|Joshua Pacio fought as if he was not out of action for a long time. ONE Championship (file photo)|
MANILA--Joshua Pacio is back!
The Team Lakay stalwart made a triumphant return after over a year and a half in style, knocking out Japanese rival Yosuke Saruta in their third showdown for the ONE strawweight title at ONE: Revolution on Friday night at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Despite being relegated to just training amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Pacio showed that he did not have the "ring rust" everyone was expecting, quickly downing Saruta with a right hook.
Although Saruta had some good moments of his own like some kicks to the leg that staggered Pacio a bit, it was actually through Saruta's leg kick that Pacio began his finish.
Just as Saruta connected on a leg kick, Pacio connected on a right hook that wobbled him before landing a series of left punches that forced referee Justin Brown to stop the fight at the 3:48 mark of the first round.
Pacio ended his trilogy with Saruta with his second consecutive knockout win over him even as he moved up to 19-3 overall, winning his last four fights and successfully defending his ONE Championship gold for the third straight time.
Saruta, on the other hand, fell to 21-10-3.
Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno