A press conference took place in Manila this afternoon ahead of Friday’s ONE: ‘Hero’s Ascent’. During the event the promotion’s Founder/CEO Chatri Sityodtong had some strong words to say about Joshua Pacio’s recent split decision loss to Yosuke Saruta,

“I thought Pacio won the fight, I thought he won the exchanges.”

The Team Lakay fighter lost his strawweight title when Saruta beat him by split decision at ONE: ‘Eternal Glory’ in Jakarta last weekend. Most observers felt the fight was close but Chatri explained why he felt the judges got it wrong,

“ONE Championship represents authentic martials arts and, under the global ruleset, takedowns mean virtually nothing if you cannot inflict damage or advance position for submission attempts.”

His words will be scant consolation to Pacio, whose teammate Geje Eustaquio defends his flyweight title at ONE: ‘Hero’s Ascent’. But the former champion can console himself with the knowledge that an immediate rematch appears to be in the works.

The theme of authentic martial arts was on Chatri’s mind as he discussed Friday’s fight card which will be headlined by a flyweight title bout between Eustaquio and former champion Adriano Moraes,

“ONE Championship was built by a martial artist, for martial artists. I understand the athletes and what they go through each and everyday. I am very proud to be standing here alongside them as their CEO and Chairman. When I look at this card and these incredible athletes, I am so fired up. This is going to be an amazing evening. As the world’s largest stage of martial arts competition, all ONE Championship wants to do is showcase the very best. See you all at the Mall of Asia Arena this Friday night.”

Meanwhile Eustaquio, who has already faced Moraes twice, also appeared to be in a nostalgic mood,

“15 years ago I made the biggest decision of my life to pursue martial arts. No one believed that I would be standing here in front you all as a world champion. But now, I have learned throughout my career and my training that the word impossible doesn’t exist. With the help of my coach and my team, we have achieved success. If I listened to those who were saying I wouldn’t make it, I would not be standing here in front of you all today. This Friday night, me and Adriano (Moraes) will make history in the first ever trilogy bout in ONE Championship. I invite you all to come and watch.”