20 September 2018 – Jakarta, Indonesia: The largest global sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), recently held a media open workout on September 20, 2018 at the Jakarta Muaythai & MMA Gym. Reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito, 34, of Japan faced off with challenger Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, 22, of the Philippines for the first time ahead of their epic rematch scheduled for the main event of “ONE: Conquest of Heroes” on September 22, 2018 at the Jakarta Convention Center.
“I have a lot of respect for Joshua Pacio,” Naito stated during the event at the Jakarta Muaythai & MMA Gym. “He is a very talented kid and a great martial artist. I have no doubt that one day, he will be champion but that day hasn’t arrived yet.”
“Right now, it’s my time,” Naito added. “He will have his chance, but I am in the best condition of my career and I fully expect to walk out of the arena this Saturday the winner, with title fully intact. He has improved immensely in the two years since we last met in the cage, but so have I.”
“I am a much more complete martial artist now than ever before,” the reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion continued. “This will be an exciting bout for sure, but one that I will come out of still champion.”
Naito is one of the most successful martial artists to ever emerge from Japan. In just four short years since debuting in 2012, he conquered the notoriously competitive Japanese martial arts scene, capturing the Shooto Flyweight Title.
The Japanese champ has captured the ONE Strawweight World Championship on two occasions since making his ONE Championship debut in 2016. He defeated former champions Dejdamrong “Kru Rong” Sor Amnuaysirichoke, 39, of Trang, Thailand and Alex “Little Rock” Silva, 35, of Ubatuba, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Pacio also made his ONE Championship debut in 2016. He was inspired to take up martial arts ever since he was 12 years old.
After an undefeated amateur career, Pacio soon made his professional debut, where he went 6-0 before making it to the global stage of ONE Championship. In 2016, he got his chance against Naito, falling just short of victory.
Now riding a three-bout winning streak, Pacio has earned a rematch against Naito. The Filipino challenger said, “I have waited two long years for this, working on my skills every single day and improving with every bout.”
“This is no doubt the biggest fight of my professional career,” Pacio added. “I am a completely different fighter now compared to before when we first met. I think I will surprise him a lot with how much I have changed.”
“I have worked extremely hard with my team, with my coach, on developing a fight-winning strategy for this Saturday night,” Pacio said of Team Lakay and the team’s head coach Mark Sangiao. “All that’s left is for me to execute.”
“Winning the world title means a lot to me,” Pacio concluded. “It will give me a chance to provide a better life for myself and for my family. I have only victory on my mind in this bout.”
Here is a clip featuring Naito: