Joshua Pacio ready to break Team Lakay’s ONE trilogy ‘curse’
MANILA, Philippines—ONE World strawweight champion Joshua Pacio is unbothered by Yosuke Saruta’s threats heading into the culmination of their trilogy series at ONE: Revolution on September 24.
Saruta said that he plans to take away Pacio’s fighting spirit come their third fight but the Filipino champion believes it was the Japanese fighter’s way of retaliating from what happened in their second fight.
Pacio and Saruta were locked in a thrilling matchup when the Team Lakay star knocked out the then-strawweight champion with a cracking knee to the side of the head 2:43 into the fourth round of their second match.
“That’s what happened to him during our rematch and now he says that’s what he’ll do to me in our third fight,” said Pacio in Filipino during a virtual press conference. “But you can never break an Igorot warrior’s fighting spirit.”
‘PRESSURE IS MY FRIEND’
“From rounds 1 to 3 I was able to build up on the body shots, both kicks and punches, and I saw in the third round that he was constantly looking at his corner. It was at that moment that I knew I broke his fighting spirit. I think that’s what he wants to do to me but he’ll never be able do.”
Pacio, the last remaining Filipino champion in ONE Championship, said he’s not pressured with the distinction.
“Pressure is always there but I don’t really feel it because I’ve been doing this for a long time,” said Pacio, who had his first title reign in ONE at the age of 22. “Pressure is my friend and all I’m focused on is getting the win because if you think about pressure then you’ll just be stressed out.”
Pacio is also keen to break the trilogy curse that has befell his Team Lakay stablemates.
“I really don’t believe in that stuff,” said Pacio of the Team Lakay trilogy curse. “They say that we always lose in trilogies but I’m ready to break the curse.”
Geje Eustaquio, Kevin Belingon, and Eduard Folayang all lost their third bouts against their rivals in the promotion.
Folayang, a former lightweight champion, suffered a first round submission loss to Shinya Aoki in their third bout in April in a match the Team Lakay senior desperately needed to win.
Belingon, meanwhile, lost his bantamweight title to rival Bibiano Fernandes via disqualification in their third bout and subsequently lost the fourth via submission.
Eustaquio then lost his flyweight championship to Adriano Moraes via unanimous decision in their final match.
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