In kickboxing circles, and even those of combat sports in general, K-1 is royalty. With a long list of champions, a who’s who of kickboxing, K-1 has hosted some of the best fighters in the world. Even more prestigious would be to become a champion in such a famed organization. Riki Matsuoka has long chased that and finally achieved it. The Japanese native defeated Kona Kato in April of 2021 to become the K-1 Krush champion at 67 kilograms. Now, Matsuoka looks to further his resume at Krush 134 against new challenger, Ali Ayinta.
Combat sports is a family affair for Riki Matsuoka. It was his father’s ties to karate that saw the future champion take up the sport of kickboxing. It was just that that put Matsuoka on the path to becoming a K-1 champion.
“My father influenced me when I started kickboxing. My father was a classmate with a karate teacher and was forced to go to the karate dojo.”
Matsuoka’s influence on his career is mostly from within. As Bruce Lee once said, “Be water, my friend,” Matsuoka has been without shape or rigidity. He’s taken his influence from his father’s karate ties to Thai boxing and become a unique fighter in his own right. “Kickboxing was almost self-taught.” He continues, “I was watching only Muay Thai videos on YouTube.”
Riki Matsuoka vs. Ali Ayinta at K-1 Krush 134
Coming into Krush 134, Riki Matsuoka is training to be in the best shape possible. “My training is to be in the best condition as usual.” He continues saying that while the title is nice, he wants to achieve more. “I’m not interested in the current title. I want to aim higher,” Matsuoka says.
Fighting for K-1 is a privilege not many get the opportunity to experience. Matsuoka says it’s that uniqueness that K-1 brings to the table that makes it unlike any other organization in the world.
“Each K-1 fight has a story, which is a charm not found in other organizations.”
As for his opponent, Ali Ayinta, Riki Matsuoka says that he knows what he’s in for and that his opponent is no walk in the park.” Ayinta is tall and has long limbs. He has excellent motor skills and is a wonderful player.”
Riki Matsuoka on GLORY Rivals, the future, and a Masaaki Noiri Rematch
In 2018, Riki Matsuoka fell to the current K-1 champion, Masaaki Noiri, in the K-1 World Grand Prix. Noiri is now the K-1 KJP and has a win over Matsuoka’s current opponent, Ayinta. Matsuoka has his eyes on that rematch and wants to make a statement with a big time finish at Krush 134.
“I want to clear this match and reach Noiri in the shortest time.”
Earlier in the year, Glory Kickboxing announced a new series of fights called GLORY Rivals where the promotion will cross promote with other kickboxing promotions to bring the best fights in the world together. Already announced, Enfusion and RISE are on the cards and more to come. While K-1 isn’t yet announced, fans are asking if that is a possiblility. For Matsuoka, it doesn’t matter who he fights, he just wants to fight and can do it anywhere.
“I fight completely prepared in all fights and clear them all. I can fight anywhere.”
But finally circling back to Krush 134, Riki Matsuoka says it’s his fight to lose. He has no “style,” no “talents.” He just fights. “I have no characteristics or talents.” He says with finality, “It makes sense for me to win.”
Going into Krush 134, Matsuoka has a lot to gain and a lot to lose. Now is the time for him to go out and execute. With a win, he will be one step closer to that Masaaki Noiri rematch that he’s been seeking.