The Japanese athlete’s continuous offense helped him outscore the debuting Chinese superstar to claim a unanimous decision win in their bantamweight kickboxing fight at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday, 3 December.
In the process, Akimoto defended his #3 rank in the division, showed that he is a serious contender for the ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Title, and snapped Qiu’s 18-fight winning streak.
The first round started at a blistering pace, with both men quickly stepping on the gas. Qiu leaned back to evade his rival’s kicks and replied with hard counters, but the Evolve representative was not deterred and sustained an impressive work rate.
Akimoto smashed his foe’s legs with low kicks, stepped in with hard knees, and never absorbed a single shot without replying in kind. He countered with multiple-strike combinations at astonishing speeds that seemed to take “The Tank” by surprise.
However, an expertly timed push kick from the Chinese star managed to deck his rival and give him some confidence.
In the second round, Qiu began to time his strikes more effectively. Akimoto kept coming at him with chopping low kicks, but the Bengbu native waited until his opponent was on one leg before pulling the rug from under him through sweeps.
After being floored several times, the Japanese karate stylist’s offense slowed a little, allowing “The Tank” to gain confidence in the bout. Akimoto still found a home for plenty of his kicks, but the debutant countered well with his right hand and thudding body shots.
Knowing the match still hung in the balance, both men unleashed everything they had in the final stanza.
Akimoto stepped in behind his lead hand and volleyed his foe with kicks to the legs and body before sneaking some through the guard to the head. Qiu never seemed fazed by the shots, but they emblazoned him with red scorch marks.
“The Tank” fired in hard right body kicks behind his punches and sent the Japanese striker down with sweeping low kicks again, but Akimoto’s volume still stood out in the exchanges.
After three hard-fought rounds, the judges rendered a unanimous decision verdict in favor of the Singapore resident, pushing his career record to 25-1 with four straight wins on the global stage.