CEBU

Adiwang eager to bounce back

EXPECT Lito Adiwang to come out guns blazing against Japanese champion Namiki Kawahara on Friday night, Jan. 22, 2021, in ONE Championship: “Unbreakable” at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore.

“Lito Adiwang versus Namiki Kawahara is going to be another exciting fight. That’s for sure. Lito is never in a boring fight. He always comes to win, and he’s always explosive. We like this matchup,” said Adiwang’s coach Mark Sangiao.

The 27-year-old Adiwang earned his contract with the ONE Championship after impressing Rich Franklin in his stint at the organization’s developmental league, ONE Warrior Series, wherein he put on full display his aggressiveness, explosiveness and power.

“We always consider every opponent to be the toughest, and there will be no difference with that here. We never say we are better or lesser than any athlete. There is no tougher or weaker. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. The key to victory is imposing your will, and playing to your strengths,” said Sangiao, Team Lakay’s founder and head coach.

Adiwang’s strength has always been his explosiveness and power.

He stopped Japanese Senzo Ikeda via a first round stoppage in his ONE debut in 2019. He followed it up with a first round kimura submission of Pingsiri Mitsatit on Jan. 31, 2020.

Adiwang’s rise, however, was halted after a close split decision loss to Japanese Hiroshi Minowa on Nov. 13, 2020.

Adiwang faces another talented Japanese fighter in Kawahara, who’s the DEEP strawweight champion.

The 31-year-old Kawahara won his last two contests and dethroned veteran Haruo Ochi via a second round rear-naked choke to win the DEEP strawweight belt on Aug. 23, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan.

“Namiki has a good training background. His skill set is impressive. But we are not at all threatened. We are not worried, and we are all out embracing this matchup. I think the two fighters will be fairly evenly matched. We don’t want to underestimate him. He’s going to come out with a lot of energy and motivation to win, and so will Lito. As always, it’s going to be a fun fight with Lito,” said Sangiao.

Adiwang is 11-3, while Kawahara is 7-3-2.

Adiwang needs to win this Friday if he wants a potential rematch with Minowa.

“Mind you, fans in the Philippines in general are clamoring for a Lito Adiwang versus Hiroba Minowa rematch,” said Sangiao. “That’s the fight fans want to see. We feel there is unfinished business there that they need to take care of.” (EKA)


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