MANILA, Philippines—Lito Adiwang is considered among the most promising fighters in ONE Championship.
But before starting to make a name for himself in martial arts, Adiwang had to beat the odds outside the cage first.
“I was born the youngest in a family of seven children. Life was tough and we had to get through a lot of trials. My parents used to plant crops in an open lot so we would have food to eat, but it wasn’t enough,” Adiwang recalled.
“It really taught me a lot about overcoming adversity in life. I wanted to help my family, but I felt powerless. Then I lost my fourth sibling in a mining accident. My parents separated when I was a teenager. I just felt hopeless.”
But despite the tough circumstances, Adiwang found respite which he drew strength from and allowed him to discover his purpose.
“Growing up watching the rise of Manny Pacquiao, I was motivated to become a boxer just like him. I wanted to represent my country and make my people proud too. I wanted to help bring my family out of hardship and poverty,” said Adiwang.
“There used to be an old church on the streets where I grew up, where I initially started to learn how to box. I was 12 years old at the time. I would shadowbox and imagine I was Manny Pacquiao, fighting against legends like Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera. I loved his relentless style. His opponents couldn’t handle him.”
And so far, the explosive Adiwang has proven to be too much for his foes as he’s remained undefeated in ONE Championship with his last fight ending by submission in the first round.
The 26-year-old Adiwang knows he will neither be just like his hero nor come close to what boxing’s only eight-division champion has accomplished.
But that doesn’t mean he won’t aspire to be like his idol every time he steps in the cage.
“To be even considered in the same breath as Manny, it’s such an honor. If I can accomplish even a fraction of what he has in his career, I can consider my career a success,” said Adiwang.
“Right now I’m just focused on being the best that I can be. I really want to prove myself against the best opponents, and I feel I am ready.”
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