- Having seemingly put weigh-in drama behind them, Ham and Hirata will meet at ONE Fight Night 8 card on March 25 in Singapore
- South Korean refused to fight Hirata at ONE 163 last November after Japanese star missed hydration on eve of atomweight MMA bout
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Having seemingly put last November’s weigh-in drama behind them, Ham Seo-hee and Itsuki Hirata will look to square off again at ONE Championship’s Fight Night 8 card on March 25 in Singapore.
South Korean veteran Ham (25-8) refused to fight Hirata (6-1) at ONE 163 late last year after the Japanese star missed hydration on the eve of their atomweight MMA bout.
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The scale fail drew scorn from ONE chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong, who blasted the 23-year-old’s “unprofessional” weight miss having already come in heavy against Lin Heqin in her previous fight last August.
“I’m ready, you make weight,” 35-year-old Ham wrote on Instagram after the match-up was announced.
“Here we go again. Hopefully I can do it this time,” she added.
Ham, who is ranked No 2 in ONE’s atomweight MMA division, had been scathing in her criticism of Hirata, after she failed hydration three times during the official testing window for ONE 163.
“I don’t think that she even has the basics to call herself a mixed martial artist or a professional fighter,” Ham had written in a lengthy social media statement after she confirmed her withdrawal.
Ham cancels ONE Championship 163 fight with ‘irresponsible’ Hirata
“It seems like she just hates being too tired, so she just fails hydration and weight, gives opponents [a] penalty and goes out there to fight. It might have worked for her until now but not this time.
“I hope she feels embarrassed about this. And I hope she realises how many people’s she’s affecting by her doing this irresponsible action.”
Hirata finally apologised last month for her most recent weight miss, revealing she had received “many bad messages every day”.
She had flown to New York in late December to train at Ultimate Gym NYC under the tutelage of coach Nestor Marte.
“I’m getting ready for the next game,” she wrote. “I look forward to your continued support this year. I’ll put everything into it and become stronger in martial arts.”
Hirata is riding a decision over China’s Lin at ONE on Prime Video 1 in Singapore. That victory came after she suffered her first professional loss, at the hands of Malaysia’s Jihin Radzuan, also by decision, at the promotion’s 10th anniversary spectacular ONE X last March.
Former Road FC and Rizin champion Ham – also a UFC veteran – has picked up a pair of decision wins against former No 1 contender Denice Zamboanga of the Philippines since debuting in Singapore-based ONE in September 2021.
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This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.
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