Joshua Pacio Can Finally Consider Himself A World Champion

There is a famous saying in sports that you cannot consider yourself as a real champion until you have defended your World Title, last Friday, ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio finally broke that barrier.

In front of the sold-out crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Pacio successfully retained his gold-plated strap after scoring a second-round submission win over Rene “The Challenger” Catalan on the main event of ONE: MASTERS OF FATE.

Pacio’s clash with Catalan was his second attempt on defending his World Title. In his first try, the 23-year-old Baguio City native dropped his crown to Yosuke “The Ninja” Saruta of Japan at ONE: ETERNAL GLORY.

After reclaiming his crown last April at ONE: ROOTS OF HONOR, this time around, the Team Lakay representative made sure that he won’t fall to the same curse twice as he scored a decisive victory against a formidable challenger in Catalan.

“As we all know, you can’t really call yourself a champion until you defend your belt. Now I am really happy that I was able to defend the belt successfully,” Pacio said.

“I am very satisfied with my performance. Rene Catalan is a very tough opponent and that is why I really worked hard for that match. I am really happy that I was able to execute everything I have worked for and that brought me the win.

The striking battle between two of the best Wushu artists in the country at some point went as advertised, but after a thunderous spinning back kick from Pacio caught Catalan on the body 30 seconds just passed by in the opening round, the course of bout entirely changed.

“My objective in this match is to get a submission but if there’s one thing that I was surprised with, it’s when sir Rene initiated the takedown,” Pacio shared.

“I hit him with a solid spinning back kick, he smiled at me after then he attempted a takedown. At the moment, I know that it’s gonna be easier for me to execute the game plan.”

In the second round, Pacio stuffed a takedown from Catalan and worked his way into the mount, before securing a tight arm-triangle choke, leaving the challenger with no choice but to tap out.

It was a masterful performance for the “Passion,” but he admits that it also boosted his eagerness more to perform better, especially that tons of big names will attempt to steal his World Title next year.

“I don’t have any plans of taking a break, after this win, training continues. MMA is a continuous learning process and I am ready to learn more and develop the skills that I have now,” Pacio stated.

“January 31 is the next event here in Manila, and we’ll never know – maybe I’ll compete again,” he added. “I am not nitpicking opponents. If there is a deserving challenger, I’ll defend my belt.”

Pacio has already accomplished a lot in the sport and reached heights that took other athletes years to achieve.

The scariest thing about it all is that Pacio is only starting to uncork his true potential.

“Every victory motivates me to learn more and improve. There are a lot of athletes who will be gunning for the World Title and I want them to know that I will always be at my best so I can hold this for a long time.

Author: Robert Belen

Robert Belen is a long-time combat sports writer for dSource Boxing. An avid sports fan, he knows no fear nor partiality in his reporting. If you have a problem with him, tell it to his face. (We bid you not.) You can follow him on Twitter @robertbelen

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