“Shut him out completely” - Former bantamweight kickboxing king Hiroki Akimoto plans outright domination against Wei Rui

Hiroki Akimoto talks about his upcoming fight against Wei Rui.
Hiroki Akimoto talks about his upcoming fight against Wei Rui.

Hiroki Akimoto is ready to bring the fire in his return.

The former ONE bantamweight kickboxing world champion is back in action and he'll take on historic K-1 champion Wei Rui at ONE Fight Night 22 on May 3 at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.

Akimoto is one of the most technical fighters in ONE Championship, but his deep Kyokushin Karate background also makes him one of the promotion's most explosive strikers.

The Japanese star operates with a high-octane style and he wants nothing more than to put on a show for the fans when he faces Wei in Bangkok.

Speaking to ONE Championship, Hiroki Akimoto said:

"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."

Akimoto had a brief run with the ONE bantamweight kickboxing world title when he snatched the gold at ONE X in March 2022.

Although he relinquished the throne to Petchtanong Petchfergus in November 2022, Akimoto is hellbent on reclaiming the throne he once sat on.

A win over Wei, China's first K-1 Kickboxing champion, could propel Akimoto to a shot at the ONE bantamweight kickboxing world title that now belongs to Jonathan Haggerty.

ONE Fight Night 22 is available live and free to all Prime Video subscribers in the United States and Canada.

Hiroki Akimoto unbothered with Wei Rui's championship pedigree

Wei Rui is one of the best kickboxers China has produced this generation, but Hiroki Akimoto isn't overly concerned by the Chinese star's credentials.

The 32-year-old is the first K-1 Kickboxing champion from China and previously held multiple titles at Glory of Heroes and Wu Lin Feng.

Despite Wei's stacked resume, Akimoto said that winning titles outside of ONE Championship is almost a prerequisite to joining the promotion.

"All the fighters in ONE won titles so I'm not really conscious of the fact that he's a former K-1 world champion," said Akimoto in the same interview."

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