In one match, Jarred Brooks became a star in ONE Championship. In his debut performance, the talented strawweight choked out Lito Adiwang and jumped into the thick of the hunt for Joshua Pacio‘s ONE Strawweight World Championship.
Brooks returns at ONE: Only The Brave to take on Hiroba Minowa in a virtual title eliminator.
Although much of the talk after his win over Adiwang circled around Pacio and Team Lakay, Brooks is keeping his attention on Minowa heading into the matchup on Friday, January 28.
“Everybody looks over Hiroba, man. Hiroba is a tough, tough, tough kid. And I am not going to sit here and say that I’m just going to run past Hiroba and what’s up, Josh, we’re going to get it, you know,” said Brooks.
“Hiroba is on my list right now, man. And I think that people want to get Hiroba off of my mind to get Joshua on my mind. And, nah, it’s not working. I think that Hiroba is probably, if not the best in the division besides Bokang [Masunyane]. So yeah, I’m more focused on him right now than Joshua.”
The American has watched Minowa’s performances, including his own win over Adiwang, to understand the challenge that awaits. And Brooks is complimentary of his skills while remaining confident that he will be able to shine in the spotlight once again.
“I think he throws pretty straight punches when he wants to throw. He’s not a bad boxer. He keeps his head up a little bit too much. He has a high chin just a little bit. On the ground, he’s great. He has fast takedowns, is super-efficient, and is defensively sound. He definitely has a lot of great qualities that I see in myself as a grappler as well,” Brooks said of his opponent’s skills.
“But in this fight, it’s going to be harder than Lito’s fight, for sure, because he’s a winner. That dude doesn’t lose usually. I’ve watched a lot of video on him. I’ve watched his losses when he was a little bit younger, too, against [Yosuke] Saruta and stuff like that. It’s a good canvas. It’s a good canvas to paint on.”
The plan for the #3-ranked strawweight contender is to be aggressive and push the pace, but there is no expectation that Minowa will wane in the face of that pressure.
Instead, Brooks simply feels his skills will be too much for the Japanese star.
“You know, I think he might be strong, you know, might be a little bit strong, but he hasn’t felt anybody as strong as me at my weight. And as fast as me at my weight. I think he has his hands full,” said Brooks.
“He’s going to have a tough time. If he tries to shoot in on me, good luck. Take me down? Good luck. I mean, I’m going to be right back up to my feet throwing punches, and I throw way harder punches than him.”
If he can accomplish what he is planning to do, a date with Pacio is next. It is a fact that does not escape Brooks.
The rivalry between Team Lakay and the bombastic American is steadily growing. A potential meeting between Brooks and Pacio, with the heat beginning to get turned up, could be one of 2022’s most spectacular bouts.
“I do think I am the king of the strawweight division. Joshua Pacio and Hiroba Minowa might have something to say about that. But that’s all up here, you know, and wherever the fans think that it’s at. I appreciate anybody that thinks I’m the best in the world at anything. I appreciate that,” said “The Monkey God.”
“I think that for the division, it would spring us up and put a lot of eyes on us. You’ve got somebody like Pacio to where you have all those eyes in the Philippines, and then word comes back to the United States that I might be the king of the new division outside of the United States. Then we could really get some fans and some people really looking at that fight and really be interested in a strawweight bout.”
“But yeah, Josh, of course, I am coming for you, and if you want to watch our fight, which I know you will, you’re going to be studying. But study for me. Do all you have to do to try to beat me. I’m looking for the best Joshua Pacio out there, and I’m looking to beat the best Joshua Pacio out there.”
But to get to Pacio, Minowa must first be defeated. Brooks gets his chance to solidify his title opportunity in the opening bout of the main card of ONE: Only The Brave.
ONE: Only The Brave airs on Bleacher Report’s YouTube channel at 7:30 a.m. EST/4:30 a.m. PST on Friday, January 28.