Crisanto “The Slugger” Pitpitunge watched as Pacific X-treme Combat (PXC) bantamweight champion Justin “The Shocker” Cruz shuffled his feet to set up a Superman punch in their main event clash at PXC 31 Saturday.
“I really waited to time it because I could easily see the preparation of his move,” Pitpitunge said in Filipino. “I just timed it right.”
The challenger hit Cruz with a crushing straight right hand that instantly sent the champion crashing into the canvas as Pitpitunge became just the second homegrown Filipino champion in the PXC.
It was an exciting fight right from the opening bell, with the Team Lakay Wushu fighter coming out of his corner swinging. An early slip by Pitpitunge put him in slight danger, before Cruz tried to set up a big punch that was countered perfectly by the big knockout punch.
“I felt relieved after the fight,” the new champion said. “And I’m happy that we can see the rewards of the hard work we put into the training, especially the hard work of coach Mark Sangiao.”
Pitpitunge barely needed a gameplan in this one, relying on his impressive one-punch knockout power, but came into the fight as prepared as he could be.
“Obviously, we weren’t expecting the fight to go like this,” Pitpitunge said. “The gameplan was try to keep up with him on the ground. I knew he was a grappler but in every fight, it’s the fighter with more spirit that wins in the end, so we wanted to go with him on the ground and test his cardio.”
Team Lakay founder Mark Sangiao also expressed his joy after Pitpitunge claimed another title for the famed Baguio-based MMA team, which includes current URCC champions Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon and Roy Docyogen.
“I’m so happy. Especially now, we have another belt and this one isn’t just on a national level, but an international event,” said the coach.
Sangiao credited hard work and coachability on the part of his fighters as the secret to the team’s success in the local MMA scene.
“The Team Lakay fighters are not hard to teach,” he said. “Whatever their coaches tell them, they are humble enough to accept and follow, no matter how hard.”
“It’s through the fighters’ hard work and skill that they get these achievements, these belts.”
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