Hiroki Akimoto not sold on Jonathan Haggerty’s claim as the best bantamweight striker: “He hasn’t fought any kickboxers”

Hiroki Akimoto (L) and Jonathan Haggerty (R) | Photo by ONE Championship
Hiroki Akimoto (L) and Jonathan Haggerty (R) | Photo by ONE Championship

Former ONE bantamweight kickboxing world champion Hiroki Akimoto is not that impressed with the fighter who now occupies his old throne.

Jonathan Haggerty turned a lot of heads when he achieved two-sport supremacy last year by taking out bantamweight MMA world champion Fabricio Andrade in highlight-reel fashion.

By doing so, ‘The General’ collected the bantamweight kickboxing crown, which was vacant at the time. The British slugger’s stock has skyrocketed since, but Akimoto is not buying the hype.

As far as the Japanese superstar is concerned, Haggerty remains untested against the best kickboxers in the world’s largest martial arts organization:

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

Akimoto has been quite vocal about his desire to reclaim his lost gold.

Before dropping a split decision loss to Petchtanong Petchfergus, the 31-year-old racked off five straight victories against some of the most dangerous strikers in the division.

The Evolve MMA star is also among the long list of challengers who have called out Haggerty in recent months.

Even fans and pundits alike are curious to see how Akimoto’s gracefully technical style will match up with Haggerty’s aggressively chaotic attacks.

Jonathan Haggerty wants Hiroki Akimoto as first kickboxing world title challenger

Jonathan Haggerty recently returned to ‘The Art of Eight Limbs’ and successfully defended his bantamweight Muay Thai belt with the beautiful destruction of Felipe Lobo at ONE Fight Night 19.

‘The General’ understands his responsibilities to defend world titles in multiple sports and wouldn’t mind jumping back to kickboxing for his next foray.

The 27-year-old megastar accepted Hiroki Akimoto’s challenge, as long as the Japanese striker agrees to enter enemy territory. Haggerty told Sportskeeda MMA:

"You [Hiroki Akimoto] can come over to my terms, yeah. Come to the UK.”

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Edited by Harvey Leonard
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