Sport

Pacio, Saruta figure in trilogy

Pacio, Saruta figure in trilogy

MANILA, Philippines — Joshua Pacio will try to keep his status as the lone Filipino champion in the ONE Championship as he defends his strawweight title against Japanese Yosuke Saruta in ONE: Revolution on Friday at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

It will be the third match between Pacio (17-3) and Saruta (20-9-3) with the Filipino winning the first one via split decision in Jakarta, Indonesia two years ago and the Japanese exacting revenge with a smashing fourth-round knockout win via head kick four months later at the MOA Arena in Pasay.

“I see that he has occupied the No. 1 spot in the ONE Athlete Rankings, so I agree that he deserves to face me one more time,” said Pacio of Saruta, who has reclaimed the top rank contender after a second-round KO win over Daichi Kitakata late in 2019 and a unanimous decision triumph over former titlist Yoshitaka Naito last year.

Pacio’s last fight came in January last year — a split decision result over Alex Silva. “You will see a more calculated version of me. I know that I wasn’t really able to show everything that I can do, but this time around, I will give my all to perform and enforce every single skill that we have been working on,” he said.

Pacio will be one of the three Filipinos seeing action in ONE: Revolution with the two others being another strawweight Lito Adiwang against Chinese Hexigetu Hexi and featherweight Roel Rosaura versus American James Yang.