Minowa and Tamura Appeared at Press Conference on Dec. 13th

A press conference was held on December 13th at the Tokyo Dream Stage Entertainment office to officially announce a match between Kiyoshi Tamura (Japan/U-FILE) and Ikuhisa Minowa (Japan/Freelance) at PRIDE SHOCKWAVE 2006, to be held at Saitama Super Arena on December 31st. Both fighters were present at the conference.

Dream Stage Entertainment President Nobuyuki Sakakibara began the conference with a smile, saying, "Looking back on past New Years' Eves, I remember year-after-year of negotiations with Tamura, who is here with us today. For some reason, whenever I think of New Year's Eve, I can't help but think of Tamura. For that reason, I'm truly grateful for Tamura appearing so early in this press conference."

As all PRIDE fans know, talk about whether Kiyoshi Tamura will appear in the New Year's Eve SHOCKWAVE has become a tradition. Tamura himself couldn't help but laugh as he sat beside Sakakibara.



Sakakibara continued, "This is a perfect card for a festival. It's a battle between two Japanese fighters, each with their own unique character. While it's entertaining to watch Japanese VS foreign fighters, this New Year's Eve will also be exciting because two of Japan's own warriors will battle each other with their own beliefs on the line. Last year, the Japanese VS Japanese match that everyone was talking about was Hidehiko Yoshida and Naoya Ogawa. This year, we have a different kind of Japanese match-up to look forward to. Will both of them wear red shorts to the fight? I'm sure we'll all be very interested to find out but I'm also curious about what kind of fight they will show us. Personally, this is a very exciting card and I believe everyone else feels the same way. This is one of those cards that can only be realized at a special event like SHOCKWAVE. I'm confident that these two guys are going to put on a great show."

Ikuhisa Minowa once again appeared in a black suit, with a black shirt and black necktie. "I'm am both grateful and happy that PRIDE has once again put together a great card for me and also that Mr. Tamura chose me as his opponent. As my own personal request, I would like to be the first match of the night this time too," Minowa looked straight forward, requesting to be in the first fight as he was with Kazushi Sakuraba last year.

"It really doesn't matter which fight ours is but I personally believe that the best fights in SHOCKWAVE are the first fight and the main event," Minowa explained. "And I thought that asking to be in the 1st fight is a little easier for the organization to accept. I love to be the first fight out, setting the tone for the fans and fighters. I want to have it all right from the beginning."

"Of course, I'm always open to requests," Sakakibara responded. "We don't have all the fights confirmed at the moment, so we will have to decide later while looking at the overall balance. However, the 1st fight is the card that sets the sets the tone for the event and is very important. I think the 1st fight each year should be a card with a grand theme."

"Four years ago I lost to Tamura by decision and since then, Tamura has always been on in my mind and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have a rematch with him like this. I believe that if you never give up, your dreams will come true. I will make my dreams come true. I will take control of those dreams and I will beat them," Minowa spoke of his desire to fight Tamura in a rematch that he has long waited for.

"Our last fight together was four years ago, so our skills, our movement and our bodies are completely different now. I want to see what I've accomplished over these four years and show it to the fans," Minowa continued. Asked how much he has improved since his last bout with Tamura, Minowa was unable to hide his excitement over the rematch as he replied, "I'm not sure. I'll find out in this fight."

Minowa also explained that his newest theme is "Birth." "I haven't completely worked out the theme but it is"Birth" I think that if you watch everything that has happened in the past and watch this fight, you'll understand the connection between the meaning of "Birth" and the "Forefront" and "New Style" themes that may have been a little difficult to explain before."

Tamura also seems to very motivated, commenting, "I spent the last New Year's Eve at home. I had a cold the year before and I was sleeping. I watched a lot of TV programs at home for the past two years. Since my opponent will be Minowa, I hope we will be able to have an exciting fight that will be different than the one four years ago."

Tamura continued, "Minowa is 30 and I'm 37. I'm already an old man in the world of professional martial arts. Minowa is clearly a different fighter than he was four years ago, and I want to have a good fight with him."

"Minowa is very energetic and he never backs down. He doesn't have that explosive power like a foreign fighter but he always wants to give an exciting fight. He is also connected to U-FILE, and I believe this will be an active, exciting fight," Tamura continued, confident in his upcoming bout.

Tamura also said that one reason he accepted this offer was because Minowa would be his opponent. "That's not the entire reason, though. Most of the fights are between foreigners, right? I think that fights between Japanese fighters are interesting, so I thought that fighting Minowa would be exciting."

Asked if he would be wearing his red shorts, Minowa avoided the question, "You'll have to watch the fight. I'm aiming for "Birth"." Tamura, however, was quick to respond, "I'm not going to change. (laughing) I don't think Minowa is going to come out in red shorts. I don't want him to and it's also my color. It would also make it difficult for the fans to tell who is who in such a big venue if we're wearing the same colors."

Minowa was extremely excited, as usual, and Tamura was completely relaxed. Both fighters are proud of their pro-wrestler status and both fighters love red shorts. Even so, their personalities are worlds apart. Their first match-up ended with Tamura basically dominating the entire fight. Will this be a repeat? Or, will we witness the "Birth" of something new in this fight?