South Africa’s Bokang “Little Giant” Masunyane feels his arrival on the world stage marks the beginning of his steady ascent to the top of the strawweight division. The 26-year-old from Johannesburg wants to use his next opponent as a springboard to bigger and better things, and is looking to put together an impressive showing.
Masunyane will face former ONE World Title challenger and #3-ranked strawweight contender Rene “The Challenger” Catalan of the Philippines in a three-round mixed martial arts contest at ONE: BIG BANG, which broadcasts live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore this Friday, 4 December.
“Little Giant” is all business just days ahead of his next appearance in the Circle, and is ultra confident he can get the job done against Catalan.
“I’ve always said, ‘Give me the best and toughest guys,’ and Catalan is top three in the division. He has the experience and he is a veteran. I know that beating him will be a big achievement for me and put me closer to the World Title,” said Masunyane.
“As much as I respect everyone in my division, I think I am the toughest fight for anyone. I showed my will to win in my debut. Whoever fights against me is going to have it tough. Unfortunately for Rene Catalan, he is the guy that is in my path, so I just need to eliminate him to get to the title shot.”
Catalan is considered one of the pioneers of the Philippine martial arts scene. At 41 years old, Catalan has definitely been through a lot.
He is Head Coach and Founder of Catalan Fighting Systems, where he trains and develops the next wave of Filipino martial arts talent. He is also a multiple-time SEA Games Medalist in both Wushu and Sambo.
The undefeated Masunyane understands where Catalan is most dangerous, but isn’t the least bit worried about the Filipino’s wide range of talents. “Little Giant” admittedly is focused only on his skills, and what he brings to the table.
“Yes, he has some good skills, but to be honest, I am never worried about any of my opponents. I have watched some of the videos to see what he is good at, but I do not feel threatened by anyone in the division — not just Rene Catalan,” said Masunyane.
“I feel like I am something special, and I am going through the whole division to become the World Champion. I respect him, but he has never fought somebody like me, and I am going to dominate him from the get-go until the end of the fight!”
ONE: BIG BANG is the first of ONE Championship’s live event offerings in the month of December. The main event features a showdown between ONE Light Heavyweight Kickboxing World Champion Roman Kryklia of the Ukraine and challenger Murat “The Butcher” Aygun of the Netherlands.
Masunyane is looking to put together a spectacular performance, one that will announce his readiness to enter the strawweight title mix.
“I’m hoping Catalan brings his A-game because he’s got a lot to work on in order to beat me. There’s no way I see myself losing this fight,” said Masunyane.
“I’m not going to give up. I am not going to lose, because I am meant to be a World Champion. The new African king has arrived. Everyone better be ready for me!”
Watch ONE: BIG BANG this Friday, 4 December on One Sports+ at 8:30 p.m. Philippine Standard Time (PHT). One Sports will air the event on a same-day delay at 9 p.m. PHT. Additionally, TV5 will air the event on a next-day delay at 11 p.m. PHT.