One FC lightweight champion Kotetsu Boku is busy preparing for his first title defense. He’ll square off with former Dream lightweight champion Shinya Aoki in the One FC: Kings and Champions main event on April 5 at Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore.
Boku recently took some time out of his busy training schedule to answer a few questions for MMAWeekly.com:
MMAWeekly.com: You’ve only been able to fight a couple of times a year the past couple years. How has having fewer fights for each of the past couple of years affected you?
Kotetsu Boku: I would have loved to fight more as I’ll get paid more, but the times when I do not have a match scheduled is the best time for me to practice more and brush up on things which I would not have the opportunity to if I was fighting several times a year. In the end, it was probably for the best as my skills have brought me to the ONE FC lightweight title.
MMAWeekly.com: Following up on that, how many times do you expect to fight in 2013?
Kotetsu Boku: I hope to fight maybe three or four times in 2013 and defend my ONE FC title belt. I expect there will be many challengers who think that they can take my title, so ONE FC will probably have matches lined up for me to stay busy.
MMAWeekly.com: You have only fought once for One FC so far in your career, but what is your outlook on One FC and their importance to mixed martial arts in Asia?
Kotetsu Boku: I was amazed at the level of professionalism in the ONE FC organization. They take care of their fighters very well. It is very good to have a promotion in Asia that focuses mainly on Asian fighters, as it will grow the sport in the continent.
Becoming champion of ONE FC means that I am champion of the entire Asia continent, as they bring champions from all the countries to fight on the same card.
MMAWeekly.com: After having failed to win the title in your last couple attempts at a Shooto championship, how important was it for you to fight for and win the One FC lightweight championship?
Kotetsu Boku: It was very important for me to show that I am good enough to become champion. I feel delighted to win, but I did not put extra pressure on myself because of the last title loss. If I did that it would have affected me mentally and I would not have been able to perform how I like to.
MMAWeekly.com: Did your fight with Zorobabel Moreira go as you expected? Can you tell us a little about what went right and what went wrong in that fight?
Kotetsu Boku: A little bit of what I expected. I knew he had a long reach advantage, which he likes to use. I did not anticipate getting kicked so much and should have prevented them better. What went right is I never gave up and eventually connected with a punch flush on the chin and as long as I win in the end, I will not want to change anything.
MMAWeekly.com: Can you take anything from the Moreira fight into the upcoming fight with Shinya Aoki?
Kotetsu Boku: They train together under the same coaches, so maybe they will have some similarities, but not too much. Both are Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts, but their ground game is very different. They also have very different body types. Shinya does not have the reach that Moreira has, so I feel like I match up better with Shinya.
MMAWeekly.com: While you have been fighting longer than Aoki and are the One FC champion, much of the attention in this fight is focused on Aoki. Do you think this is deserved?
Kotetsu Boku: Aoki has always gotten more media attention than me, even in Japan. He was always the main event when we fought on the same card. I’m used to it. I was an underdog in the Zorobabel Moreira fight as well. But after this fight, I’m going to get more attention than him.
MMAWeekly.com: You’ve been around Aoki for a long time. Do you feel like Aoki’s style has evolved over the years?
Kotetsu Boku: He has improved his striking a little over the years, but his submission game will always be his bread and butter.
MMAWeekly.com: Do you feel like your own style has evolved over the years?
Kotetsu Boku: I feel like I’ve improved in every aspect of my game. I’m better all-around now than I was before and I enter fights with a better understanding of who my opponent is.
But I don’t think I’m that much different from how I’ve always fought. I bring everything every time and will never back down from a brawl.