Septem­ber 2.

With a few days to go be­fore the big­gest bout in his prize­fight­ing stint, Kadestam vows to shock the world once more as he shares the ONE Cham­pi­onship cage with Askren, who is uni­ver­sally rec­og­nized as one of the best wel­ter­weights in the world to­day with an im­mac­u­late record of 160.

“I am no pushover. I am not some­one’s foot­stool. On Septem­ber 2nd, I will once again shock the world. Ben Askren is only a man, and he is beat­able. The belt will soon be mine,” he de­clared Askren is highly re­garded for his out­stand­ing wrestling back­ground that earned him two NCAA Di­vi­sion I na­tional cham­pi­onship tro­phies and the priv­i­lege to rep­re­sent the United States at the 2008 Bei­jing Olympics.

Known by the moniker “Funky,” Askren made an im­pact in his first two as­sign­ments in ONE Cham­pi­onship, sub­mit­ting Bakhti­yar Ab­basov with an arm­tri­an­gle choke in his May 2014 pro­mo­tional de­but be­fore thwart­ing Nobu­tatsu Suzuki in the first round to claim the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s cov­eted wel­ter­weight crown three months later.

Askren is com­ing off a spec­tac­u­lar firstround sub­mis­sion tri­umph over Malaysia’s Agi­lan Thani this past May, keep­ing his un­beaten stand­ing in­tact and the wel­ter­weight world cham­pi­onship belt around his waist.

De­spite the up­hill task of de­feat­ing Askren, there is not an ounce of doubt in Kadestam’s mind.

“I wish I could sit there with some pop­corn and watch this fight my­self,” he stressed.

“It is go­ing to be a war!” PR

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