ONE Championship: Rene Catalan Deserves To Get World Title Shot, Says former champ Joshua Pacio
ABS-CBN Sports on Mar 15, 2019 10:53 AM
"I honestly think that he has earned a shot at the World Title after that performance, but it is still up to ONE Championship if they will give him the opportunity. What I know for sure is that he will closely watch my rematch against Yosuke Saruta." - Joshua Pacio on Rene Catalan (Photo courtesy of ONE CHampionship)
Former ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua "The Passion" Pacio genuinely believes that Rene "The Challenger" Catalan has earned the right to vie for the World Title following his dominant performance against Yoshitaka "Nobita" Naito.
Catalan made the impossible at ONE: REIGN OF VALOR last Friday, 8 March as he took out the crafty Japanese veteran in less than a round to author the biggest win of his career yet.
It was a performance that is now etched on the memories of every athlete in the division, including Pacio himself.
"My initial reaction was that I was really proud that we have a fellow Filipino who just beat a former world champion. I was surprised with how he defeated Naito. He is the only martial artist to dominate Naito like that. He was really focused on winning that fight," he said.
"I honestly think that he has earned a shot at the World Title after that performance, but it is still up to ONE Championship if they will give him the opportunity. What I know for sure is that he will closely watch my rematch against Yosuke Saruta."
The 23-year-old phenom from Team Lakay settled the score with Naito by way of unanimous decision in their rematch at ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES in September 2018 to claim the ONE Strawweight World Title.
However, he relinquished his crown in his first title defense against Saruta at ONE: ETERNAL GLORY last January.
However, he will get his immediate rematch at ONE: ROOTS OF HONOR, set for 12 April at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
While his focus is entirely on Saruta, Pacio cannot help but show his excitement in case an all-Filipino World Title bout materializes.
"It would be an honor and a privilege to share the cage with him should I win the belt again,” he stated.