Riku Shibuya is not going anywhere.
The 30-year-old from Tokyo was rumored to have hung up his gloves following news that he suffered not just one detached retina, but two.
Shibuya, however, has come out to proclaim that he is still very much in the game and vows to return to the ONE Championship cage as soon as he is cleared.
“In my previous fight this January, I was struck many times in my eyes,” Shibuya said. “That’s something I cannot avoid as a MMA fighter, but that’s when I started to see floating black particles. After that, day by day, I started to lose my sight.”
Shibuya plans to return to the Wajutsu Keishukai Hearts gym in six months following medical treatment in Hawaii for the injury.
“The best doctor known for retinal detachment gave me an emergency operation,” he said. “The doctor mentioned that if the operation was done by anyone else, my recovery would have been hopeless. But he said my eyes give a lot of people hope, so he promised 100-percent to fix them.”
“Retinal detachment can be overcome. I believe the guy who wrote the article (about Shibuya retiring) is from the Stone Age. Rehab is tough, but my comeback will give people courage and hope.”
Shibuya scored a second consecutive victory for ONE last January when he bested Roy Doliguez, adding to the 2015 win he picked up over Eugene Toquero.
Since debuting for ONE Championship, “The Outsider” has posted a 2-1 mark, with the lone setback being a loss in March 2015 to Adriano Moraes for the ONE Flyweight World Championship.
While he would like to avenge that defeat to Moraes sometime, Shibuya has his focus on another fighter when he returns in 2016.
“I feel I will fit better going down one weight class, but I’m interested in Kairat Akhmetov right now,” he said. “He’s the elite with a perfect record (23-0), right? Don’t you think it will be fun to watch if a street fighter like me beats him?”
Shibuya, in typical Shibuya fashion, added this simple message to his fans: “I will be back,” he proclaimed.