Sangiao lauds ONE champ Pacio’s dedication
MANILA, Philippines—During the strict lockdown in Baguio, the home of Team Lakay, Joshua Pacio went through lengths to make sure he stays in shape through it all.
Head coach Mark Sangiao said the ONE World strawweight champion stayed at their gym during the start of the lockdown, when movement was restricted and limited to essentials, just to train.
“Joshua is a very responsible champion and he even slept and stayed at the gym so he can train properly that’s how responsible he is,” said Sangiao in Filipino in a Zoom conversation with Inquirer Thursday.
“He’s really adamant to hold on to the belt for a long time, but this is MMA and we don’t know what will happen in the future.”
Pacio is a two-time strawweight champion, winning for the first time in September 2018 and again in April 2019.
The 24-year-old first defeated Yoshitaka Naito in his first reign but lost the title to Yosuke Saruta in a close split decision in January 2019.
He got the belt back just three months later with one of the most devastating knockouts in promotion history when he landed a knee straight to the side of Saruta’s head in their rematch.
Another young Lakay stalwart that Sangiao expects to make waves is Danny Kingad.
One of the most technical and methodical of his fighters, Sangiao said King is bound to return to the title picture especially with how he’s fared against former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, who’s considered as one of the greatest fighters of his era.
“What I see in Danny is he just needs to continue what he’s doing and he’ll get that title match again,” said Sangiao of Kingad who went the full three rounds against Johnson marking only the second loss of his career against 14 wins.
Kingad is the no.2 ranked flyweight in the promotion behind champion Adriano Moraes and no.1 contender Johnson, who’s also the holder of the Grand Prix title in the division.
“There are also other fighters who are are coming up but I can see his skills and he has this internal motivation. He can become the champion in the future.”
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