Adiwang Used Pacquiao As Motivation To Help Family Out Of Hardship
Lito Adiwang burst onto the ONE Championship scene last October in Japan, stopping Senzo Ikeda in the very first round at ONE: Century. The winning debut came after securing a place on the full ONE roster by coming through Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series in impressive fashion.
The 26 year old is the latest in the long list of contenders to come out of Team Lakay, in the mountains of Baguio City. As with many of his teammates, Adiwang comes from humble beginnings.
“I was born the youngest in a family of seven children. Life was tough and we had to get through a lot of trials. My parents used to plant crops in an open lot so we would have food to eat, but it wasn’t enough,” Adiwang recalls.
“It really taught me a lot about overcoming adversity in life. I wanted to help my family, but I felt powerless. Then I lost my fourth sibling in a mining accident. My parents separated when I was a teenager. I just felt hopeless.”
Just like kids up and down the Philippines, Adiwang was motivated by the Filipino boxing legend, Manny Pacquiao. And once he found his idol, ‘The Thunder Kid’ had all the inspiration he needed to help his family out of hardship.
“Growing up watching the rise of Manny Pacquiao, I was motivated to become a boxer just like him. I wanted to represent my country and make my people proud too. I wanted to help bring my family out of hardship and poverty,” Adiwang said.
“There used to be an old church on the streets where I grew up, where I initially started to learn how to box. I was 12 years old at the time. I would shadowbox and imagine I was Manny Pacquiao, fighting against legends like Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera. I loved his relentless style. His opponents couldn’t handle him.”
Currently on a seven bout winning streak, Adiwang is tipped for great things. And should he accomplish a fraction of what Pacquiao has achieved in his career, Lito says he will be happy.
“To be even considered in the same breath as Manny, it’s such an honour. If I can accomplish even a fraction of what he has in his career, I can consider my career a success. Right now I’m just focused on being the best that I can be. I really want to prove myself against the best opponents, and I feel I am ready.”
Three of the seven wins on his unbeaten run came on the ONE Warrior Series. ONE Warrior Series CEO Rich Franklin, says he knew Adiwang was destined for great things the first time he saw him train at Team Lakay, on the OWS show.
“I knew Lito was something special the moment I saw him train, and eventually compete. He just has that finishing instinct that not everyone has. With some polish, I knew Lito would make a huge impact in ONE Championship,” Franklin stated.
“He’s a phenomenal athlete and I just see him powering through the division. He still has much to learn, but he’s also developing at such a rapid pace. I’m really proud of what he’s accomplished so far, and very excited for what the future holds for him.”
Do you think Lito Adiwang will be Team Lakay’s next ONE world champion?