Ryo Chonan held a public training session on September 19th at the Tokyo kickboxing gym RIKIX.Chonan will face Dan Henderson in BUSHIDO 9 "The Welterweight Tournament 2005 First Round" on September 25th, to be held at the Ariake Coliseum.

After shadowboxing, Chonan sparred for two rounds with former Japan Featherweight Champion Riki Onodera, the head of RIKIX. Chonan showed off his kicking ability during the sparring session with middle kicks, high kicks and spinning back kicks. Following the sparring session, Chonan moved to focus pads for one round, demonstrating his combinations, the product of training his striking skills at RIKIX five days per week.

"I've been doing weight training since the beginning of August and my sparring partners tell me that I'm a lot stronger now," Chonan commented. "I'm not 83kg so I think my skill tends to lose in favor of strength and I've been working on that."Onodera, however, said that Chonan's improved kicking power is due to an improvement in his kicking technique.

"He didn't use his hips enough before and he could only kick at close ranges.Now he uses his hips and can kick from farther away.Just by correcting his kicking style, his power is completely different. He mostly did low kicks before but we've been working on middle kicks since before his fight with Baroni," Onodera explained.

However, it was plain to see that results of Chonan's weight training.When Chonan took off his shirt after the training session, it was clear that his body shape has changed. Furthermore, Chonan said, "I can't say his name but I've been working with a pro boxer in my weight class."
Chonan's opponent in the first round of the tournament will be Dan Henderson.It's early in the tournament to be going against a fighter that many believe will be the Champion, but this is a match that Chonan himself wanted.

"I've watched all of his DVDs, from when he first came to Japan for the KOK Tournament and all his PRIDE fights. I've been researching his strengths," Chonan said.However, he is aware of what Henderson might be like at 83kg, "I think Dan Henderson is going to bring a lot more to the fight that he did at 93kg. And he'll be faster."
"We worked on changing his (boxing) guard after the last fight," commented Onodera, who also reviewed the Henderson's fights. "We just concentrated on Henderson because he's so strong.We didn't do any training with the rest of the tournament in mind. (Henderson" punches are strong and his transition from punching to tackling is quick, so Chonan will have to be careful in the clinch and not let him get on top."
Chonan also said "I'm thinking of nothing but Dan Henderson. Beating Dan Henderson would mean more to me than winning the tournament.I'm not thinking about what might happen if I win.I don't want to try to fight so I'm not hurt in the second round, so I will fight as if this were my only fight."
"I need to keep moving on my feet," Chonan continued. "His punches are strong.I noticed in the Kondo fight that if his punches aren't working, he changes to wrestling.I have to be careful of that. I'm confident in my conditioning, so I want to use the time effectively and not get caught up in his fighting style."
"I was training all the time until last Saturday but now I'm starting to feel refreshed.I was training too much and lost too much weight last weight so I had to eat a lot and my weight returned to 84~85kg."
No matter who comes out on top of this fight, it doesn't look like he will come out unscathed.A near battle-to-the-death looks set to unfold at Ariake Coliseum.