"I can feel myself growing" - Redemption-seeking Hiroki Akimoto eager to showcase improved version at ONE Fight Night 22 

Hiroki Akimoto | Photo by ONE Championship
Hiroki Akimoto | Photo by ONE Championship

Former bantamweight kickboxing world champion Hiroki Akimoto had plenty of time to ponder after losing 26 pounds of gold back in 2022.

After licking his wounds, the Japanese superstar is ready to get back and reclaim what was once his.

Akimoto's road to redemption begins at ONE Fight Night 22: Sundell vs Diachkova on Prime Video on May 3. He'll welcome China's first-ever K-1 world champion Wei Rui to the promotion in their three-round kickboxing affair at Lumpinee Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.

Despite a long time on the sidelines, Akimoto remained committed to his craft and sharpened his tools behind closed doors. The 31-year-old can't wait to unleash the new tricks up his sleeve and remind everyone he's still a force to be reckoned with.

Akimoto told ONE Championship in an exclusive interview:

"Ultimately, I won't know until I actually fight, but I'm getting a good feeling from it. I'm having many realizations in each training session and I can feel myself growing."

Before his loss to Petchtanong Petchfergus, Hiroki Akimoto was on a five-fight winning streak and was decimating everyone with his technical striking brilliance.

We'll soon find out if the Japanese striker has truly evolved at ONE Fight Night 22. The full event is free for Prime Video subscribers in the United States and Canada.

Jonathan Haggerty has acknowledged Hiroki Akimoto as a deserving contender

Two-sport king Jonathan Haggerty now owns the throne that Hiroki Akimoto used to occupy.

In an earlier interview with Sportskeeda MMA, 'The General' said he'd love to face the former champion for his first bantamweight kickboxing world title defense.

“Yeah, that’ll be probably next. I want to defend my kickboxing belt so once I beat Lobo, Akimoto it is.”

Haggerty, of course, already blasted Felipe Lobo last February and is set to defend his bantamweight Muay Thai crown against Superlek at ONE 168: Denver in September.

If all goes to plan, maybe a Haggerty versus Akimoto showdown will come next.

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