By Jun Ray Navarres
Team Lakay rising star Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang met the end of his seven-bout win run with a close split decision loss against ex-Shooto king Hiroba Minowa in ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX III last week.
Disappointed with the result, the 27-year old phenom absorbed the call and immediately studied his comeback fight upon arriving home in Baguio to build a better version of himself.
“Honestly, I didn’t see it coming. I fully expected to win. But looking at the big picture, it’s a positive thing. It’s valuable experience to be better,” shared Adiwang.
“I learned a lot from that fight alone. I will come back from this a much better fighter.”
“Thunder Kid” displayed his aggressiveness in the first round, trying to cut the fight short but Minowa managed to survive and fought back in the second and third rounds to turn the judges in his favor. Adiwang fought the grappling ace in the ground but this proved to be disadvantageous to him causing him the fight.
“In the first round, I had that submission locked in. I had his arm trapped, and I left a slight opening for him so he could tap. Everything just happened so fast. All I know is that the armlock was deep,” said Adiwang.
“For me, I love BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu). I did try to finish him on the feet like I always do, but he wanted to go to the ground. He was determined. So, I went to the ground with him.”
Controversies aroused after the night as Minowa appeared to briefly and inconspicuously tap to a deep signature Kimura armlock that Adiwang had zeroed in. Regardless, Adiwang respects the referee’s call and just shrugs off the issue.
“A lot of fans told me they noticed he tapped in the first round. I’m not going to say anything except that I am asking for a rematch so we can close the case. The best way to end the speculation is by having a rematch,” said Adiwang.
“I respect him a lot. He has the skill and the talent. But he’s not the strongest fighter I have faced. I just made some key mistakes that led to an undesirable result.”
Adiwang is expected to drop out of the strawweight rankings after the loss to Minowa, even so Adiwang carries Team Lakay motto ‘We win or we learn’ and only sees the experience as a perfect timing to reflect on himself.
“I think this loss happened at the perfect time in my career. It’s better to check myself now, and know my weaknesses, than when I’m at the top already. It’s better to correct the mistakes now. I can tell you, the mistakes I made in this fight won’t happen again,” Adiwang concluded.
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