Yoshihiro Akiyama was born on July 29th, 1975 in Osaka, Japan. After training in different martial arts his entire life, it was only natural that Yoshihiro would go on to fight professionally.
Akiyama’s professional debut saw him defeat fighters from France, Turkey and Mongolia to make it to the semi-final round of the light middleweight division at the Osaka World Judo Championships in 2003. Contraversy surrounded the wins after opponents began complaining that the gi Akiyama wore was slippery. The condition of the cloth was found to be due to the high humidity that is common in Osaka, and the case was dropped. Akiyama went on to lose to German fighter Florian Wanner, the eventual winner of the tournament.
Akiyama fought in a mixed martial arts tournament for the first time at the K-1 Premium 2004 Dynamite event in December of 2004 where he defeated his opponent, boxer Francois Botha, with an arm bar submission in the very first round.
Akiyama also appeared at the 2006 K-1 Premium Dynamite tournament. During his match against Kazushi Sakuraba in the main event, Sakuraba was heard yelling to the referee that Akiyama’s body was slippery. The fight went on and Akiyama eventually won due to a referee stoppage. The league demanded an inquiry into the accusation that Akiyama’s body was oiled and he admitted readily to having used Oil of Olay prior to the fight to treat his dry skin. He was immediately disqualified and suspended indefinitely from fighting with the K-1 organization.
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