ONE Championship: Danny Kingad motivated by friend Joshua Pacio's title win
Santino Honasan on Sep 24, 2018 06:03 PM
YOUNG KINGS. Joshua Pacio is now a champion, and Danny Kingad hopes to soon become one as well.
In August of 2017, Team Lakay strawweight star Joshua Pacio hit a bump on his road back to title challenger status.
Pacio was fresh off a fantastic unanimous decision win over former champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke, and looked to continue his momentum by taking out then-newcomer Hayato Suzuki in Macau.
The larger Suzuki instead overpowered Pacio en route to a submission win in the first round.
It was a tough pill to swallow for Pacio, who suddenly saw his hopes of fighting for a world championship once more get derailed.
Consoling him every step of the way was his Team Lakay brother and training partner Danny Kingad, who wasn't booked to fight on the card, but was there to help his buddy out.
It was a testament of just how close these two young guns from Baguio were.
Fast-forward over a year later, Pacio had finally earned another shot at the ONE Strawweight World Championship, and he was able to capture it by beating Yoshitaka Naito in the main event of ONE Championship: Conquest of Heroes in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Just as he was there in the tough times, Kingad was also there in what is the pinnacle of Pacio's career so far.
Kingad was also victorious earlier that night, defeating Japanese newcomer Yuya Wakamatsu via unanimous decision.
But as happy as he was with his own victory, it seemed like he was even happier for his training partner's title win.
"Yun yung hinihintay ko," Kingad said with a smile. "Kasi bago kami nung nag-debut, yung gusto naming dalawa yung kami lang dalawa, kaya ayun, natupad din, talagang binigay ni God yung panalo."
Considered by many as the futures of Philippine MMA, Pacio and Kingad, both 22 years old, made their ONE Championship debuts back on the same card in 2016. Since then, the two have put their respective divisions on notice.
Kingad has also challenged for a world championship once before, but then-champion Adriano Moraes made quick work of the young Team Lakay star.
Now, with his training partner ruling over the strawweight division, Kingad says he's more motivated than ever to get back to title contender status.
"Very happy ako kay Joshua, kasi yung pagka-bata niya pa, nakuha na niya yung belt." Kingad shared. "Parang na-motivate ko na mag-training ng mag-training."
Kingad is currently riding a three-fight winning streak of his own, and says he's targeting a matchup against former flyweight title holder Kairat Akhmetov, who was also victorious in Jakarta against China's Ma Hao Bin.
A win over Akhmetov certainly puts him back into contender status.
Ruling over the flyweight division, however, is another one of Kingad's teammates in Geje Eustaquio.
Kingad has already made it clear that out of respect, he won't be fighting his senior.
"Syempre, di ako papayag na kalabanin ko siya. Senior ko siya eh," Kingad said. "Bago pa man ako pumasok sa ONE, andun na siya na tinuturuan ako. Parang malaking respeto ko na lang sa kanya 'yun, kasi pag wala siya, di ako makaka-aral ng techniques sa kanya."