MMA, martial arts

Yoshihiro Akiyama’s ONE Championship debut set in Shanghai; Ex-UFC fighter to face Malaysian opponent

'ONE: Legendary Quest' poster

ONE Championship has announced the promotional debut of Sung Hoon Choo, 43, who is professionally known as Yoshihiro “Sexyama” Akiyama, 43, of Osaka, Japan. The Japanese mixed martial artist and judoka will face a Malaysian opponent at “ONE: Legendary Quest” at the Baoshan Arena in Shanghai, China on June 15, 2019.

At “ONE: Legendary Quest,” Akiyama will face Agilan “Alligator” Thani, 23, of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is the co-main event of the evening.

Born in Osaka on July 29, 1975, Akiyama is one of the most iconic Asian MMA fighters in history. He is a fourth generation Japanese of Korean descent and he began his martial arts career garnering accolades on the amateur level, including a gold medal at the 2001 Asian Judo Championships for South Korea and a gold medal at the 2002 Asian Games for Japan.

Akiyama made his MMA debut on December 31, 2004 and used his world-class judo stylings as his base. That has led to remarkable success, defeating some of the industry’s most respected names including Melvin Manhoef, Alan Belcher, and former IBF Heavyweight Boxing Champion Francois Botha.

Currently, Akiyama holds a professional MMA record of 14 wins, 6 losses and 2 No Contests. He competed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship from 2009 to 2015.

On the other hand, Thani has been competing in ONE Championship since 2015. He currently has 9 wins and 3 losses.

A former ONE Welterweight World Title challenger, Thani is one of the most remarkable athletes Malaysia has ever produced. Since making his debut as an amateur, he has torn through the competition.

Competing professionally since 2013, Thani was undefeated until 2017. He had his first professional MMA loss in the hands of former ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben “Funky” Askren, 34, of Phoenix, Arizona, United States, who is currently signed with the UFC.

Thani trains daily at Monarchy MMA in Kuala Lumpur under the tutelage of well-respected Belgian Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coach Samir Mrabet. The Malaysian MMA fighter also regularly travels to the U.S. to sharpen his skills at the world-famous Team Quest.

Meanwhile, here is Akiyama in an episode of the Korean talk show “Happy Together” in 2014:

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