Adrian Matheis used unorthodox training methods to overhaul his career

Adrian Matheis used unorthodox training methods to overhaul his career

Adrian “Papau Badboy” Matheis is a man on fire. 

The 24-year-old has been holed up at the Tigershark Fighting Academy in Jakarta, Indonesia. He has been on a singular track, focusing solely on his upcoming scrap with Cambodian debutant Phat Soda, which is scheduled for Saturday, 16 September, at ONE: TOTAL VICTORY

The tilt broadcasts live from his stomping grounds in the Jakarta Convention Center.

A victory effectively gets Matheis back on a winning track following a string of losses that have marred the athlete’s year.

“I want the crowd to see the real Adrian come back again after three losses,” Matheis explains. “I will be very entertaining. I want to show the audience who the Papua Badboy is!”

September’s bout is a homecoming of sorts. Matheis is the ONE Indonesia Strawweight Tournament Champion, and looks to put on a show for the hometown crowd at Soda’s expense. The feeling of loss that he is hoping to inflict on Soda, however, is one he knows all too well.

Matheis’ has had a rough year, as he is riding a three-bout skid. All of those losses, however, have come against top competition, including his most recent contest against former ONE Strawweight World Champion and Muay Thai legend Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke at ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES in May.

Never one to focus on the negatives, the “Papau Badboy” instead found new confidence in his skills.

“Now that I have competed against Dejdamrong, I know how it feels to be in the cage with a World Champion,” he states. “It makes me believe in my capabilities.”

A straight left hand late in the opening stanza sealed the deal for Amnuaysirichoke. However, Matheis’ coach and mentor, Zuli “The Shark” SIlawanto, could not be any more proud of how his protégé conducted himself.

“I saw him in this bout. He could control himself,” explains Silawanto, himself a former ONE Championship athlete. “When he went into the cage, he was very nervous, but he could keep calm.”

Coming into ONE: TOTAL VICTORY, Matheis aims to showcase his improved boxing. And there is perhaps no better time to show off those new skills than against a newcomer.

“I want to see how much better my stand-up game is coming along,” he explains. “I want a change. Ground battles are exhausting, you need more energy.”

This renewed sense of assuredness can also be attributed to new training techniques. The Indonesian and his team have made confidence building and focus a cornerstone of Matheis 2.0.

This year, along with his teammates, “Papau Badboy” entered a five-on-five Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournament. The Tigershark members emerged victorious. There were also amateur boxing and Muay Thai bouts that Matheis won by defeating foes from Thailand and France.

In fact, Silawanto has been lacing up the gloves himself, as he went from teacher to sparring partner. The coach enjoys a 20kg advantage over his star pupil, but hard work and a little adversity never hurt any martial artist.

Most intriguingly, Silawanto also has the team taking archery lessons.

“It makes you calm and focuses your mind,” he says, while he mimics the actions of aiming and shooting the bow. “You have to focus on the target.”

Focus is the order of the day if Matheis is to snap his current three-bout skid, and get back to winning ways.

“I pray and work as hard as I can,” he states. “I do my best to prepare. But after that, it is up to God.”

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