ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES last 22 September in Jakarta, Indonesia proved to be a big night for famed Filipino mixed martial arts stable Team Lakay.
That night at the Jakarta Convention Center, a pair of Team Lakay’s young guns in Joshua “The Passion” Pacio and Danny “The King” Kingad scored landmark victories.
In the main event, Pacio dethroned Yoshitaka Naito via unanimous decision to capture the ONE Strawweight World Championship and avenge his 2016 defeat at the hands of the Japanese submission specialist.
It was the third world championship win in 2018 for Team Lakay, as Pacio joined the likes of reigning ONE Interim Bantamweight World Champion Kevin Belingon and undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje Eustaquio.
Certainly, Team Lakay had all reason to celebrate that night, but not before giving a special shout out their fellow Cordillera natives who were recently affected by the wrath of Typhoon Mangkhut, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Ompong, just a week prior to the event.
During the post-bout interview with Mitch Chilson, Pacio dedicated his championship win to the people who were still reeling from the typhoon.
“Last week, typhoons struck Baguio City, Benguet, and the Cordilleras. A lot of places were hit hard. Many people died and some are still missing. This is for all of them. I know that the Cordilleras will come back and rise again soon as one,” Pacio expressed.
During the post-bout press conference backstage, Pacio continued to show solidarity with his brothers and sisters from the Cordillera Region.
“This bout is really for those who were severely affected by the typhoon in Baguio,” he added. “In the municipality of Itogon, that’s where a lot of my family is. A lot of my cousins are there, and thank God that none of them were hit hard.”
“However, we do know a lot of people who were badly affected and still trying to recover from this. My heart goes out to all of them. This championship is for them,” Pacio continued.
Earlier that night, Kingad bucked a slow start to earn a dominant unanimous decision win over Japanese newcomer Yuya Wakamatsu in a three-round flyweight contest.
Like Pacio, Kingad also had some words of hope for the people in Itogon, Benguet.
“I’m really happy with my win, but it isn’t just mine. This win is for my family and for the people that were affected by the typhoon in Itogon,” he stated.
Pacio and Kingad have both faced adversity and setbacks in their careers, but have bounced back stronger and in spectacular fashion.
Kingad believes that the people of the Cordilleras can do the same as well.
“People from Benguet, people from the Cordilleras, we are strong. We are warriors. I have no doubt in my mind that they will be back on their feet and recover from this like champions,” he proudly concluded.