By reclaiming the ONE Strawweight World Title, Joshua “The Passion” Pacio has served as Team Lakay’s ray of light in one of the stable’s darkest periods.
Pacio successfully reclaimed the gold with a highlight-reel knockout win over former titleholder Yosuke “The Ninja” Saruta in their rematch at ONE: ROOTS OF HONOR from Manila’s Mall Of Asia Arena on Friday, 12 April.
That victory was like a shot in the arm for Team Lakay’s members, who had to sit and watch as the group’s World Champions lost their belts one by one.
With Pacio’s victory, those days seem like a thing of the past now.
“Seeing Joshua succeed motivates me to be better. It only shows that everything is possible when you’re focused on one thing,” said Team Lakay veteran Gina Iniong.
“Joshua is a hard worker. Ever since he lost in January, I saw that determination to get the belt back. He really worked hard to be a complete mixed martial artist.
“We saw his improvement against Saruta. He was relaxed, confident, and really focused.”
The Filipina was also victorious in her previous outing, as she outpointed Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan last February to get Team Lakay back on the winning track.
That was a huge win for the fabled stable from Baguio City, and Iniong credits that to Lakay’s ethos of learning from previous defeats.
“Coach Mark always tells us to maximize the opportunity that is given to us,” she shared. “Regardless of the result, what’s important is to learn and improve in every fight."
As Iniong waits for her next assignment, she is sharpening her tools in anticipation of climbing the women’s atomweight rankings in her return.
She knows that will be a monumental task, but if the youthful Pacio can do it, then she can, too.
“We all dreamed of being a mixed martial artist, and I believe that as long as you love what you do, and you work for it, it’s gonna be given to you,” she said.
“Like Joshua, I’ll continue to work on my craft so I can one day reach my dreams in mixed martial arts.”
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