April Osenio, 23, a Philippine national Wushu champion and a ONE Championship atomweight contender, has added another feather to her cap. Although it is devoid of martial arts competition, it is a milestone in itself as she has earned a college diploma.
Along with three other Team Lakay colleagues, Osenio graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Criminal Justice Education at the University of Cordilleras in Baguio City on Sept. 1. For her, it was an accomplishment on her part to disprove the stereotype that prizefighters do not put a premium on education.
“Pursuing your passion in martial arts is not a hindrance in securing your future through education,” Osenio stated. “It is also a way of breaking the stigma that fighters have in our society. It’s an achievement that I was able to set an example for others to follow.”
Osenio is also aware that being a professional athlete is not a lifetime job and having a college degree will open avenues for her in the future. She had her first professional bout under the ONE Championship banner in 2015.
“Education is very important because my career as a fighter will not last for long time,” Osenio said. “By the time I reach 38 or 40 years old, I need to retire and have another job to support my family.”
As Osenio reviews for the Criminologist Licensure Examination in June 2018, she slightly shies away from her books to put her attention on wearing her four-ounce combat gloves again. She is set to close out 2017 for Team Lakay as she returns to the ONE Championship cage on Dec. 9, Saturday, at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Baguio City native is moving up to the strawweight division to face promotion newcomer “The Panda” Xiong Jingnan of China on the undercard of “ONE: Warriors of the World.”
Osenio not competed since her submission loss to Jenny “Lady GoGo” Huang in December 2016. The Filipino fighter knows of the tough challenge that lies ahead of her.
On the other hand, Xiong is an upcoming female strawweight contender in ONE Championship and is known as one of the top three leading female martial arts talents in China. With a penchant for scoring highlight-reel finishes and executing powerful slams, she holds an impressive professional record of 9-1.
Despite the gigantic opposition that it is in front of Osenio, she promises to give fans her best effort and turn her three-round match with Xiong into a stand-up war. The Team Lakay fighter explained, “It has been a while since fans last saw me in the cage. I would say I have not changed a lot, I have just been working on improving my skills.
“My style is still the same,” Osenio added. “I focus on my Wushu and really want to test my opponent’s striking abilities. I am excited to show everyone how much better I am this time around.”
Osenio is eager to make a strong statement when she steps back into the cage at “ONE: Warriors of the World.” She said, “I have been really working on sharpening my skills and fixing a lot of my weaknesses.”
“This next bout is so important because my opponent is one of China’s best martial artists, and a win will really speak volumes of where I am at as a professional,” Osenio concluded. “This is one of the toughest training camps I have ever had so far, and I am ready to showcase the results in Bangkok.”