By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter

JUST months into his ONE Championship career, Filipino strawweight fighter Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang is earning his keep. And how!

Started his ONE journey with the promotion’s reality show, “ONE Warriors Series” in 2018, Mr. Adiwang of Team Lakay has made an impressive ascent after securing a contract to be part of ONE’s main draw in the middle of last year.

“[Earning the ONE Championship contract] was the greatest feeling of my life, and I was super excited to show the world what I could do,” said Mr. Adiwang of how things are taking form for him.

And the young fighter has been making a strong impression not only in his division but the entire ONE-dom.

Mr. Adiwang has been unbeaten in two fights to date with the “big boys” at ONE, with his best still ahead of him.

He first saw action in the main draw in October at the historic ONE: Century event in Tokyo, Japan, against highly-touted veteran Senzo Ikeda.

There he was expected to face his first real test against the Japanese warrior, something he passed with flying colors.

Mr. Adiwang wrecked Ikeda, swarming him within the first few moments of the contest with his usual blistering pace. When action hit the mat, Mr. Adiwang brandished his unheralded ground game. He took Mr. Ikeda into a scarf hold and trapped his arm. Within moments, the Filipino stalwart had already latched onto a deep and secure armlock.

From there it was all over as Mr. Adiwang moments later was proclaimed the winner by technical knockout with Mr. Ikeda suffering from a hyperextended elbow joint and could not proceed.

The Filipino then followed it up with another convincing win here in Manila on Jan. 31, beating highly regarded Pongsiri Mitsatit of Thailand.

Playing in front of the hometown fans for the first time under ONE, Mr. Adiwang (11-2) promised to bring the heat and delivered accordingly.

He pounced on Mr. Mitsatit early, overwhelming his counterpart with wild hooks and sharp uppercuts from all directions. The Thai could do little aside from try to defend himself.

Mr. Mitsatit tried to extend the fight by backpedalling but the hometown bet was just unrelenting in his attack, eventually taking down his opponent to the mat.

From there, Mr. Adiwang shifted into grappling mode and again looked for his favorite scarf hold position. He maneuvered Mitsatit’s arm into a kimura from which the latter just could not escape from. After which the fight was waved off in Mr. Adiwang’s favor.

With the two quality finishes, Mr. Adiwang said they are representative of who he is as a fighter.

“I always go for the finish. That’s one thing fans can count on from me. I have an intelligent game plan, but my goal is to always end the fight early,” said the confident fighter.

And he cautioned that he is just beginning on his journey, and has his sights on bigger things moving forward.

“I’ll fight whoever they put in front of me. I’m ready for the big fights,” said Mr. Adiwang.

Asked who among ONE he would like to fight next, the Filipino said it is former strawweight champion Yoshitaka Naito of Japan.

“Now that would be a great challenge,” Mr. Adiwang said of Mr. Naito.