The road to success in martial arts is very rarely straight forward, and Yosuke “Tobizaru” Saruta knows that as well as any competitor.
To reach the top, the elite have to make sacrifices, and the 31-year-old did that when he left his home and first gym behind him in pursuit of his goals.
It was not easy, but as he remembers his experiences ahead of his battle with Joshua “The Passion” Pacio for the ONE Strawweight World Title at ONE: ETERNAL GLORY on Saturday, 19 January, the Japanese athlete knows everything he has done was worthwhile.
Why Yosuke Saruta is Joshua Pacio's toughest challenge yet ⤵️Jakarta | 19 January | 5:30PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneglory19
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, January 11, 2019
Born and raised in Kawaguchi City in Japan, Saruta found mixed martial arts aged 18 after a lifetime of athletic endeavor.
However, after twice coming up short in his challenge for championship gold in his homeland, he decided to leave his team to see if he could continue his progress elsewhere, and get over that final hurdle.
“When I lost my Shooto title matches twice, I decided to leave Reversal Gym Kawaguchi REDIPS, my previous team, for my present team, Wajutsu Keishukai HEARTS,” explains Saruta.
“Although it was hard, I thought my old teammates would be pleased if I became a champion.”
“Tobizaru’s” change in gym required him to move from Kawaguchi to Tokyo. Although it is not a million miles away, his quiet, peaceful home city is a world away from the nation’s capital.
The rent and living costs in Tokyo are among the highest in the world, which was one more thing for Saruta to worry about as he devoted most of his time to training.
Will Yosuke Saruta's "Yamato Spirit" lead him to World Title gold on 19 January? ????????Jakarta | 19 January | 5:30PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneglory19
Posted by ONE Championship on Thursday, January 10, 2019
“Because the cost of living is so high, I contemplated whether I could afford it, and whether I had to move home,” he admits.
Despite his struggles, Saruta was determined to do what was necessary to accomplish his mixed martial arts ambitions. Two years on, and he is still there, and he has thrived during that time.
His life revolves around training. He moved into a building behind the gym, 30 seconds walk from his door to the dojo, so he can devote much of his time to practice, and he does not have to worry about the stresses of travel in his bustling megacity.
“At first I was a little bit nervous, but it was very close to my gym and convenient,” he adds.
“At home, I can have some rest between training sessions, and I can save time instead of commuting to the gym so I can train longer than before and learn more.”
Yosuke Saruta's not taking 19 January lightly! ????Jakarta | 19 January | 6:30PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Facebook: Prelims LIVE | Twitter: Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneglory19
Posted by ONE Championship on Monday, January 14, 2019
His hard work in Wajutsu Keishukai HEARTS with coach Kenji Osawa has paid dividends. In October 2017, “Tobizaru” defeated Ryuto Sawada with a fourth-round stoppage to finally capture the Shooto Strawweight World Title at the third time of asking.
This was vindication for the hard decisions he had made, and proof he belonged in the world’s largest martial arts organization.
He made his debut at ONE: DESTINY OF CHAMPIONS in December against former ONE Strawweight World Champion Alex “Little Rock” Silva, and put on a phenomenal display to take the win by unanimous decision.
By defeating his division’s former king, Saruta jumped to the front of the line to face Pacio in Jakarta.
Now he has the biggest opportunity, on the biggest stage of his career. Becoming a World Champion in ONE would make all his sacrifice worthwhile, and he is adamant he can make it happen.
Will Yosuke Saruta shock the ???? on 19 January?Jakarta | 19 January | 5:30PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/oneglory19
Posted by ONE Championship on Tuesday, January 8, 2019
“I will keep moving through the whole fight, and when my opponent is getting tired, I will finish him,” Saruta asserts.
“I’ve thoroughly researched him, and I’ve prepared to overpower him.”