Fans were surprised when Lito Adiwang was announced as part of “ONE: Unbreakable,” ONE Championship’s first show this year set for Friday at Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Adiwang, who battles Japanese MMA champion Namiki Kawahara, is just a few weeks removed from a personal tragedy after he lost mother Letitia, who suffered from multiple strokes, two days before 2020 ended.
“Before the tragedy happened, I had already agreed to return in January, so I was keen on staying true to my word and pushing through in this event,” he said.
Still grieving, Adiwang said his preparations were also one way of battling his heartbreak.
“I know how heavy the situation is, so it also helps to stay busy,” he said. “Every time I stay idle, I get pulled down, and once I’m there it’s easy to be stuck in the negatives, so competing is really the positive way of doing this.”
His head coach, Mark Sangiao, stayed with Adiwang through his tragedy and made sure that he wasn’t getting himself into something just based off emotion.
Now confident in his student’s mindset, Sangiao said he was positive Adiwang would be ready to show up this Friday.
“I was there with him during his mother’s last days, and I know he’s already accepted it. That’s the circle of life. We believe that his mother deserves to rest now, especially as she has gone through so much,” Sangiao said.
“So we talked about it, we prayed over it, and being Christians they accepted it wholeheartedly. Now he’s using it as a motivation to win because he’s competing for his mother.”
That’s exactly what Adiwang had in mind, too.
“This bout is for my mother and I’m certainly inspired and motivated to win this match for her. My mind is 100 percent ready to compete – hopefully, everything will go as planned,” he said.
FROM THE ARCHIVES