Interviews With Akihiro Gono and Hector Lombard
06/04/2006

Akihiro Gono: We saw each other at the press conference but our eyes didn't meet. He may have been looking at me. I'm not going to lose a trash-talking battle, though. When I talk, it's ground and pound. (laughing) Hector said something at the press conference like he's going to shut me up in the fight, and I understand that. If he wants to talk though, he's got to beat me first. If I talk this much and screw up the fight, I'll be a clown. It's all or nothing for me.

My condition isn't bad. It's not great and hot horrible. I've been working on punches to hit southpaws during mitt training. That punch is coming along well.
I've only seen one of Hector's fights on videos. The image was bad, though, and the bottom of the film was at the top. I haven't seen a video with bad quality like that since I was watching a porn video in middle school. So, it didn't really help me much. (laughing) He's from Cuba but apparently he started boxing after he moved to Australia. He's from the country that produced Konstantin Tszyu, so I guess I need to be careful of his punches a little. He doesn't have much experience and I pray that he doesn't have better abilities than me. Just like the last fight, I will be fighting with mixed martial arts in my mind.
I've thought of a strategy and I've also thought of what to do if that doesn't go very well. Fights rarely go according to your strategy so I have also considered the worst-case scenarios. I don't expect that I will be able to win without being in trouble at least once. Actually, it will be my time to shine when I'm in trouble. This will be a fight of patience for me. I'm sure he wants to finish me off quickly, so I'll have to prevent him from doing that. I'm going to give Hector such a fight that he will never want to fight me again. It will be long, tiring and go to the decision. And the fans' reaction will be bad. That's the kind of fight I want to have. (laughing)
The other Grand Prix members are tough. Everyone looks so tough. I'm lacking in skill compared to them. How does a mini car beat a sports car with a giant engine? That's what I've been thinking about. If they run on the highway, there's no way the mini car can win. You've got to use the back streets and win while the freeways are clogged. Frustrating your opponent is the best way to do that.
I'm not worried about my teammate Kazuo being in the main event. He's got something to settle with his opponent but I would have preferred if he and I had been the main and semi-main events. Even though Kazuo and I are on the same team, we're also rivals and that kind of competition will drive me to become stronger. Sometimes I say good things, don't I! (laughing) It would be great if Kazuo and I could meet up in the Final Round but first I want both of us to enter the post-fight interview area as winners.

Hector Lombard: I feel really good about my PRIDE debut. I was able to sleep but I am very excited and I want to fight as soon as possible. PRIDE is the greatest event in the world and I've wanted to fight for a long time. I want to make a special position for myself here.
I've become accustomed to life in Japan. Since I began training at Yoshida Dojo, I've been growing on a daily basis and advancing every day. If I was 100 before I entered Yoshida Dojo, I'm 400 now. By the way, what I learned at Yoshida Dojo is a secret! I think I'm an aggressive fighter right now and I will give 100% of myself when I fight.
I don't think anything in particular about Gono. Except, I think he talks too much. I've been doing judo for a long time and I've met many great fighters. For example, I think Yoshida is a great human and he never speaks ill of his opponent before a fight. Personally, I don't like Gono's style. I don't think this is the time for talking and I will show my thoughts in the ring.
By the way, they call me "Heku-chan" at the dojo. So, when you're cheering at the event, call out "Heku-chan!", not "Hector!" or "Lombard!", because I really like that nickname. (laughing)