Q & A: AKIHIRO GONO
07/24/2006

Dream Stage Entertainment held a press conference in their Tokyo office on July 18th to announce match-ups for their upcoming PRIDE BUSHIDO 12 PRIDE Welterweight Grand Prix 2006 Second Round event, to be held on August 26th at the Nagoya Rainbow Hall. Akihiro Gono appeared as "DJ GOZMA"-style, in a white suit and sunglasses! Gono announced that he would give an even greater entrance in Nagoya.


Akihiro appeared at the press conference as "DJ GOZMA", his impersonation of singer/dancer "DJ OZMA", in a white suit, a black shirt and sunglasses."It's tough to get everyone excited by myself because (Ryo) Chonan here is sullen," Gono said. Continuing Gono explained that his current condition was completely natural, "I gathered some materials and tried to become more like the real DZ OZMA but I just kept getting further away and my name is GONO, so"

"I rehearsed in front of a mirror wearing these clothes and even did a little fashion show by myself but I don't think it really suits me then I thought that there's nothing to do but break on through like this. I'm riding this train all the way to the end. It starts at the press conference and maybe the final stop will be with the reporters [laughing]", Gono said, making the reporters laugh. "If I'm going to the last station, I want to make that the Final Round, though."

Gono's opponent is a fierce 21 year old and the first striker that Holland has sent in some time but Gono isn't worried, announcing that he would have an entrance performance greater than that of his previous match, which shocked the fans at the Opening Round. "I'm just getting ready to get ready for the fight now. Getting ready for the actual fight comes after that."

"The dancing in DJ OZMA's new video is tough. It's two minutes until the chorus, so it may be a little long. I have to get advice from a lot of people." Regarding his backup, the "GRABAKA Dancers", Gono hinted that he might have even more than last time, saying that he would have as many as would agree to help.

Regarding his opponent, Gegard Mousasi, who beat Makoto Takimoto in the Opening Round, Gono said "If I win this one, I'll probably say something again that will probably give Mr. Saeki problems again", referring to his previous, poorly-received microphone performance he gave after his last fight.Gono waited until reporters surrounded him after the press conference to talk about he actual fight, saying that he would use "the weak man's logic." "I haven't seen his videos yet. I haven't seen him have to dig down deep yet and his arms and legs are long, so he will be tough to fight. I have to rely on my experience. If you can't win with your body, win with experience. I will win by using my head."

Gono explained that he is now working out with his previous boxing trainer in addition to his current trainer, Tashiro. "How do you break down a tall opponent? Both of my trainers are backing me up, so I'm confident. I left my entire strategy up to my previous trainer, so my striking has improved even further. I wouldn't mind standing the entire fight," Gono said, declaring that he would fight where his opponent is most skilled.

Gono, full of confidence, continued, "If he doesn't want to grapple, we should just both put on boxing gloves and have a kickboxing match." "There's nothing to do but my best. I'm ready to get everyone excited by going round-and-round. It will be first-rate round-and-rounding that will make everyone excited," Gono said, in strange high-spirits.

Gono then implored the fans in Nagoya to bring small towels to the event like they do in DJ OZMA's new song. "Also, I want the reporters to bring the towels to the press room, too. Everyone swing them around and let's liven up the party."

"The dance is difficult so please forgive me if I'm not able to master it," Gono said, not forgetting to give an excuse.BUSHIDO Public Relations Director Shigeru Saeki didn't seem very confident about Gono's chances in his upcoming bout. During the press conference, Saeki said, "Mousasi has the least experience out of the remaining eight fighters. I think Gono has what it takes to win." After the press conference though, Saeki continued, "Personally, I don't think Gono is up for this. Mousasi is the type of fighter that gives Gono problems."