Pacio seeks validation against Catalan

BAGUIO. Joshua Pacio is more than fired up this time as he defends his strawweight world title against another Filipino in Rene Catalan on November 7 at the MOA Arena. (Photo by Roderick Osis)

IT’S GOING to be another All–Filipino clash for the title as reigning ONE Championship strawweight world champion Joshua Pacio defends his title against upset seeking Rene Catalan.

The bout was announced Monday afternoon, October 7, where the event takes place at the more than 20,000-seater Mall of Asia Arena on November 7.

The 23-year-old Team Lakay fighter captured the strawweight belt with a unanimous decision victory over Japanese veteran Yoshitaka Naito in September of 2018, but surrendered the title to another Japanese warrior in former Shooto champion Yosuke Saruta in his first defense.

Months later, Pacio avenged that defeat by knocking Saruta out with a head kick to regain ONE Championship gold.

Now, Pacio is looking to make the first defense of his second strawweight title reign against Catalan.

Catalan, on the other hand, is currently the hottest strawweight in the division who is riding an impressive six-bout win streak.

The Philippine Wushu Champion and veteran martial artist stopped former champion Naito in the first round of his most recent outing, earning him a shot at the ONE strawweight world championship.

Catalan faces Pacio in a highly-anticipated all-Filipino showdown for the strawweight throne.

This will be the second All–Filipino title bout in ONE’s history after Honorio Banario and Eric Kelly, both from Baguio City fighting for the inaugural ONE featherweight world championship with Banario winning via a fourth round technical knockout.

Initial bouts for the “Master of Fate” event include a ONE Super Series Muay Thai bantamweight contest in 4-ounce gloves headlined by Sangmanee Sathian MuayThai of Bangkok, Thailand taking on Azize Hlali of France. Despite being just 22 years old, Sangmanee has already achieved multiple honors in the sport including seven Muay Thai World Championships.

He is a well-respected competitor in his home country and has defeated some of Muay Thai’s biggest names. Hlali, who trains out of Venum Training Camp, is a two-time Muay Thai World Champion.

ONE Atomweight Kickboxing and Muay Thai World Champion Stamp Fairtex of Thailand continues her quest for a mixed martial arts world title when she faces top women’s atomweight Bi Nguyen of Vietnam and the United States.

The 21-year-old Stamp recently impressed in her return to the Circle, defeating Asha Roka by third round submission. Nguyen, meanwhile, was victorious against Puja Tomar in a Muay Thai contest.

WBC and IPCC Muay Thai World Champion Alma Juniku of Australia is back in ONE Super Series action when she takes on Anne Line Hogstad of Norway in a Muay Thai atomweight contest in 4-ounce gloves.

Juniku made her ONE Championship debut against none other than two-sport World Champion Stamp Fairtex last June.

She is now tasked to welcome ISKA Muay Thai World Champion and promotional newcomer Hogstad to the world’s largest martial arts organization.

Additional bouts for ONE: Masters of Fate will be announced at a later date.


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