Itsuki Hirata talks about the advantages of training in the US compared to Japan

Itsuki Hirata is back at ONE Fight Night 8 on March 24
Itsuki Hirata is back at ONE Fight Night 8 on March 24

Japan’s Itsuki Hirata is one of the top prospects in ONE Championship.

Ahead of the biggest fight of her career to date at ONE Fight Night 8 on March 24, ‘Android 18’ has continued her development by training away from her home in Japan.

In 2022, Hirata made the decision to get some training done in the United States and she quickly saw the benefits of it. Training alongside coaches Ray Longo and Matt Serra in New York, the rising contender was impressed by the level of training partners that she had the opportunity to work with.

A key part of her training overseas has been to develop her grappling game with wrestling being the prime focus. In an interview with ONE Championship, she spoke about the benefits of improving this aspect of her game in the US:

“I feel that compared to America, Japan’s wrestling techniques are not as advanced. Since coming here, I’ve learned more wrestling-centered techniques that I think will be useful in MMA fights.”

At ONE Fight Night 8 on March 24, Hirata will face off against Ham Seo Hee in a huge atomweight matchup. Taking on the No.2 ranked contender in the division, Hirata believes that her grappling could be a path to victory against the South Korean veteran.

The event will take place inside the Singapore Indoor Stadium and will be broadcast live and for free to North American viewers via Prime Video.

Itsuki Hirata is thankful ONE Championship is giving her another chance

At ONE Fight Night 8 in Singapore, Itsuki Hirata will face the No.2 ranked atomweight contender Ham Seo Hee in a huge fight for the division.

Either woman could secure a shot at Angela Lee’s atomweight world championship with a win, which raises the stakes at play between the division’s rising prospect and one of its most experienced competitors.

At ONE 163 in November, Hirata and Ham Seo Hee were originally scheduled to face-off until the fight was pulled from the card at late notice. ‘Android 18’ failed her hydration test and missed weight. With the fight being so crucial for both women, her opponent refused to compete at a catchweight.

Once the fight was rebooked, Itsuki Hirata was extremely grateful to ONE Championship for giving her the opportunity to prove herself once again. In an interview with ONE Championship, she said:

“When I got an offer for this fight, I was full of appreciation for everything... I really appreciate ONE Championship giving me a chance again.”

After suffering her first pro defeat at ONE X last year, Hirata rebounded with a strong performance against Lin Heqin at ONE on Prime Video 1 in August.

Check out the highlights of her most recent performance in the video below:


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Edited by Krishna Venki
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