By Dan Paulo Errazo
The holiday season in the Philippines usually means people rushing about to buy gifts, going to numerous parties, and simply enjoying a little time off with their loved ones. But according to reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, a true professional does not waste a single moment to train.
Pacio, who captured the strawweight strap with a unanimous decision victory over former champion Yoshitaka Naito last September, will make the first defense of his title on January 19, 2019, at ONE: Eternal Glory set for Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia. He will square off against Yosuke “Tobizaru” Saruta.
Despite the holiday season, Pacio is maximizing the time he has left before the main event by putting in the hours to make sure that he is more than ready to face his challenger.
“It’s the sacrifice that I have to do because it’s my first title defense,” said the 22-year-old Baguio native.
“On Christmas Eve, I spent it with my family, but the day after, I was back in training.”
“The Passion” was initially scheduled for a rematch with Hayato Suzuki, but due to an injury that forced Suzuki to withdraw from the contest, Saruta was tapped to step in and compete for the title.
Yet even with the sudden change in opponent, the Baguio City native Pacio’s focus remained steadfast.
“As a martial artist, you need to adapt. It has already happened to me in the past, and I was able to adapt through it,” he said.
“The game plan will be changed, but that’s okay. It’s better now because there are still weeks to prepare.”
With a few weeks left before one of the most important matches in Pacio’s career, he is confident that he is on track with his training and is determined more than ever to do what it takes to keep the title.
“The training is going fine. Now it’s all about peaking at the right time in training,” he shared.
“Regardless of my opponent, I will do my best to defend my title successfully.”