Team Lakay's Joshua Pacio hoping another win in Macau leads to another shot at gold
Santino Honasan on Aug 04, 2017 09:21 PM
"Oo, kasi maraming nag-iingay na pag nanalo ako dito, ito na talaga, title shot na talaga," - Joshua Pacio (Photo courtesy of ONE Championship)
If everything falls into place, history could end up repeating itself for Team Lakay young gun Joshua Pacio.
Around the same time last year, Pacio competed in just his second fight under the ONE Championship banner, choking out Thai grappler Kritsada Kongsrichai in just under a round at the CotaiArena in Macau.
That impressive second win earned Pacio a shot at the ONE strawweight world championship just months later, but fell short of reaching the pinnacle ofthe division after falling to reigning titleholder Yoshitaka Naito.
Now, back in the so-called "Las Vegas of Asia" a more seasoned Pacio hopes that yet another impressive win in Macau could lead to a second chance at world championship gold.
" Oo, kasi maraming nag-iingay na pag nanalo ako dito, ito na talaga, title shot na talaga," said the 21-year old. "I believe na ito yung challenge na binigay ng ONE Championship. Baka pag nakita nila na nanalo ako o nag-improve ako, doon."
In a span of less than a year, Pacio went from prospect to title contender. After losing to Naito in his first title shot, Pacio bounced back in a massive way, defeating former champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke via decision, showing that he's come a long way in such a short time.
Since his last outing in Macau, Pacio believes that he's improved a lot, given that he's already faced the last two title holders of the division in just four fights with the promotion.
"As a fighter, malaki [yung improvement ko], kasi mas na-build pa yung confidence ko, then mas nag-triple time yung training ko sa gym and yung pag-hahasa sa skills ko."
As with the skills and physical aspect of his game, the kid, now bearing the monicker "The Passion", also believes that he's matured a lot in the last twelve months.
"Malaki ang inimprove, lalo na sa mental. Nung last year mga nasa 60 percent lang, pero ngayon, talagang masasabi ko na 100 percent na."
And while some may have thought that he was thrust into the title picture too early back then, his performance against Amnuaysirichoke, and even his loss against Naito, wherein he pushed the Japanese champion to the limit, has been enough to prove his doubters wrong.
Now, on the brink of yet another title shot, he looks back at his first chance as a very good learning experience, one that has no doubt prepared him for his upcoming tests.
"Malaking experience yun para sa akin,"
Before any thoughts of redemption against Naito however, Pacio needs to focus on the task at hand, as he'll have his hands full Saturday night against unbeaten Japanese newcomer Hayato Suzuki, who'll be making his ONE debut boasting an unblemished 16-0 card.
Should "The Passion" make it 2-0 in Macau, world championship gold should soon be on the horizon.