Choo Sung Hoon (추성훈), 43, who is professionally known as Yoshihiro Akiyama (秋山成勲), is one of the mixed martial artists who previously competed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship and recently signed with ONE Championship. The Korean-Japanese MMA fighter and judoka will compete in the welterweight division of the Singapore-based martial arts organization.
“I am pleased to announce that we have added Yoshihiro Akiyama to our elite ONE Championship roster,” ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong stated. “Akiyama is a true representative of Asian martial arts and it is an honor to welcome him to the global stage of competition.”
A fourth generation Japanese of Korean descent, Akiyama is one of the most iconic Asian mixed martial artists in history. He acquired Japanese nationality in 2001.
Akiyama began his martial arts career garnering accolades on the amateur level, which include a gold medal at the 2001 Asian Judo Championships for South Korea and a gold medal at the 2002 Asian Games for Japan. When he transitioned to MMA, he used his judo expertise, which helped him achieve success in the sport.
Aside from claiming the K-1 HERO’s Light Heavyweight Grand Prix Tournament Championship, Akiyama also defeated some of the industry’s most respected names including Melvin Manhoef, Alan Belcher, and former IBF Heavyweight Boxing Champion Francois Botha. Currently, Akiyama holds a professional MMA record of 14 wins and 6 losses.
“He is an absolute legend in the sport, impressing audiences with his supreme martial arts skill and unwavering will to win,” Chatri said of Akiyama. “Akiyama is set to mix it up with the best and brightest of the ONE Championship welterweight division, and will help lead the charge as ONE Championship heads into Tokyo and Seoul in 2019.”
The last UFC bout of Akiyama was a loss to Albert”Soldier of God” Mina, 36, of Brazil at “UFC Fight Night 79” at the Olympic Gymnastics Arena in Seoul, South Korea on November 28, 2015. From 2013 to 2017, Akiyama, his wife Shiho Yano and their daughter Choo Sarang starred in the South Korean reality show “The Return of Superman.”
Here is Akiyama and Sarang in a “The Return of Superman” episode: