Itsuki Hirata will be back in action at ONE Fight Night 8. The Japanese atomweight has not had to wait too long for another fight after seeing her most recent bout called off at the last minute.

Seo Hee Ham refused to fight Hirata when she missed weight ahead of their atomweight fight at ONE 163. It was the third time the Japanese fighter had been unable to make weight.

Afterwards Hirata apologized and said she had been suffering from kidney problems and would be taking a break. But she is currently training in New York and appears to be fit and ready for her return to the ONE Championship cage.


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Change of events

The bout with Ham was set to be a title eliminator. The winner was promised a shot at the atomweight belt which is currently the property of Angela Lee.

But Lee looks set to be out indefinitely following the tragic death of her younger sister Victoria Lee. It will be very interesting to see who Hirata is matched with, as she is given another opportunity to compete at atomweight.

Recent events mean it is unlikely she will be offered another title eliminator. It will be interesting to see if the promotion tries to make the fight with Seo Hee Ham or if a new opponent has been found for the photogenic Japanese star.

Main priority

The main priority for Hirata must surely be to make weight as opponents are clearly losing patience with the 23 year old. Lin Heqin and Seo Hee Ham both suggested it was a deliberate tactic.

Hirata has refuted that suggestion and afterwards told the Japanese media that she had suffered from various kidney issues since childhood. It appears that this was also the reason why she withdrew from the semi finals of the atomweight Grand Prix, at the time the official explanation was that she had a non Covid-19 related illness.

Hirata was instructed to take a break in the wake of her botched weight cut last November. But she appears to have returned to New York earlier this year and will be looking to prove she can still compete at atomweight at ONE Fight Night 8 next month.