Former bantamweight kickboxing king Hiroki Akimoto “not really conscious” of Wei Rui’s K-1 championship pedigree

Hiroki Akimoto talks about his upcoming fight against Wei Rui.
Hiroki Akimoto talks about his upcoming fight against Wei Rui.

Hiroki Akimoto isn't too worried about the championship pedigree Wei Rui is bringing to their impending matchup in Bangkok.

Akimoto will welcome the former K-1 Kickboxing champion to ONE Championship at ONE Fight Night 22 on May 3 at the historic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.

Wei is one of the best Chinese kickboxers of all time and is the first K-1 Kickboxing champion from China.

The 32-year-old also won titles at Glory of Heroes and Wu Lin Feng.

Akimoto, however, isn't all that impressed.

The Japanese star said being a world champion is almost a prerequisite before joining ONE Championship, and holding gold in other promotions doesn't make a fighter stand out that much.

"All the fighters in ONE have won titles so I'm not really conscious of the fact that he's a former K-1 world champion," said Hiroki Akimoto in an interview with the promotion.

Akimoto is a black belt in Kyokushin Karate and is considered among the greatest practitioners of the discipline. He brought that intensity to ONE Championship in 2019 and eventually became the ONE bantamweight kickboxing world champion in March 2022.

ONE Fight Night 22 is available live and free to all Prime Video subscribers in the United States and Canada.

Hiroki Akimoto isn't sold on Jonathan Haggerty's claim as being the division's best kickboxer

Hiroki Akimoto once ruled over the bantamweight kickboxing division, and he wants nothing more than to return to the throne he once sat on.

Although he still has some work to do before he takes a shot at the gold, Akimoto has observed how two-sport king Jonathan Haggerty laid claim to the ONE bantamweight kickboxing world title.

Haggerty, who also owns the ONE bantamweight Muay Thai world title, knocked out bantamweight MMA king Fabricio Andrade for the kickboxing strap to reach champ-champ status.

Akimoto, however, isn't sold on Haggerty's claim as being the best kickboxer in the division.

"He's a kickboxing champion now, but he hasn't fought any kickboxers. I still believe I'm the best kickboxer," said Akimoto in an interview with the South China Morning Post.

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