One Championship will run their first event of 2020 next Friday with One Championship: A New Tomorrow, which is going to be headlined by Rodtang Jitmuangnon defending the flyweight muay thai title against Jonathan Haggerty.
However, 2020 could be a challenging year for the promotion, as a recent piece written by One Championship fighter Shinya Aoki for Abema states the promotion could be fighting for its survival this year.
Karaev fan translated the piece, which was written in Japanese, and posted the following highlights on Twitter:
割と厳しい2020年を語る。— 青木真也 shinya aoki (@a_ok_i) January 1, 2020
Shinya Aoki wrote a short essay for Abema, noting that "survival" is likely to be the theme for ONE Championship in 2020. Notes that low view numbers and the postponement of the next ONE Japan card are red flags and that fighters should expect there to be a round of cuts in 2020 https://t.co/5wftJ6xVQu— Karaev fan (@Karaev_Fan) January 1, 2020
He notes that while K-1, RISE and RIZIN have found success in raising new stars, ONE is still lacking young talent that are building the genre— Karaev fan (@Karaev_Fan) January 1, 2020
He urges them not to get comfortable with living off of a platform and to shift their mindset to expanding the pie
Aoki is a former two time One Lightweight Champion and last competed for the promotion in October of 2019, defeating Honorio Banario by first round submission.
There has been no comment from One Championship officials yet on the claims made by Aoki, but the promotion has already scheduled ten events for 2020 and more are expected to be announced for later this year.