In a shocking turn of events, Team Lakay lost two World Titles in a span of two weeks to start 2019. However head coach Mark Sangiao believes his wards will soon become World Champions once again. Joshua Pacio in particular, the former ONE Strawweight World Champion, Sangiao believes is still improving.
“It’s difficult and heartbreaking for me to see my athlete who worked really hard lose. But like what we always say, we either win or we learn,” said Sangiao.
“With Joshua, it was really close, he could’ve won. He won the striking department but I’m not sure how the judges scored the takedowns, that could have been the reason why we lost. But I have faith in Joshua that he will come back and become a World Champion again.”
Facing Yosuke “Tobizaru” Saruta last 19 January in Jakarta, Pacio showcased his world-class striking but Saruta’s grappling skills took center stage. As such, Sangiao knows exactly where his athlete needs to improve.
“We will prepare and train Joshua according to his performance and the result of his match,” said Sangiao.
“We saw what Joshua lacked to win so we will work on those. We will make Joshua a complete martial artist. It will be a different Joshua that you will see in the rematch. That is what I want to do for Joshua.”
Despite Saruta being crowned the new ONE Strawweight World Champion, ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtong also expressed his disagreement with the judges’ decision. Sityodtong then declared that there is a definite rematch between the Japanese warrior and Joshua Pacio on the horizon.
“We will definitely welcome a rematch and I can confidently say the result will be different. Next time, we won’t leave the fight at the hands of the judges,” Sangyao concluded
“I always tell my athletes to love what you do and do not give up. Just always remember to work hard and work smart.”
Do you think Joshua Pacio can reclaim his title this year?
By Dan Paulo Errazo
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 1/29/2019.