Danny Kingad could become the third ONE world champion to come from the famed Team Lakay gym in Baguio City. (FILE PHOTO)
A little over a year ago, ONE Championship strawweight contender Joshua Pacio got the biggest opportunity of his young career so far, when he challenged champion Yoshitaka Naito after just two fights under the ONE banner.
And while Pacio ultimately fell short in his first shot at world title gold, it was still invaluable experience for the 21-year old.
Helping Pacio every step of the way was his close friend and Team Lakay training partner Danny Kingad, who said that he too hopes to walk the same path.
“Siya yung partner ko palagi, kaya gusto ko din na maging ganun, tulad ni Joshua, kaya pinag-iigian ko lagi yung training.” Kingad said in an interview back in November of 2016.
(“He’s always my training partner, that’s why I want to be like that, like Joshua. That’s why I’m always doing my best in training.”)
Fast forward about a year later, and Kingad finds himself in nearly the exact same situation.
After just three fights under the ONE Championship banner, the 21-year old Kingad will be facing his biggest test so far in his young career when he challenges reigning flyweight champion Adriano Moraes at ONE: Legends of the World at the Mall of Asia Arena, Friday.
This time around, it’s Pacio who’s doing the supporting and the cheering.
While the two Team Lakay young guns are around the same age, Pacio as a bit more experience, and he knows about the pressures of challenging for the top prize in the game.
“Of course, against kay Moraes, co-main event siya, may pressure, lalo na’t dito sa Pilipinas, talagang may pressure yun.” Pacio shared with the media. “Pero sinasabi ko nga, pag lumalabas na siya papunta sa cage, hindi na niya maiisip yung pressure kasi maiisip niya, time na niya yun,”
(“Of course, against Moraes in the co-main event, there’s going to be pressure. Especially since the fight’s going to be in the Philippines. But I keep telling him, once he walks out to the cage, he won’t be feeling the pressure because he’ll be thinking that this is his time.”)
Pacio has nothing but faith in his training partner.
“Alam ko time na niya maging champion.” he added.
(“I know that it’s his time to become champion.”)
Kingad’s title shot comes somewhat as a surprise, especially after the Team Lakay flyweight had back-to-back fight cancellations.
In the end however, the wait was worth it for Kingad and camp, as it opened up an even bigger opportunity.
Joshua couldn’t be any happier for his Team Lakay brother.
“Proud na proud ako kasi kaibigan ko siya, dalawang beses na-cancel yung laro niya, grabe yung training namin dun, tapos napunta lang sa wala yung training namin. Ngayon worth it naman kahit hindi natuloy yung dalawa, kasi title shot naman.”
(“I’m really proud because he’s my friend. His fight got cancelled twice, and we trained so hard for those fights, but it was for nothing. Now, it’s all worth it, because while those two fights got cancelled, he ended up getting a title shot anyway.”)
If all goes according to plan, Kingad could become the third ONE world champion that Team Lakay has produced, joining former featherweight champ Honorio Banario and current reigning lightweight champion Eduard Folayang.
Danny Kingad challenges Adriano Moraes for the ONE Flyweight World Championship at ONE: Legends of the World on Friday, November 10th at the Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City, Philippines.
Catch the action LIVE starting at 8:30 PM on S+A channel 23!
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