Ben Askren faces off with Shinya Aoki at ‘ONE: Immortal Pursuit’ kick-off press conference

Ben Askren, Chartri Stiyodtong, Shinya Aoki

Ben Askren, Chartri Stiyodtong, Shinya Aoki

22 November 2017 – Singapore: The largest global sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), recently held the official “ONE: Immortal Pursuit” kick-off press conference on Nov. 22, Wednesday, at the Simpor Junior Ballroom of Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. In attendance was ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong as well as athletes Ben Askren, Shinya Aoki, Amir Khan, Adrian Pang, May Ooi and Vy Srey Khouch.

This press conference was held ahead of all the action which takes place on Nov. 24, Friday, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The reigning ONE Welterweight World Champion will defend his title against the former ONE Lightweight World Champion in the evening’s main event.

“Singapore is the place where it all started for ONE Championship,” Sityodtong said. “This country witnessed the growth of this great organization, from its humble beginnings to its rise as the largest global sports media property in Asian history. It’s great to be back home to host another blockbuster event.”

“Ever since our first event, which was held in the heart of Singapore, ONE Championship has been relentless in its pursuit to give fans adrenaline-pumping action from start to finish,” Sityodtong added. “‘ONE: Immortal Pursuit’ is certainly an event not to be missed.”

“I said from day one that I am the best in the world at what I do, and this is what I am going to do every single time,” Askren stated. “I have been saying that since I started my career, and I believe it more strongly than ever because I have proven it 17 times now, and I am pumped to prove it again on November 24th.”

“Shinya is a really good opponent,” the ONE Welterweight World Champion said. “Obviously, he is a legend of the sport, and he is a really big challenge on the ground, which is where I like to compete, personally. I am excited for this bout. He is a grappler and has a great skill set that I respect, so I think it will be a great battle.”

A former NCAA Division I All-American and US Olympian, Askren is a collegiate wrestling legend and one of the finest martial artists in the world today. He joined ONE Championship in 2014, taking the promotion by storm and capturing the ONE Welterweight World Championship with a resounding technical knockout victory over Nobutatsu Suzuki.

Since then, Askren has successfully defended the title twice and has stopped six of his last seven opponents to maintain a perfect 17-0 professional record. In what is being billed as the last bout of his illustrious professional career, the American is set to defend his title against a legendary fighter from Shizuoka, Japan.

Aoki described Askren as “a spectacular martial artist.” The Japanese fighter said he has his own goal for his career and so does his opponent, an athlete that he really respects.

“I am here to win another belt in ONE Championship and redeem myself in front of the world.” Aoki said. “I want to win again. I am not satisfied yet. I am very determined to win this next bout of mine. I never turn down a match. I am here to face the best.”

A global martial arts veteran, Aoki is one of the world’s most decorated athletes. He is the DREAM Lightweight Champion, former Shooto Welterweight Champion, and the former ONE Lightweight World Champion.

The 34-year-old fighter is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under the famed Yuki Nakai and has won multiple grappling tournaments all over the world. Aoki also holds a black belt in judo and is widely considered one of the best pure grapplers in professional martial arts competition today, and in his next bout, he makes his ONE Championship welterweight debut, taking on the reigning ONE Welterweight World Champion for the title.

As for Khan, he considers himself as “a man on a mission.” He considers Pang as “one of the top guys in the division right now” so for him, it is a big test to fight him.

“My current goal is to be a world champion in a big global promotion like ONE Championship,” Khan said. “What I hope to do is inspire people to chase what they love. I want my martial arts career to be proof that if you have the passion for something, and if you’re good at it, you’ll be able to make a living out of it.”

A martial artist with a stellar professional record of 8-2, Khan is a 23-year-old Singaporean top lightweight contender is considered one of the most promising young talents to represent Singapore on the international stage of martial arts. He is currently riding a five-bout win streak, with all of his victories coming by way of scintillating finish, including one by submission and four by devastating knockout.

In Khan’s most recent outing, he needed less than one round to finish Jaroslav Jartim with a combination of punches and kicks. Next in line for Khan is Pang, an always-dangerous fighter.

For Pang, his match against Khan is “like the young bull versus the old bull.” Pang added that it will be a tough match for him considering that Khan is young and strong and he will have heaps of energy.

“But I have never been knocked out in my career, so let’s see,” Pang said. “I have competed all around the world, I have been up and I have been down. I know how to bring the action, and I’m bringing it Friday night.”

With a 22-10-2 professional record, Pang is a martial arts veteran from Queensland, Australia. The veteran fighter has decimated opponents with his incredible power and no-frills approach to striking in nearly two decades as a professional.

Pang is known for his astounding durability and overwhelming strength with the ability to walk through opponents with little to no resistance. He will need to muster all of his strength however, when he takes on a rising star from Singapore in his next appearance inside the ONE Championship cage.

The goal for Ooi is to be an inspiration to the people of Singapore as she is excited to perform in front of her hometown crowd and it has has been a while since she competed in her country. Khan’s fellow Singaporean ONE athlete stated, “Competing in Singapore in front of all my family, friends and fans is such an honor.”

“As a martial artist, I want to use the platform that I am standing on to inspire people,” Ooi said. “Life isn’t just about what you achieve, it’s also what you inspire others to achieve. While it is very important to work on your own personal development, there are many underlying intangibles within the realm of success that extend far beyond your individual success.”

Ooi is a martial artist with a professional record of 3-2 and as a former champion swimmer, she represented Singapore in the 1992 Summer Olympics held in Barcelona. Today, the Singaporean female strawweight contender is one of the most talented martial artists in her country and a hard-working competitor possessing well-rounded striking and grappling skills.

In Ooi’s most recent contest, she scored a thrilling upset defeating Malaysia’s Ann “Athena” Osman by  first-round submission in her promotional debut. Ooi is now set to make her second appearance inside the ONE Championship cage opposite Khouch.

To be part of ONE Championship, the biggest promotion in Asia, is truly an honor for Khouch. For Ooi’s opponent, everything that she did in training is all worth it because she has made it there.

“I have prepared well for this bout, and I will make sure to showcase all of my skills,” Khouch said. “My opponent is extremely talented and experienced, so I will need to bring my best.”

Khouch is a highly-regarded Cambodian martial artist and former female boxer who competed in numerous international competitions. She made her professional debut in 2015, winning by decision at “ONE: Kingdom of Khmer.”

In Khouch’s most recent bout, she fell just short of victory against Malaysian icon Ann Osman at “ONE: Thrones of Tigers.” In the Cambodian fighter’s next bout, she will take on a Singaporean women’s martial arts standout.


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