Joshua “The Passion” Pacio may have lost his World Title a few months ago, but now, he has been given the opportunity of a lifetime.
The Filipino martial arts prodigy has the chance to reclaim the gold from the man who took it from him. What’s more, he gets to perform in front of his countrymen.
On Friday, 12 April, he will challenge ONE Strawweight World Champion Yosuke “Tobizaru” Saruta in a rematch for the ONE Strawweight World Championship at ONE: ROOTS OF HONOR, which will be held inside the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila.
“I’m excited and even more motivated because the rematch will happen here in the Philippines,” the challenger says.
“I’m happy for the opportunity, and I will do everything to get the belt back to the Philippines.”
Heading into Saturday's World Title bout, we look back at Joshua Pacio's top three ONE Championship bouts!Jakarta | 19 January | 6:30PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Facebook: Prelims LIVE | Twitter: Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneglory19
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, January 18, 2019
The rivals first met in the main event of ONE: ETERNAL GLORY in January.
Pacio was making his first ONE Strawweight World Title defense, but things did not go the way he had hoped.
Saruta applied forward pressure, worked intently for takedowns, and did just enough to rip the belt away from the Team Lakay representative via split decision.
It was a heartbreaking loss for the 23-year-old Baguio City native, but he has maintained a positive attitude since his setback
“That fight showed me a lot of things that I needed to work on in my game,” he says.
“It was a great experience for me, as it showed me the things that I need to work on heading into the rematch.”
In their second meeting, the roles will be reversed.
Pacio enters the contest as the challenger who will look to recapture the World Title and cut the 31-year-old strawweight king’s reign short.
To do that, the Filipino intends to be more decisive with his attack and deploy some techniques he was unable to utilize two months ago.
Having already gone five full rounds with the Japanese warrior, “The Passion” feels even more confident about achieving victory.
“I hope to showcase the things that I wasn’t able to show in January,” he explains.
“I need to be more aggressive, especially being the challenger. I’m hungry to prove myself again and bounce back.
“He’s very athletic and strong. I know that this won’t be an easy task, but my team and I have a perfect game plan for this fight.”
Before Joshua Pacio's World Title defense this Saturday, relive his incredible victory for ONE gold!Jakarta | 19 January | 6:30PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Facebook: Prelims LIVE | Twitter: Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneglory19
Posted by ONE Championship on Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Also, there will be a special variable that could work to Pacio’s advantage this time around, as the co-main event bout will take place in his native country.
The crowd inside the Mall Of Asia Arena will be packed to the rafters with his compatriots, all of whom will be cheering him to victory.
For the youngster, that is a heavy burden to carry. He understands his four-ounce mixed martial arts gloves will bear the weight of his countrymen’s hopes when he steps into the ONE cage.
However, “The Passion” has never lost in his homeland, and he does not plan to start now.
“I must admit there’s a bit of an added pressure on my part to perform. But at the same time, the hunger and the will to win far outweighs that,” he says.
“Manila has been very good to me. I feel very motivated every time I hear the crowd cheering and chanting my name.
“The feeling is priceless, and it gives me added strength both physically and mentally. I’m very motivated heading to this match. I won’t let my fans down.
“I’m in the best shape of my life, and with the crowd behind me, expect the best Joshua Pacio on 12 April.”