ONE Championship will make its debut in Japan on March 31, 2019 at the Ryogoku Kokushikan in Ryogoku, Tokyo. The press conference for the event, which took place at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Tokyo on August 23, 2018, was attended by media from all across the globe.
The press conference was led by ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. He was joined by esteemed martial arts superstars, who took to the podium to deliver their thoughts in support of ONE Championship’s first live event in Japan and what is in store for martial arts in Asia in the immediate future.
Among the Japanese mixed martial arts stars who attended the event was former ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya “Tobikan Shudan” Aoki, 35, of Shizuoka, Japan. He stated, “Japanese martial arts is something that I hold dear to my heart.”
“It is so much more than sport and competition. I live by the code of martial arts, and to be able to share that with everyone in the world, it’s an honor,” Aoki continued. “This is the chance for Japanese martial arts to truly shine.”
“Martial arts is my passion and I am grateful for the opportunity to help lead martial arts in Asia into the future,” the former ONE Lightweight World Champion added. “ONE Championship is a tremendous organization and now that we are going to have our first live event in Tokyo, it will only help highlight the beauty of martial arts in Japan.”
Aoki’s fellow Japanese MMA stars who attended the press conference were reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito, 34, and former ONE World Title challengers Mei “V.V.” Yamaguchi, 35, and Ken Hasegawa, 31. Aside from Naito, three other world champions graced the event, namely ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion Angela “Unstoppable” Lee, 22, of Singapore, ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes, 38, of Brazil and ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera, 40, of the Philippines.
Among the special guests in the event were Renzo Gracie, 51, of Brazil, his brother 5th degree BJJ Black Belt Ralph Gracie, 47, submission Grappling world champion Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon, 26, of the United States, kickboxing superstar Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan, 32, of Italy and Muay Thai legend Nong-O Gaiyanghadao, 31, of Thailand. Meanwhile, here is Aoki in a previous event in the Philippines: