The bond between two martial artists who share every grueling training session together is impossible to break.
For Team Lakay‘s Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, having his friend and sparring partner, Danny “The King” Kingad, by his side as he prepares for the most important bout of his career has proven to be invaluable.
By the time 22 September arrives, Pacio knows he will be ready to ignite the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia with his best performance yet, and his closest ally is one of the biggest reasons for that.
“Danny is a Godsend,” the 22-year-old says.
“I am so lucky to have my brother, whom I respect and admire, helping me prepare for the toughest fight of my career.
“He is, no doubt, one of the strongest fighters – both physically and mentally. Not only is he strong, he is also very intelligent, and can emulate a lot of styles and opponents. To have that kind of guy to train with – it’s done amazing things for my development.”
The pair has consistently pushed each other at Team Lakay’s other training facility in La Trinidad, Benguet, which is roughly 30 minutes north of central Baguio City.
While Pacio is preparing diligently for his World Title clash, something else will make ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES a special occasion – it will be the first time the duo will compete at the same event.
Kingad, also 22, is slated to welcome Pancrase Flyweight Tournament Champion Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu to the ONE Championship cage earlier on the main card.
For “The Passion,” it is an honor to perform alongside one of his best friends.
“Me and him have talked before about competing on the same card. It was one of our goals. Now, we have that chance. We are facing two very talented Japanese warriors, and we have a tough task ahead of us,” Pacio explains.
“There is no pressure, but I know Danny has it in him to really set the tone for me. He is taking on an equally tough opponent, so I will be rooting for him in his corner. If we both win our fights, that would be a dream come true.”
Although these two Filipinos are each other’s primary training partners, their relationship goes well beyond the gym walls.
They attended the University Of The Cordilleras together, and still often eat together and seek adventures around Baguio City.
“The Passion” considers Kingad to be as close as if they were related by blood.
“As martial artists, we rely on each other for a lot of things,” he says.
“Even outside of training, we spend a lot of time together, riding our motorcycles, and having dinner with friends. The only thing we can’t help each other with is math, because we both know we aren’t too good at that.”
Fortunately, there will be no advanced algebra as part of their assignments in Jakarta, so they feel prepared for their mixed martial arts bouts next weekend.
The pair represents the future of Team Lakay, so a lot rides on their success. “The Passion’s” challenge for the gold once again adds even more pressure on him.
However, if Kingad can claim victory earlier in the night, Pacio says his morale would lift before he takes to the cage for his highly-anticipated rematch with Naito.
“That would be awesome if he were to score some kind of exciting finish right before I go out there and take care of business,” he says.
“I think that would really give me an extra boost. Right now, I need all the help I can get. I’m headed into the biggest fight of my life, and victory is on my mind.”
There is a lot at stake in Jakarta, Indonesia, but having his closest ally by his side has helped to ease the pressure on “The Passion,” and could help lead him to the best performance of his career.