Lito Adiwang’s Rise From Fitness Instructor To ONE Championship

They say that thousands of hours go into every over night success. And the same can be said for Team Lakay’s Lito Adiwang. Whilst it may feel like the 26 year old burst onto the ONE Championship scene from nowhere, his recent success has been the result of years of dedicated practice and hard work.

Adiwang’s martial arts journey began over ten years ago, as the promising strawwweight explained to ONE Championship.

“When I was a student at the University of Baguio, I was a part of the school’s Wushu team. Back then it was Coach Mark Sangiao who oversaw all tournaments and that was my first encounter with Team Lakay in 2010.

“Since my family is still financially challenged, I had to leave martial arts to work in Malaysia as an MMA fitness instructor for Muay Fit. In Malaysia, I got the opportunity to watch Eduard [Folayang] and Geje [Eustaquio] compete at ONE: ‘Clash of Heroes’. I took it as a sign that I was meant to become a professional athlete. After their event, I followed them to their hotel and spoke with Geje to see if I could return to Team Lakay and train with them again. Geje told me that he will speak to Coach Mark about it and I waited. I then trained with AKA Thailand for a year before returning home to the Philippines.”

Once back in the Philippines, Adiwang began training at Team Lakay, once again under the masterful eye of Mark Sangiao.

“When I started training with Team Lakay we started from the basics and began building my skills from the ground up.

“My goal when I joined the team was to be a part of ONE Championship. Coach Mark and the rest of the team made sure that I was ready for the level of competition as we trained daily. Finally, Jeremy Pacatiw and I were selected initially as reserves for the ONE Warrior Series. Whenever I was called to compete, I always think that this is my last chance to join ONE Championship and aimed to win.

After winning all three of his bouts in Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series, two via first round stoppages, Adiwang was awarded a full ONE Championship contract.

“I was in shock when they announced that I won the contract and was still in awe when I was signing the document.

“Thanks to the experience I gained at OWS, I was able to shake off my ring rust and gain more confidence in facing talented athletes around the world. I was also able to start renovating our house and I am able to pay for my mother’s medications. Now my name is also known internationally and I plan to keep on giving my best performances as a sign of appreciation for the faith given to me by ONE Championship.”

Adiwang made his full ONE debut last October at ONE: Century and scored a first round TKO win over Senzo Ikeda. Lito then followed this up with yet another first round finish, submitting Pongsiri Mitsatit at ONE: Fire And Fury in January.


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