Teenager Jihin “Shadow cat” Radzuan will get the opportunity to showcase her skills on home soil when she steps into the ONE Championship cage at ONE: PURSUIT OF POWER on Friday, 13 July in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The 19-year-old made a successful ONE debut when she defeated Puja Tomar via second-round triangle choke at ONE: VISIONS OF VICTORY back in March.
And now “Shadow Cat” is ready to face the toughest test of her career against in-form Indonesian Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol at the Axiata Arena.
Radzuan was a sporty kid during her school days, and discovered martial arts through the South Korean reality TV show “Roommate,” where she saw mixed martial arts star Song Ka Yeon, and was intrigued to learn more.
“When I saw her doing that as a sport, it made me want to try it,” she explains.
“When it was my 16th birthday, I asked my sister to pay for my training fees. She said okay, and I started to train.”
Three months after starting her training at Ultimate MMA Academy, she stepped through the ropes for her first Muay Thai bout, and promptly lost. It taught her that she needed to learn to walk before she could run, and she returned to training to work on her skills.
“I learned that you cannot just rush,” she says.
“You have to train until you are ready, and only then can you go for it.”
Radzuan then tried her hand at Brazilian jiu-jitsu, where she found herself up against boys and girls in her youth competitions, and used her time on the mats as a valuable learning experience.
During her early career her mother – a single parent who raised her as the youngest of six children – was far from keen on seeing her youngest daughter thrust into the world of martial arts competition.
But Radzuan was determined to continue, and determined to succeed. Her desire to compete soon won over her mother and her siblings, who now lend their full support whenever she competes.
“Because the [age] gap is quite big, my sister and I did not really play together or have hobbies together. We were just separate and did our own thing. She was busy with work or studies,” Radzuan explains.
“I had nobody by my side, and no dad to support me or guidance to help me, but that is no reason why you cannot still do what you want to do. You will find a way if you have the heart, not excuses.
“Martial arts brought us closer. Whenever I would compete or have a tournament, they tried to make time to come and support me. My matches brought us all together. We were not really close like this before.”
Now Radzuan is part of Asia’s largest martial arts organisation and ready to make her second appearance against Lumban Gaol in Kuala Lumpur.
After winning the FIOGA Wushu World Title, the MIMMA Women’s Flyweight Title and gold and silver medals in SEA Open Muay Thai competition, the teenage prodigy is aiming for success in ONE Championship.
And victory over Lumban Gaol on Friday will go a long way to establishing her credentials as a possible contender of the future as she gets set for her latest test on the big stage.
“She is similar to my first opponent, as they both have a wushu background,” she says.
“I was a bit rusty in my first bout, but I will be better this time.”