PROFESSIONAL fighter Hisyam Samsudin had it all going for him in Jakarta recently.
It was to be a major turning point in his mixed martial arts (MMA) career and his parents were to watch him fight.
What happened the night before the fight on Sept 16 tore his heart apart.
His father, Samsudin Masaleko, died. He was 66.
Hisyam said his world crumbled — but a true fighter, his mother, Nurbaity Jasimin, stepped up to the plate and told him to fight on.
“She told me to finish what I came for because that was what my father would have wanted me to do,” he said.
Nurbaity, 63, handled all that was needed to take her husband home to Tawau, Sabah, where he was buried the next day.
Hisyam, driven by his mother’s message, went on to win the
ONE Championship “Total Victory” bout against Indonesian Jeremy Meciaz.
Held at the Jakarta Convention Centre, the featherweight fighter was declared winner by a
technical knockout in the first round.
It was the second professional MMA win for the 27 year old from the Borneo Tribal Squad, who trained under Ayung Jumat or A.J. Pyro.
“Everything was fine when my parents came to see me train on Thursday, and the next day, my father was gone,” said Hisyam, the fifth of six children.
“Both of them did not approve of me fighting in the past, but somehow, they ended up being my strong followers because of my persistence.
“That trip was the first outside of Malaysia for them, but in other fights, they followed and supported me.”
Hisyam grew up in Tawau, Sabah, where his father worked as an accountant with a government-linked company before starting his own business.
He studied at SK Holy Trinity and SM Holy Trinity, and went on to pursue a diploma to become a medical laboratory assistant.
His passion in martial arts grew after finishing his secondary studies and he started training under Ayung, first in muay thai, then other disciplines.
“I joined him since 2008, tried my hand at professional muay thai fights in 2012 and MMA since 2014. It has been a struggle all these years, but the support of my parents has helped me focus mentally.”
Last year, Hisyam became the first Malaysian to win a title in the World Boxing Federation Asia Pacific in his prolific career.
Ayung, who had Hisyam in his stable all these years, said everything seemed unreal during the trip.
“I would have understood if he chose not to fight, but he did.
“ Can you imagine how he must have felt in that situation? It was not easy for me because all of us were sad, too. But, his mother told him to fight on and he did. He executed the game plan perfectly.”
Fighting before a partisan crowd and with the death of his father at the back of his mind, Hisyam came on strong and weathered the storm.
“Hisyam has my utmost respect as a brother, a champion and a true warrior in life.”