He may be 39, but the Japanese athlete has emerged as one of the brightest stars from Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series (OWS) – the show created to find the top rising stars in mixed martial arts.
The representative of Shingi Dojo and TEAM THAI-YO has already scored two wins in the flyweight division – more than any other OWS graduate – since he earned his contract with the main roster, and he will attempt to make that three against Aleksi “The Giant” Toivonen in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
After suffering the first loss of his professional career, can Japanese warrior Akihiro Fujisawa make a triumphant return to the winner's column on 12 July?: Kuala Lumpur | 12 July | 6PM | ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY: Get your tickets at http://bit.ly/onemastersofdestiny19: Check local listings for global TV broadcast: Watch on the ONE Super App http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp : Prelims LIVE on Facebook | Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE on Twitter
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, June 22, 2019
“I want to inspire the older generation who is watching ONE by showing them what a 39-year-old fighter can do,” he says.
“Superjap” began his career with a draw, but stood out as a man to watch in his weight class with five consecutive stoppage victories. His strength on the ground made him stand out as he hit four TKOs and one submission during a perfect run.
However, he hit the first stumbling block of his career when he was too aggressive in his pursuit of a takedown, and he was caught off-guard with a guillotine choke in his last match.
The Bangkok resident admits he felt a weight on his shoulders to maintain his winning run, and that caused him to perform well below his capabilities.
He has put that setback behind him, and when he competes in the Axiata Arena, he does not expect to make the same mistake.
“I lost last time under the pressure to remain undefeated, but I have tightened my mindset and technique for this fight,” he explains.
“Although losing was regrettable, I learned a lot from the defeat.”
With that said, he does not intend to curb his aggression too much or temper his pursuit of a finish, even though Toivonen also has a reputation for capitalizing on any opportunity to finish.
Like Fujisawa, “The Giant” also has 100-percent finishing rate thanks to his top-class Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills, but rather than fear his opponent’s offense, “Superjap” just accepts that one man will give the fans a stoppage to cheer.
“I have no experience of going to a decision in my professional career, and neither does Aleksi,” he explains.
“The match will end by KO or submission, whether I win or lose.”
If he can get his hand raised, the Japanese athlete will take his tally of wins in the world’s largest martial arts organization to three – on top of one victory in OWS.
He believes that figure, capped with a win against one of the world-renowned Evolve gym’s hand-picked new recruits will put him in line for some of the top names in the flyweight division.
“One day I would like to fight Demetrious Johnson,” he says.
“I also want to beat some of the athletes from the Flyweight World Grand Prix to get the chance to fight DJ.”
Kuala Lumpur | 12 July | 6PM | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onedestiny19