Team Lakay's ONE strawweight champion Joshua Pacio.

Team Lakay’s ONE strawweight champion Joshua Pacio. ONE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Team Lakay coach Mark Sangiao isn’t worried about rust when it comes to ONE strawweight champion Joshua Pacio for his title defense against Yosuke Saruta in ONE: Revolution.

Pacio is fighting for the first time since January 2020, when he retained his title against Alex Silva via split decision, as he faces No.1 contender Saruta on September 24 in their trilogy capper.

Despite Pacio’s absence for more than a year, Sangiao said he’s confident that Pacio won’t have any problems come as his sparring mates are former champions Geje Eustaquio and Kevin Belingon, who once held the flyweight and bantamweight titles, respectively.

“As a coach, I don’t see any ring rust developing because he has his teammates with him,” said Pacio. “He has his brothers, former champions in Geje and Kevin, as his sparring partners in the gym.”

Sangiao added that Pacio’s work ethic alone is a testament to the mentality of the 23-year-old champion.

Pacio, who even contracted COVID-19, has trained non-stop for his fight against Saruta and he even stayed at the Team Lakay gym to make sure that there won’t be any interruptions to his routine.

“Joshua has a great attitude, he’s one of the most hard working athletes I’ve ever seen, there was even a time last year that he stayed at the gym so that he can train continuously,” said Sangiao.

“He’s improving every training session and I know that he’ll have a better performance compared to his previous fight.”


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