'There's a new kid in town' - Lito Adiwang sends a message to ONE's strawweight division
ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 17, 2019 02:50 PM
"My message to the division is, ‘There's a new kid in town. The hype is real.’" - Lito Adiwang (Photo courtesy of ONE Championship)
Lito "Thunder Kid" Adiwang wanted to prove he is the real deal in his debut on the global stage, and he did exactly that after beating Senzo Ikeda in front of the Japanese crowd by way of first-round technical knockout.
The pair of strawweights locked horns on the undercard of ONE Championship's historic 100th event at ONE: CENTURY PART I on Sunday, 13 October at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan.
After feeling each other out in the opening round, Ikeda went for a takedown but the Team Lakay standout swiftly reversed it.
What the Japanese thought would be his advantage turned out to be his demise, as "Thunder Kid" caught him with an Americana that injured his elbow.
“I was reading his tactics because I know he was ready to counter my strikes,” Adiwang shared.
“I was looking at how he’ll react with what I’ll do. He shot for a takedown and thankfully, I got the submission. I kept on telling the referee that his arm is broken, but Senzo was saying ‘no’ that’s why it took long.”
What happened inside the Circle is something “Thunder Kid” anticipated before his much-awaited appearance in the big league.
Still, he was shocked to see how the 37-year-old wanted to keep on battling, amid the broken arm.
“He was really a warrior, his fighting spirit is something else,” Adiwang said.
“But that’s what I expected from him. I needed to put him to sleep or break something [to win].”
Adiwang was one of four Team Lakay athletes who were slated to compete that day. He was also the first mixed martial artist to grace the Circle for the stable, which added pressure to his performance.
"It was very important to win – there was pressure of course being the first to perform from our team.”
“An impressive opener is important to give my team a necessary boost in confidence, seeing that we’ve won in the first fight.”
Many fans were curious as to whether or not Adiwang would translate his success from Rich Franklin's ONE WARRIOR SERIES onto the main roster of The Home Of Martial Arts. But his win sent shockwaves to the division and he warned his fellow martial artists he is here to stay.
"My message to the division is, ‘There's a new kid in town. The hype is real.’”