By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
TOKYO — Filipino strawweight fighter Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang made his ONE Championship debut on Oct. 13 at the company’s landmark “ONE: Century” event here, and it was a rousing first outing for the Team Lakay member which he attributed to “smart” preparation on their part in the lead-up.
Took hometown bet and former Pancrase champion Senzo Ikeda in a preliminary fight for Part 1 of the two-pronged Century event held at the famed Ryogoku Kokugikan in Sumida City, Mr. Adiwang (10-2) passed his initial test as part of the main roster of ONE Championship by winning via technical knockout (injury) in the first round.
Mr. Adiwang, the ONE Warrior Series contract winner early this year, showed his range as a fighter against Mr. Ikeda.
Known for his striking, Mr. Adiwang delivered a different facet of his game as he scored an early takedown and immediately executed a scarf-hold armlock. The bout was stopped just moments later after the Japanese suffered an injury to his arm, giving the stoppage win to the Baguio native.
After the fight, Mr. Adiwang expressed satisfaction over being able to execute what they as a team envisioned since the start of training for his debut outing.
“The preparation set everything here. We’ve been preparing hard. Not just hard but smart as well. Senzo Ikeda was not an easy opponent. He is a very tough warrior and he showed that in our fight. Even if his arm was broken he tried to keep going. What fighting spirit,” said Mr. Adiwang to members of Philippine media who covered Century.
“I trained hard for striking. So if he engaged in striking I engage with him. But he attempted to take me down and we were well prepared for striking and ground and I was able to deliver my submission,” he added.
Impressive was Mr. Adiwang’s debut that even ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong could not help but heap praises to the former.
“I was blown away by Lito’s performance. He had a very, very tough opponent, Senzo Ikeda … I thought that fight was going to go three full rounds of both guys going all out, so I was shocked by that judo throw immediately to a keylock, I was blown away. Incredible performance, so I think that’s the perfect debut you could ever ask for, especially coming off ONE Warrior Series,” said Mr. Sityodtong, referring to the fight series of the company designed to find the next and best prospects in different parts of the world.
Mr. Adiwang topped “Warriors Series 7” in August, where he defeated Anthony Do of Vietnam by unanimous decision in the main event to earn a six-figure contract with ONE.
“Lito has a Cinderella fairy-tale story, so let’s see how far he can go, but definitely, with Team Lakay and Mark Sangiao, I think the sky is the limit for Lito,” said Mr. Sityodtong.
With his debut over and done with, Mr. Adiwang said he is ready to take his career even further and succeed as a fighter.
“You can expect more from me. I’ve been visualizing this for years and I really wanted to enter ONE and be a part, not just be a part, I want to be a champion here,” said Mr. Adiwang.
Adding, “Every time I enter the circle I will try to give good shows and continue to improve.”