Established by former Japanese professional wrestler and the original “Tiger Mask” Satoru Sayama in 1985, Shooto held its first amateur event in 1986 and its first professional event in 1989. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of its professional event, the Japanese mixed martial arts organization announced its partnership with Singapore-based martial arts organization ONE Championship.
“As Professional Shooto celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, we are excited to announce our partnership with ONE Championship,” Shooto CEO Kazuhiro Sakamoto stated. “This is the first time in 30 years that Shooto is partnering with an international martial arts organization. We believe our close collaboration with ONE will not only be beneficial to Shooto and its athletes but also for the future of the martial arts industry in Japan.”
Professional Shooto is one of the most popular and well-established martial arts organizations in Japan. Among the top Japanese martial artists it has produced are the late Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto, Rumina Sato, Kaoru “Caol” Uno, Takanori Gomi, Hayato Sakurai, Kyoji Horiguchi and former ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki, 35.
A number of ONE Championship’s current and former world champions were produced by Shooto. Among them are Aoki, current ONE Strawweight World Champion Yosuke Saruta and former ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka Naito.
Shooto will continue to actively support ONE Championship in its scouting efforts in Japan. The former will also provide marketing support to the upcoming events of the latter in Japan, starting with “ONE: A New Era” on March 31, 2019 at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo.
The main event of “ONE: A New Era” is a rematch between Aoki and reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, 35, of the Philippines. Three more title bouts are on the main card.
Formerly known as Shin-Kakutogi, Shooto is governed by the Shooto Association and the International Shooto Commission. The organization combines various forms of martial arts, including boxing, kickboxing, wrestling and sambo, forming the foundation of present-day mixed martial arts.
Meanwhile, watch the first encounter between Aoki and Folayang here: