One of the rising stars of Asian MMA has withdrawn from the semi-finals of ONE Championship’s women’s atomweight grand prix, leaving just two of the original competitors remaining in the final four.
Despite her relative lack of experience compared to her rivals, Japanese fighter Itsuki Hirata was handed a berth in the tournament, and the unbeaten 22-year-old booked her place in the semi-finals with a unanimous decision victory over Alyse Anderson.
Her win extended her record to 5-0 and set up the biggest test of her young career to date, a final-four clash with Indian contender Ritu Phogat. But, just days from the event, Hirata was forced to withdraw due to illness.
“I need to pull out of Atomweight WGP due to a high fever (non-covid),” she wrote on Instagram.
“I’m truly sorry to Ritu Phogat, sponsors ,fans who supported me, and ONE staff.
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“I’m grateful to have been selected for this tournament even though I didn’t have a good enough career or record compared to the others.
“I fought hard to be in the semifinals. It is regretful that I have to pull out at this stage and disappoint many people.
“I will recover and be back in ONE Circle as soon as possible. Thank you.”
Hirata’s spot will be taken by Filipina Jenelyn Olsim, who recently defeated Bi Nguyen in August to establish her credentials in the atomweight division.
The pair will face off in the co-main event of ONE: NextGen, which takes place Friday, October 29.
The night’s main event will feature the other semi-final, as former atomweight kickboxing and Muay Thai world champion Stamp will take on Brazilian tournament alternate Julie Mezabarba, who stepped in to replace the injured former Rizin FF champion, Seo Hee Ham.
ONE: NextGen – Fight Card
- Stamp vs. Julie Mezabarba – ONE atomweight grand prix semi-final
- Ritu Phogat vs. Jenelyn Olsim – ONE atomweight grand prix semi-final
- Anderson Silva vs. Iraj Azizpour – heavyweight kickboxing bout
- Kirill Grishenko vs. Dustin Joynson – heavyweight MMA bout
- Miao Li Tao vs. Jeremy Miado – strawweight MMA bout
- Beybulat Isaev vs. Bogdan Stoica – light heavyweight kickboxing bout