It’s been six months since ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio has competed inside the Circle. But during his time off, he’s become a motivator for his fellow Team Lakay athletes, especially those who competed at ONE X last month.
“I’m very happy for Stephen [Loman] and kuya Eduard [Folayang], although I have mixed emotions because of Lito’s [Adiwang] fight. But still, I’m thankful because he looks fine now. Stephen may get a crack at the ONE Bantamweight World Title, and kuya Eduard proved that he is far from over,” the 26-year-old world champion said.
Aside from sharing his time and wisdom with his fellow fighters, Pacio has kept himself busy by scouring the contenders in his weight class.
“I’ve been watching the bouts of the top five in my division, going to the gym, and doing my assignments for my possible future match,” Pacio revealed.
Therefore, he will pay undivided attention to the upcoming match between #1-ranked Bokang “Little Giant” Masunyane and #2-ranked Jarred “The Monkey God” Brooks at ONE: Eersel vs. Sadikovic on Friday, 22 April. After all, the winner of that fight will face him for his world title.
But even if the showdown between him and this fight’s winner won’t happen for a few more months, Pacio already knows the tendencies of both competitors, and he’ll be ready regardless of who he encounters next.
“Bokang and Brooks have this similar style. They want to control their opponents and punish them,” the wushu specialist said. “My team and I are preparing for every scenario inside the Circle. I’m giving all my effort to leveling up my wrestling and sharpening all my tools.”
The Masunyane-Brooks showdown promises to be an explosive one, mainly because the South African carries a perfect 8-0 career mixed martial arts record. On the other hand, the American has dominated Adiwang and Hiroba Minowa in his appearances in The Home of Martial Arts.
While both strawweights deserve a title shot, Pacio knows what Masunyane and Brooks bring to every contest. This knowledge may help him defend his crown for the fourth time since regaining it against Yosuke “The Ninja” Saruta at ONE: ROOTS OF HONOR in 2019.
“I think Bokang’s advantage for this fight is his athleticism. He is a very explosive athlete. Meanwhile, Brooks’ advantage is his experience. He has fought some of the best, and it might be where Bokang will fall short,” the Baguio City native said.
However, he did not predict how the battle would unfold. But before he competes against one of these warriors, he will appreciate their clash as a combat sports fan.
“They will fight this coming April 22nd, and I’m all excited about it. Whoever takes the victory will definitely face me,” Pacio said.
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