If no Minowa rematch, Adiwang wants 'better' challengers

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 24 2021 07:21 PM

Lito Adiwang celebrates his victory over Japan's Namiki Kawahara. Photo courtesy of ONE Championship

MANILA - As much as he wants to avenge a bitter defeat against Japan's Hiroshi Minowa, Filipino fighter Lito Adiwang is prepared to move on if ONE Championship can't put a rematch together.

Adiwang barged back into the win column with an impressive knockout victory over another Japanese fighter, Namiki Kawahara, at ONE: Unbreakable last Friday, bouncing back from last November's defeat to Minowa.

The Team Lakay standout maintained afterward that he still wants a rematch against Minowa, who escaped with a split decision victory when they fought at ONE: Inside the Matrix 3 last year. However, he acknowledged that it was up to the matchmakers of ONE Championship to decide.

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"For me, it's up to ONE already if they want a rematch with me and Minowa," Adiwang said after his triumph over Kawahara.

Adiwang's loss to Minowa had been controversial, as the Japanese appeared to tap from a submission move but was not seen by the referee. 

Prior to his bout against Kawahara, Adiwang said he was still "obsessed" about a possible rematch, but the fighter known as "Thunder Kid" now appears ready to move on.

"We got a lot of good talents in the division," he said. "If Minowa doesn't want to dance again with me, then I'm ready to accept any higher caliber and better challenges."

One possible foe? China's Hexigetu, who was supposed to be Adiwang's opponent for ONE: Unbreakable before he had to withdraw for COVID-19 related reasons. 

Adiwang says he is willing to take on Hexigetu, or any other opponent that ONE Championship sees fit to put in front of him.

"I'll just prepare myself," he said. "I'm not here to pick opponents. I'm just here to improve myself, train every day, improve, and come here and show my improvements."

Ultimately, Adiwang wants to improve enough to show that he deserves a shot at the ONE strawweight belt. 

He dropped out of the division's rankings after his loss to Minowa, but he believes that he remains within distance of the best fighters at strawweight.

"I need to show a little bit more, and maybe earn some good wins from the former champions," Adiwang said. "(I have to) put my name back in the rankings, then okay, I'll know that I'm worthy for that strap."

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