Lito Adiwang making some serious adjustments as Namiki Kawahara steps up to face him
Lito Adiwang returns to action this Friday at ONE: ‘Unbreakable’. The talented strawweight is looking to bounce back after suffering his first loss in seven fights.
Adiwang dropped a split decision to former Shooto champion, Hiroshi Minowa at ONE: ‘Inside the Matrix’ Part III in November. It’s a result that stings the Filipino, and one that he’d dearly love to get back.
But the immediate challenge comes in the shape of another Japanese fighter called Namiki Kawahara,
“I really wanted this. I am very hungry to come back and get a win,” Adiwang says. “At least if I win this one, maybe I can ask for a rematch from Minowa.”
Agsainst Minowa, Adiwang had a deep kimura locked in during the first round and came close to finishing the fight. Looking back at the incident he recalls,
“In the first couple of seconds when I got the kimura, I knew that I got him. I saw that he cannot tap so I made an adjustment for him to tap but he capitalized on that and made an escape so props to him. But next time I’m in that position, watch out!”
Ultimately, it was the 21-year-old Minowa who came out with the victory, and Adiwang is keen to prove that his first loss since 2016 is merely an anomaly, saying,
“I have to prove that I only had an off-night against Minowa. I made a lot of mistakes back in that match, like in my preparation and weight management for example, that’s the reason why I wasn’t able to perform to what’s expected of me and what I wanted to do.”
The 27-year-old is taking the positives from the fight, and said, “at least I learned from that match, and I was able to see the things that I need to improve on.”
Adiwang was originally scheduled to take on Hexigetu but with the Chinese fighter forced to pull out, he now faces an opponent with a totally different style.
“I think we’re going to adjust heavily here. Now, we’re tweaking our game plan. When we were preparing for Hexigetu, we knew he’s a wrestler with good boxing, but we expected to have a height advantage, so I was really preparing on how he might come in Now against Kawahara, he’s the exact opposite.”
Adiwang thinks Kawahara is more of a stand up fighter than Hexigetu and says that will play straight into his hands,
“He’s more of a striker, but he’s taller than me. However, I am confident that if it stays on the feet, I’m at an advantage. I just have to focus on his point of attack and be accurate with my counters.”
Having lost his last fight, Adiwang dropped out of the top five in the strawweight rankings. Despite the setback, the heavy hitter is confident that 2021 will be a fruitful year inside the ONE circle, and said,
“I see myself racking up a few wins this year. Hopefully, ONE will give us a lot of fights. If that happens, I’ll do my best to get all the wins I can so I can see myself being a top contender by the end of the year.”