At ONE: WARRIORS OF LIGHT on 10 May, the 32-year-old from Tokyo finished one of mixed martial arts’ most durable competitors to grab his first win in ONE Championship and prove he is a force to be reckoned with in the lightweight division.
Japanese warrior Kazuki Tokudome scores the TKO win against a valiant Adrian Pang at 1:27 of Round 2!Watch the full event on the ONE Super App ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, May 10, 2019
There was no shame in the Pancrase Lightweight World Champion’s first two results in his new organization against elite opposition – defeats at the hands of Christian “The Warrior” Lee and Narantungalag “Tungaa” Jadambaa – but he was desperate to turn his fortunes around.
“There was a little pressure because I lost three times [in a row, overall]. I’m so relieved about this victory,” he admits.
“I rebuilt my body for five months for lightweight, and there were no problems with the adjustment [with respect to my] performance and conditioning.”
The Paraestra Hachioji representative looked fitter, stronger, and sharper at his new weight class, and he needed to be against a man known for his granite jaw and iron fists.
True to form, Pang unleased some hard punches at Tokudome, and though he believes he should have avoided them, they did not cause him much trouble.
“I ate a couple of good punches from him, so I need fix my techniques for next time,” he says.
“I was focusing on my guard, and most of his strikes [did not break through], so there was no damage.”
More importantly, Tokudome repaid Pang with interest, particularly in the second stanza.
He had listened well to the instructions from his corner between rounds, and he emerged in the center of the Circle firing straight, powerful blows, that scored some direct, decisive hits.
“First, I was instructed to breathe well, and also I was told to be careful because the distance was getting closer,” Tokudome explains.
“I simply wanted to win this bout, so I wasn’t particularly worried about how I would win, but I felt confident about my one-two, which was a good weapon to beat a strong opponent like Adrian.”
The Japanese veteran could not have planned to place his punches any more perfectly. The damage he dealt forced the end of the bout less than 90 seconds after the restart and gave Tokudome his 19th career win.
What made the result remarkable was the fact it was the first time Pang was finished by strikes in 13 years. Not even former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario, former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, and Amir Khan – ONE’s all-time record-holder for knockouts – could stop the teak-tough Aussie.
A TKO victory against “The Hunter” is a significant feather in Tokudome’s cap, and the smile he wore when his hand was raised showed how happy he was with his accomplishment.
The win has set the Tokyo resident up for more chances to impress in his new division, and though he admits he has not thought about what challenges may await him, he says he is willing to face anyone the matchmakers can throw at him.
“I just changed my weight up to lightweight, so I don’t have any particular opponent who I want to compete with,” he says.
“I will just stay focused and get ready for every opponent prepared by ONE Championship. This weight division is my natural weight, so I could compete anytime if I am not injured.”