AN NBA veteran known for his intensity will try to help, in whatever way he can, Ana Julaton when she makes her mixed martial arts debut.
Ronny Turiaf of the Minnesota Timberwolves is going to be at the corner of the former world boxing champion who is set to become a two-sport athlete on Friday when she squares off against Aya Saber in ONE FC: Rise of Heroes at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The 31-year-old Frenchman, whose team failed to advance in the ongoing NBA playoffs, took time off to support her close friend Julaton, whom he has known for more than six years already.
“To be able to come here for her to accomplish her dream and be part of it is really amazing,” Turiaf said in a short chat with Spin.ph after the weigh-in Thursday night, which Julaton easily passed.
Unkonwn to many, Turiaf is also an MMA enthusiast, baring he trained with Julaton in boxing last summer.
And the 6-foot-10 center can attest to the Filipina pride’s passion in fight sports.
“She’s very dedicated to her craft and she’s fighting not only for the Philippines, but for all of women,” Turiaf said. “She definitely wants to have a legacy. And that’s what she’s been doing the last couple of years. She’s been waiting for this, so this is her moment.”
Turiaf is so eager to focus on helping Julaton that he politely declined to answer questions outside her, like the NBA.