Two-sport ONE World Champion Regian Eersel was born in Suriname and still feels great pride in his South American roots.
With his second ONE Lightweight Muay Thai World Title defense coming up at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, on Friday, June 9, Eersel paraded both his golden straps and his skills around the nation’s capital of Paramaribo.
However, the inspiration didn’t just go one way. The 30-year-old star confesses that seeing the admiration the Surinamese people had for him only gave the dual titleholder more fuel ahead of his main event showdown in the Thai capital.
Eersel told ONEFC.com:
“I went to Suriname for a week. I brought my belts with me. I met the President and also had a nice conversation with him. I went to some gyms to give some clinics and also to work with the fighters and the youth.
“We got a lot of positive reactions, and they showed me love. It was good. So, that motivates me to do better.”
Despite relocating from Suriname to the Netherlands when he was just 4 years old, Eersel heads back to the South American nation quite regularly and still feels right at home whenever he returns.
Because of his own history and successful career, “The Immortal” feels strongly about being a role model to the Surinamese youth. That’s why it is extra crucial he’s on the ground with them, encouraging them to chase their dreams, and hosting Muay Thai and kickboxing seminars at the local gyms.
“It’s very important for me to do this in Suriname. I was born there, and I’ve been there many times. I want to help the young fighters that are over there because we have a lot of talent. But because of the circumstances in the country, they cannot develop by going outside and fighting in foreign countries.
“But for me, it’s very important because they tell me, ‘We only see you on television and now, you are here in real life.’ So, it makes me very happy. It feels good.”
Regian Eersel’s Advice To Aspiring Fighters
Regian Eersel is the best lightweight striker in the game right now, both in Muay Thai and kickboxing, so he understandably has his hands full.
However, “The Immortal” has thought about the future, and he truly wants to make teaching young fighters a priority once his career is over.
“Maybe in eight years or 10 years [I will start teaching]. I would like to share my knowledge when I go to retirement.
“First, I will do it in the country that I’m living in – the Netherlands. But you never know, maybe we can start also in Suriname. The goal is to start a gym or a team, share my knowledge, and hope that I can pass it on to future fighters.”
Eersel’s incredible achievements might seem impossible for a kid just starting out in combat sports, but he implores every young person to find what drives them forward and go all-in.
After all, he was just like them, and with his hard work and commitment, he has powered his way to becoming one of the greatest pound-for-pound strikers on the planet.
There are no secrets. Instead, Eersel says the youth should never give up on their goals. Also, he encourages young fighters to share their ambitions with like-minded individuals.
“The first [piece of advice I’d give them] is to keep believing in their dreams. If you want to reach the top of the world, you have to believe in yourself and surround yourself with people that believe in you also, or who have the same dreams. When you have that, the road to your dream will be a lot easier.”