Yoshihiro “Sexyama” Akiyama, 43, will represent both Japan and South Korea in his ONE Championship debut at “ONE: Legendary Quest” at the Baoshan Arena in Shanghai, China on June 15, 2019. He and Agilan “Alligator” Thani, 23, of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia will compete in a mixed martial arts match in the welterweight division in the co-main event of the evening.
On June 12, 2019, Akiyama and Thani had their official face-off during the press conference at Yunspace in Shanghai. The event was graced by ONE Championship Greater China chairman Hua Fung Teh and reigning ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan, 31, of China.
Born Sung Hoon Choo in Ikuno-Ku, Osaka, Japan to Korean parents on July 29, 1975, Akiyama is a fourth-generation Japanese. His paternal great-grandfather Choo Jeong-Won emigrated to Osaka from Jeju County, Jeollanam-do, Korean Empire, which is the present Jeju City, South Korea.
Both of Akiyama’s parents were athletes during their younger days. His father Choo Gye-Yi was a judo player and became a judo instructor who ran a small orthopedic clinic.
Akiyama’s mother was a swimmer and she became a homemaker. She was born in Siheung, Gyeonggi, South Korea.
At the age of 3, Akiyama started his judo training. He went on to become a third-dan black belt in judo and a black belt in Gaidojutsu.
In addition, Akiyama trained in karate, wrestling, kickboxing, boxing and submission fighting. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Kindai University in Higashiosaka, Osaka.
In 2001, Akiyama represented South Korea at the Asian Judo Championships in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia where he won the gold medal. In 2002, he represented Japan at the Asia Games in Busan, South Korea where he also won the gold medal.
In 2004, Akiyama made his professional MMA debut.
In 2009, Akiyama married Japanese fashion Model Shiyo Yano, 43, who is professionally known as SHIHO. Their daughter Choo Sarang was born on October 24, 2011.
Before joining ONE Championship, Akiyama competed in K-1, DREAM and the Ultimate Fighting Championship, among others. “ONE: Legendary Quest” marks his 23nd bout as a professional MMA bout.
At “ONE: Legendary Quest,” Akiyama will represent Japan with Koyomi Matsushima and Itsuki Hirata. Kwon Won Il and Yoon Chang Min will represent South Korea with Akiyama.
Akiyama trains out of his own gym Team Cloud in Tokyo. Here is a clip featuring the Japanese-Korean MMA veteran: