Pacio's first defense bringing pressure for team
TO BECOME a ONE World Champion is an achievement few athletes accomplish during their professional careers but earning that coveted title and keeping that title are two entirely different things.
Joshua Pacio, wrote his name in the history books last September when he defeated Yoshitaka Naito to capture the ONE Strawweight World Championship. Pacio will now attempt to do what neither Natio or Alex Silva could do, and that is to mount a successful defense of the title he has only recently claimed.
The Team Lakay fighter is set to have his first defense on January 19 at ONE: Eternal Glory in Jakarta Indonesia against the highly-rated Japanese athlete Yosuke Saruta.
Saruta is a relative newcomer to the ONE roster but made an instant impact when he defeated Silva via unanimous decision in December at ONE: Destiny of Champions.
The 31-year-old former Shooto World Champion is not only a skilled grappler, he also packs lethal right hand, capable of sending his opponents to sleep before they are even aware they have been hit.
None of this is news to Pacio, and the 22year-old is aware of the fact that there will be no room for errors.
“I’m coming into this fight, as usual, in the best shape of my life,” Pacio said recently to onefc.com. “The way I fight, my style is very fast-paced with constant movement. To be able to maintain my pace, I have to be in great physical condition. We have worked extensively on my conditioning, and I’m prepared for a five-round war.”
“Of course, we still have a solid game plan in place, and that’s going to be a huge key to victory. I have the best team behind me and the best coach.
“As long as we put our heads together, and I follow my coach’s instructions, I’m confident I can retain the title and bring home another golden strap to Baguio City.”
A championship bout is stressful enough, but for Pacio, who trains out of Team Lakay as there will be the added pressure of being the first of Team Lakay’s four ONE world champions to stage a successful title defense in 2019.