“The Natural Born Crusher” Takeru Segawa is a three-division K-1 world champion who will be looking to add the ONE flyweight kickboxing title to his name against Superlek Kiatmoo9 at ONE 165. In a recent interview, the Japanese kickboxing superstar broke down his attitude towards combat sports success.
When Takeru was a child, he saw K-1 kickboxing on television, most notably Andy Hug, and was inspired to take up combat sports. This was during the golden age of K-1 and combat sports in Japan. The 32-year-old athlete explained:
“I had always dreamed of becoming a Kickboxing Champion when I was a child. I was watching K-1 on TV, and I saw a lot of karate practitioners, and I admired them. I thought if I did karate, maybe I could enter K-1. I always wanted to do kickboxing, but there were no kickboxing gyms in the neighborhood when I was a kid, so I started karate when I was in second grade.”
Like many teenagers, Takeru went and got into trouble with his school friends. But something changed in him. He made a decision that all of his energy and focus would be dedicated to kickboxing success. After being expelled from school, he forced himself to be disciplined. Takeru said:
“I was expelled from school, and there was nothing left for me to do. During that time, I didn’t do martial arts, and I was just fooling around, but because I couldn’t go to high school, I felt I had no option but to succeed in martial arts, so I made up my mind.
“I found a kickboxing gym and practiced there for the first time, and I saw I could finally do what I wanted to do. I remember I felt very happy about it. I was hanging out with friends every night, but then I stopped because it would affect my practice. It was fun to hang out, but I had the most fun doing martial arts, so I thought it was better this way. Martial arts helped me get back on the right track.”
The Japanese fighter booked a trip to Thailand to train Muay Thai, and compete also. There he saw the dedication of the Nak Muays and it entirely changed his perspective on how to succeed in combat sports. While speaking in an interview, he reflected:
“I saved all the money myself to go to Thailand. My mother was kind of strict. Since I was a kid, I was told that if I had something I wanted to do, I had to do it on my own – otherwise, it meant nothing.
“While I was in Japan, I used to do martial arts because I liked it, so it was more like a hobby for me. But after I went to Thailand, I found that all my teammates at the gym were doing it for a living. They were about my age and still in high school, but still, they were fighting to support their families, and it changed my view about martial arts. The strength of those who were making this desperate effort for their living was amazing, and I was impressed. My mindset changed, and I thought I had to be motivated in the same way. It made me decide to focus more on martial arts.”
Throughout his life, Japan’s Takeru Segawa has put together an incredible resume in kickboxing. Three K-1 Grand Prix titles, three K-1 division titles, and defended each crown. Plus, he became a superstar in Japan when he earned more than 30 consecutive victories.
Now, the knockout striker will be looking to add the ONE flyweight kickboxing throne to his resume as he faces Thailand’s Superlek Kiatmoo9 at ONE 165 booked for Jan. 28.
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