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Mixed Martial Arts

Sorry, Bokang: Pacio would love to finish trilogy with Saruta

ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio is planning to take care of some unfinished business.

The Team Lakay star is eyeing a trilogy bout with Yosuke “The Ninja” Saruta. He also said that he’d rather focus on ending their rivalry on top before facing anyone else.

“For me, a trilogy is unfinished business. I’ll go for the trilogy against Saruta. And after that, it could be Bokang [Masunyane] or it could be anyone that they want me to face,” Pacio said.

As the last remaining Filipino ONE World Champion, Pacio can certainly say that he has dominated his division. Aside from his win over Saruta, he also owns victories over no. 2-ranked Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito, no. 5-ranked Alex “Little Rock” Silva, and former top contender Rene “The Challenger” Catalan.

However, his decision might not be a welcoming development for no. 3-ranked Bokang “Little Giant” Masunyane, as he has been calling Pacio out. Still, the Filipino believes that if Masunyane can continue his dominant ways, they’ll meet sometime down the line.

“He’s very explosive. His athleticism is through the roof. He also has power in his hands. He’s a wrestler, but I know he’s looking to become a well-rounded athlete, and we’ve seen that against Rene Catalan when he scored that knockout,” Pacio said.

“His explosiveness and athleticism makes him a handful against anyone in the strawweight division.”

For now, all of his focus remains on the versatile Japanese athlete who remains dangerous even after dropping the World Title to Pacio in emphatic fashion in their rematch.

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After losing to Pacio via head kick KO in their second match, Saruta knocked out Daichi Kitakata. He later dominated former World Champion Naito, proving that he is far from done and deserves a shot at concluding this trilogy with Pacio.

The 25-year-old agrees.

“I think it’s going to be amazing if a trilogy takes place. We know each other well, we’ve faced each other twice. He knows my style and I know his. I think whoever’s improved the most since that second fight will win,” he said. “I think I’m levelling up, but at the same time he’s also improved — I’ve seen him beat Naito, and he was really impressive.

“Of course, his confidence is rising, but my job as a World Champion is to improve more, improve better than [my] challengers.”

Catch all the ONE Championship action by downloading the ONE Super App.

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