Itsuki Hirata has spoken for the first time about the botched weight cut that led to her fight with Seo Hee Ham being called off. She gave an interview with E-Fight in Japan.

She admitted that being unable to make weight for the fight with Ham was a disaster,

It was a terrible result because there was so much attention (for that fight).

Hirata told the Japanese outlet that she has had issues with her kidneys and liver since childhood. Apparently these issues flared up ahead of the semi finals of the atomweight Grand Prix, forcing her to withdraw from a tournament she he been one of the favourites for.

Hormonal balance

She was given a clean bill of health by the doctors after the botched weight cut ahead of ONE 161 but was advised by her trainer to take a break,

My coach told me to take a rest because my hormone balance before the fight was disturbed. Having already suffered from kidney problems I was told to wait and see (whether the botched weight cut had any other adverse affects).

Standing just 5’2β€³ she would be one of the smallest fighters in the strawweight division. It doesn’t sound like Hirata wants to move up in weight despite having missed the atomweight limit on three separate occasions since signing with ONE Championship,

Β It’s not that easy. It’s not something you can decide on your own.

Regular contact

Seo Hee Ham refused to fight Hirata because she felt the 23 year old was deliberately coming in overweight in order to give herself an unfair advantage. Heqin Lin had also accused her of not making enough effort to get her weight down ahead of their fight, when she came in 4lbs over the atomweight limit.

It sounds like Chatri Sityodtong was critical of her in private but the ONE Championship CEO clearly still believes in Hirata. She claims to be in regular contact with him,

I’ve been receiving harsh words from him. He says β€˜I still have high expectations for you’ so I’ll do my best.

She is currently based in New York and has been training at various gyms including 10th Planet and Carnicella MMA. Hirata makes it clear she is still completely focused on her fighting career despite a series of recent setbacks,

Right now, this is the only thing I want to do.