At 24, Pacio confident he can defend ONE title multiple times

By Jun Ray Navarres

Reigning ONE Strawweight king Joshua Pacio looked back to the challenges of 2020 especially with the spread of COVID-19 and the various health protocols that should be followed in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

Due to the lockdown, the once consistent training was replaced with staying at home and maintaining the distance with other people. Yet, Pacio believes everyone will overcome this hardship.

“We certainly learned a lot of hard lessons. This has been one of the toughest years ever, but I’m confident we will come out of this stronger than ever,” shared Pacio.

“Adversity is the key to becoming better in anything because it forces us outside of our comfort zone. It forces us to discover things about ourselves.”

In addition, Pacio’s stable mates in Team Lakay faced gruelling setbacks in their comeback, further making 2020 a tough year.

However, defeat is also a part of being a fighter and the warriors of Baguio-based stable knew that very well. “The Passion” believes in his teammates and that they will surely regain themselves.

“Losses are nothing new to us at Team Lakay. Personally, I’m excited to see my teammates back in action next year, and I’m excited to see how much they’ve improved after some tough lessons,” said Pacio.

“The key is determining where you went wrong, what mistakes you made, and working to fix those mistakes. Then the hard work comes in training. That’s how to be a better fighter.”

Meanwhile, Pacio has been able to tie-back the year with a successful split decision win against former champion Alex Silva in January and a few international recognitions from renowned sports entities this year-end.

With the easement of health protocols Pacio has been able to return to training and pointed out one fighter that he wants to face in his next return to the circle.

Yosuke Saruta and Pacio each have one win against each other, and the 24-year old strawweight kingpin is hungry for a trilogy in order to settle the unfinished business and show his improvement for the past year.

“Right now I think the number one contender is Yosuke Saruta. He just recently defeated Yoshitaka Naito and it was a solid performance. We’ve had two fights so far, with one victory each, so I feel there is some unfinished business there. I’m looking forward to settling that in the Circle,” Pacio concluded.

“My goal in 2021 is to continue to defend my belt and my throne. What you saw from me last January has to be different from what you see next time. You have to see something better.

I am confident I can defend my belt multiple times. Even now, I am still just 24 years old; I’m still getting better every time.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @burnsports

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