INOKI BOM-BA-YE 2002 INTERVIEWS
01/03/2003
Wallid Ismail & Yasuhito Namekawa

Pride Fighting Championships: What was your strategy?
Namekawa Yasuhito: To continuously circle and punch. But, he grabbed he and the fight changed. I would have rather lost by submission that by decision but he never tried to finish me. He just sat on top and punched. I was thinking, "Is this jiu-jitsu?" He was stronger than I imagined and a lot bigger in real life than on the videos I watched. I received the offer just before the fight and I regret I was able to make better use of this big chance. Jiu-jitsu fighters have an image of being strong in positioning and finishes so I tried to let him grab me but he just defended and punched. He wasn't scary at all in the (pre-fight) press conference. Next time I want to practice more and win. It's huge chance so I hope I'll be able to fight in the next Bom-Ba-Ye.
Wallid Ismail: I'm happy I won but I would have rather had a TKO or submission. He was a strong opponent. He escaped from my submissions and my knees. I'm sorry. He represents Inoki's Los Angeles Dojo and he represents Japan. I'm proud that I was able to win this fight. I wanted to punch more in this fight and grab his neck but his escapes were very good. I'll win next time.
Wallid's Coach: Namekawa is already very strong. He already has more than enough of what it takes to be a fighter.
Ismail: I'm grateful to Mr. Inoki for not only letting me learn how to be a fighter but a better human as well. I think (Inoki's) Los Angeles Dojo is one of the strongest in the world and a good representative for Japan. They represent Japan even though they are in America. I want to fight the Gracie's but they always refuse. Rickson's 400 wins and no losses is a big lie. I want to beat the Gracies one after the other and make them afraid.