MANILA, Philippines—Joshua Pacio retained his ONE World strawweight title after stopping rival Yosuke Saruta in the first round of their trilogy fight in ONE: Revolution Friday at Singapore Indoor Stadium.
The Team Lakay star caught Saruta’s leg kick then proceeded to rain down 13 punches on the face of the Japanese challenger, forcing referee Justin Brown to stop the bout 3:38 into the first round.
Pacio (19-3) showed no rust even if he was stepping in the ring for his first fight since his split decision win over former champion Alex Silva on January 31, 2020.
“I’ve been out for one year and eight months, but I was ready and I’m here to stay as champion,” said Pacio during the in-ring interview.
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) September 24, 2021
He remains the lone reigning Filipino champion in the promotion.
Saruta (21-10), meanwhile, has now lost twice to Pacio including his fourth round knockout setback in their last bout.
Still gauging each other, bought fighters landed right overhands early in the first. Saruta then went for a low kick that Pacio caught and that began the end for the former strawweight champion.
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