THE raucous din that reverberated around Jakarta’s Istora Senayan at ONE: FOR HONOR last Friday, 3 May did little to muffle the hollers coming from a single voice by ringside, as Mohammed 'Jordan Boy' Mahmoud went head-to-head against Andrew 'Maddog Fairtex' Miller.
“Elbow, elbow, Mat [Mohammed’s nickname],” the woman yelled, as she attempted to rouse her son into his groove against Miller in their three-round ONE Super Series Muay Thai bantamweight clash.
Suffice to say, Rohaya Ishak, mother of Malaysia’s “Jordan Boy,” is her son’s most vocal supporter – if not his biggest.
“Mum’s super loud, especially when she’s at ringside. She’ll find her port, get into her position, and then watch her take a long deep breath. That’s her preparing to launch,” the 23-year-old ONE Championship athlete described.
“If I don’t do what I’m supposed to do, you’ll hear her yelling, ‘Pukul la, apasal tak pukul! [Just hit, why don’t you hit].’”
Although she doesn’t see the battle from a true athlete’s perspective, Mohammed knows she only wants to see him succeed in his quest to become a World Champion.
“She gets really angsty and vocal. If I lose, she’s not the type to placate me or stroke my hair and say, ‘It’s okay.’ She’ll be on her second wind of her, ‘Why didn’t you do this, why didn’t you do that.’ She’s like a post-fight commentator sometimes,” the athlete said with a bemused grin on his face.
Despite their differences, when they are away from the ring, Mohammed enjoys a pretty straightforward relationship with his beloved mother.
Their mum-son time normally occurs when they go out, and he plays bodyguard.
“She loves going out, so I’ll just escort her everywhere,” he said.
“We don’t hang out together much when we’re at home. Normally after a tiring session of training, I tend to relax in my room, while mum would be out in the living room watching TV.
“But I’d know she’s around because she’ll be yelling for me to tidy up or take the garbage out – or something. There’s always something.”
Although he gets irritated whenever his mother nags, there are still various traits which he admires about her.
“Her motherliness. She’s very caring, very patient, and very supportive. Even when she’s yelling, especially when I’m in the ring, I guess it can be kind of motivating,” he confessed.
"Without my mum, life would be very hard. Despite her being busy throughout the day, she still gives me motivational talks, and always reminds me to train harder."
And, on Mother’s Day today, there is no better time for “Jordan Boy” to pay appreciation to arguably his biggest vocal supporter.