Leading Asian MMA promotion, ONE Championship announced this week the hiring of a new senior leader as a key component of their expansion strategy. Japanese business executive Yoshiaki Ito has been named President of ONE Championship (Japan).
The move by the Singapore-based promotion comes as they look to establish themselves in Japan, historically a hotbed of MMA. The ONE Championship roster of fighters already includes a number of top Japanese athletes like Koji Ando and Kotetsu Boku, as well as their reigning lightweight and strawweight champs, respectively, Shinya Aoki and Yoshitaka Naito.
ONE Championship has already held live events on China’s mainland as well as in Bangok, and in its native Singapore. The promotion says it hopes to expand into Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, and Australia in the future.
Ito's previous experience is extensive, including his founding of X-Tank Consulting, and roles as CEO of Haier Asia Group, and Senior Vice President at Sony Pictures Entertainment. His international biography matches well with ONE Championship’s aspirations.
The new president was born and raised in Bangkok, and speaks Japanese, Thai, and English.
Victor Cui, the CEO of ONE Championship said in a statement that Ito “along with our very capable leadership, will be responsible for taking our organization to the next level and beyond. We are excited at the possibilities and welcome Ito-san to the ONE Championship family.”
The new executive also expressed enthusiasm for his new post in the same release. “It’s amazing to be a part of the rapid growth of MMA in Asia,” he said.
“I will focus my efforts on developing the budding Japanese market."