Itsuki Hirata has announced she will be returning to New York after her victory at ONE on Prime Video 1. The Japanese fighter won the fight but lost a few fans after missing weight by nearly 5lbs and failing the hydration test.

It wasn’t the most impressive performance of the 23 year old’s career but she got the job done, beating Lin Heqin by unanimous decision to improve her record to 6-1. The Chinese fighter accused Hirata of being disrespectful after failing to make weight and afterwards she came in for a lot of criticism from fight fans in Japan.

But it doesn’t seem to have affected her and she announced just now that she would be returning to New York on another training trip:

Training trip

Hirata says she will spend two weeks in Japan before flying back to New York on September 15th. She trained there ahead of ONE on Prime Video 1 and claimed it had helped her improve her striking, it was a knockdown that effectively won her the fight so she is entitled to feel the work she put in on her standup game paid off.

The win wasn’t enough to reestablish Hirata in the rankings. But she is younger than any of the top five atomweights or the current champion and pointed out in her Instagram post that time is very much on her side,

“I’m only 23 years old, isn’t that the best? Let’s go crazy!”

The post was in Japanese so it is possible something might have been lost in translation. But Hirata currently has the world at her feet and there are plenty of reasons for the submission specialist to feel positive.

Room for improvement

Although she was unable to impose her grappling game on Heqin the 23 year old did turn the fight around in the closing stages with that knockdown. It is a side to Hirata’s game we haven’t seen before and suggests that all the training in New York might have made a difference.

When she reviews the fight she will find plenty to work on. Hirata was unable to check her opponent’s leg kicks and can probably still feel the bruises on her thighs.

She also struggled to get the fight down although Hirata did succeed in scoring late takedowns in the first two rounds. There is clearly plenty of room for improvement and it sounds like the Japanese atomweight isn’t going to waste any time before getting back to training, she is even willing to fly 6,000 miles around the world to do it!