Detached Retina Will Likely Lead to Nakakura Vacating Title

By Jordan Breen Jul 1, 2009
Shooto 154-pound world champion Takashi Nakakura said that he would return his title if he lost to Takanori Gomi on May 10. Now, Nakakura may not have a choice in the matter.

Nakakura, the ninth 154-pound world champion of professional Shooto, underwent surgery on June 25 to repair a detached retina in his left eye, stemming from his second-round knockout loss to the man who once held his title, Gomi, at pro Shooto's 20th anniversary card. The 32-year-old Osakan was not initially diagnosed with a detached retina when he was medically checked following the Gomi bout. After the vision in his left eye worsened over subsequent weeks, though, he sought a second opinion that revealed the detachment.

Nakakura's retina was successfully reattached using silicone oil to stabilize its placement, but his fighting prospects are grim given the severity of the injury. The bout with Gomi was a non-title affair, and it was expected that Nakakura would defend his title later this year, likely against Brazilian prospect Williamy Chiquerim, who submitted Shooto stalwart Yusuke Endo on the May 10 card.

"If I was 20, I'd continue on fighting without a doubt. If I was maybe 35, I’d likely retire," Nakakura wrote on his blog last Sunday. "I'm 32 now. Honestly, I have doubts. The time limit for a defense has passed, and all the fighters who aim for the title can't figh for an injured person is holding it."

Nakakura won the vacant title in May 2008, taking a unanimous verdict over Ganjo Tentsuku. Typically, Shooto world champions are expected to defend their crown at least once annually, though allowances are made for titlists who have contracts with big money promotions -- Shooto world 168-pound world champion and Dream star Shinya Aoki hasn't defended his title since February 2007, while 183-pound world champion Siyar Bahadurzada has yet to defend his title since winning it in July 2007, largely due to competing in Sengoku. However, with Nakakura explicitly injured and unsure of his fighting future, the leader of Shooting Gym Osaka is likely to return his title, though he has yet to speak with the International Shooto Commission about relinquishing his throne.
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