AN ALL Filipino title bout may be in the works in One Championship.
Following Joshua Pacio’s victory last week against Yosuke Saruta to reclaim the ONE strawweight world title, the Team Lakay’s first title defense maybe against another Filipino.
One Championship has yet to announce the bout but Rene Catalan has possibly earned a shot at the title after scoring six straight victories recently.
Catalan is quite arguably the hottest property in ONE’s strawweight division with his impressive victories, especially against former ONE strawweight world champion Yoshitaka Naito via stoppage.
According to ONE, Catalan is an incredibly dangerous match-up for anybody, and a bout with a wushu stylist like Pacio — in Manila, no less — would produce fireworks.
Pacio meanwhile welcomed the idea saying a bout against Catalan will be a tough test in his championship reign.
“I just have to defend the throne no matter who is next in line. Some say it’s Rene Catalan, a fellow Filipino, and that’s okay. I’m fine by that. Rene is a veteran. He came up with my seniors like kuya Eduard (Folayang) when they represented the Philippines in wushu,” Pacio as cited in ONE’s website.
Pacio added Catalan has shown great improvement with takedown defense, and he’s gotten stronger where he showcased it against Yoshitaka Naito which was very impressive.
“He’s a well-rounded athlete, and I look forward to that challenge down the road. I think I can finish him in three rounds,” Pacio added of Catalan.
Pacio quipped he a learned a lot during his first bout against Saruta and worked on them which resulted to a fourth round knock-out of the Japanese.
“I can never hesitate in this game. When you see the openings, you have to pull the trigger. The moment you second-guess yourself, you’re already a step behind. I just have to be more confident in my abilities and not let that doubt creep in. I have to be stronger mentally. The tools are sharp and the body is willing, but it’s the mind that executes,” he added.