After stellar achievements in 2018, which included winning a world title, ONE Championship Strawweight World Champion Joshua Pacio promises an even better year in 2019.
Pacio was invincible in 2018. He scored two quick submission victories – including the ONE Championship Submission Of The Year – and then notched the biggest win of his career by defeating Yoshitaka Naito to capture the undisputed ONE Strawweight World Title.
Pacio says he is committed to continuing his success and exceeding what he has done so far to make his country proud and maintain Team Lakay’s success.
“For me, 2018 has been absolutely amazing, especially for our team, but it’s only the beginning. I’m still young, hungry and determined, despite having the belt around my waist,” said Pacio.
Pacio defends his belt against surging Japanese contender Yosuke Saruta at ONE: Eternal Glory to be held January 19 at Istora Senayan, Jakarta Indonesia.
“My main goal, of course, is to defend my title to the best of my ability. Right now, I’m set to defend my title against another tough Japanese opponent in Yosuke Saruta.
“Getting through that will be the first step. I’m still evolving and developing as an athlete. I don’t think the world has seen the best of Joshua Pacio yet,” said Pacio.
Apart from capturing his belt last September, Pacio is also extremely proud of claiming Submission Of The Year honors for his handiwork against Thailand’s Pongsiri “The Smiling Assassin” Mitsatit.
Pacio submitted the Thai star in a hammerlock which he dubbed the “Passion Lock.”
Despite Pacio’s success in 2018, he wasn’t without challenges, but “The Passion’s” complete dedication to his craft and the amazing support system that rallied behind him took him to the top.
At one stretch during his preparations for the World Title rematch with Naito, Pacio had to deal with the elements as a series of storms struck Baguio City. Roads in and out of the city were inaccessible, and lower areas were riddled with flash floods.
The building where the humble Team Lakay gym is located lost power due to a transformer surge, and “The Passion” had to spend a week training in pitch darkness as he prepared for the biggest bout of his career.
“It came at the worst possible time,” Pacio said.
“I was deep in training for Naito, for the biggest fight of my career, for the ONE Strawweight World Championship, and I was battling mother nature at the same time.
“But, just like coach Mark [Sangiao] taught us, we have to adapt. So we powered through it, training in inclement weather, both indoors and outdoors. Whether it was raining or not, we pushed through. We knew that we couldn’t let it affect our training camp, so we didn’t allow it to. For me, the World Title is a representation all our hard work, dedication and perseverance.”