K-1 World Grand Prix July 2023
Masaaki Noiri (K-1 Japan)

Masaaki Noiri Discusses His Promotional Debut at ONE 167

ONE Championship continued to load its kickboxing ranks with the addition of international superstar Masaaki Noiri. His promotional debut will see him thrown right into the fire on Friday, Jun. 7, at ONE 167: Tawanchai vs. Nattawut II.

The Japanese athlete will square off against Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong, and he is aware that he can jump right into the featherweight title picture with a massive victory in Bangkok.

“ONE really has gathered the world’s top fighters from across the different promotions, which is why I wanted to challenge myself on this stage. I have the confidence to win here, which is why I came to challenge them,” Noiri told ONE.


“Sitthichai has been a famous, strong fighter for a long time with great technique. He’s the model of a southpaw fighter.”

“He got knocked out in his last fight against Marat Grigorian, but over the course of his career, he’s still a very strong fighter with more wins. For me, he’s the strongest opponent I’ve faced so far.” 

Noiri has been examining his opponent’s game in the lead up to the match. While many may keep their cards close to their vest, Noiri had no trouble explaining where he feels he could be most successful in his organizational debut.

“Sitthichai’s strength is not deviating from his style until the end. Not fighting at an unnatural distance for him. Even against Grigorian when he got closed down, he could still fundamentally fight his fight, which is a strength,” Noiri explained.

“His weakness is defense when the distance gets closed. Last time he got caught with a body shot for the KO loss, so that will be an area to target this fight.”

“He won’t want to fight at my range, he’ll want to keep his distance. So from his perspective, it may be an unfavorable matchup.” 

With a stacked card at ONE 167, the kickboxing showdown could steal the show with its high stakes and incredible skill level.

More than that, Noiri expects Sitthichai to be more focused than ever, giving him the best possible matchup to wow the card in his first outing on the global stage.

“I really think Sitthichai will come with an ‘I cannot lose’ attitude and be more serious than ever before. He’ll come with the mindset of having fought at the top level until now. He’ll come at his absolute peak form ever. And by defeating that, I can prove my own strength,” the Japanese star said.

“It’s my ONE debut so I have nothing to lose. I’ve always had the challenger’s mindset, but this time I’m the real, legitimate challenger. The fans’ expectation and pressure will only fuel me.” 

Noiri is not coming to ONE simply for the acclaim. The Japanese star wants the gold.

In order to punch his ticket, Noiri knows it’s not just getting the win, but how he picks up the W that will determine where he stands at in the shark-infested waters of the featherweight division.

“I think how I win this fight will be important. It will determine my next opponent. But I want to get to the World Title as soon as possible,” Noiri remarked.

“My thinking is that since Grigorian knocked out Sitthichai in the third round if I can get the KO quicker than that, many people will recognize my strength. That’s the clear way to make a statement.” 

ONE 167 airs live on Prime Video on Friday, Jun. 7, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. The event is free to all U.S. and Canadian Amazon Prime subscribers.