TSUYOSHI KOSAKA INTERVIEW
02/22/2006

FEB 22, 2006 - Tsuyoshi Kosaka (Team Alliance) gave an interview on February 20th at his A-SQUARE gym in Tokyo in advance of his upcoming February 26th bout against Mario Sperry (Brazilian Top Team) at PRIDE 31 UNBREAKABLE. At the conference, Kosaka said, "I consider this fight with Mario as one part of the Grand Prix. I have to win, no matter what. This is a fight with myself and I will put everything on the line."

"My conditioning is so good right now compared to recent years that it's almost a miracle," Kosaka said, explaining that he was able to train while fully concentrating only on his upcoming fight against Sperry. Since the fight with Sperry was confirmed, Kosaka has left the duties of teaching at his gym up to other fighters and has devoted his whole life to this fight. This has been the first time he has been able to do that since he was living in the US and fighting as a regular in the UFC.

Kosaka also trained at the Yonekura Boxing Gym 3 times per week for this fight. Apparently Kosaka's mental condition was also affected by this training, in addition to his techniques.

"The most important thing I was able to do at Yonekura Boxing Gym was motivate myself. Once again I realized what it meant to become strong as I trained with the boxers there. There were many fighters there with upcoming fights and although I wasn't able to spar with famous fighters, I learned a lot about what it means, in terms of feelings, to become strong and the training and attitude necessary to prepare for a fight. Our sports are different but in terms of being a martial art, both are the same."

Kosaka said that he hasn't watched any Sperry videos are worked on any strategies since the fight was confirmed. "I'm not thinking of strategies at all. I know I will have to grapple and to strike, so I'm just going to leave it up to myself once I get in the ring. This fight is a battle with myself and it will be a fight with the opponent within me. I've almost got a clear understanding of this but it's still a little out of reach. I've been training like a madman to try and find that opponent (within me)."

Kosaka's speech was calm, the same as at the press conference announcing the match, and relayed his resolve. In less than one week, Kosaka will fight in a match that he believes is bigger than just a Grand Prix trial match or a return-to-PRIDE match.