PRE-PRIDE 29 INTERVIEW
02/21/2005
Sergei Kharitonov

Pride Fighting Championships: You're still 24, right?
S ergei Kharitonov Yes.
Pride: What will be your weight for the fight?
Kharitonov: 105 kg.
Pride: You really showed the world a lot in your performance there.
Kharitonov: I want to give more exciting matches for the Japanese fans. Of course, I want to be the Champion.
Pride: When you came to PRIDE, everyone that that you were "okay." You showed ground skills in your first few fights, but after the tournament, everyone was very impressed with your boxing and striking. Were those your secret weapons?
Kharitonov: I'm always trying to improve myself and am always training, including kicking and punching.
Pride: Did you have a boxing background in Russia that you never told us about?
Kharitonov: Not specifically but I can imagine what boxing is like.
Pride: We were impressed at how natural your boxing was against Ninja and Rodrigo. You had very crisp punches, setting up body shots with the head and just never natural striking.
Kharitonov: How else should I box? It was just natural for me.
Pride: Everybody (that doesn't box) just goes head-head-head, but you go to the body for like 6 or 7 times and then, boom, you go to the head. You looked professional because of your good set-ups.
Kharitonov: It's probably because I've trained with good boxers.
Pride: That must be it. When we talked to you before and asked you about boxing, it didn't seem like you had much boxing training but now it does.
Kharitonov: Of course, I've done a lot of boxing training but not very intensely.
Pride: We thought that you might have been hiding your skill the whole time.
Kharitonov: No, I didn't intend to do that.
Pride: Okay, how are you preparing for Choi Mu Bae?
Kharitonov: A lot of striking practice and some other stuff.
Pride: Choi Mu Bae is a Greco-Roman wrestler. Have you been working on takedown defense?
Kharitonov: I would love for Choi Mu Bae to take me down. (laughing)
Pride: Would you prefer to win with strikes or submissions? The reason that I ask is that when you fought Semmy Schilt, it looked like you were in position to submit him but you chose to just sit there and continue hitting him.
Kharitonov: Yes, I probably could have gotten a submission but the pound was working so well, I didn't need to change. I don't have a particular preference for this fight.
Pride: Coming out of the Heavyweight tournament last year, you were probably the biggest surprise. Why have you been gone so long?
Kharitonov: I was resting.
Pride: Were you injured coming out of the tournament?
Kharitonov: I had small injuries, of course.
Pride: How did you feel fighting Nogueira?
Kharitonov: It was incredible.
Pride: What do you think that you have to do to improve as a fighter and what do you think has been your best improvement so far?
Kharitonov: Athletes always have to improve themselves, in all areas. Of course, I have some weak points but I don't want to say here. (laughing)