Lito Adiwang is set to return in the Circle with a stronger desire to win despite wearing a heavy heart from the start of 2021.
Adiwang opened the New Year with heartbreak after his mother, Leticia, who suffered multiple stroke since 2016, had passed away last December 30.
“[I] chose this career, and I believe she was happy to see me succeed in what I love to do,” said Adiwang. “I know in my heart she is proud of me, and I will continue to live my life in her honor.”
With the help of Team Lakay members, led by coach Mark Sangiao, the 27-year-old Igorot warrior spent the first few weeks of January with full support on his back.
After his mother was laid to rest, Adiwang, who holds an 11-3 record, vowed to come back more determined when he faces Chinese foe Hexigetu in ONE: Unbreakable on January 22 in Singapore.
The former No. 5 strawweight contender recently saw his seven-match win streak snap, his first loss in four years, after a controversial split decision loss to Japanese opponent Hiroba Minowa last November.
Although he asked ONE Championship for a rematch with Minowa, the promotion instead handed him Hexigetu, who rides on a three-match win streak with a 7-3 slate.
“I am more motivated now than ever to achieve my goals and apply the lessons I learned in 2020, especially. I know the pressure is on, and I can feel the pressure. I know I have to prove myself to the world again, to earn the people’s trust. I’m working on coming back stronger than ever,” said Adiwang.
“I think everything happens for a reason. My setbacks today will be what makes me a better fighter for tomorrow.”
Adiwang and Hexigetu will lock horns in the first installation of the three-part Unbreakable series, marking ONE Championship’s first live event in 2021.