Pacio hopes to successfully defend his ONE title this time
MANILA, Philippines—Being a world champion is one thing and defending it is another.
That’s why Joshua Pacio will lay everything on the line when he stakes his ONE strawweight title against Rene Catalan in an all-Filipino main event in ONE: Masters of Fate Friday at Mall of Asia Arena.
“I believe you can never really call yourself a world champion until you defend it,” said Pacio.
The Team Lakay standout failed in his first-ever title defense when he won the strawweight strap for the first time after losing to Yosuke Saruta by split decision last January.
The 23-year-old Pacio regained the belt three months later, but he knows it doesn’t get easier in keeping it around his waist as a new challenge awaits.
“I’m really happy to be given a chance to defend this belt. The last time, I wasn’t so fortunate and I lost it. This time I will do everything to successfully defend it and to have a strong momentum entering 2020,” Pacio said.
“I’m also happy to fight here in the Philippines again, although I’m facing a fellow Filipino, but what we’re doing is for the country and this is a very historic night for the Philippines.”
The man standing in Pacio’s way is just as determined to prove himself.
After suffering a series of losses to open his MMA career, Catalan got going as he now rides on a six-fight run.
“A lot of people think that his age will be his weakness, but not me. I look at him as a veteran, and he knows what he’s doing, Pacio said about his 40-year-old opponent.
But while Pacio speaks highly of Catalan, he remains confident about his chances.
“I’ve really stepped up my training for this match and I’ll make sure to show it on 8 November and make sure I go home still a world champion,” Pacio said.
“One thing is for sure, this is the best you’ll see of me. An upgrade, a real confident one who believes in himself.”
The two warriors faced off on Tuesday during an open workout at Elorde Sports Complex in Sucat, Parañaque.
“Age is just a number and it’s never going to stop me from fulfilling my dream of becoming a world champion,” Catalan said in Filipino.
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