ONE Championship: Team Lakay mentor Mark Sangiao sees Joshua Pacio improving even more

Santino Honasan on Apr 24, 2019 02:08 PM
Mark Sangiao sees Joshua Pacio improving even more
Ang dami pa niyang i-iimprove, so makikita mo pa na mas gagaling pa si Joshua,” - Mark Sangiao

Team Lakay star and reigning two-time ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua Pacio is undoubtedly one of ONE Championship’s fastest rising young stars and arguably one of the promotion’s most well-rounded athletes.

Pacio recently reclaimed the ONE Strawweight World Championship with a fourth-round knockout win over Japanese former champion Yosuke Saruta at ONE: Roots of Honor in Manila last April 12th.

At just 23 years old, “The Passion” is already a two-time world champion and one of, if not the best strawweights in Asia, having defeated the best of the best that the division has to offer in ONE Championship.

Even after accomplishing this much at such a young age, Pacio believes that the best is yet to come, and that same sentiment is echoed by the man who has seen his progression from an aspiring mixed martial artist to a multiple-time titleholder, Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao.

“Yung sabi nga ni Joshua, wala pa siya sa peak niya. Ang dami pa niyang i-iimprove, so makikita mo pa na mas gagaling pa si Joshua,” Sangiao shared.

Sangiao is confident that this time around, Pacio’s reign over the ONE strawweight division will last longer than his first.

“Sa edad niyang yan tapos nag-champion pa siya, expect pa natin na mas magiging magaling pa yan, and I see him na in the future, tatagal talaga sa kanya yung belt.”

Multi-division champions have become quite a trend in ONE, and Sangiao believes that Pacio has what it takes to become a two, or even three-division champion as well.

“Depende yun sa discipline niya, kung gusto niyang tataas or bababa,” Sangiao shared.  Tingin ko kasi, kung gusto niyang i-maintain, pwede naman siyang umakyat. Depende sa level.”

In three years, Pacio will be 26 years old, which is still considered as a fighter’s athletic prime. By that time, Sangiao believes that his young ward will have elevated his game even more, so much so, that Pacio can jump up and down divisions, much like former two-division champion and reigning ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin Nguyen din, moving up and down from bantamweight, featherweight, and lightweight.

“Give him three years from now, iba na ang level ni Joshua. Baka sa time na yun, baka pwede na siyang maglaro, kagaya nung ginawa ni Martin [Nguyen] na umakyat, bumaba, depende sa discipline niya yun,” Sangiao continued.

Pacio’s development as a mixed martial artist will definitely be something to look forward to, but for now, “The Passion” has the ONE strawweight division to reign over.


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