November 29, 2023

■  Harley F. Palangchao 

Cordillera mixed martial arts fighter Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang wasted no time in his comeback fight, as he only needed 23 seconds to finish his opponent in the undercard of ONE Friday Fights 34 on Sept. 22 at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.

Adiwang, 30, connected a solid right on Adrian Mattheis of Indonesia before he unleashed a barrage of unanswered punches while his opponent was on the ground.

THUNDEROUS FINISH — Cordillera’s mixed martial arts fighter Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang just needed 23 seconds to stop Indonesian striker Adrian Mattheis via technical knockout in the first round of their strawweight bout at ONE Friday Fights 34 at the historic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand on Sept. 22. — ONE photo

The referee came to Mattheis’ defense when he stopped the fight to prevent further damage on the Indonesian striker.

“I can’t find the right words to express my gratitude and joy after getting the victory at ONE Friday Fights 34. This journey has been nothing short of incredible, filled with trials, perseverance, and the unwavering support of so many amazing people,” Adiwang said in a post-fight statement in social media.

The Igorot striker was obviously emotional in his comeback fight after an 18-month hiatus to heal a knee injury he incurred during a fight with fellow Filipino campaigner Jeremy Miado in March 2022.

“To say that the past 18 months have been a challenge would be an understatement. I faced hurdles that seemed insurmountable, but I never gave up. I fought not only in the ring but also against doubt and uncertainty. This victory is a testament to the power of perseverance and the strength of the human spirit,” Adiwang added.

The former Team Lakay rising star improved his record to 14 wins against five losses while Mattheis dropped to 11-7.