Representing Evolve MMA in Singapore, Hiroki Akimoto, 26, of Japan was one of the winners at “ONE: Hero’s Ascent” on January 25, 2019 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines. It marked his debut in ONE Championship’s striking-only league ONE Super Series.
Featuring one kickboxing contest, four Muay Thai matches and nine mixed martial arts bouts, “ONE: Hero’s Ascent” was the first among the four ONE Championship events in the Philippines in 2019. In the sixth bout of the evening, Akimoto faced Josh “Time Bomb” Tonna, 30, of Australia in a kickboxing bout in the flyweight division.
Akimoto put on a striking clinic, picking Tonna apart with an array of thunderous kicks and powerful punches. A pair of knockdowns in the final round secured the win for the Japanese kickboxer.
After three three-minute rounds, the kickboxing bout was left in the hands of the judges. In the end, referee Atsushi Onari raised the hand of Akimoto, who was declared the winner via unanimous decision.
By winning at “ONE: Hero’s Ascent,” Akimoto maintained his undefeated record. The Evolve MMA athlete now has a professional kickboxing record of 20 wins and 0 loss.
On the other hand, Tonna now has 31 wins and 17 losses. He has 1 win and 2 losses in ONE Super Series.
Tonna is a former World Muaythai Council International Muay Thai Champion. Akimoto is a former World Fighting Kyokushinkai Organization Karate Champion.
A son of karate instructors, Akimoto started his martial arts training with karate when he was 8 years old. He became a multi-time champion in Kyokushin karate before transitioning into kickboxing.
Aside from Japan, Australia and the Philippines, 11 other countries were represented at “ONE: Hero’s Ascent” namely Algeria, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Netherlands, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and the United States. Like Akimoto, Hiroaki “Kaibutsukun” Suzuki, 34, Yukinori Ogasawara, 26, and Tatsumitsu “The Sweeper” Wada, 30, represented Japan.
Watch Akimoto’s ring walkout at “ONE: Hero’s Ascent” here: