SAKAKIBARA ANNOUNCES OGAWA IN GRAND PRIX
04/14/2004

DSE President, Nobuyuki Sakakibara, held a press conference on April 14 th at the DSE headquarters to talk about Naoya Ogawa's participation in the April 25 th PRIDE GP 2004 Opening Round.

Ogawa's participation in the GP was announced at another press conference on the 12 th and Sakakibara wanted to provide some clarification. "I spoke directly with Ogawa on the phone after that. I verified that he will participate and that he is going out to win. I don't want anyone to misunderstand. Ogawa's presence isn't just some promotion for (pro-wrestling organization) Hussle. He's going out there to win, with the weight of Japan on his shoulders."

Sakakibara also said that he would rather people look for Ogawa's true feelings, rather than the show he puts on. "Ogawa's outbursts are a result of his humanity, his position, his pro-wrestling and his feelings towards Hussle. Ogawa's not the kind of fighter to just say 'I'll do my best'."

"He's just chasing himself," Sakakibara explained. "Even though he's doing Hussle, he still has to fight in a place where true strength is measured. You've got to look past the nearly self-abusive chasing of himself. Him ripping up the PRIDE GP poster is a show of his feelings and confidence. If he loses in the first round now, even more people will wonder what the hell he was doing. It's that Ogawa that we are really looking forward to. I think it is Ogawa's tough resolve that led him to enter the GP."

At the previous press conference, it appeared that PRIDE General Director, Nobuyuki Takada, challenged Ogawa to enter the Grand Prix. However, Sakakibara made it clear that it was actually Ogawa that wanted to fight in the Grand Prix. "We, at DSE, hadn't imagined that Ogawa would be in the GP. We thought we might get him for a special one-match in July or August but fighting in the GP was Ogawa's idea. He said that if he's going to fight, it might as well be in the GP."

Now the focus is on who Ogawa will fight in the Opening Round. DSE said that Ogawa didn't care who he fought, including the big 3 (Fedor, Nogueira, Cro Cop). "He won't fight the big 3 right away", Sakakibara continued. "Ogawa plans on fighting all the way to August. I'd like to have someone big waiting for him at that time." Of the 16 spots, the remaining 2 spots (including 1 vacancy) will be announced soon. "We're currently in negotiations with several foreign fighters. We're waiting on those results.