Pacio not underestimating challenger Yosuke Saruta

Joshua “The Passion” Pacio.

Reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio isn’t taking challenger Yosuke Saruta lightly.

The Filipino champion will be putting his title on the line against the Japanese challenger in the main event of ONE: ETERNAL GLORY on Saturday, 19 January, kicking off what’s sure to be another eventful year for ONE Championship.

This will be Pacio’s first world title defense, and he’s making sure that he’ll be ready no matter how long the bout may go.

“I’m coming into this fight, as usual, in the best shape of my life. The way I fight, my style is very fast-paced with constant movement. To be able to maintain my pace, I have to be in great physical condition. We have worked extensively on my conditioning, and I’m prepared for a five-round war,” Pacio told ONE Championship.

While Pacio is no doubt a world-class talent in his own right, the young champion himself believes that his team and his coach is a large part of his current success.

The 22-year old trains out of the famed Team Lakay stable out of Baguio City in the Philippines, under decorated mentor Mark Sangiao.

Team Lakay, of course, is home to four current ONE world champions.

“Of course, we still have a solid game plan in place, and that’s going to be a huge key to victory. I have the best team behind me and the best coach.”

“As long as we put our heads together, and I follow my coach’s instructions, I’m confident I can retain the title and bring home another golden strap to Baguio City,” Pacio added.

As far as his challenger goes, Pacio is fully prepared for another grappling battle, much like his previous outing against former champion Yoshitaka Naito.

Saruta, a 31-year old veteran, made an instant impact in his ONE debut by defeating former champion Alex Silva via unanimous decision.

“I think Saruta’s biggest strength is his grappling, although he really has good striking skills. He proved that in his last bout against Silva. He is a very well-rounded athlete. I am preparing for the toughest opponent of my career. This is how I always train,” Pacio explained.

“There’s no use in underestimating my opponents. I honestly don’t think Saruta has any glaring weaknesses, and that’s why I’m getting myself ready for a grueling bout,” he continued.

As far as making predictions, Pacio remains confident that he’ll be taking the belt back home with him once all is said and done.

“I see myself winning, and my hand getting raised at the end of the night. But that is as much as I am going to say.”

“I don’t like predicting how fights will end because, in this game, anything can happen. All I can say is that I’m going to follow our game plan strictly because I know, in the end, it’s what will bring victory,” Pacio concluded.