Team Lakay's Joshua Pacio felt 'privileged' to go toe-to-to with Amnuaysirichoke
Santino Honasan on May 11, 2017 12:57 PM
"Third round, sabi ko challenge 'to, napaka-laking challenge, tapos nasa isip ko, privelege na 'to na makipag-sabayan ako sa Muay Thai legend, so sabi ko sa sarili ko kailangan ko din i-test yung sarili ko." Team Lakay strawweight Joshua Pacio
Back in March, Team Lakay rising star Joshua Pacio picked up arguably the biggest win of his young career when he managed to grind out a split decision win over former ONE strawweight champion and Muay Thai legend Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke at ONE: Warrior Kingdom in Thailand.
It was a fight that Pacio admitted to having seen in his mind, even before joining the ONE Championship strawweight ranks.
"Noong wala pa ako sa ONE, pinapanood ko na siya, then vinivisualize ko na siya yung makakalaban ko, as a champion, pero yun nga, yun vision ko na yun na-fulfill pero hindi na siya yung champion. (I've been watching him even before I got to ONE, and I used to visualize that I'd be fighting him when he was the champion. My vision did get fulfilled, but he wasn't the champion anymore though.)"
In that fight, Pacio displayed the continuous improvement of Team Lakay's ground game by taking the former champion down and controling the action on the mats.
In the third round however, Amnuaysirichoke managed to keep the fight standing, and gave Pacio a taste of that that three-time Lumpinee champion-level striking that made the Thai such a feared fighter.
"Sinubukan kong sabayan sa striking, matindi talaga! (I tried striking with him, he's really good!)" Pacio said with a laugh.
Instead of shying away from a gunfight and looking forcing to bring the fight back to the ground, the 21-year old Pacio decided to go toe-to-toe with the standup specialist.
"Third round, sabi ko challenge 'to, napaka-laking challenge, tapos nasa isip ko, privelege na 'to na makipag-sabayan ako sa Muay Thai legend, so sabi ko sa sarili ko kailangan ko din i-test yung sarili ko. (In the third round, I saw it as a really big challenge, and at the same time, I thought of it a sa privelege to be able to go toe-to-toe with a Muay Thai legend. I told myself that I needed to test myself.)"
While Amnuaysirichoke appeared to have the edge in third-round striking exchanges, Pacio held his own, and ultimately held on for the win.
"Napaka-saya kasi hard training pays off, tapos kagagaling ko lang ng loss, so parang iba yung saya, kasi nanalo ako against sa hindi lang basta-basta na kalaban, kundi against a three-time Lumpinee champion. (I'm really happy because hard training pays off, and I was just coming off a loss, so it was a different kind of happy, because I won against a big name, a three-time Lumpinee champion.)"
The loss that Pacio was talking about was his first and only loss so far in his career, in a title bout against reigning ONE strawweight king Yoshitaka Naito back in October.
While it was a loss, it served as somewhat a coming-out party for the young Pacio, who took the fight to the champion for the first two rounds, before comitting one mistake and getting submitted by the more-experienced Naito.
"Sa akin, marami akong errors noon, hindi lang sa laban, pati sa condition ko noon. (Personally, I know that I had a lot of errors then, not just in the fight, but also with my conditioning.)"
Pacio added that he felt he overtrained before the fight.
"Basta training lang ng training, hindi nakaka-rest yung katawan ko noon, so ngayon train smart. (I just trained and trained, by body wasn't able to get any rest then, so now, I know to train smart.)"
With a big win over a former champion in Amnuaysirichoke, there's a big possibility that Pacio gets a championship rematch against Naito. This time around Pacio believes that he knows that he needs to do in order to get the result that he wants.
"Ngayon, alam ko na yung gagawin ko, sa conditioning, sa proper diet, and of course sa training, train smart pa din ako. (Now, I know what I need to do in my conditioning, my proper diet and of course in training. I know that I have to train smart.)"
When asked if he believes that he deserves another shot at gold after beating a former champion, Pacio's response was straight forward.
"Oo naman, siya [Amnuaysirichoke] yung former ONE champion, so I've earned a shot again, para sa akin. (Of course. He [Amnuaysirichoke] was the former ONE Champion, so I've earned a shot again, personally.)"