John Gregorio moved to Ireland from the Philippines when he was 8 years old and hasn’t looked back since. Now 20 and a professional Muay Thai fighter, John is proud to call Ireland home and looks forward to see what else the Emerald Isle holds for him.
“…just be true to yourself and do what you want to with your life.”John Gregorio
John moved from the Philippines when his dad got a job in Ireland, dreaming of a better life and a better future for his family. Looking back at the last eleven years of his life, John admits his life would be very different if he were still in the Philippines. He is currently a professional Muay Thai fighter with a record of 3-0, and he works weekdays 9 to 5 before going in to training every evening and weekend. John hopes to become the best fighter in Ireland and compete on a global level. He credits moving to Ireland for inspiring his goals, admitting if he were in the Philippines his future plan likely wouldn’t include fighting.
“I wouldn’t have discovered Muay Thai there, it’s not that popular.”
Despite national identity being something tricky to define for many of those that go abroad, John says with conviction that he is Filipino at heart. However, he calls his mannerisms Irish, and he considers the island home, saying, “I embrace the culture of Ireland because you can’t get away from it.” Leaving the Philippines at such a young age means all of John’s friends are the Irish kids he grew up with, part of the community that welcomed him with open arms when he first arrived. He hasn’t been back to the Philippines since he left in 2008, but he has plans to travel there in the upcoming months for a family gathering. The only thing besides friends and family that his misses is the food, but keeping in touch with those important to him helps him fight the occasional bout of homesickness. The people in Ireland are his favorite part of his second home, and he feels he’s learned invaluable lessons from them that have helped shape him into the man he his today.
“The people are welcoming and they don’t take nonsense from anyone.”
John has had a swift start to his career, training at his gym EireMuaySiam for just under a year and already boasting a K1 and professional record of 3-0. He found himself in the gym for the first time because he and a few friends got jumped on a night out, and he refused to give anyone the chance to one up him ever again. He has been a brilliant addition to the team according to his fellow fighters, and truly embodies the Lethwei spirit that the gym runs by, going for finishes, not decisions. While he doesn’t believe Lethwei, also known as Burmese Bareknuckle Boxing, will make its Irish debut anytime soon, he has given his heart and soul to his craft, with plans to train in Thailand in Muay Thai, and hopes to fight in Burma at least once.
“The feeling of the win is just better than anything.”
John Gregorio is a aggressive fighting machine and an absolutely pleasant individual out of the ring. He is making major moves toward a global presence and his dedication is something to be admired and imitated. Check out John’s fight from the Rumble at the Rockies card in Cork on February 16th, 2019 here.