‘I Just Barely Passed This Test’ – Wei Rui Promises To Level Up After Tight Debut Win Over Hiroki Akimoto

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“Demon Blade” Wei Rui lived up to the hype in his successful ONE Championship debut last Friday, May 3. 

The former K-1 World Champion defeated #1-ranked contender and former divisional king Hiroki Akimoto in their bantamweight kickboxing clash at ONE Fight Night 22: Sundell vs. Diachkova on Prime Video – and instantly thrust himself into the World Title picture.  

Wei and Akimoto duked it out for three close rounds at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, but when the final bell sounded, the judges awarded “Demon Blade” the victory by unanimous decision.

Reflecting on his inaugural showing in the world’s largest martial arts organization, the Chinese superstar told onefc.com

“The fight was really great. I think I made a good first impression, but I will improve the fans’ expectations with better performances in my next challenges. 

“I know I barely passed this test. I will try my best to adjust to the ONE Championship ring. And I feel like next time, I will perform better. 

“I’m super motivated now. I will continue to focus on training, and I will try harder the next time. I will be back.” 

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Going up against one of the division’s standouts, Wei always knew it was going to be a tricky first assignment.  

Indeed, Akimoto looked lively early on, scoring with heavy body kicks and punches, but “Demon Blade” roared back with his slick sanda style. 

While it was a closely contested battle from start to finish, the 32-year-old debutant felt he had done enough to earn the nod after nine hard minutes of back-and-forth action:

“The decision is made by the judges. Before they announced the result, I wasn’t 100 percent confident that I would win, but I still believed everything went well enough for me to get the victory.  

“I think I was always in a strong position in this fight, and although sometimes it was hard, he didn’t really threaten me.” 

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Wei Rui Feels Ready To Challenge Jonathan Haggerty For Kickboxing Gold 

Wei Rui signed with ONE Championship to put himself among the best of the best. 

Considering his difficult first assignment, Wei didn’t get a chance to find his feet on the lower rungs of the ladder. Instead, he made a statement against the former ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Champion.

Happy with how he handled his Japanese foe, “Demon Blade” said: 

“Firstly, I think Hiroki is a very tough, strong opponent. As you all know, his kicks and attacks are always crazy and powerful, and compared to my previous opponents, I felt it was harder. 

“He did a lot of crazy things. But he didn’t really dominate the fight, as you could see him struggling. He couldn’t fight at my pace, and I’m always unpredictable. That is also my greatest strength.” 

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Given that Akimoto came into Friday’s matchup holding the #1 spot in the rankings, Wei is now setting his sights on divisional kingpin Jonathan Haggerty.

The humble star won’t make any bold predictions about a potential clash with the two-sport World Champion, but he feels ready to start his preparations for “The General.”

Wei added: 

“I think I am qualified to be the next belt challenger. Because, as you know, Hiroki used to be the champion in this division, and I beat him. That means I can definitely go for the belt. 

“Challenging the champion, of course, is not an easy thing to do. I have to prepare for a long time, and I will focus on my training in this next stage. 

“I will follow a long-term, systematic training plan. I can’t say in detail, but I will prepare myself, both physically and technically.” 

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