Meet Wei Rui: The Kickboxing Superstar Ready To Prove The Power Of Chinese Striking In ONE Championship

Wei Rui

ONE Fight Night 22: Sundell vs. Diachkova on Prime Video will see one of the planet’s top pound-for-pound kickboxers make his celebrated ONE Championship debut.

On May 3 in U.S. primetime, Chinese superstar “Demon Blade” Wei Rui will put his 20-fight winning streak on the line when he battles former ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Champion Hiroki Akimoto at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.

While many fans might already know about Wei’s incredible body of work and electrifying style of striking, others are less familiar with the ONE newcomer.

Before the 32-year-old knockout artist goes toe-to-toe with Akimoto, we take a closer look at his journey to the world’s largest martial arts organization.

Fighting At School

Wei was born and raised in the Henan province – the birthplace of Chinese civilization.

Growing up, his family struggled to make ends meet, often lacking many modern conveniences that many take for granted. But even though he often found himself in altercations at school, the young Wei behaved well at home.

Ultimately, though, he says his penchant for fighting led him to a daily life of combat sports:

“Yes, I got involved in fights in school, but my parents didn’t know that because I was a good kid at home. Because of fighting in school and poor study performance, I was advised to transfer to the martial arts school.”

With just a bit of formal training under his belt, Wei showed immediate promise in the Chinese art of sanda, known for its blend of boxing, kickboxing, clinch work, and explosive kicks.

From an early age, he was all-in on martial arts. His mother and father, he recalled, never doubted his chosen path:

“My parents always respected my decision. If I decide what I want to do, they will support me. They give me the right to make decisions by myself. The only requirement from my mom is to be a good person.”

The Big Switch To Kickboxing

With his prodigious athletic talent, Wei soon emerged as one of China’s top sanda practitioners.

That success, though, didn’t amount to the financial security that both he and his family so desperately needed, so he moved from sanda to kickboxing:

“I had no choice but to make this transition decision. When I was on the sanda team, I didn’t have any source of income unless I had an excellent result in the fight. So I felt that there was no future for me.”

The rising talent recognized that kickboxing’s growing popularity could mean bigger and bigger paydays, making it possible to support his family.

Ultimately, that was Wei’s primary motivation to dive into the new sport:

“At that time, kickboxing had a certain market on the commercial side. People who can fight in those events can get good money. In order to reduce family financial stress, I decided to transition into kickboxing.”

A ‘Milestone’ For Chinese Striking

The move to kickboxing proved wise, as Wei has spent the past decade compiling an impressive 69-3 professional record to establish himself as one of the world’s best fighters.

In 2017, “Demon Blade” won the grueling K-1 Lightweight World Grand Prix to become China’s first-ever K-1 World Champion – the crowning achievement of his career to that point.

That accomplishment cemented his status among the upper-echelon of strikers, but Wei says it also proved the strength of his nation in the sport:

“I think this was a milestone not only for me but also for Chinese kickboxing – for the world to recognize both me and Chinese kickboxing.”

He would go on to find plenty of success in other organizations at the world-class level, racking up unforgettable knockouts and building his current winning streak that dates back to 2018.

Of course, Wei’s career hasn’t been without difficulty. Like any other professional fighter, he faced no shortage of injuries, but resilience and undying determination always carried him through.

He said:

“I think as a professional athlete, the toughest obstacle is injury and failure. I was injured several times before. Sometimes, I was worried about whether I could recover perfectly. As for failure, I know some athletes cannot stand up again even though they only failed once. But I know how to restart.”

Arriving At ONE Championship

For the past six years, “Demon Blade” has built up his team, Da Dong Xiang Fight Club, to be China’s top striking camp.

He now hopes that competing on ONE’s massive global platform against the sport’s most dangerous fighters will bring even more fame and acclaim:

“First, I want to fight for my team, and I hope I can bring more honor to my team.”

Beyond elevating his team, Wei says that competing in ONE means that he’s undeniably at the top of the food chain – fighting alongside the absolute best of the best.

And when he squares off with Hiroki Akimoto at ONE Fight Night 22 next month, he’ll enjoy his biggest opportunity yet to showcase Chinese kickboxing:

“I think ONE Championship is the most influential and valuable sports organization in striking around the world. I hope I can prove myself in this international event and show the world about Chinese power.”

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