23-year old martial arts prodigy Joshua ‘The Passion’ Pacio successfully reclaimed the world championship title he rightfully deserves after outdoing Japanese Yosuke ‘The Ninja’ Saruta via fourth round KO in the co-main event of ONE Championship: Roots of Honor, held on Friday, April 12, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Saruta’s grappling techniques had for several times pinned Pacio to the ground, but the ever-agile Filipino warrior always managed to escape. Despite his foe’s further attempts to take and knock him down, a well-timed high kick of the Baguio-native in the fourth round concluded the epic rematch.
The two first met earlier this year in ONE’s Eternal Glory event in Indonesia, where Pacio fell short in defending the golden belt.
“Thank you very much mga kababayan! Belt nating lahat ‘to,” Pacio says in the post-fight interview, eliciting a deafening uproar from the hometown crowd.
With his win, Pacio is back at being the Strawweight World Champion, and is currently the only world champion of the famed Team Lakay—after his teammates Geje Eustaquio, Kevin Belingon, and Eduard Folayang yielded their world championship titles in their bouts against Adriano Moraes (via unanimous decision), Bibiano Fernandes (via disqualification), and Shinya Aoki (via submission), respectively.
Pacio’s triumph satisfactorily ended the night for the Filipino people who witnessed the victorious finish of their heroes at home. Prior to his win, also Team Lakay’s Edward ‘The Ferocious’ Kelly made a remarkable comeback after defeating South Korean Sung Jong Lee via second round TKO in the main card featherweight bout.
Edward’s victory was also a redemption for his brother Eric ‘The Natural’ Kelly’s frustrating loss during the preliminary round of the same division. Eric succumbed to his Korean foe Kwon Won Il via knockout at only 19 seconds on the clock of the first round.
Meanwhile, the first fight of the night featured ‘The Bicolano’ warrior Ramon Gonzales who also emerged triumphant as he outlasted Japanese Akihiro Fujisawa via guillotine choke submission in their preliminary flyweight bout.
Philippines now has two Pinoy world championship titleholders: ‘The Passion’ and ‘The Truth’ Brandon Vera.
Photos from ONE Championship.
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