Manny Pacquiao just announced he would be running for president. The boxing legend can count on getting at least one vote because ONE Championship strawweight Lito Adiwang is a big fan.

Adiwang says that Pacquiao is his idol,

“When it comes to sports, the number one inspiration I have is Senator Manny Pacquiao. He’s the one who really pushed me to wear gloves. There’s just so many things that he’s done for the country, particularly in sports, so that’s why it’s really him.”

Adiwang, who fights Hexigetu at ONE: ‘Revolution’ on Friday, says he has been a fan of the boxers for a long time,

“When I was younger, I was able to catch his early fights. I was so amazed. He kept on winning, and he did it in the most exciting way possible. He performed for the fans, and that gave me the fire to say, ‘One day, I want to do this and follow in his footsteps’.”

Humble beginnings

Pacquiao comes from a humble background and Adiwang says he sees parallels with his own life,

“Like me, he also came from nothing, and now he’s already a millionaire. One takeaway from that is once you do your best, stick with your passion and you’ll succeed. It won’t be in vain. Everything else will follow.”

He thinks that Pacquiao’s humility has enabled him to keep his life under control despite amassing a fortune estimated to be around 150 million USD,

“I have to highlight his humility. He’s achieved everything imaginable in boxing. He’s reached the top, yet he remains humble,” he said.

Role model

Where many other boxers have have well publicized issues with their personal lives Pacquiao is a role model according to Adiwang,

“This is where some athletes have trouble in life. Once we get something that we never had before, like money, some athletes tend to go into a downward spiral, mainly because they don’t know how to use it. But Senator Manny is different. His humility and how he handles fame, you’ll see that he didn’t change one bit.”

Pacquiao will surely retire from boxing in order to focus on his presidential campaign. But if he does decide to fight on Adiwang would definitely support him,

“He’s my idol, and it hurts to see him lose. But, as a real fan, I respect whatever his decision is. If he wants to retire, or if he still has that fire, it’s up to him. I can’t dictate to him what he plans to do next. I’ll just pray for him and support him.”