PRE-OWGP 2006 OPENING ROUND INTERVIEWS WITH TSUYOSHI KOSAKA AND MARK HUNT
05/04/2006

Tsuyoshi Kosaka: I've done everything I can so I will just do whatever comes naturally after I climb in the ring. Am I more relaxed than the last time? Yes. Many things have happened since the fight with Mario. Mentally, I don't feel different but there were a lot of shocking things that happened. My child was also born. I had a lot of things to think aboutI was able to see what it means to both live and to die.

I'm satisfied with my training and I'm grateful to everyone. Everyone helped me this far with complaining at all.
My opponent is Hunt but that doesn't matter because I didn't make any assumptions about my opponent anyway. I just wanted to fight someone strong. In my mind, the Grand Prix began in February. That was the Zero Round. There are a lot of guys in the Grand Prix that seem like monsters, so I don't think anything in particular of anyone. I was beyond that from the beginning.
I don't have any impression of Hunt. I haven't thought about it. I trained so I could fight everyone that's competing this time. I will just fight my own fight. I haven't watched his fights, either. Or, rather, I'm not interested in them. Matches are just one point in time and fighters change as time passes. The only thing that really helps is to know whether they are right or left handed. That's about it. That's what I've learned from the 10 years I've been fighting.
Whether I grapple or strike will depend on how I feel at that moment. I went in striking against Mario because that's what I felt like doing at that time. Choosing strikes was just a feeling I had then. So, I won't know until I get into the ring this time, too. I've worked hard enough that I can trust in myself and since I have made it this far, I do believe in myself.
It's been a long time since I've fought in Osaka. I think my last fight was in RINGS in 1999. It's one of my favorite places. My mother is coming this time. (laughing = Kosaka's mother always came to watch his Osaka RINGS fights, yelling "Tsuyoshiiiii!") It'll be impressive if she does that at the Dome. It's been a long time since my mother has watched my fights live, too. Come to think of it, my mother has been watching me since I started doing martial arts. She felt the changes that I went through, too.
I will give my all on May 5th. I think by doing so, I can reward myself and also pay back the kindness of everyone that supported me. I must do so. It will be a fight that will please the Kansai fans. I'm not excited about the fight at the moment. I've got the pre-fight jitters.

 

   

 

Mark Hunt: My conditioning is better than the last fight. My weight is 132kg but that's a good weight. (laughing) I feel the best when I'm at this weight. Really. My gym isn't finished yet, so I've been training at coach Hape's gym.

I'm looking forward to fighting more than anything, so I didn't care whether my opponent was confirmed early or later. I was never worried about it because opponents often change at the last minute anyway. I'm always training for myself so who my opponent is doesn't really matter. I don't really watch their fights, either.
I did see Kosaka fight in the UFC, though. He's one of the best fighters. He's good on the ground and I think he may be one of the greatest fighters. I was amazed that he KO'd Mario Sperry last time with a punch. It was a good fight. Am I scared of his ground skills? I'm always scared before a fight. I feel fear, of course.
I think my fight with him is going to incredible. It will definitely be an exciting fight. I think Kosaka will probably be BBQ once the fight is finished. (laughing) That was just a joke. Forget about it, please.
I've continued training on the ground, so there's no problem. I'm confident. I've got kickboxers and jujitsu players to train with, and wrestlers. There are many guys bigger than me. well, no, I'm the biggest. Look at this big stomach! (laughing)
Of course, I want to stand up and fight as much as possible in the fight. My base is striking, so I want to win with striking. Kosaka will want to take it to the ground, of course. I'll adjust to the fight as it develops, rather than deciding which to do now.
(Hearing that Kosaka has bet his retirement on this Grand Prix fight) Really?? That surprised me. I didn't know that. If he really feels that way, then it will probably be an even greater fight.
I don't think anything other than myself matters in this Open Weight Grand Prix. If I keep winning, I will win the tournament. I don't feel anything special because it's a Grand Prix. I'm in incredible condition and I will just give the fans the performance that I want to show them. I want the Osaka fans to Kosaka and me have a great fight.