Takeru posted an emotional message on Instagram. He has come to terms with his decision loss to Tenshin Nasukawa and is grateful for all the support he received from people in the aftermath.
The fight was one of the most eagerly anticipated in kickboxing history. Both men are huge stars in Japan and arguably at the peak of their powers.
Tenshin came into the fight with an undefeated 43-0 record while Takeru was on a remarkable 35 fight winning streak. But it was the former who scored a first round knockdown before closing out the fight with slick hands and faster combinations overall.
Afterwards Tenshin paid tribute to his opponent. Takeru looked devastated but having had time to reflect he sounded more upbeat in his latest Instagram post:
View this post on Instagram
It was Takeru’s first loss since 2012. It came on the biggest of stages with over 55,000 people in the Tokyo Dome and around 500,000 purchasing the pay per view in Japan.
Having had time to reflect Takeru sounded like he had come to terms with the result,
“These last ten years I thought the value of my existence lied in continuing to win and I’d lose everything if I lost. I was scared every day and I couldn’t sleep just imagining the aftermath of my loss I was prepared for many people around me to leave once I lost. But when I got out of the ring and tried to leave the stage so many people came around to me, the loser telling me ‘thank you.’ I was not expecting to receive such words and the tears would not stop.”
— K-1【公式アカウント】 (@k1wgp_pr) June 19, 2022
While Takeru shed tears of disappointment after the defeat he was uplifted by the support he received from the fans,
“Even now, just remembering the voices and scenes at the time my tears cannot stop. I could not be rewarded by winning but to have so many people come and see the fight so many people to have cried together with me and people who said, ‘you’ve given me hope to live’. I felt like I was rewarded for these ten years I spent grinding away my life till my heart and body were tattered. I am grateful, from the bottom of my heart to all those who have been a part of me for showing me this kind of scenery at a full Tokyo Dome.”
Takeru is still just 30 years old, and as the only man ever to become a world champion in three different weight classes in K-1. He already has a rich legacy in the sport and his profile has been boosted by headlining the biggest card of the year in Japan.
With Tenshin turning his back on kickboxing it is doubtful that Takeru will ever be involved in a fight of this magnitude. But it doesn’t sound like he is about to turn his back on the sport altogether despite suffering the most devastating defeat of his career.