Pa­cio's first de­fense bring­ing pres­sure for team

Sun.Star Baguio - - Front Page -

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.

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