Wei Rui (R) (ONE Championship)

Wei Rui Discusses Win Over Hiroki Akimoto

Wei Rui was thrown into the fire at ONE Fight Night 22. The Chinese athlete made his ONE Championship debut against top-ranked bantamweight kickboxing contender and former champion Hiroki Akimoto.

In a competitive battle, Wei edged the Japanese star by unanimous decision to immediately jump to the head of the table.

“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,” Wei told ONE.


“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.” 

For some, the decision was a curious call. Many felt like Akimoto did enough to get the nod, but it was not what came from the judges’ scorecards.

“Demon Blade” knows it was a tightly contested match but feels like he was the better man, and the right call was made.

“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,” Wei expressed.

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

The former K-1 Champion was impressed by the challenge Akimoto brought to him in Bangkok.

Although he has been in the ring against other top strikers, he lauded Akimoto’s power as being the hardest he has ever felt.

“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,” the Chinese star said.

“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.”

After toppling the top-ranked contender, Wei unquestionably feels he has earned the right to take on Jonathan Haggerty.

Even though the title is now at the front of his mind, Wei says he will try to stick to a long-term plan that will ultimately culminate with him wearing the gold in ONE.

“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,” Wei said.

“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.”