Karate 1-Premier League: Preview And Interviews Featuring Hikaru Ono

The third leg of the Karate 1-Premier League for 2023 is scheduled to be held in Fukuoka, Japan, from June 9th to 11th, 2023. 

The event has drawn a lot of interest, with more than 300 athletes from 47 countries registering to participate.

The host nation, Japan, has the most number of athletes with 49 participants, followed by Kazakhstan with 25 and Ukraine with 17. 

Nine of the 12 Grand Winners will be joining the event, including Yorgelis Salazar (Venezuela), Hikaru Ono (Japan), Dionysios Xenos (Greece), and Kakeru Nishiyama (Japan).

The competition will have a Round Robin format in the eliminations, and the quarterfinals, semi-finals, and medal bouts will follow a knockout system. The finals will take place on June 11th, 2023.

Key Quotes

Hikaru Ono, the four-time Karate 1-Premier League winner and current continental champion, said: “I am from Oita, Kyushu (160 km or 99 miles from Fukuoka) so my parents and the students at my dojo will come to see the tournament. I want to show them my best performance, so I can win the gold medal.

“I would like to compete with my very best. Children in the Kyushu region don’t usually have the chance to see first-class tournaments as most of them are held in Tokyo, so it will be a great opportunity for them to see top-level athletes in action this time.

“I always loved Karate; it was special to me. I took swimming and piano lessons, but that did not last. One year after I started practising karate, I said ‘I want to be a world champion.


Kiyou Shimizu, a silver-medal Olympian, stated: “I want to be the champion. This is my first visit to Fukuoka. It might be a different atmosphere from the past Karate 1-Premier League in Tokyo and Okinawa, but I hope that people will enjoy the event in Fukuoka.

“When I was 13 years old, I finished in third place in a national junior high school championship. I was very upset. I was aiming for the gold medal, but the kids in my age group were very strong and I lost.

“However, this victory inspired me to continue practising Karate.”


Ayumi Uekusa, who finished seventh in the Olympics, remarked: “It is very important that the event is being held again in Japan, the birth nation of the sport. After competing in the Olympics, I took a break from karate.

“By going abroad and seeing the world, I found the good points of myself and learned the values that I could not find at the time in Japan. The experience that I had abroad had a highly positive effect on me and in my performances in Karate.

“Karate originated in Japan and developed as a sport to reach every corner of the world. People in other countries value the traditional aspects of the sport such as etiquette and honour.”

Where To Watch

You can watch the finals live on June 11th, 2023, right here on FIGHTSPORTS in the countries below:


Pan-Asia-Pacific (excluding China)

India + Sub-Continent






Sub-Saharan Africa



Czech Republic

Germany, Austria, Switzerland

Ex-Yugoslavia (excluding Croatia)


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