Ryuto “Dragon Boy” Sawada is hoping to make a major statement this Friday, 16 October.
Though he hasn’t competed since last year, Sawada is determined to thrill fans across the globe and add to his highlight reel.
“It’s been a while since I’ve competed, and since then, I was not able to put on a show for fans,” he says. “This time, I want to show that I fight to finish my opponent.”
⏱ 69 SECONDS ⏱That was all Ryuto "Dragon Boy" Sawada needed to submit Aziz Calim in his ONE debut! ????????: Check local listings for the global broadcast starting at 8:30PM (Bangkok time).???????? Thailand: สามารถรับชมได้ทางไทยรัฐทีวีช่อง 32 เวลา 21:30 น. วันที่ 16 สิงหาคมนี้???????? United States: Tune in to B/R LIVE at 9:30AM ET ???? https://go.br.live/lgso68256???????? Japan: 8月16日 午後7時 AbemaTV 生中継 ???? http://bit.ly/2YKxYQw???????? Philippines: Tune in to ABS-CBN S+A at 9:30PM.???????? Singapore: Tune in to Toggle at 9:30PM or Mediacorp Channel 5 at 10PM.???????? Malaysia: Tune in to TV2 or Astro Arena at 9:30PM.???????? India: Tune in to Hotstar or Star Sports Select 2 at 3:30PM.???????? Vietnam: Theo dõi trên kênh HTV Thể Thao vào lúc 20h30.???????? Myanmar: Skynet Sports 3 မွာ ညေန ၈နာရီ အခ်ိန္တြင္ တိုက္႐ိုက္ထုတ္လႊင့္ျပသ သြားမွာ ျဖစ္ပါတယ္။????: Watch on the ONE Super App ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, August 16, 2019
Sawada, who’s been based in Singapore since February 2019 while training at the world-famous Evolve, made a sensational debut appearance on the global stage in August 2019, finishing Indonesian Karate Champion Aziz “The Krauser” Calim in just 69 seconds.
But last December, the 24-year-old had a hard time dealing with the wrestling of Bokang “Little Giant” Masunyane and lost by unanimous decision.
“I was hoping to hold back and hit him when he tried to grapple with me. However, he controlled the bout, and I couldn’t move as I wanted,” Sawada says.
“I should have moved more without caring about my opponent’s pace. I should have moved at my own pace.”
The normally aggressive “Dragon ‘Boy” was obviously not satisfied with his last performance, and he plans to reverse course in Singapore.
“My way of fighting is aggressive, and I always aim for the submission or KO,” he says. “I will fight to submit or knock out my opponent this time.”
However, it won’t be easy against Miao, a Chinese star with heavy hands and a 12-4 record. In ONE Championship, he has already finished Cambodian star Sim Bunsrun and former ONE Strawweight World Champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke in the first round.
“He is big and has strong punches with knockout power. On the ground, he can take opponents down or throw opponents with great vigor,” Sawada says of Miao.
“[I am most wary of] his strikes. If I take a punch, it will give me damage, so I need to watch out for that.”
For an aggressive fighter, the best defense is a good offense. With that in mind, Sawada is not going to wait and see what his strong opponent chooses to do.
Instead, he will look to control Friday’s fight with the help of his wrestling background, his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills, and his karate black belt expertise.
“I can deal with either striking or grappling, and I’ve been practicing to handle any situation,” the Japanese athlete says.
“If the range is too short, I think I could be hit, so I will try to attack from a position where I can strike him. Also, I proactively aim for takedowns and to use my strikes.”
It’s also clear from Sawada’s track record that he never backs down – even from opponents who are bigger than him. He’ll need to have the same attitude against Miao, who will own a 10-centimeter height advantage in this matchup.
“I don’t care,” Sawada states. “I’ve only competed against bigger opponents than me so far. So, I don’t feel scared if he has a bigger body or longer reach.”
Sawada’s confidence also comes from his built-up body.
He’s long been known for his elite athletic abilities, but he worked even harder to improve his physical traits during COVID 19 restrictions, which prevented him from training in grappling like usual.
“I think I gained power,” Sawada says. “I couldn’t practice grappling, so I focused more on weight training and striking. I think my body has been leveled up.”
In addition to the physical transformation, the Japanese star has received valuable advice from his teammate Dejdamrong, who learned from his own mistakes against Miao.
“[Dejdamrong told me that] I need to be careful with his hard punch,” Sawada says. “Also, he said if I can take it at my own pace, I can defeat my opponent. So, I really want to bring the bout into my own pace.”
Sawada’s ultimate dream is to be a ONE World Champion. And he believes a victory at ONE: REIGN OF DYNASTIES II would help distinguish himself from others in the stacked strawweight division.
“I want to secure the position which enables me to fight against them.”