Sunday, March 11, 2007

Nagoya Press Conference

By Monty DiPietro

NAGOYA, March 11, 2007 -- It was just two years ago that K-1's governing body the Fight Entertainment Group (FEG) organized its first Hero's event at the Saitama Arena.

Now, the hugely successful mixed martial arts fight presentation is going global. In a press conference today at the Westin Nagoya Castle Hotel, Hero's supervisor Akira Maeda and FEG Event Producer Sadaharu Tanikawa promised a "surprising announcement" on Hero's and the United States within weeks. Also upcoming is Maeda's first child (a boy) and tomorrow's Hero's in Nagoya -- the fightsport's first event of the year.

Twenty-two fighters will square off in eleven bouts, all fought under Hero's Rules. Today they shared their pre-fight thoughts with the media.

There will be a number of K-1 fighters participating, right up to the Main Event, which will feature Japanese fighters Hideo Tokoro and Kazuya Yasuhiro in a 70kg/154 lbs bout.

Remarked Yasuhiro, a regular in K-1 Max: "I'm a seidokaikan fighter, so competing in Hero's is a great chance. I am happy to meet Tokoro, he's the Hero's main guy, so I have nothing to lose and will go crazy in the ring! I hope to surprise everyone in the audience!"

Said Tokoro: "Fighting in the main event is an honor, thanks to my opponent for taking the fight I hope it will be the best fight you've seen!"

Also on the card are a couple of K-1 heavyweights, Trinidadian-Canadian powerhouse Gary Goodridge, and brawler Jan "The Giant" Nortje of South Africa. The pair can be expected to put on a rock 'em, sock 'em show tomorrow -- but were jovial today.

Goodridge: "It's my first fight of the year, I'm excited!"
Nortje: "Yup, I'm sure Gary won't sleep tonight, worrying how I will knock him out -- don't worry I'll make it quick!"
Goodridge: "Well, actually I'm worrying about KO'ing Jan because he's a big guy, very difficult to pick up and carry out of the ring..."

Fresh from his dramatic KO of Hong Man Choi, American K-1 powerhouse Mighty Mo will step in against Min Soo Kim, an Olympic silver medallist in judo who is immensely popular in his native South Korea.

Mo: "I'm happy to be here to entertain with my mixed martial arts skills and power!"
Kim: "I'm honored to be here, I trained hard, it will be a good fight!"

Another K-1 fighter, Melvin Manhoef of Holland, will test his mixed martial arts skills against Japanese fighter Yoshiki Takahashi.

In 70kg/154lbs Hero's Middleweight action, it will be Caol Uno of Japan taking on Egyptian Ali Ibrahim; Kazuyuki Miyata of vs Black Mamba of India; and Ryuki Ueyama of Japan and Vitor "Shaorin" Ribeiro of Brazil.

Said Ueyama: "It's good to meet a top fighter such as Shaorin, I respect him, winning can give me momentum to top Hero's!"

Ribeiro: -- "I respect my opponent, I think it will be a very good fight."

Rounding out the Middleweight bouts, Hiroyuki Takaya of Japan vs Andre Dida of Brazil There was an intense staredown between these two, the smiling Dida putting his face about as close to Takaya's he could without having to buy him dinner.

Legendary Japanese grappler Kazushi Sakuraba will meet Yuri "Playboy" Kyselov of the Ukraine in an 85kg/187lbs bout; a couple of Japanese fighters, Yoshihisa Yamamoto and Katsuyori Shibata will do battle, and Hyun Pyo Shin of South Korea will take on Bernard Acka of Republic of Cote d'Ivoire in the opening fight.

The Hero's Nagoya 2007 event starts at 6:00 pm at the Nagoya Rainbow Hall. It will be broadcast across Japan on the TBS Network. Contact local broadcasters for scheduling information in other locations. For complete fight card, fighters' information, and post-event coverage on the Nagoya and other Hero's events and fighters, (including a complete archive of past events), visit the K-1 Official Website (


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