Both fighting out of the Philippines, reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, 23, and Rene “The Challenger” Catalan, 40, will headline “ONE: Masters of Fate” on November 8, 2019. The defending champion represents Team Lakay of La Trinidad, Benguet while the challenger trains at Catalan Fighting Systems in Makati City, Metro Manila.
Both Catalan and Pacio are Wushu striking specialists. The former believes that this encounter will be brief but as a fighter with veteran experience, he knows he must prepare for all scenarios and be ready for wherever the action takes him.
“Given our styles, it’s not hard to predict this fight will end within the distance but I’m training and preparing to go all five rounds to win a decision if necessary,” Catalan shared. “As a fighter, you have to be prepared for all scenarios.”
ONE Championship will hold “ONE: Masters of Fate” at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila. The fight card features two Muay Thai matches and 12 mixed martial arts bouts including the title bout between Pacio and Catalan.
“I’m one hundred percent focused on getting this belt,” Catalan said. “It’s every fighter’s dream to become a World Champion. I’m hungry and determined to win the title.”
Pacio lost and regained the title in 2019 and before the year ends, he is putting it on the line one more time. For him, it is a chance to further legitimize his claim to the strawweight throne.
For Catalan, it presents an opportunity to realize a lifelong dream. He knows Pacio is beatable and it all depends on how he executes on fight night.
“Joshua Pacio is only human,” Catalan said of his Team Lakay opponent. “Just like every other fighter, he has his strengths and weaknesses. We’re going to try and deal with that in the fight.”
“It all comes down to the game plan we have heading into this,” Catalan continued. “It’s going to be an exciting contest.”
No matter the opponent, there is one thing Catalan will always be proud of and that’s representing his home country on the global stage of competition. He did so in Wushu as an amateur and continues to do so even now as a professional.
“I love my country and it is always an honor to represent the Philippines,” Catalan noted. “I’ve worn the flag for most of my athletic career, and I have always considered it a privilege. Through competing, I aim to show everyone the principles of martial arts. I am not just fighting for my team but also for the glory of my almighty God.”
Meanwhile, here is Pacio and his Team Lakay teammates back in 2018: