Bokang Masunyane was in the world title mix once before, and he intends to re-insert himself into the conversation after ONE Fight Night 9: Nong-O vs. Haggerty on April 21.
South Africa’s “Little Giant” will return to action for the first time in almost a year this month, as he is scheduled to battle an opponent on a similar trajectory – that being Japan’s Hiroba Minowa.
The two share mirroring stories on the path back to winning ways, as both men’s last outings saw them come up short against newly crowned ONE strawweight world champion Jarred Brooks.
However, the difference lies in the fashion in which they fell to “The Monkey God.”
Masunyane suffered a first-round submission loss to the American back in April 2022, whereas Minowa came up short over the course of three rounds by unanimous decision in January 2022.
Nevertheless, the South African’s run in ONE has been impressive.
Masunyane first toppled Ryuto Sawada in his debut in December 2019, and he followed that with a highlight-reel first-round stoppage of Rene Catalan just a year later, extending his professional run to eight straight victories.
Nearly a year removed from his first promotional bump in the road, “Little Giant” looks to return to the ONE strawweight world title picture with an emphatic statement against Minowa.
The Saitama native, however, will always have plans of a similar style.
If Minowa – who is also 2-1 in his promotional tenure – could pick up a victory against the highly respected Masunyane, it would give him his 14th professional win and help him climb the strawweight ladder even higher.
Minowa will also be hunting for his first finish in ONE, having already amassed 11 stoppages in his 13 career victories thus far.
Another thing that makes this bout so interesting is that it was previously booked for ONE 159, but when Masunyane missed weight, the Japanese battler opted not to accept a catchweight. As a result, the bout was removed from the show.
The ramifications for the victor of this contest in an ever-flourishing category like strawweight are unprecedented. It’s a battle between the #2-ranked Masunyane and #3-ranked Minowa, and all the spoils are up for grabs for the momentous year ahead.