There is a new fire in the eyes of the Adrian “Papau Badboy” Matheis (3-4).
Inside the Tigershark Fighting Academy in Jakarta, Indonesia, the 24-year-old is training hard for his upcoming tilt against Cambodia’s Phat Soda, who will make his professional debut at ONE: TOTAL VICTORY, live from the Jakarta Convention Center on Saturday, 16 September.
Matheis is determined to put a string of recent losses behind him.
“I want the crowd to see the real Adrian come back again after three losses,” Matheis states. “I will be very entertaining. I want to show the audience who the Papua Badboy is!”
The strong words are at odds with the soft-spoken athlete, who is usually polite and formal. In fact, he is so respectful to his elders, he follows Indonesian protocol by bowing and pressing the back of their hands to his forehead.
Maybe Matheis, the ONE Indonesia Strawweight Tournament Champion, is emboldened by the fact he will be performing in front of a hometown crowd, where his opponent will be making his professional debut.
“Now that I have competed against Dejdamrong, I know how it feels to be in the cage with a champion,” Matheis says. “It makes me believe in my capabilities.”
That was a tough bout for the young Indonesian. The 38-year-old Thai made quick work of Matheis, stopping him with a straight left during the final seconds of the first round.
Still, Matheis’ coach and mentor, former ONE Championship welterweight competitor Zuli “The Shark” Silawanto, who founded Tigershark, is proud his protégé took the punishment that Amnuaysirichoke was handing out that night.
“I saw him in this bout. He could control himself,” explains Silawanto, which was something they were working on during that training camp. “When he went into the cage, he was very nervous. But he could keep calm.”
This time, the young Papuan wants to shake things up. For now, he wants to shelve his ground game and stick to boxing. That is a risky gamble, considering jiu-jitsu is where his advantage may lie in this bout.
After all, Phat Soda got his start in Khmer boxing, and is a three-time National Kun Khmer Champion. The 28-year-old native of Phnom Penh, however, is not familiar with the bright lights of the cage, and may experience a range of emotions when he steps into enemy territory in the Jakarta Convention Center.
Because of that, Matheis senses a chance to stretch his legs.
“I want to see how much better my stand-up game is coming along,” he says. “I want a change. Ground battles are exhausting, you need more energy.”
Perhaps there is another reason for this newfound optimism. Most of the Indonesian’s training has been concentrated on confidence-building and focus.
For instance, this past August, he and his teammates enrolled in a local five-on-five jiu-jitsu tournament and won. Then, there was an amateur boxing match with a challenger from Sulawesi, which he also won. Back in February, he entered a Muay Thai Tournament in East Timor, where he went up against challengers from France and Thailand. He won those bouts, too.
Silawanto plans on turning up the sparring a notch by stepping into the ring himself – despite the 25kg advantage over the young Papuan – along with other teammates. In addition to that, some unorthodox approaches will be mixed into their regular routine. One of those unorthodox approaches is archery.
There are occasions when Matheis and company practice archery, Silawanto says, motioning to the equipment leaning against the wall of the gym. “It makes you calm and focuses your mind,” he continues, miming the action of aiming and drawing back a bow. “You have to focus on the target.”
However, after a three-bout skid this year alone, to top competition including Amnuaysirichoke and Rene Catalan, Matheis recognizes that the pressure is on to snap the losing streak at home, as ONE returns to Jakarta after another blockbuster show in January.
“I pray and work as hard as I can,” he says. “I do my best to prepare. But after that, it is up to God.”