ONE Championship: Pacio gearing up for 'well-rounded' challenger in Yosuke Saruta
Santino Honasan on Jan 18, 2019 07:33 PM
Joshua Pacio isn't taking challenger Yosuke Saruta lightly (Photo courtesy of ONE Championship)
Reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua "The Passion" Pacio isn't taking his first title defense lightly.
The 23-year old champion will be putting his title on the line against Japanese challenger Yosuke Saruta in the main event of ONE: Eternal Glory on Saturday at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Pacio knows full well what Saruta brings to the table.
"Nung napanood ko yung laban nila ni [Alex] Silva, nagulat din ako, kasi well-rounded eh. Kaya niyang makipag-strike, makipag-wrestle, makipag-grappling," the Team Lakay star shared.
Saruta made some noise in his promotional debut just last December, defeating former ONE Strawweight World Champion Alex Silva via unanimous decision. It was this impressive performance that earned Saruta the spot after compatriot Hayato Suzuki, who was the initial challenger to the strawweight throne, was forced to pull out due to injury.
While Pacio is aware of what his opponent can do, he also knows just where his strengths lie.
"Siyempre yung bread and butter ko pa din yung striking, of course yung height advantage," he said.
Pacio added that the switch in opponents was no big deal, given that he was informed with ample time to make adjustments.
"Wala naman issue, kasi three weeks ago nila sinabi, nakapag-palit naman agad ng mindset."
A rematch with Suzuki would have been an intriguing matchup for the champion, given that the Japanese grappler already has a victory over Pacio.
When asked if he would have wanted a rematch more, Pacio said that his job as champion was to take on all comers.
"Para sa akin, as a champion, yung trabaho ng champion is i-defend yung belt against kahit sino, so kailangan naka-handa tayo sa lahat ng last minute changes, kahit ano, nakahanda parati."
Catch Filipino champion Joshua Pacio defend his ONE Strawweight World Championship against Yosuke Saruta at ONE: Eternal Glory on Saturday, January 19th at 11:00 PM LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23!