ONE Championship: College student-turned-world champion Joshua Pacio’s title win a testament of hard work

Santino Honasan on Sep 24, 2018 12:13 PM
ONE: Joshua Pacio’s title win a testament of hard work
“Time management. Kung minsan puyatan pa, habang hard training, yun yung hirap, pero napaka-saya kasi yung mga hirap na pinagdaanan, may bayad naman.” (Photo courtesy of ONE Championship)

Saturday evening at the Jakarta Convetion Center, Team Lakay’s Joshua Pacio realized a lifelong dream of becoming a world champion when he defeated Yoshitaka Naito to capture the ONE Strawweight World Championship in the main event of ONE Championship: Conquest of Heroes in Jakarta, Indonesia.

With the title win, not only did Pacio avenge his 2016 defeat to Naito, but it also put him alongside some pretty elite company.

Pacio becomes the sixth Filipino to hold a ONE World Championship, and the fifth from Team Lakay, following in the footsteps of former featherweight king Honorio Banario, former lightweight champion Eduard Folayang, reigning ONE interim Bantamweight World Champion Kevin Belingon, and reigning ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje Eustaquio.

He also becomes the third Team Lakay member win a world championship in 2018, joining Eustaquio and Belingon.

“Napaka-saya, hindi ko maipaliwanag yung nararamdaman ko,” Pacio said after the fight. “Hindi ko alam kung iiyak ako kanina o tatawa, pero unexplainable.”

Pacio also becomes the youngest member of Team Lakay to become a world champion.

At just 22-years of age, the strawweight star has already established himself as the best in the division, which is an impressive feat, considering that he’s balancing life as a student and as a world-class mixed martial artists.

Pacio believes that while he is indeed still very young, it’s all a matter of putting in the work and being able to balance everything properly.

Pacio is currently a third-year Hotel and Restaurant Management student at the University of the Cordilleras, aside from being the best 56.7-kilogram fighter in the ONE Championship roster.

“Para sa akin, hindi ko iniisip na 22 years old ako, basta naka-focus lang ako sa career ko,” Pacio shared. “pero 22 years old, siyempre hard work pays off kasi ang hirap nung mag-aaral kami tapos magte-training, tapos sa gabi mag-aaral ulit.”

As with all student-athletes, or Pacio’s case, student-slash-world champion, time management is a vital key.

“Time management. Kung minsan puyatan pa, habang hard training, yun yung hirap, pero napaka-saya kasi yung mga hirap na pinagdaanan, may bayad naman.”

When asked if he’d bring the world championship belt to show off in school, Pacio proudly responded with a yes.

“Oo naman!” he said with a laugh.

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