Itsuki Hirata has maintained total social media silence since missing weight badly ahead of her fight with Seo Hee Ham. It was the second time in a row she has done in well over the atomweight limit and the Korean simply refused to face her at ONE 163.

But in a string of posts this week she has revealed she is back in New York and beginning her training camp ahead of her next fight.


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Big disappointment

Hirata was scheduled to face Ham in a title eliminator at ONE 163. She had come in from criticism from Heqin Lin after failing to make weight in her previous fight and the Korean decided to make a stand.

In total Hirata has missed weight on four occasions during her ONE Championship career, winning all of these fights. It seems Ham wanted to show solidarity for these fighters by withdrawing from the contest in order to highlight what she perceived as being a lack of professionalism from the Japanese atomweight.

Permanent base

Hirata appears to have adopted New York as a permanent base for her training camps. It means making a long and potentially expensive trip every time she fights but the 23 year old obviously thinks it is worth it.

She has slipped out of the top five at atomweight after issues with illness, performance and weight. She dropped out of the Grand Prix after falling sick just days before her semi final.

When Hirata finally returned to action she was well beaten by Jihin Radzuan who comprehensively outgrappled her. She bounced back to beat Lin Heqin but missed weight for that fight, with her opponent suggesting it might have been a deliberate tactic.

Despite failing to make weight ahead of the fight with Lin, which she won by decision, the Japanese fighter was offered a title eliminator. Had she beaten Seo Hee Ham a shot at reigning champion Angela Lee would have been on the table.

It will be interesting to see whether Hirata gets another chance to make weight and challenge the Korean. Perhaps ONE Championship has found another opponent but either way it looks like she will be back in action next month.