Yuya Wakamatsu’s ONE Championship career did not get off to the best start. He lost his first two fights for the promotion but is in form again after back to back victories.

The defeats came at the hands of Demetrious Johnson and Danny Kingad who are currently ranked #1 and #2 in the division respectively. There is no shame in losing to opponents of this calibre and Wakamatsu, who competes at ONE: ‘Inside the Matrix’ Part II this week, would bounce back in style.

He scored a spectacular KO over former champion Geje Eustaquio at ONE: ‘Dawn of Heroes’ Wakamatsu then followed that up with a more workmanlike decision win over Dae Hwan Kim at ONE: ‘Century’.

He has his sights set on another Korean this week. Wakamatsu faces Kyu Sung Kim and is determined to improve on his #4 ranking with a third straight win,

“I need a couple more wins to be in a title fight (but) he’s not an easy opponent (because) he’s tall and he’s going to put a lot of pressure on me. I can say that I’m superior in all areas, except for the height,” he said.

Strong finish

After such a strong finish to 2019 Wakamatsu sounds confident. He has been out of action for a year but says the break has allowed him to make some adjustments,

“I’ve been training well during the pandemic, and I think I’ve improved. I’ve been working on my speed, my power, how I use my body, all sorts of things.”

Kim hasn’t exactly taken the flyweight division by storm. He was well beaten by Eustaquio on his promotional debut, dropping a lopsided decision to the Filipino former champion.

He did bounce back to beat Akihiro Fujisawa, and Wakamatsu has a lot of respect for the Korean,

“He’s the tallest opponent I’ve ever fought. He moves beautifully, he has beautiful form and striking, beautiful smart boxing. I get the impression that he’s very sharp.”

Long haul

Wakamatsu needed less than two minutes to knock out Eustaquio. But he doesn’t expect this fight to be over in a flash,

“I want to win by not letting him touch my body and I want to break his motivation to fight. I want to make him think he can’t win no matter what he does and aim for a KO.”

It sounds like Wakamatsu feels he will have to be patient if he wants the finish. But the Japanese flyweight feels he has what it takes to make Kim quit,

“The best-case scenario is I won’t let the opponent do anything and overpower him so much that he throws in the towel,” he said.

Aggressive style

He might have suffered defeat at the hands of Johnson but Wakamatsu posed the former UFC flyweight champion plenty  of problems. he would enhance his reputation even further with that knockout win against Eustaquio.

He might not have hit those heights in his most recent win but Wakamatsu warns he will always have that aggressive style,

“The way I fight, it’s more of a battle between animal(s). I don’t just aim to win, I aim to hunt the opponent.”