Team Lakay is no stranger to engaging with trilogies in the Circle.
And Joshua Pacio, the ONE strawweight champion, is determined to break the “trilogy curse” when he takes on Japanese rival and No. 1 contender Yosuke Saruta in ONE: Revolution on Friday, Sept. 24 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
As much as he doesn’t believe in such situations, the 25-year-old Team Lakay stalwart will see to it that there’s no such thing as trilogy curse and whatnots.
“Para sa akin hindi ako naniniwala sa mga ganon, basta I’m confident, 100 percent na ready tayo physically, spiritually, and lahat na 100 percent ready (I don’t believe in such thing but I’m confident, a hundred percent ready),” said Pacio, who holds a 19-3 record. “Hindi ko iniisip ‘yon ‘yong mga sinasabi nila pag trilogies parang doon tayo nadadale (I don’t think about it that much. Many were saying that trilogies pose a threat to us).
“I’m ready din to break ‘yong sinasabi nilang ganon pero wala, hindi tayo naniniwala doon (In any case, I’m ready to break that curse but still I don’t believe in such things),” added the reigning strawweight champion.
In recent history, Team Lakay fighters were pitted against their respective rivals in third and decisive fights.
Former lightweight champion Eduard Folayang lost to Japanese icon Shinya Aoki, former bantamweight titleholder Kevin Belingon yielded to current titlist Bibiano Fernandes of Brazil, and Geje Eustaquio suffered defeat at the hands of Adriano Moraes in their trilogies.
Team Lakay coach Mark Sangiao, for his part, stressed that they have been studying and looking at their points to improve and keep their focus intact without much thinking on the situation they were put in.
“When it comes to curse, hindi tayo naniniwala doon (When it comes to curse, I don’t believe as well),” said Sangiao. “As long as we did our part, win or lose, kung nanalo tayo ‘yon ‘yong mga pinaghirapan ng mga atleta natin (As long as we did our part, win or lose, and if we win, that’s the result of our athletes’ hard work).”
The trilogy against Saruta will mark Pacio’s third straight title defense since defending the strawweight belt against the likes of compatriot Rene Catalan and former world champion Alex Silva of Brazil.
Meanwhile, Saruta, 34, rides on a two-match win streak coming from Daichi Kitakata in October 2019 and division No. 2 Yoshitaka Naito in September last year to improve at 21-9-3 win-loss-draw card.