Joshua Pacio banking on hometown support in latest ONE title bid
MANILA, Philippines—Joshua Pacio was in unfamiliar territory when he lost his coveted ONE World strawweight title to Yosuka Saruta back in January after the two fought in Jakarta this past January.
Team Lakay’s youngster was barely four months into his reign when he lost the strap to Saruta but the 23-year-old Pacio vowed that he’d get his belt back and this time it’s in front of his countrymen.
Barely three months after their first fight, Saruta and Pacio are once again set to face each other on April 12 at Mall of Asia Arena in the co-main event of ONE: Roots of Honor.
Pacio, who’ is4-0 on Philippine soil, said fighting in the capital region gives him a big boost and he’s willing to risk it all to once again lift the championship in front of fellow Filipinos.
“Manila has been very good to me, I feel very motivated every time I hear the crowd cheering and chanting my name,” said Pacio (13-3). “The feeling is priceless and it gives me added strength both physically and mentally.”
“I’m very motivated heading into this match, I won’t let my fans down.”
Pacio’s loss to Saruta (19-8-3) was as close as it could ever be with the Japanese winning the fight via split decision.
This decision did not bode well with ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong who demanded an immediate rematch.
Pacio added that with the Philippine crowd behind him, he knows he could not let his own country down.
“To become a World Champion again is fulfilling as an athlete, but to do it in front of your hometown crowd is beyond special,” said Pacio. “I’ll do my best to capture the ONE World strawweight title, I want my fans to be proud of me.”
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