Takeru to Fight Bailey Sugden on June 24 for ISKA Belt – Signs Massive $750,000 per Fight Contract With ABEMA

Mar 29, 2023
Takeru against Bailey Sudgen. Photo: K-1 Japan Group
The former K-1 champion makes his return to the ring in Paris, France.

Barely recovered from the big news that broke out yesterday, today we got confirmation. Takeru Segawa has signed a one-fight contract with British promotion Muay Thai Grand Prix and takes on Bailey Sugden in a five-round ISKA world title fight on June 24. The fight will be contested at 61 KG. 8,000 lucky fans will get an opportunity to see the debut of the Japanese phenom on European soil in the Zenith Arena, Paris. 

"I am happy to finally announce my return to the ring. I have been saying since my days in K-1, that I wanted to fight overseas, and I'm happy that an overseas fight has been decided in the form of a title match. ISKA is a prestigious organization, and I hope to use this opportunity to win the belt and show the world that there are strong fighters in the Japanese martial arts world. I hope that this will result in the Japanese martial arts world attracting attention from around the world."

At the press conference hosted on his own YouTube channel and ABEMA, it was also announced that Takeru's company STR Inc. has signed a contract with ABEMA for the exclusive broadcasting rights of his upcoming fights. 

Yuji Kitano, Executive Producer of ABEMA Fighting Channel, said, "Takeru has signed a contract with ABEMA as an exclusive ABEMA PPV fighter. From now on, you will be able to watch Takeru's fights only on ABEMA. If ABEMA PPV broadcasts the PPV live, the minimum payout for Takeru will be 100 million yen. In addition, Takeru will also earn a percentage of the PPV sales. Of course, these are in addition to the fight money from the martial arts organization that will be contracted in the future."

This only refers to the Japanese market, no information about the international broadcasting situation has been revealed yet.

At roughly $750,000 per fight, this would make Takeru, with high likelihood, the best paid athlete in the sport right now. The exact details on the structure of the PPV payout have not been disclosed, neither has the number of fights that Takeru has on his contract with ABEMA. 

While his focus during THE MATCH 2022 was to bring kickboxing back to Japanese national television, Takeru's new goal seems to be, bringing a new age of online streaming to kickboxing, so people from all over the world can see him fight. 

Bailey Sugden, 25, seems confident in his ability to spoil the debut for the former Japanese champion. "He's a great fighter, but anyone can look great, staying in one place and fighting the same people for so long. I've been all over the world. I fought everywhere in the world at 19, and now at 25, I'm ready to take on better and bigger challenges. But the question is, is Takeru ready for the biggest and best challenge of his career."

Many fans and the media were also curious, if a fight against ONE Championship's Rodtang Jitmuangnon is still in the talks. "We are moving towards the realization of the match against Rodtang. I don't think there will be a match against Rodtang if I don't win, so I'll focus on this match first."