Good things could be just around the corner for ONE Championship’s rising Thai contender Pongsiri Mitsatit.
The 9-0 strawweight has the opportunity to take his perfect record into double figures in Manila against Filipino star Joshua “The Passion” Pacio at ONE: REIGN OF KINGS in Manila, the Philippines on Friday, 27 July.
After their originally-scheduled bout at ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES in January was shelved due to the Thai’s injury, Mitsatit can’t wait to get back into the swing of things in a pivotal bout for both men’s careers.
“It is always frustrating for me to cancel a fight due to injury,” says the 22-year-old.
“Training was going smoothly, but then I suffered a stomach infection from food poisoning after eating at a local market. It took a few weeks before I started to feel right, and I have been training ever since.”
Now the pair are finally ready to meet in Manila, with the real potential of a ONE Strawweight World Title shot just around the corner for the victor.
Though Mitsatit has been out of action, he has still been working on his game at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket.
“It has been very hard not competing for so long, but I have been using that time to improve my ground game,” he explains.
“I love the training there. Coach George Hickman takes very good care of me. I feel I have improved a lot in every aspect of my game since I joined Tiger Muay Thai.”
He will need his full arsenal of skills against Pacio, whose own evolution as a martial artist has been on full display in his last two outings. He first knocked out Roy Doliguez with a spectacular spinning KO, and then showed his improving grappling skills to defeat Chinese Sanda Champion Lan Ming Qiang by rear-naked choke.
Pacio’s success has mirrored that of his Team Lakay stablemates this year, but Mitsatit says he is not concerned with his opposite number’s training camp.
“I have no idea how Team Lakay’s training regimen is, but it is not a matter of the gym. It is a matter of dedication and motivation,” he explains.
“He is a good fighter and I am excited to compete against him. You might be surprised, but you may see me perform some takedowns and submissions.”
Only one of Mitsatit’s nine career wins have come via the scorecards, and he will be confident of another finish against Pacio. If he is successful in defeating “The Passion” inside the distance, the next big step in his career might not be far away.
“A win will get me closer to that title shot,” he says.
“When it comes, I will give it some thought.”