Photo from ONE Championship
MANILA, Philippines – Although Joshua Pacio has yet to go the distance in his young prizefighting career, the highly-touted Filipino prospect has no qualms going full 5 rounds with Japanese champion Yoshitaka Naito.
The 20-year-old Baguio City native is set to challenge Naito for the ONE Championship strawweight title in the main event of the "State of Warriors" card, which takes place at the Thuwanna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar on October 7.
In his 3-year professional mixed martial arts stint, Pacio has not won a single bout by way of decision, finishing his last 8 opponents by either knockout or submission.
Fighting for the first time in a 5-round contest, Pacio is not worried about the outcome of his championship clash against Naito, even as it will depend on the 3 judges at cageside.
“It’s MMA. You will never know if the fight will end by knockout, submission or decision. A fighter should always be prepared wherever the fight goes and accept the results of the fight,” he told Rappler.
According to Pacio, he went through a strenuous strength and conditioning program to sustain his endurance in the championship rounds.
“For this fight, we turned up a notch in conditioning. We did a lot of intense exercises to improve my cardio and stamina. In case the fight goes to the fifth round, I am ready,” he shared.
Having a lengthy fight is not new to Naito as the 32-year-old Japanese owns 5 decision victories and has already fought in two 5-round clashes.
Pacio acknowledged that he has a much more experienced foe, but he is keen on having his hand raised in decisive fashion.
“Naito is an experienced fighter, but I have no problem if it will reach the fifth round as long as I can control the pace of the fight and dominate each round. In that way, I can secure a convincing win over him,” he said. – Rappler.com