ONE Championship: Now On World Title Radar, Rene Catalan Admits Reluctance In Possibly Facing Pacio

ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 30, 2019 04:03 PM
Rene Catalan Admits Reluctance In Possibly Facing Pacio
“I’ve been carrying the flag of the Philippines. I don’t want to face a fellow Filipino for the sake of the belt cause it’s not really for the glory of the Philippines,” - Rene Catalan (Photo courtesy of ONE Championship)

If Filipino strawweight contender Rene "The Challenger" Catalan had his way, he would rather support Joshua "The Passion" Pacio's World Title reign than face him in the ONE Championship Circle.

The 23-year-old Pacio reclaimed the ONE Strawweight World Title following his fourth-round knockout victory over Yosuke "The Ninja" Saruta in the co-main event of ONE: ROOTS OF HONOR from the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila on Friday, 12 April.

Catalan, now seen as the top contender in the talent-filled strawweight division after his first-round demolition of ex-titleholder Yoshitaka "Nobita" Naito at ONE: REIGN OF VALOR last March, said that he is not really looking forward to battling “The Passion” in the near future.

“I’ve been carrying the flag of the Philippines. I don’t want to face a fellow Filipino for the sake of the belt cause it’s not really for the glory of the Philippines,” he explained.

“I really don’t want to face another Filipino. We’re off the same blood. I have always supported Filipino athletes. I want to keep supporting Filipino athletes and as much as possible, I’d like to avoid fighting them.”

Pacio and Team Lakay, however, sing a different tune.

Team Lakay has always been open to defend its World Titles against anyone that ONE Championship would throw their way, even if that means sharing the Circle against a fellow Filipino.

Pacio’s camp has repeatedly said that they respect Catalan’s gym, but all of those pleasantries would be set aside if they were to cross paths.

“Even back then, they’ve always wanted to face me. I have repeatedly said that I will support my fellow Filipinos, but they may have a different take on it,” Catalan added.

As much as “The Challenger” wants to avoid taking on his countryman, the 40-year-old Iloilo City native will always be open to whoever ONE’s matchmakers pair him up against.

Should Catalan be matched with the ONE Strawweight World Champion, he will not back down — regardless of their shared love for their home country.

“I won’t promise anything, but I’ll certainly be looking for that knockout,” he said. “If the match pushes through, I’ll do everything to get that win.

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