|PRIDE SHOCKWAVE 2005
A press conference was held in Tokyo 's Dream Stage Entertainment office on December 7 th to announced addition fights for PRIDE SHOCKWAVE 2005, to be held at the Saitama Super Arena on December 31. In addition to the 3 non-Japanese matches, it was also announced the Kazushi Sakuraba and Ikuhisa Minowa will also fight in SHOCKWAVE.
The 3 fights announced by PRIDE General Director Nobuhiko Takada are as follows.
Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic VS Mark Hunt
Fedor Emelianenko VS Zulu
Wanderlei Silva VS Ricardo Arona
( PRIDE Middleweight Championship Title Match)
"I don't mean to brag but all of these fights are top class. So much so that it's hard to tell where to put the spotlight," Takada said.
He continued, explaining the merits of each fight, "Mirko and Hunt's fight has deep meaning with a lot of power. This is going to be a big match.
Arona earned the right to challenge Wanderlei for the Middleweight Championship title when he beat Wanderlei in the Grand Prix Semi-Finals. Wanderlei knows that he lost without do anything and I don't believe that he will fight that same fight this time.
Regarding Fedor and Zulu, recently it seems that there is no one that can beat Fedor. Zulu is an unknown, though. A mystery, and that kind of fighter can get lucky. He's a huge fighter with strong stamina and heart. His punches are rough but they are also strong, quick and deliberate. Maybe we'll see something unexpected. I think this might be a gut check for Fedor. Suddenly fighting the Champion, rather than working his way up the ladder, is a big motivation for Zulu. In that sense, Fedor has more to fear from Zulu than from Nogueira or Mirko."
This fight will be exactly one year since Hunt was last in PRIDE, fighting against Wanderlei Silva in last year's SHOCKWAVE. "We've been negotiating with him since last New Year's Eve but the fighters we suggested didn't match the fighters hunt wanted to fight," Dream Stage Entertainment President Nobuyuki Sakakibara explained the reason for Hunt's absence. "Fight Mirko was a big goal for him and he agreed to fight this time, provided it was against Mirko. I think Hunt is going to be active in the future, including next year's Grand Prix."
Sakakibara explained that he flew to Australia last weekend to negotiate directly with Hunt, "He's motivated and he's always been training, so he's in good condition. I think he'll be a difficult opponent for Mirko. He's excited that he can fight Mirko. He said he's been waiting on this day. He's still fat (laughing) but he's got plenty of stamina and his injuries have healed."
According to Sakakibara, Mirko is also very motivated for this fight, "Mirko also seems to want to fight Hunt. I've heard that he started training for his fight with Hunt from November. He'll have plenty of training time and since this will be a different kind of fight than K-1, I believe it will be thrilling."
Mirko and Hunt are both motivated and ready to battle out to see who is the king of the strikers while Middleweight Champion Silva enters a revenge match against Arona. Zulu, a man of yet-unknown strengths, will take on Heavyweight Champion Fedor. The will be a card to decide who stands at the top of several mountains. Who will remain when the fight is over?
Below are comments from the fighters delivered to DSE.
Let me say one thing. Today's announcement took too long. Hunt, wasn't it you that called me out from the ring last year? What have you been worrying about all this time?
Wasn't it you that chased me to PRIDE, where the truly strongest fighters gather, to pay me back for Nagoya 2002?
I have no idea what you've been doing this year. I've been sweating and bleeding in the ring, constantly fighting the strongest me non-stop.
I'll show you the difference between us on December 31 st . You will regret calling me out last New Year's Eve.
I'm sure you still remember what it felt like when my left high-kick hit your neck. That won't be my only weapon this time, though.
I'm very excited that I will be able to fight in PRIDE again after a year. And my opponent will be Mirko.
I've traded punched with him in the K-1 ring but, unfortunately, I lost by decision. This time, we will we which of us it the strongest in the PRIDE ring.
I've spent the last year preparing to fight in PRIDE and I think I will be able to give the fans my best performance.
I will just say this. I've never lost a revenge match before. I've always gotten my revenge. I will beat him so badly that he will never want to fight Mr. Hunt, the Samoan monster, again. I'm going to make minced meat of Mirko.
Sakuraba knows how I feel about this fight and how I have trained for this fight because he trained with me in Brazil . Sakuraba should arrive back in Japan today so please ask him. We were interviewed in Brazil by Fuji Television so take a look at that, too.
At any rate, I want to give the fans an exciting match that will make them all happy. I've trained hard with Sakuraba and Chute Boxe to get into perfect shape for that reason. Please look forward to my fight.
I'm very happy that I have been given a chance to fight in the Middleweight Championship title match.
My dreams have become reality. My dream of fighting Silva in a title match has come true. I've trained hard for the fans. Expect a new Champion, Arona, to be born on December 31 st .
I'm glad that I will be able to able to fight in front of the Japanese fans once again this New Year's Eve.
My opponent this time has a really big body but I will give a fight suitable for a Champion. Please support me.
I'm glad to represent the Zulu family in PRIDE SHOCKWAVE. I became really excited when I heard that my opponent would be Fedor Emelianenko, the undefeated Heavyweight Champion. I think New Year's Eve will be the most blessed day of my life.
Fedor is strong but I have been training. I will show the fans that I am not "just a big fighter" but something bigger than that. I hope that Fedor will fight me like Henry Miller did, without special [4-point] rules.