A ONE Championship press conference took place in Tokyo yesterday. Chatri Sityodtong and Takeru were both in attendance to officially announced that the Japanese kickboxer had signed with the promotion.

No matchups were confirmed but Takeru will surely be matched with Rodtang. That fight looks Tokyo bound with the Saitama Super Arena under consideration according to Chatri.

Takeru only turned 31 this year but told his 758,000 Instagram followers that this would be,

the final challenge of a fighter’s life.


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A post shared by 武尊 / Takeru (@k1takeru)

Two legends

It sounds like he plans to finish his career with ONE Championship and Takeru was compared to some legendary Japanese kickboxers. There was talk of Masato who has long since retired but almost never fought outside of Japan.

The subject of Tenshin Nasukawa, another fighter who seldom competes outside of Japan, was brought up. Takeru actually tried to play down these comparisons and told his followers to respect both men for what they had achieved in kickboxing.

Takeru will doubtless get the opportunity to compete outside of Japan with ONE Championship, something Masato never did with K-1. These days the Japanese promotion’s stars are almost all local fighters.


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A post shared by Chatri Sityodtong (@yodchatri)

Glory days

The glory days of K-1 when fighters like Buakaw Por Pramuk, Masato, Andy Souwer, Nieky Holzken and Giorgio Petrosyan would compete in tournaments every year are long gone. But ONE Championship has been gradually signing up the world’s top kickboxing talent.

Masato was fortunate with several decision wins, Buakaw famously needing an extra round to beat him in the 2004 K-1 Max Final despite dominating the fight from start to finish. Tenshin can also count himself extremely lucky to have got a decision win over Rodtang under similar circumstances.

The ONE Championship judges definitely won’t all be Japanese so Takeru can’t count on this type of preferential treatment. That was the theme of the press conference with Chatri praising the 31 year old’s willingness to compete against the world’s best kickboxers on the international stage.

Next up for Takeru is a kickboxing bout in Paris against Bailey Sugden. That will be broadcast on Abema in Japan but it is not taking place on a ONE Championship card.

After that Rodtang awaits. All that remains to be seen is what gloves they will wear and what the weight class will be, with Takeru never having competed in MMA gloves.