ONE Championship: Joshua Pacio looking to set the tone for Team Lakay champions in 2019
Santino Honasan on Jan 18, 2019 07:17 PM
Joshua Pacio wants to defend his ONE Strawweight World Championship and help motivate his fellow Team Lakay champions who are set to defend their titles in 2019 as well (Photo courtesy of ONE Championship)
Team Lakay's youngest world champion, Joshua "The Passion" Pacio, has the privelege of being the first titleholder to put his belt up for grabs in 2019, as he gets ready to defend his ONE Strawweight World Championship against Japanese challenger Yosuke Saruta at ONE: Eternal Glory this Saturday at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Pacio, who just turned 23 last January 10th, will be headlining ONE's first event of the year, and he admits to feeling a bit of the pressure of being the first champion up for the famed mixed martial arts stable from La Trinidad, Benguet.
"Excited, pero at the same time, may kaunting pressure kasi ako yung unang-unang mag-dedefend sa amin this 2019," Pacio said a day before his scheduled title defense.
Joshua Pacio feels the pressure of being the first champion from @TeamLakay to defend his title in 2019.— Santino Honasan🎈 (@honasantino) January 18, 2019
He defends his ONE Strawweight World Championship at ONE: #EternalGlory in Jakarta, Indonesia against Japan's Yosuke Saruta | @abscbnsports pic.twitter.com/Nx1HGecLDv
The young champion hopes to be able to set the tone for Team Lakay in 2019, which no doubt be another busy one for them.
"Siyempre excited din, kailangan kong manalo para dagdag motivation sa teammates ko, sa seniors ko who will be defending their belts also," he added.
In 2018, Pacio was one of four Team Lakay stars to capture one gold, with Geje Eustaquio capturing the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Championship, Kevin Belingon becoming the undisputed ONE Bantamweight World Champion, and Eduard Folayang regaining the ONE Lightweight World Championship.
Like Pacio, Eustaquio and Folayang already have dates for their world championship defenses. Belingon will surely also be defending his world title soon.
For "The Passion", opening the year with a successful title defense is paramount, as he hopes it can give his fellow titleholders the motivation and inspiration that they all need in order to keep their belts at home.
"Siyempre napaka-importante, kasi yun nga, mamomotivate pa yung teammates ko and siyempre kailangan patunayan na hindi lang sa pag-kuha ng belt, hanggang ganun na lang, kailangan natin patunayan na kaya din natin i-defend ng matagal."
Just six days after Pacio's title defense, Eustaquio will be next on the plate, as he gets ready to defend his flyweight crown against a former champion in Adriano Moraes in a must-see rematch from their June 2018 meeting.
The preparation for the consecutive title bouts, Pacio says, has the team more motivated and more hungry to remain at the top of their respective divisions.
"Sa amin, mas motivated pa kami, kasi sama-sama kami nagte-training kasi sunod-sunod yung laban. Sama-samang nagtetraining, mas motivated kasi mas gusto namin patunayan na sa atin yung belt," he stated.
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!