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Wei Rui Looks Back on Triumph in Debut ONE Championship Fight, Sets Sights on Title Opportunity

Wei Rui
Black Belt Plus

Wei Rui had a tall order for his ONE Championship debut at ONE Fight Night 22. The bantamweight kickboxer was up against the division’s top contender, Hiroki Akimoto.

The two stars exchanged back and forth for three rounds, leaving the decision up to the judges. “Demon Blade” got the nod in a razor-thin contest and now positions himself as one of the top dogs in the division.

Wei admitted to ONE that he was not confident he would get his hand raised before the result was announced. With the debut under his belt, Wei expects only better things to come in future performances.

“This is my debut in ONE Championship, and I think it wasn’t really [my best showing]. But I’m super motivated now. I will continue to focus on training, and I will try harder the next time. I will be back,” Wei said.

The result has had many split on who they believe actually won. Wei admired the skills he saw in the ring but still thinks he did enough to pick up the victory.

Given the closeness of the bout, a future rematch between the two seems likely.

“I think Hiroki is a very tough, strong opponent. As you all know, his kicks and his attacks are always crazy and powerful, and compared to my other opponents before, I feel [it’s a harder matchup] with this kind of opponent. He did a lot of crazy things. But he didn’t really dominate the fight, as you could see him struggling; he can’t fight at my pace, and I’m always unpredictable. That is also my greatest technique,” the Chinese star stated.

After toppling the No 1-ranked bantamweight kickboxing contender, Wei feels a title shot should not be far off in the future.

“Demon Blade” is clear that the victory over Akimoto should put him in the crosshairs of ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing and Muay Thai World Champion Jonathan Haggerty.

“Yes, definitely. I think I am qualified to be the next belt challenger. Because, as you know, Hiroki used to be the champion, and I beat him. That means I can definitely [challenge for] the belt,” Wei said.

With the experience of competing on ONE under his belt, Wei better understands what he needs to do for his next match. Whether against Haggerty or another top contender, the Chinese athlete is ready to get back in the gym and follow a regimen to hit the next level in his evolution.

“Challenging the champion, of course, is not an easy thing to do. I have to prepare a lot, and I think, in the next stage, I will focus on my training. I will follow a long-term, systematic training plan,” Wei said.

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