ONE Championship star Joshua Pacio is heading into the biggest bout of his career with one of his best friends by his side.
“The Passion” will challenge reigning champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito for the ONE Strawweight World Title at ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES in Jakarta on 22 September, and the Filipino contender has been working tirelessly at his Team Lakay gym to prepare for the contest.
The Baguio City native has been training closely with teammate and good friend Danny Kingad ahead of the contest. Flyweight contender Kingad is set for action on the same card, against Pancrase Flyweight Tournament Champion Yuya “Little Piranha” Wakamatsu, and the pair have been pushing each other in the gym and on the mats to ensure they both achieve success in Jakarta.
“Danny is a Godsend,” Pacio says.
“I am so lucky to have my brother, whom I respect and admire, helping me prepare for the toughest fight of my career.
“He is, no doubt, one of the strongest fighters – both physically and mentally. Not only is he strong, he is also very intelligent, and can emulate a lot of styles and opponents. To have that kind of guy to train with – it’s done amazing things for my development.”
The event on 22 September will be the first time the pair compete together on the same card, and they are both excited at the prospect of performing together on the same night.
“Me and him have talked before about competing on the same card. It was one of our goals. Now, we have that chance. We are facing two very talented Japanese warriors, and we have a tough task ahead of us,” Pacio explains.
“There is no pressure, but I know Danny has it in him to really set the tone for me. He is taking on an equally tough opponent, so I will be rooting for him in his corner. If we both win our fights, that would be a dream come true.”
Pacio and Kingad’s relationship goes back to the early years of their martial arts careers. They studied together at the University Of The Cordilleras, where they both became part of the wushu team coached by Team Lakay figurehead Mark Sangiao.
And the pair remain close friends today, training together and spending social time together around Baguio City.
“As martial artists, we rely on each other for a lot of things,” he says.
“Even outside of training, we spend a lot of time together, riding our motorcycles, and having dinner with friends. The only thing we can’t help each other with is math, because we both know we aren’t too good at that!”
The duo are two of the most exciting young talents to emerge from Team Lakay and are both competing at the highest level within ONE Championship.
And Pacio says the prospect of the pair securing double success in Jakarta has them both excited ahead of the event.
“That would be awesome if he were to score some kind of exciting finish right before I go out there and take care of business,” he says.
“I think that would really give me an extra boost. Right now, I need all the help I can get. I’m headed into the biggest fight of my life, and victory is on my mind.”
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