Ham Seo Hee and Itsuki Hirata try again at ONE Fight Night 8 on March 24

Ham Seo Hee (Left) will finally face Itsuki Hirata (Right) at ONE Fight Night 8
Ham Seo Hee (Left) will finally face Itsuki Hirata (Right) at ONE Fight Night 8

South Korea’s Ham Seo Hee and Japan’s Itsuki Hirata have unfinished business.

At ONE 163 in November, the pair were scheduled to face off but the fight fell through after Hirata missed weight and her hydration test. With Ham unwilling to strike a middleground catchweight contest to stay on the card, the fight was canceled.

At ONE Fight Night 8 on Prime Video, they have been scheduled once again to clash inside the circle and give the fans the matchup that they wanted to see. With the implications for the atomweight division, Ham vs. Hirata was too good of a potential fight to watch fall apart. So, on March 24, they will try once again.

The fight sees veteran contender Ham Seo Hee defending her place in the division as the No.2-ranked fighter against rising prospect Itsuki Hirata. The 23-year-old judo specialist recently rebounded from her first loss in MMA with a win over Lin Heqin to improve her record to 6-1.

It will be a classic collision between a rising contender and an established challenger, with Ham Seo Hee riding an eight-fight win streak that includes her two victories inside the circle.

With their originally scheduled fight being billed as a title eliminator, nothing has changed in the postponement of their eventual clash. Whichever woman is successful on March 24 will have a real case for being the next fighter in line for a shot at Angela Lee and her world championship.

“I promise to resist and show them how strong I am” - Itsuki Hirata plans to showcase her strength and prove doubters wrong

Itsuki Hirata is starting to build back the momentum that she previously had as the most exciting prospect in the atomweight division.

‘Android 18’ had the hopes of the fans pinned on her going into the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix in 2021. But while she was seen as one of the favorites in the tournament, Hirata was forced to pull out due to illness.

Following that disappointment, Hirata was handed the first pro loss on her record by Jihin Radzuan, losing a split decision in March last year. After several setbacks in her career, the 23-year-old got herself back on track with a win over Lin Heqin last August.

This had all built up to what could’ve been a breakout moment for Itsuki Hirata in the form of her matchup against veteran contender Ham Seo Hee at ONE 163. Sadly, that fell apart when Hirata couldn't make weight and halted her progress.

During an interview with MMA Sucka in the build-up to their originally scheduled fight, Hirata said:

“No matter how weak they say I am, I promise to resist and show them how strong I am. And prove I am the best.”

Fortunately for her, she has been given a second shot at this massive opportunity to face the No.2-ranked fighter in the atomweight division.

If she is able to defeat Ham Seo Hee at ONE Fight Night 8 on Prime Video, all of the slight setbacks in her career will be left behind in the past as she emerges as the next atomweight contender.

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Edited by Harvey Leonard
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