MANILA, Philippines -- Young Team Lakay star Lito Adiwang remains confident of his chances after getting a new opponent, just days before his first match of 2021 at ONE: Unbreakable.
Adiwang, known as "Thunder Kid," was originally scheduled to face Hexigetu on January 22 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. But he was replaced by Namiki Kawahara, who will take on the Filipino star on just nine days' notice.
"It's not a big effect for me," Adiwang said Monday of the change in opponent.
"Lalo na, na-check na natin 'yung strength niya," he added. "Kailangan ko lang i-visualize talaga, and 'yung mindset lang ang kailangan kong i-check dito, para i-adjust 'yung game plan and kung anong gagawin ko sa fight."
"Doon lang tayo maga-adjust and hopefully magiging maayos ang lahat."
Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao was quick to provide his fighter with videos of Kawahara, who brings a record of 7-3-2 into his ONE Championship debut.
Adiwang noted that Kawahara was an impressive striker, while Sangiao pointed out that he already has plenty of experience even though this will be his first fight under the ONE Championship banner.
"Magaling din," said Sangiao. "Exposed na exposed na siya sa experience."
"Pero nakikita ko, may advantage pa rin tayo dito," the coach assured. "Alam naman natin, si Lito is very powerful and very explosive. May mga butas kami na nakikita at weaknesses sa opponent niya. Pwede natin dahil doon 'yung laro hanggang maari."
"Alam natin na ang pinaka-main weapon nila is 'yung toughness and mindset nila, na hindi sila sumusuko," said Adiwang of his foe.
"So I need to come out with a good plan na 'yun, kailangan we need to finish this by knockout or submission, or a good decision. Kasi ayun, alam natin hindi sila basta-bastang kalaban."
This will be Adiwang's first match since a shock split decision defeat to Hiroba Minowa in November, a result that snapped a seven-fight winning streak. It also caused Adiwang to drop from ONE Championship's strawweight rankings.
While the young Team Lakay star is still intent on pursuing a rematch against Minowa, he vowed to fully focused against Kawahara and wants the fight to jumpstart another winning streak.
"I just want to make sure na manalo ako dito, at all cost," he said. "I want to get back there and give a show. Gusto kong balikan 'yung position ko, hindi lang balikan but to climb higher. That's why we're back."
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 No. 2-ranked bantamweight kickboxing contender Capitan Petchyindee Academy of Thailand.