Filipino fighting phenom Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang is first up to bat for Team Lakay this year, as he climbs into the ONE Circle looking to make a huge statement. After a year full of setbacks, Adiwang hopes to set the stage for an incredible resurgence for the Baguio-based martial arts outfit.
Adiwang, formerly ranked #5 in the ONE Championship official athlete rankings at strawweight, dropped a close split decision to Japan’s Hiroba Minowa just a few months ago. In his next bout, “Thunder Kid” is out for redemption and wants it in the most satisfying way.
Adiwang is set to face Namiki Kawahara at ONE: UNBREAKABLE, live on Friday, 22 January at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore.
“Namiki is a good, well-rounded fighter. I can’t underestimate him or say anything bad about him. I just need to be careful. He appears to be strong in all areas. However, I do see some holes in his game that I plan to expose. If I can impose my will and execute the game plan, I will be victorious,” said Adiwang.
“He’s faced some good, strong opponents in the past. But the big difference is that he has never faced a fighter like me. I’m better in all areas, including my submission game and my striking. It’s going to be a technical, high level fight.
“One mistake and I will finish him. I will make his first mistake, his last,” Adiwang added.
Prior to the loss to Minowa, Adiwang was riding a seven-bout winning streak, and was one of the hottest fighters in ONE Championship. He earned his way to the main roster via ONE Warrior Series, joining the web series reality show in 2018. Under the watchful eye of mixed martial arts legend Rich Franklin, Adiwang flourished into an explosive contender.
According to Adiwang, the loss to Minowa was a much needed learning experience, and he plans to apply the lessons he learned in his future fights.
“I made a lot of mistakes in that fight. I just wasn’t focused and sharp. A lot of things were happening in my life. For this next one, I’m going in there with clear focus. When I enter the Circle, it’s time to throw down. That fight taught me a lot. I learned from it and I will move forward a better fighter,” said Adiwang.
“I’ve worked hard on my game over the last few weeks. It was a quick turnaround for me after the holiday break. I’m coming back better than ever before. I think now I’m much more experienced in the fight game. Experience is always a huge advantage.”
Unfortunately for Adiwang, Minowa took over his #5 spot in the rankings. But the Filipino firebrand isn’t all too concerned. He’s looking to finish Namiki Kawahara and make a case for more massive fights down the road that could boost him to even loftier peaks.
“I congratulate Hiroba Minowa on taking the spot from me in the rankings. For me, however, it’s not too big of a loss. Relinquishing my #5 ranking is not something that I will dwell on. My goal is to be #1, and to be champion. Other rankings don’t matter,” said Adiwang.
“Right now my aim is to just get back in there, keep facing the top opponents, and keep winning. Namiki Kawahara is a strong contender and I think it’s going to be a good fight. If I can beat him soundly, then maybe it can make a case for another big fight this year.”
ONE: UNBREAKABLE is ONE Championship’s first live event in 2021. The main event features a ONE Super Series showdown between ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Champion Alaverdi “Babyface Killer” Ramazanov of Russia, who defends his world title against #2-ranked bantamweight kickboxing contender Capitan Petchyindee Academy of Thailand.