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Saruta becomes 1st One champion for 2019, dethrones Pacio

Yosuke Saruta connects on a right hook against Joshua Pacio. One Championship
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—In just the first One Championship event for 2019, a title belt switched hands.

Yosuke Saruta became the new One strawweight champion after defeating Joshua Pacio via split decision at One: Eternal Glory at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta early Sunday (Philippine Time).

Despite the crisp strikes from Pacio, Saruta's aggression, which led to a surprise takedown to start Round 4 and a late takedown in Round 5, gave him the nod of two of the three judges for the said contest.

Saruta moved up to a 19-win, eight-loss, and three-draw record, going 2-0 under One.

Pacio, on the other hand, fell to 13-3 with all his three defeats coming against Japanese foes.

Team Lakay was actually 0-2 in the said card as Edward Kelly bowed to Christian Lee.

Lee avenged his disqualification defeat to Kelly in style, delivering the ground-and-pound that forced the referee to stop the contest at the 2:53 mark of the very first round.

However, the Philippines will not go home empty-handed as Robin Catalan stunned home country favorite Stefer Rahardian.

Catalan frustrated Rahardian's game plan with his precise strikes en route to a unanimous decision victory.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno