A press conference was held in Tokyo on December 5 th to reveal the event poster to be used in Japan for PRIDE SHOCKWAVE 2005. The model for the poster, Takanori Gomi, was present and spoke about both the poster and his match on New Year's Eve against Hayato "Mach" Sakurai.

The creator of the PRIDE SHOCKWAVE 2005 poster is Takehiko Inoue, creator of SLAM DUNK and Bakabondo. For the model, Inoue requested a fighter that is young, looks nice and is lively, resulting in a collaboration with Takanori Gomi. Several pictures of Gomi in action were taken and from those, Inoue chose a picture of a knee-kicking Gomi. The result was an illustrated poster using Gomi and his knee kick as a model.

"It's an honor," Gomi commented. 'Of course I read SLAM DUNK when I was an elementary and middle school student and I read all of the "Real" series yesterday, and then started on Bakabondo." Asked about his appearance on the SHOCKWAVE poster, Gomi replied, "I want everyone to feel something when they see a fighter fighting."

Only a month remains until his battle with Mach on New Year's Eve. "Kiguchi Sensei and I will go after it. I want to go after myself and concentrate on the fight," Gomi continued. "I have to do press events this week, as usual, but I'm getting ready to shut out the press and concentrate on the fight."

"This is a little more comfortable that the last 2 fights and there's no pressure," Gomi said of his historical First and Semi-Final Round matches in September's Lightweight Grand Prix. "After getting through those 2 fights, I was burnt out." That kind of comment may seem timid but is actually the result of Gomi making a calm judgment about his mental state.

"Because I'm so close to the belt I can almost reach out and touch it, I have to be careful. I will be in perfect condition when I get in the ring because although the title match is only 15 minutes, I've trained many years for those 15 minutes."

"There's no room for cheap tricks. I'm just going to give everything that I've got. No one wants to see cheap tricks anyways, right? I'm going into this fight head-on, win or lose."

Takehiko Inoue's Comments

I've seen every Pride since PRIDE 1. I'm happy that I was allowed to draw the poster for this year's SHOCKWAVE.

Although Gomi is the model for the poster, I think it is really a new character based on Gomi's image and it was very fun to draw it. Drawing faces is very important for a manga artist and I think I maybe have expressed that well this time. I'll also be at New Year's Eve PRIDE SHOCKWAVE 2005 this year and want to feel that excitement.