by Monti DiPietro – Courtesy of K1
OSAKA, December 30, 2005 — There is no bigger holiday in Japan than New Year’s, a time comprised of countless age-old traditions. The munching of mochi (sticky rice); the liberal imbibing of sake; and the loud ringing, at midnight, of the neighborhood temple bell 108 times have been joined recently by a new way to celebrate December 31st — the K-1 Premium Dynamite extravaganza.

Dynamite brings millions upon millions of Japanese television viewers an all-star night of fightsport action. Set for tomorrow evening at the Osaka Dome, Dynamite ’05 will feature seven fights contested under Hero’s mixed martial art rules and four K-1 and K-1 World Max bouts.

In a press conference at the Osaka Imperial Hotel, the 22 Dynamite combatants shared their thoughts on the eve of the event.

First, in Hero’s Rules Bouts (5Min x 3R unless otherwise noted):

The Hero’s Middle Weight Championship Tournament Final will be a showdown between two dynamic Japanese fighters — Genki Sudo and Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto. Sudo is good on the ground, and will probably try to take the fight there. Yamamoto, meanwhile, is an aggressive fighter who may choose to stand and strike. But who knows what these two have in mind or how it will play out? We’ll find out tomorrow.

Said Sudo: “My condition is good, my status is good, and I’ll show that in the fight!”

Replied Yamamoto: “This will be a piece of cake, I can just relax and take it easy — the win will naturally follow.”

American former Sumo Grand Champion Akebono will lumber in with a tremendous weight advantage on his opponent Bobby Ologun of Nigeria.

Akebono: “Thanks to all, I will do my best.”

Ologun: “Akebono’s face looks scary, but I’m ok — I practiced for a year, so I will show what I can do tomorrow!”

A special format (10Min x 2R) bout will pit the experience of Royce Gracie, a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu master bred of the sport’s premier fighting family, against the intrepid Hideo Tokoro of Japan.

Gracie: “Victory is something you have to earn, tomorrow I will give all my heart in the ring to do so!”

Tokoro: “I’m excited to be in Dynamite, fighting Royce Gracie! It’s too much, I will do the very best I can!”

A 75kg/165lbs weight class bout set for 5Min x 2R (with a possible tiebreaker round) will feature Olympic wrestling Gold Medallist Katsuhiko Nagata of Japan and Remigijus Morkevicius, a lightening quick striker from Lithuania.

Nagata: “It’s my pro debut tomorrow. I’m honored to be with these great fighters, I practiced hard to be able to put on a great performance.”

Morkevicius: “Happy New Year everyone! My opponent is a gold medallist , so it’s an honor to be in this fight. My strong point is on the physical strength side, and I’ll show that tomorrow.”

French K-1 veteran Jerome LeBanner will take on big bad Alan Karaev of Russia.

LeBanner: “Happy New Year, see you tomorrow, that’s all!”

Karaev: “I’ll echo Jerome, I want to wish Happy New Year’s as well, and I will show my best tomorrow.”

Peter Aerts of Holland, a Three-Time K-1 WGP Champion, will tango with Shungo Oyama of Japan.

Aerts: “I’ve got nothing much to say except it’s a big fight and I’ll do my best!”

Oyama: “Peter is strong, I have great respect for him. I am shaking with anticipation, and will do my very best!”

Yoshihiro Nakao of Japan will tackle American Heath Herring.

Nakao: “I’ll do my best with this great opportunity. I think Herring is the kind of go-to fighter who will bring out my talents.”

Herring: “Bring it on, I’m ready to do what I do best!”

In K-1 rules bouts (3Min x 3R with a possible tiebreaker):

There will be a highly anticipated match between former World Max Champion Masato of Japan and compatriot Akira Ohigashi (this a 72kg/159lbs weight class bout).

Masato: “I’m guessing the first round will be something to see, as my opponent will try his best to knock me out. Well, I’ll have to do the same!”

Ohigashi: “I’m happy to be here but pleasure is not the thing, I want to be strong and show what I can do against Masato!!”

Japan’s best K-1 fighter, Musashi, will take on powerhouse Bob “The Beast” Sapp of the Unites States.

Musashi: “I’ll do my best, I hope it will be a good fight.”

Sapp: “There is no question Musashi has conditioning and technical ability, the only question is — will we still be friends after I knock his ass out?”

(When he heard this, Musashi laughed, responding, “Yes, Bob, I do hope we can continue our friendship!”)

In a bout featuring the best of Holland fighters past and present, Defending World Grand Prix Champion Semmy Schilt will take on Four-Time Champion Ernesto “Mr Perfect” Hoost. Schilt is a Seidokaikan Karate fighter who blossomed this year, breezing through the opposition at Paris before capturing the crown at the Tokyo Dome scarcely six weeks ago.

Schilt: “I’m very glad to be here as the K-1 Champ, and I’ll live up to it by showing you a great fight!”

Hoost: “I’m glad to be back — the last day of 2005 will be my first fight of the year! It was my wish to fight the new Champ, and I’ll show you my best for sure!”

Dutch K-1 star Remy Bonjasky, a Two-Time WGP Champion himself, will step in against Sylvester “The Predator” Terkay of the United States.

Bonjasky: “It feels strange not to be Champ, but I’ll do my best to fight like I am tomorrow!”

Terkay: “I came to Osaka looking for a hard fight, and I’m happy I will fight a classy guy who’s one of the best in the world. This gives me a chance to show what I can do.”

The K-1 Premium 2005 Dynamite will be broadcast across Japan on the TBS network and on a time delay in Europe on EuroSport. For other scheduling information contact local broadcasters. As always, check the K-1 Official Website (www.k-1.co.jp) for complete coverage.