Namiki Kawahara will come in oozing with confidence even after taking his debut match against Lito Adiwang on short notice.
The Japanese mixed martial arts champion believes he’s in perfect condition to pull off the upset in their ONE: Unbreakable bout at Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday.
Kawahara came in on 9 days’ notice as a replacement for Hexigetu, setting up a battle of two fighters who like to stand and trade.
“Before I got the offer, I was training and my condition was really good, so I had to take it,” Kawahara said.
“The reason I decided to fight Lito is because he is a good fighter, a dangerous fighter, and if I beat him, I’ll be closer to the ONE [Strawweight] World Championship. It will be a big win for me, so I am excited.”
Although he only had a short time to prepare for Adiwang, Kawahara is familiar with the Team Lakay star — fellow Japanese Hiroba Minowa recently fought and beat Adiwang by a close split decision.
The Team Alpha Male representative wasn’t totally impressed with Minowa in that match against Adiwang, however, and he plans to one-up his performance.
“If you look at [Minowa’s] fight against Lito, it was a really close fight,” Kawahara said. “And to be honest, as a result, he won, but it wasn’t that interesting. What I have to show is a better way to win.
“I already have something prepared, and I’m sure Lito will have something prepared. He will have observed me. We’re both in the same situation, so let’s enjoy it and have a great fight.”
Competing in the event’s curtain raiser, the 31-year-old Japanese athlete warned fans not to sleep on this match as it could potentially steal the show.
“It’s the first bout [of the card], but the opening bout is going to be awesome, aggressive. It’s going to be a knockout fight, but only one man is going to be standing at the end,” Kawahara said.
“All I’m thinking about is finishing him, that’s my aim. If it’s stand-up, I’ll knock him out. If it goes to the ground, I will submit him. It’s as simple as that.
“I will show not just a win, but a good win, and I will crack into the strawweight top five. After that, it will be the World Championship.”
FROM THE ARCHIVES