One year after his PRIDE Debut in 2003, Ikuhisa Minowa scored a victory in just seconds against Stefan Leko in PRIDE 2004 SHOCKWAVE. We were able to ask Minowa a few questions about that fight.




Pride Fighting Championships: How did you feel after the fight with Leko?
Ikuhisa Minowa: I've got a lot more to work on. I thought that I can't settle for just that.
Pride: You're not happy even though you won in just a few seconds, without much striking?
Minowa: That's right. I changed my way of thinking over quickly.
Pride: You were smiling a little when you climbed into the ring and faced Leko in the beginning.
Minowa: It was fun because it was like "now it's on!" When, I came over the ropes, I just naturally started yelling, "real time!" I've always trained to be a real pro-wrestler and when I was in a place where I could make that happen, in front of the fans and my opponent right in front of me, I just became happy. I thought that there's no reason I shouldn't enjoy this moment, and a smile just naturally came out. Before I make my entrance, I keep my eyes shut. When I open my eyes, the walkway, the ring and the fans are in front of me. I don't want to get caught up in the flow of the fight. I want to suddenly be faced with reality. Lately, I've been doing that and my concentration and excitement level has improved.
Pride: So, you had fun in your New Year's Eve match?
Minowa: It was fun. There was a brief moment where I didn't have fun, though. I get nervous just before the fight and I spend a lot of time just looking down. A little more time passes and then I start to feel that I want to fight. The feelings come in waves. I began to think that my dream is becoming a reality and it's a waste if I don't enjoy it. That's exactly how I felt this time.
Pride: You also said that you were going to stop trying to worry about how you look when you fight.
Minowa: Looking back on all my previous fights, there were a lot of times when I was going for a strange look. In my hair. In my actions. Everyone, including myself, wants to look cool. When I thought to myself, "what is cool", I realized that face and hairstyle are just a small part of it. Trying to look cool actually makes you look stupid. Thinking about my old self, everyone that watched my fights probably recognized that. In the end, you look the coolest when you fight the hardest. The kind of cool I'm looking for is to fight head on, as hard as I can, even if I am covered in sweat and blood. And if I win, it'll be even cooler. That's why I got rid of all the unnecessary stuff in this last match, and just fought as my natural self. People may think that I was trying to be cool when I jumped over the ropes but the truth is that it's difficult to get through those 5 ropes. I just wanted to get in the ring quickly and decided to jump over them.
Pride: Why did you start to think this way?
Minowa: After I shaved my head. The only thing I need to fight now is the Japanese flag.