“He’s a skilled fighter” – Japanese superstar Hiroki Akimoto honored to duel formidable foe Wei Rui at ONE Fight Night 22

Former ONE bantamweight kickboxing world champion Hiroki Akimoto
Former ONE bantamweight kickboxing world champion Hiroki Akimoto

Former ONE bantamweight kickboxing world champion Hiroki Akimoto will finally make his long-awaited return to action at ONE Fight Night 22 on May 3. Inside the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, the Japanese superstar will face Chinese ONE debutant Wei Rui in a three-round bantamweight kickboxing bout.

On his upcoming foe, Hiroki Akimoto said in an interview with ONE Championship:

“My opponent is a really good fighter, so I was happy when I got the offer. I knew about him. I haven’t seen him fight live, but I had the impression that he’s a skilled fighter.”

The Japanese former world champion hasn't been inside the ring since losing his belt to Petchtanong Petchfergus at ONE 163 in November 2022. It's a bold move to face someone like Wei, especially coming off a long lay-off for over a year.

Wei has an impressive 69-3 pro record and hasn't lost in nearly five years. The former K-1 and KLF world champion is on a staggering 20-fight winning streak. His last bout was in April 2023 when he beat Akimoto's fellow Japanese fighter Hisaki Higashimoto at Wu Lin Feng 536: China vs Japan.

Hiroki Akimoto reveals his plans for his bout with Wei Rui at ONE Fight Night 22

Akimoto also provided some insight into what he plans to do in his fight with Wei Rui, even offering up some predictions on how the bout would go.

He told ONE:

“I want to shut him out completely. That’s the main goal. There are a few key points I have in mind, so I want to execute those properly. If I let him take control, I’ll lose, so I need to do what I’ve practiced."

Hiroki Akimoto continued:

“In the first half of the fight, we’ll likely exchange kicks in an exciting way for the viewers. Then in the second half, I want to take control of the pace and be dominant at both kicking and close range.”

ONE Fight Night 22 will air live on US Primetime free of charge for existing Prime Video subscribers in North America.

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