Dream Stage Entertainment held a press conference on May 9th to announce the participation of the current Shooto World Welterweight Champion, Tatsuya Kawajiri in the May 22nd PRIDE BUSHIDO 7.

PRIDE BUSHIDO has been reborn, declaring a new age in mixed martial arts fighting and the BUSHIDO 7 card is packed with solid fighters. One of those fighters is one of the world's best in his class, the Shooto World Welterweight Champion, Tatsuya Kawajiri. Kawajiri's participation was initially unsure due to an injury to his right hand, sustained at a Shooto event on April 23rd. However, no problems were found with the hand when examined in May and also due to Kawajiri's strong desire to fight, his participation in BUSHIDO was confirmed.

Dream Stage Entertainment CEO, Nobuyuki Sakakibara and PRIDE General Director Nobuhiko Takada couldn't hide their excitement. "Having a current Shooto Champion fight in PRIDE has been one of our dreams since the beginning." [Sakakibara] "(Kawajiri) will play a big part in BUSHIDO, determining who is number 1 in the world." [Takada]

"I've always been after real strength," Kawajiri explained his motive. "I decided to fight in BUSHIDO because there are other fighters that are trying to become truly strong, like Gomi and Chonan." Kawajiri continued, declaring that a ??ig bang' is about to occur in BUSHIDO, "Since I will be in the top ring in the world as the Shooto World Champion, I don't want to do anything but my absolute best. I want to stand and the top and pull BUSHIDO up."

"Kawajiri is someone that will make the other fighters worry," Takada commented. "Just the fact that Gomi and Kawajiri will be fighting in the same ring on the same day will make for a unique excitement."

Pride Fighting Championships: How is your right hand?
Tatsuya Kawajiri: It hurt and was swollen after the fight (April 23rd). I drank a lot of milk and got a lot of calcium so it got better. (laughing) I've started back on my usual tough training but I'm still careful of my hand.
Pride: There isn't much time between this fight and your fight in April. Does that worry you?
Kawajiri: When I was new, I continually fought for three months. I always train like I have back-to-back fights so it's not a problem.
Pride: Will your contracted weight be -73kg?
Nobuyuki Sakakibara: We'll decide that later. His opponent hasn't been decided yet so we'll decide the contract weight as a part of that.
Pride: How about the -73kg BUSHIDO Grand Prix?
Kawajiri: First, I've got to get the fans' approval. If they are going to create a title (for BUSHIDO at -73kg), then I want to go after the top guys and prove that I've the best in the world.
Pride: Did you get any words of encouragement from Shooto?
Kawajiri: They told me to be proud and fight like a Champion.
Pride: There are many MMA middleweight events. Why did you choose PRIDE BUSHIDO?
Kawajiri: I've always been after real strength. I decided to fight in BUSHIDO because there are other fighters that are trying to become truly strong, like Gomi and Chonan.
Pride: There are some differences in Shooto rules and BUSHIDO rules.
Kawajiri: I've always thought that there shouldn't be any limits. Actually, I'd like to have head butting and elbowing allowed. It doesn't bother me.
Pride: Were you motivated by Mach and Ryuta Sakurai's participation in BUSHIDO?
Kawajiri: Yes, I was inspired by their fights.
Pride: You have already been to BUSHIDO as Sakurai's corner man. What did you think of it?
Kawajiri: It's the best in the world. It's a tough ring to survive in and as a professional; I thought it's a ring worth fighting in and one where everyone fights to entertain the fans.
Pride: Will you fight in BUSHIDO and Shooto?
Kawajiri: Yes. I will have to fight as the Champion in Shooto but just because I'm fighting in both doesn't mean I won't give BUSHIDO everything I have. I'm going to cause a big bang in BUSHIDO ring. It's going to explode.
Pride: Who would you like to fight?
Kawajiri: If I had to say someone that would make an awesome fight, it would be Gomi. Gomi was also a Shooto Champion and I'd definitely like to fight him.
Pride: What kind of fight can we expect from Kawajiri?
Nobuhiko Takada: Everyone is looking forward to his fighting style. You can feel his confidence in his comments. When you have this kind of fighter, there's not going to be anything unclear in the fight. I'm sure he'll fight just as we expect. Kawajiri's presence will shake up, worry and rattle the nerves of the other fighters. Just the fact that Gomi and Kawajiri will be fighting in the same ring on the same day will make for a unique excitement.