Hiroaki Suzuki Still Has Dreams Of Becoming ONE World Champion
The 34-year-old from Japan was unsuccessful that evening, but he remains hopeful to one day wear that title.
The journey from Aichi, Japan to the top of ONE Championship has been a tough one for Suzuki.
“At age 15, I left home and started living in a karate school,” Suzuki said.
“I decided not to go to high school and I became an apprentice. I decided in my heart that I would make a life with karate. Of course, my family was against my decision. They kept telling me to go to high school.”
Suzuki would spend several months living in a storage room, battling the elements just to survive the tough times.
“There was no shower or heating,” Suzuki said.
“I slept there even if it was a cold winter. I only took a shower twice a week and I would wash myself with cold water outside.”
Despite all of that, Suzuki was doing what he loved: karate. But eventually, that would not be enough to keep him going.
“My heart was full,” he said.
“My life was difficult without having enough money and I had to quit karate when I was 20 since I had too much debt. It was the hardest time of my life. After I returned home, I started working, but I could not forget about martial arts in my heart.”
That is when Suzuki came upon a shoot boxing gym that would bring him back to training.
“I decided to practice hard and become a professional martial artist,” Suzuki said.
“It is not karate, but martial arts values are the same. I want to become a Japanese champion. As a professional martial artist, I saw the world. My goal as a professional martial artist is to make a life with martial arts and to be successful on the global stage.”