Takeru has signed for ONE Championship. The Japanese kickboxer is the most sought after free agent in the sport and has put pen to paper on a contract with the Singapore based promotion.

ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong broke the news on Facebook just now:

Sold out

Takeru is coming off a loss but one which massively boosted his profile and popularity. He faced Tenshin Nasukawa in The Match but was beaten by unanimous decision.

That was a complete sell out with over 50,000 people packing the Tokyo Dome to see the two best kickboxers in the country go head to head. Over 500,000 people purchased the pay per view and Takeru reportedly earned a purse of around $2.5 million USD.

Tenshin made his pro boxing debut this month and won by unanimous decision. He has no intention of returning to kickboxing making Takeru the most recognizable Japanese fighter in the sport.

Surprise announcement

Given his superstar status it was a surprise when Takeru’s next fight was announced. He will be facing Bailey Sugden in Paris on June 24th with the ISKA <61kgs title on the line.

Takeru reportedly signed a multi fight deal with Abema which also broadcasts ONE Championship events in Japan. His is rumoured to be earning $750,000 USD per fight.

But the news that he has signed a ONE Championship contract will lead to intense speculation about future opponents. Newly crowned bantamweight Muay Thai champion Jonathan Haggerty has already called him out.

Takeru is more likely to participate in kickboxing than Muay Thai. But Rodtang Jitmuangnon must be high on the list of potential opponents and there are several Thai fighters on the roster who could test the former K-1 champion.

Takeru has a fight coming up in France which he will be expected to win even if it doesn’t generate much interest locally. After that he looks set to start competing on ONE Championship cards and there are some mouth watering matchups in store.