Katsuki Kitano Ready to Battle Liam Harrison at ONE 167

Katsuki Kitano had a successful ONE Championship debut last October, but he has a significant challenge ahead of him in his return to action. 

On Friday, Jun. 7, Kitano will meet Liam “Hitman” Harrison in a bantamweight Muay Thai brawl at ONE 167: Tawanchai vs. Nattawut II inside Bangkok, Thailand’s Impact Arena. 

The thrilling event goes down live in U.S. primetime via Prime Video, and the size of the platform isn’t lost on the Japanese star. Neither is the notable reputation of his opponent. 



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 “Since he’s a big name, if I can beat him, this is a great opportunity. I’ve known about him for a long time, and I saw my senior Yamato Tetsuya fight him before, so when I got the offer, I thought, ‘Wow, it’s my turn now.’ I decided I’d go for it wholeheartedly,” Kitano told ONE. 

“He’s a big name, so it really motivates me.” 

Harrison has been one of the most exciting and dangerous athletes in the division for some time, but an unfortunate injury he suffered against Nong-O Hama in 2022 has had him sidelined for nearly two years. 

Nonetheless, Kitano isn’t taking the match lightly, and he’s preparing for the British star to be in top form.

“I need to watch out for his low kicks. And I think he’s faster than I expected, so I have to be careful about that,” he said. 

“His weakness is that I have the reach advantage over him. But still, I don’t think he has any openings. I’m training hard to make sure I win.” 

“Hitman’s” fabled career makes him an intimidating opponent for any fighter. But Kitano is aware of his own strengths ahead of their meeting at ONE 167.  

At 28, he’s 10 years younger than Harrison, and that, along with his dangerous set of skills, will allow him to control the action, according to the man himself. 

“I think my kicking game is an advantage since I’ve been doing Muay Thai for so long. I’m younger, so I have the stamina advantage if I train properly. I’m making sure his longer career doesn’t let him make up for that,” Kitano stated. 

The Japanese star knows what a win over Harrison could do for his career and the pursuit of the ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai Championship. 

While he doesn’t want to get drawn into a firefight with one of the nastiest strikers on the planet, he is adamant about finding a highlight-reel finish to earn notoriety and enter the title conversation. 

“I have to get the KO. That will really put my name out there. I’m going for the knockout,” Kitano expressed. 

ONE has deepened its roster of Japanese athletes recently. Most notably, the promotion has signed Takeru Segawa and Masaaki Noiri to its kickboxing ranks. 

Kitano is hopeful that a big win in Bangkok will set him apart from his compatriots and establish him as the next great striking star from his country. 

“I want to show the world the strength of Japanese fighters. And also that I’m different from other Japanese fighters – don’t underestimate me. I want people to see that this Japanese fighter is different,” he said. 

ONE 167 airs live on Prime Video on Friday, Jun. 7. The action begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and is free for all U.S. and Canadian Amazon Prime members.



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