Akebono vs Bob Sapp To Be Held Under Shoot Boxing Rules

3 weeks before “RIZIN FIGHTING WORLD GRAND-PRIX 2015 Saitama 3 days” takes place RIZIN FF officials announced that the highly anticipated rematch between Akebono and Bob Sapp will be held under Shoot Boxing rules along with top fighters from new K-1, and the appearance of PR spokesperson Manami Hashimoto and the ring girls.

RIZIN FF Chairman Nobuyuki Sakakibara, General Manager Nobuhiko Takada, Bob Sapp, Akebono and from New K-1, HIROYA, TAKERU, Kensaku Maeda producer appeared on stage. Lastly Shoot Boxing founder and CEO, Cezar Takeshi appeared on stage and announced that the Akebono – Bob Sapp fight will be held under Shoot Boxing rules.

Sakakibara Chairman explained the process in the match making, “I have been seeking for advice about what rules the highly anticipated rematch should be held under, and Mr. Cezar introduced me to the idea where both fighters will be able to maximize their potential.”

He continued “The New K-1 has become popular in such a rapid rate, and I am happy that they are going to be sending their top, young talent to our ring. We would like to match both K-1 representatives up with tough opponents.” HIROYA will be facing MMA striking phenome Akiyo “Wicky” Nishiura, and TAKERU will be facing China’s proud young Muay Thai champion Yang Ming. Both fights will be held under K-1 rules.

Sakakibara also mentioned that Nam Jin Jo has injured his knee during training and was forced to withdraw, so Felipe Efrain from Shoot Boxe Academy will be facing Yuki Motoya. Additionally, he stated that BAMMA’s representative for the Grand Prix will be former title contender Brett Mcdermott. He will be facing King Mo in the opening round of the tournament.

The dates for each fights were also announced and HIROYA vs Wicky will be on December 29th. Yuichiro Nagashima vs Andy Souwer, Akebono vs Bob Sapp, Asen Yamamoto vs Kron Gracie and TAKERU vs Yang Ming on December 31st. Sakakibara closed his announcement by describing the details on the fight expo, which will be held throughout 29-31 for free admission, which included amateur MMA competitions and open grappling tournament.

Comments from the fighters follow:

“I’m happy to be back on the NYE ring. I will be fighting a MMA fighter under K-1 rules, but I would like to show the appeal of K-1 to all the viewers. Please look forward to my fight” (HIROYA)

“I’m excited about this fight, it has been too long. I would like to show Japan’s fight as a Japanese fighter with my fists.” (Akiyo “Wicky” Nishiura via text)

“I was frustrated because I wanted to fight more this year, but I’m glad for this perfect opportunity. There are many MMA fights on the card, but I would like to show that K-1 fights are the most exciting. I want everybody to be talking about the lightest fighter’s being the most exciting out of all RIZIN fights.” (TAKERU)

“I am honored to be able to fight on such a great event. My opponent is the 55kg champion so he will be the perfect opponent for me to showcase my skills. I will be looking forward in fighting on New Year’s Eve.” (Yang Ming via text)

“I am very happy to be given the opportunity to once again revive the popularity of the fight scene in Japan. There are only a couple K-1 fights on the card, but I assure you that they will deliver the appeal of K-1.” (Kensaku Maeda)

“It has been a while since I last fought on NYE, and very excited. And to be facing my nemesis once again. Last time we fought, we made history, and that was a great honor. I would like to aim for making history again, and I assure you it will be an exciting fight.” (Bob Sapp)

“I have been living with grief and defeat for the past 12 years. I have carried a thought of redemption deep inside and got the offer at the perfect timing. I never want to have to feel that way again, so I want everybody to come watch the new Akebono. I’m going in there for the win.” (Akebono)

“I am grateful that RIZIN decided to use Shoot Boxing rules for this fight. This will be a great opportunity for people to be introduced our rules. I really hope that this event succeeds with a great crowd and great ratings.” (Cezar Takeshi)

General Manager Takada, “I am just too excited. One of the reasons is that the fight card is near complete, but more so because of the fact that we will be able to kick of our event on the day where people watch television the most. It needs to be a festivity. We put together various fights for a wide audience. We would like to continue to promote the greatness of this event.”

Takada continued in describing each fighter. “HIROYA has the looks and the skills who reigns as the top fighter in K-1. I can see why he has many female fans. But once the bell rings, he shows his aggressiveness and power. It is always irritating when you know very little about your opponent, but he is determined to show the greatness of K-1 regardless of his opponent.”

He continued on about the legendary fight, “The ratings for that fight was unreal. And that same fight will be coming back. There are many opinions about this fight, but that is what makes it so exciting. Many fighters will be motivated to gather all the attention which will lead to better performance. This fight has many meanings behind it.” Takada added,” If Akebono wins, maybe next year……?” and teased everybody about a possible rubber match. Takada announced that Cezar Takeshi was assigned as the referee for this fight and asked him not to trip during the fight.

Lastly, RIZIN FF PR spokesperson Namani Hashimoto and 3 RIZIN girls appeared on stage. Hashimoto stated, “Many fights have been announced, and the hype is getting bigger and bigger. I’m excited about the men’s fights, but as a girl, I would like to focus on the female fights. Gabi Garcia, RENA will be fighting as well so please support them. We would like to fill the last ring girl spot by audition so please send your submissions to our office.”

About William Smith

After watching the first Ultimate Fighting Championship I became instantly hooked. I've been a huge fan of the sport of MMA ever since. Haven't missed a UFC event & thanks to fight pass I've witnessed some of the all time greatest fighter & athletes the sport through Pride, Strikeforce, WEC, Glory, Pacrase, EliteXC.............. I resently joined MMA-paradise.com & will use this site to continue to bring the latest news from the world of MMA to all our loyal followers.