Adrian “Papua Badboy” Matheis wants to make his fellow compatriots proud.
The rising strawweight prospect will have the opportunity to be the hometown hero, when he battles Wushu world champion Rene “The Challenger” Catalan, in the opening bout of ONE: QUEST FOR POWER, live on Saturday Night, 14 January, from the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia.
“I hope the crowd will give me the spirit to fight, because I am not fighting just for myself anymore. Now, I am fighting for my country, for my people,” the 23-year-old says. “This will be a war, and I hope I can win this fight with a knockout.”
Matheis, a Yusikaindo fighter who sports a promising 3-1 record, is on a hot streak. He most recently captured the ONE Indonesian Strawweight Tournament Championship last August at ONE: TITLES & TITANS with a quick pair of highlight-reel knockouts.
The Jakarta native is most proud of those two fights because they represent the accomplishment of a dream and promise he made to his mentor the day they met.
“Four years ago, in my very first encounter with my coach Zuli ‘The Shark’ Silawanto, I said to him that I wanted to be a fighter like him,” the young Indonesian recalls. “I told him I wanted to fight in ONE Championship someday.”
With that dream accomplished, Matheis has remained committed to sharpening his tools and honing his talent under Silawanto, and alongside the rest of the martial artists at Tigershark Fighting Academy.
The loyalty and genuine nature of his coaches has kept Papua Badboy on the fast track to stardom. He understands how much those before him have given to help see his dreams become a reality.
“My coaches, Master Syarif and Master Zuli, have dedicated their lives to the gym and to MMA,” Matheis says. “They teach us with their heart. They are not looking for money. They just want to see the students succeed as fighters, in whatever martial arts event they compete in.
“[They] are like fathers to me. Master Syarif and Master Zuli are not only coaches in our gym, but they also do lectures in the university where I study.”
Speaking of family, that has always been crucially important to Matheis. Born to a family of farmers, the Jakarta native had a happy childhood, living in simplicity and spending much of his time outdoors. He also got into occasional fights, and got into a bit of trouble every now and then.
Though Matheis admits to being a wild child, he followed the sport of MMA and in 2012, he set out on his quest to become the best martial artist he can be. But that does not necessarily mean he was using his newfound skills to be a more talented fighter in the streets. As a matter of fact, martial arts kept him disciplined, and it gave him the direction he was lacking in life.
“For me, martial arts is not just about how to learn to punch and kick someone. I feel martial arts is more about how to control yourself, and manage your emotions and mind. It teaches us to be brave in all situations, as well as disciplined and open-minded. All of this I got after I started martial arts training for the first time,” he explains.
“Martial arts has given much to me. [It has made me] healthier, more powerful, calmer, and closer to my God. Martial arts brought me closer to the church and to my religion, and with martial arts, I can give something to my mother and make her proud of me.”
The “Papua Badboy” fully intends to make his mother and the rest of his compatriots proud on 14 January, when he aims to knockout Catalan in spectacular fashion. There will be no stopping the young man until he reaches his ultimate goal of becoming an undisputed world champion.
“This would be a dream come true for me,” Matheis says. “Winning a world championship has been my dream for more than four years now.”