Even after three devastating losses, local mixed martial arts legend Eric Kelly is not ready to hang up his gloves.
Last Saturday at the Cotai Arena in Macau, Kelly, 35, needed a spectacular performance in his lightweight debut against former ONE World Champion Kotetsu Boku. And for the first five minutes of action, it seemed that he was on pace to do so.
However, as the bout went longer, the advantage Kelly had slowly faded.
“I really feel disappointed with what happened,” recalled Kelly, who was stopped by Ev Ting and Narantungalag Jadambaa in his last two fights prior to this.
“I was really prepared for my bout against Boku, but there are things that is beyond our control.”
With Kelly starting to fade, the Japanese veteran poured in the pressure, eventually stopping the Filipino warrior with hammerfists with 3:27 left in the bout.
It was another tough loss for the proud son of Baguio City. And it was another lesson as he enters his twilight.
“It’s not a defeat. I think of it as a lesson.
“It will serve as an inspiration to push myself to the limit. I will triple my time in training,” said Kelly, who made his pro debut back in 2009.
But even if there are calls for him to retire and save himself from further harm, Kelly remains defiant, saying that he still has a lot left in his tank.
“Right now I need some little time for myself and think about what happened, but it won’t be long because I want to get back inside the cage and redeem myself. Winning and fighting again will motivate me,” the 12-4 Kelly declared.
“I won’t throw in the towel that easy. This will not stop me. I have to go back to the drawing board and address the problem. I am only 35 years old. There are still a lot left in me.”