Sangiao: Joshua Pacio wants one more title defense before moving to flyweight
MANILA, Philippines—If there’s one fighter who has cleaned his division out, it has to be ONE strawweight champion Joshua Pacio.
Team Lakay’s young champion holds the distinction of not only being the only remaining Filipino champion in ONE Championship but he’s also beaten every fighter who has held the 125-pound title.
Alex Silva, Yosuke Saruta, Yoshitaka Naito, and Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirchoke all fell to Pacio but the 26-year-old wants one more title defense before he crosses over to flyweight.
“He’s telling me that that he’d like to defend his belt one more time,” said Sangiao in Filipino Saturday at Novotel Manila. “One last defense then he’ll go up a division.”
Pacio, a two-time strawweight champion, was only 20 when he challenged and lost to Yoshitaka Naito in his first title shot but he was able to capture the title two years later in September 2018.
Although he lost the belt immediately to Yosuke Saruta in January 2019, in what was seen as a controversial split decision loss, he regained the strap back four months later in April.
Pacio (19-3) has since built up a four-fight winning streak after his first loss to Saruta with the latest win a dominating technical knockout victory over his Japanese rival in their trilogy fight in September 2021.
It wasn’t just champions who fell victim to Pacio as top contenders Pongisiri Mitsatit, Roy Doliguez, and Rene Catalan all lost to the diminutive fighter.
Sangiao said it was Pacio’s work ethic that brought him to the level he is in with strawweight king being a certified gym rat.
“I saw how hard Joshua works and the attitude of being a champion is really in him,” said Sangiao. “Joshua will hit the gym the day after his fight and he’ll continue working as long as he’s not injured. That’s how hard he works that’s why he’s the champion.”