APART from keeping his ONE Championship winning strict alive, Filipino strawweight fighter Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang has a bigger reason for wanting to win in his ONE Championship return—his ailing mother, Leticia.

To take on Japanese Hiroba Minowa in a three-round mixed martial arts contest at “ONE: Inside The Matrix III” on Friday at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, 27-year-old Mr. Adiwang (11-2) said he is dedicating his fight to his mother, who has been bed-ridden because of multiple strokes.

The Team Lakay fighter shared that to see his mother in such a condition has been tough for the entire family but they are fighting through it and staying strong for her.

And Mr. Adiwang, winner of his first two fights in the main draw of ONE Championship, is honoring his mother the best way he knows how to.

“I am very excited and happy to be back in action, and continue to do what I love to do. This fight is very special for me. I want to win for my family, especially my mom,” said Mr. Adiwang.

“My mother has had a big impact on my life. She is the reason I am who I am today. I thank her for everything in my life, and I am proud and happy to be her son,” he added.

Mr. Adiwang comes into the fight from an impressive first-round submission (kimura) victory over Thai Pongsiri Mitsatit in January.

Unfortunately, his momentum was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

But despite the limitations brought about by the pandemic, Mr. Adiwang said he made the most of what was presented to him as far as training was concerned and believes he is ready for the Minowa fight.

“It’s very important for me to keep my momentum in ONE Championship because it’s one way for me to be recognized as a top talent in ONE. My goal is to one day become a world champion. Nothing has changed since you last saw me. I’ve only gotten better,” he said.

Adding, “I’ve really done my best in training and to improve myself. That’s the only way I can keep this up. Every time I step into the Circle, I want to give fans a show they want to watch. Each victory will keep moving me up the ladder until I’ve reached the top.”

The ONE Warrior Series product went on to say that Mr. Hinowa (10-2) is no easy challenge, being a champion in Shooto and all.  

“Hiroba Minowa is a very good fighter. I respect him a lot. He is a young and hungry fighter with a good ground game. I’m not taking him lightly, or any opponent for that matter. I always come for the victory,” said Mr. Adiwang.

ONE: Inside The Matrix III is headlined by former ONE Bantamweight World Champion and #1-ranked bantamweight contender Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon of the Philippines and #5-ranked bantamweight contender John “Hands of Stone” Lineker of Brazil.

Also seeing action is Messrs. Adiwang and Belingon’s stable mate Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio, who is fighting South Korea’s Song Min Jong in a catchweight clash at 64kg. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo