Itsuki “Android 18” Hirata has broken her silence.
On Monday, the undefeated Japanese phenom withdrew from her upcoming ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix semifinal matchup with Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat at Friday’s ONE: NEXTGEN event due to an undisclosed medical issue.
Later in the evening, Hirata provided a little more clarity on social media.
“I’m truly sorry to Ritu Phogat, sponsors, fans who supported me, and ONE staff. I’m grateful to have been selected for this tournament even though I didn’t have a good enough career or record compared to others.
“I fought hard to be in the semifinals. It is regretful that I have to pull out at this stage and disappoint many people. I will recover and be back in [the] ONE Circle as soon as possible. Thank you.”
Since turning pro in 2019, Hirata has been marvelous in her mixed martial arts career.
The Japanese rising star has won all five of her professional matches, including her recent Grand Prix quarterfinal bout against American standout Alyse “Lil’ Savage” Anderson at the promotion’s historic all-female card, ONE: EMPOWER, this past September.
Hirata was finishing her training camp for her upcoming semifinal clash with Phogat, but illness struck and forced her to withdraw from the high-stakes contest.
Team Lakay’s Jenelyn Olsim — who’s ranked #5 in the women’s strawweight division — now slides into her spot and will challenge “The Indian Tigress” in the Grand Prix semifinal bout at ONE: NEXTGEN on Friday.