The Japanese legend will defend his belt for the first time in his second reign as ONE Lightweight World Champion against hometown hero Christian “The Warrior” Lee in the event’s headline bout.
Ahead of the match at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday, 17 May, Aoki seems to be more excited to compete than he has been in years.
✅ Legend vs. Phenom. ✅ Teammate vs. Teammate. ✅ Finisher vs. Finisher. Shinya Aoki vs. Christian Lee! ????Singapore | 17 May | 7:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onedragon19
Posted by ONE Championship on Sunday, 28 April 2019
The 36-year-old is coming off a perfect performance at ONE: A NEW ERA in Tokyo, Japan. He submitted Eduard “Landslide” Folayang in a long-awaited rematch without having a glove laid on him.
Though it was a proud moment for Aoki and his home nation, the modest athlete feels uncomfortable and embarrassed by dwelling on his success. However, he cannot hide all of the satisfaction he felt.
“Putting aside the fact that I won or won a belt, the fact that the event was a success, and that people left saying, ‘That was fun,’ was the best thing for me.
“So many people came to Tokyo to see the fights, and all the Japanese athletes before me had lost, and I thought, at this rate, it will be seen as an Asian event, not a Japanese event. So, I wanted to win.
“Honestly, I felt relieved. I was relieved the event was a success, and the audience was roaring with excitement.”
Can Shinya Aoki make it ✋ first-round finishes in a row in Singapore?Singapore | 17 May | 7:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onedragon19
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, 27 April 2019
In the aftermath of his historic win, the Evolve representative looked to the future immediately.
With the top athletes in ONE Championship’s lightweight division occupied in the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix, he looked for someone with youth and no fear to challenge him.
His call-out of Lee at the post-event press conference was met with surprise, but soon welcomed as a chance to see how the experienced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and judo black belt will cope with a young, hungry all-rounder.
“He’s the most promising athlete within Asia, and within ONE, so, I want to test myself against him,” Aoki says.
“I’ve trained with him and seen him develop, and I think right now he’s the strongest and most accomplished he’s been. He’s ready for a fight, and I think he’s stronger than me.
“Being able to face such a young opponent, at the age of 36 years old, I get to put everything I’ve done up until now to the test by facing him.”
How Shinya Aoki's martial arts legacy was written.Singapore | 17 May | 7:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onedragon19
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, 27 April 2019
“Tobikan Judan” is well aware of the dangers Lee presents because they are well-acquainted.
The pair have spent plenty of time on the mats together as training partners at Evolve in Singapore, and Aoki admits that “The Warrior” gave him all that he could handle – even as a 17-year-old.
Since that time, Lee has continued to improve at an exponential rate, but that is what gets Aoki’s pulse racing more than anything.
“I’ve trained with him since he joined Evolve, but he’s just getting better and better. As he has more fights, his body is getting stronger,” he says.
“We’ve clashed our bodies into each other so many times. I was only able to consistently beat him for the first year. Ever since, he’s been able to beat me, and I have trouble beating him. He’s constantly evolving.
“Being 36-years-old and currently being a World Champion as well, defending my World Title and career by going against other veterans is easy. Anyone can play it safe in their career, but I think playing it safe like that is pointless. If anything, I think that’s the dumbest thing to do.
“That’s why I want to challenge myself, and continue to test myself against up-and-coming athletes.”
???? THE NEXT GENERATION ???? Christian Lee moves ⬆ a division to challenge ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya Aoki on 17 May!Singapore | 17 May | 7:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onedragon19
Posted by ONE Championship on Thursday, 25 April 2019
Though some fans may see this match-up as the breaking of a modern martial arts taboo, in which two teammates come to blows under the lights, neither athlete feels that way.
They share mutual respect and will shake hands and embrace after the contest is over.
For now, Aoki and Lee will embrace their main event encounter as a chance to better themselves as martial artists.
“Tobikan Judan” knows his rival will come in with no fear and the will to score a dominant win, and he will have no issue meeting him head-on in Singapore.
“Whether it’s my child, sibling, or friend, I can fight if I’m asked to fight. I think that’s what it means to be a pro athlete,” Aoki adds.
Singapore | 17 May | 7:00PM | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onedragon19