Joshua Pacio finally proved that Team Lakay can take trilogy fights.
Pacio put an emphatic end to his rivalry with Yosuke Saruta, knocking out his Japanese foil in the first round (3:48) to successfully defend his ONE Strawweight World Championship, Friday during Revolution in Singapore.
And for the 25-year-old Baguio-native, he can’t help but be sentimental after the third successful defense of his crown.
“It’s been one year and eight months that I’ve been out,” said Pacio, who last stepped into the ONE Circle back on January 31, 2020 that saw him take a split decision win against Alex Silva. “It’s been hard but I’m ready and I proved that I am here to stay as champion.”
Pacio did not waste any time stopping Saruta.
Unlike their first bout back on January 19, 2019, Saruta, who took their first match, decided to stand up with Pacio instead of taking him down.
It proved to be the detriment of Saruta as, during the 3:41 mark, Pacio was able to knock down Saruta with a wind-up punch.
“It’s really about who’s going to find the right opening and I did it,” said Pacio.
Again Saruta made the same mistake with 1:15 left. A decoy kick by Saruta read to a powerful right by Pacio that stunned Saruta.
There was no recovery this time as the Team Lakay standout threw a barrage of lefts that forced the referee to stop the bout.
“We’ve been working on our strengths and weaknesses and our counters. We worked on my offense and you can see it there,” said Pacio.
With the win, Pacio not only took the trilogy bout but also raised his record to 20-3.
This one though is special as he dedicated it to all Filipinos who have been affected by the ongoing pandemic.
“This is for all my Filipino kababayans to uplift our spirits. This proves that we can fight and stand our ground,” expressed Pacio.
Saruta suffered the 10th loss of his career to drop to 21-10-3.