The Japanese karate phenom will collide with the Australian kickboxer in a flyweight ONE Super Series match in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and he does not expect his rival will be prepared for the improvements he has made.
Akimoto is approaching his one-year anniversary as a member of the world-renowned Evolve team in Singapore, and every day he has spent there has made him a better athlete.
The 26-year-old is particularly pleased with his improved endurance and strength.
“I am going through a very rigorous training program alongside the Evolve Fight Team in preparation for this upcoming fight,” he says.
“I am also doing a lot of conditioning to increase my stamina and to increase my speed and agility.
“My stamina will never run out or falter. I work on improving it every single day through strength and conditioning, and training twice a day.”
Akimoto knows he can ill afford to take Tse lightly. The K-1 Commonwealth Champion will bring his trademark aggression and fluid striking style to the contest.
The WFKO Kyokushin Karate Champion is well aware of the threat “The Pitbull” poses, but he believes he has all the tools to contend with him and finish their bout inside the distance.
“I have to be wary and counter his hard punches, but I think his weakness will be thinking that I will lose steam and stamina in the second half of the match,” Akimoto explains.
“I will be fully focused on delivering precise kicks for maximum damage, and [I will] wear his stamina out from the beginning. I am aiming to win by KO.”
Any fan that saw the Toyota native’s debut in ONE Championship in January is aware of the near-perfect striking technique he possesses thanks to a lifetime of karate training. Worryingly for his opponents, it is still getting better.
“My goal is to master Muay Thai, even though I am a Karate World Champion, I still need to further develop my skills and techniques in other martial arts like kickboxing and Muay Thai,” Akimoto explains.
“Establishing a solid style is most important to me now. I am working on improving my defensive techniques and skills – among other things.“
It is a mark of the Kyokushin karate specialist’s discipline and humility that he has never stopped his quest for improvement since he entered The Home Of Martial Arts with a perfect 20-0 kickboxing record.
His sensational performance against Josh Tonna at ONE: HERO’S ASCENT was just another step in Akimoto’s quest for constant progress.
Heading into this contest, he is determined to apply the knowledge he has gained from his training and ONE Super Series bouts to date so that he can deliver the best performance of his career.
“Each fight has taught me something about myself and has shown me where I fell short. I work on overcoming my shortcomings every day,” the Evolve representative adds.
“What I need to work on has been made clear from the last two matches, and I’m working hard every day to improve as a martial artist.
“We have a new head coach [Heath Sims] training the Evolve Fight Team, and we exchange opinions regularly so I can grow into the best fighter I can possibly be.”
Akimoto understands that a victory here would place him on the right track towards the goal he set when he joined ONE – win a World Title.
More importantly, when he squares off against Tse at the Axiata Arena, Akimoto will want to deliver to validate all the hard work and sacrifices made in training.
“I am going to give it my all and hold nothing back,” he says.
“Winning this match will mean a lot to me. It will show how much I have grown and improved since my last match, and everyone will get to see how much effort I have put into becoming the best athlete I can be.”