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ONE: A long strike feeds Joshua Pacio’s hunger to stay on top

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Joshua Pacio celebrates after successfully defending his ONE strawweight world title against Alex Silva in the ONE: Fire & Fury main event on Friday, January 31, 2020 at the Mall of Asia Arena. Photo by Tristan Tamayo / INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines – Currently on the longest break of his career, Joshua Pacio is eager to defend his strawweight belt.

Pacio has not been in the ONE Circle since successfully defending his belt with a split decision victory over Alex Silva of Brazil on January 31, 2020.

“I am beyond excited to get back in the circle as it has been over a year since my last fight,” he said.

The Team Lakay star has options when it comes to his next fight, but if he had his way, he would go with a familiar foe in Yosuke Saruta.

“A trilogy with Saruta would be great, but it really depends on ONE Championship if he will be my next challenger,” he said.

After all, the Japanese challenger is the No. 1 ranked contender in the division.

Pacio and Saruta split their two encounters with the Filipino taking revenge for a shocking knockout in April 2019 to regain the title three months after losing it to Saruta.

“The strawweight division is very stacked right now with the best strawweight athletes in the world,” Pacio said.

“I watch their fights and I keep learning from them and from them. I know for sure that I need to level up continuously because I cannot be idle. But that’s a challenge I’m enjoying. “

After Brandon Vera gave up the heavyweight title last April, the 25-year-old Pacio stands as the only Philippine champion in ONE.

However, Pacio is confident that his fellow Team Lakay warriors, especially the newcomers, will prove their worth.

“I am super motivated to come back and defend our title, especially since my other teammates have already joined the ONE Championship. I am very happy for them and for us, and they will see the next generation of Team Lakay athletes arrive in full force, ”he said.

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