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Eustaquio downplays controversial officiating leading to loss: "Akhmetov was the better man"

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By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Geje Eustaquio was probably one huge strike away from shocking Kairat Akhmetov when referee Yuji Shimada called for a controversial injury timeout that helped him recover and steal the win in their match at One: Total Victory on Saturday night in Jakarta.

[Related Story: Akhmetov prevails over Eustaquio in controversial match]

However, Eustaquio somehow downplayed the said move by Shimada, which became the talk of the town throughout Sunday, and even said that Akhmetov came in well prepared.

“Kairat Akhmetov was the better man on that night. I give him my respect as a competitor in this sport,” Eustaquio said. “It’s hard to lose my winning momentum. A victory might have catapulted me into a title shot, but I have to accept the outcome of the bout. It’s another lesson. The good thing about this sport is that losses are avenues for competitors to grow. Surely, I will learn from this and be a better martial artist.”

With his bid to challenge Adriano Moraes for the One flyweight title taking a step backward, Eustaquio now looks forward to possibly fighting in One's next venture at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay this November.

“I am willing to be booked on any card, but of course I prefer to be slated for the Manila card in November. Let’s hope that I can be scheduled for that event,” he further said.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno