KONDO TRAINING
04/15/2005

Yuki Kondo held a public training session at P's Lab, a Pancrase gym in Tokyo. Kondo will face Igor Vovchanchyn in the opening round of the PRIDE Grand Prix 2005 on April 23rd.

"I feel good. I'm in top shape," Kondo smiled. Despite Vovchanchyn's easy win over Pancrase's Takahashi, there's no shaking Kondo's "immoveable heart."

Today Kondo did one, five-minute round of mitt sparring. His personal trainer threw long hooks, imitating Vovchanchyn, while Kondo evaded and worked his way inside, throwing short punches. One after another, short straights, hooks and upper cuts hit the trainer's mitts like arrows. This is Kondo's secret, throwing up to 300 consecutive punches in a minute. "Vovchanchyn's has heavy hands and each punch has more power than I can generate. I don't think I can knock him down with just one punch and his body looks tough, so I will use combinations," Kondo said.

Kondo was quoted as saying "I want to trade (strikes) with Vovchanchyn and beat him", but it seems that wasn't exactly what he meant. "It will be great if I can win by striking but it will probably be on the ground in the end," Kondo explained. "The fight starts standing so that means we have to start with striking. When it goes to the ground, I'll work from there. I don't think I will be completely avoid his striking and take it to the ground, though. I want to hurt him with strikes. If they hit the right spot, I may win my KO. If we trade strikes, we'll clinch and that'll also be a good chance for a takedown. I want to take advantage of a lot of things when I fight him." Kondo's not going to run away just because of Vovchanchyn's striking ability. He wants to use an all-inclusive strategy.

"When I was watching Takahashi's fight, it looked like he thought the last punch was going to be a straight punch and tried to avoid it. Vovchanchyn's hook is hard to read and that's what happens," Kondo said. "I won't know for sure until we fight but I don't think his ability to hit the target is any better than mine. Actually, I think I'm probably better." Kondo continued, "I'm confident that I can get a takedown."

Other than his own fight, Kondo said that the Shogun vs. Jackson fight also looked interesting, "Yes, I would like to fight the winner of that fight in the 2nd Round (of the Grand Prix)."

However, Kondo is currently fighting an opponent even stronger than Vovchanchyn, hay fever. His face was red today from scratching too much. "Hay fever is tough. I thought I conquered it last year but it turns out there just wasn't much pollen. There's a lot this year. It doesn't affect my health but there may be snot dripping out of my nose during the fight. If that happens, I'll wipe it on Vovchanchyn," Kondo joked.

Kondo is currently around 89 kg, heavier than before. Kondo joked and blamed it on aging but he has probably been trying to put on muscle so as to not be overpowered by Vovchanchyn.