Sengoku 10 Notebook

By Tony Loiseleur Sep 24, 2009
TOKYO -- After knocking off two quality welterweights in Akihiro Gono and Nick Thompson, it appears that Dan Hornbuckle is in line for a shot at Sengoku's vacant welterweight title.

“From what I have been told, there's a possibility that I will be back on November 7 for another short-order fight,” Hornbuckle said Thursday at the Sengoku 10 postfight news conference. “If that's how it has to go, that's how it has to go. But from the championship standpoint … they said (if) I take out ‘The Goat,’ I get the title shot for the vacant title. That would be for the (December) show.

“I'm hoping for the (December) show since I hear it's quite spectacular. Also, then I get to enjoy my Thanksgiving meal without having to cut weight, but I will have to sacrifice Christmas and my birthday. That'll add to my motivation for the sacrifice I put in for the December show.”

Hornbuckle also explained how Miguel Torres had contributed to his superlative performance Wednesday against Nick Thompson.

“I've got Miguel Torres in my corner this time, and he told me not to get cocky with my kicks,” Hornbuckle said. “Miguel's got one of those voices that my ears are tuned to. He refocuses me to take out my opponents. It's great to have his energy in my corner, and my wife's energy in my corner. With those two combined, we can take out anyone. Plus, he'll beat my ass if I lose.”

Also in the welterweight title picture is Makoto Takimoto, who won a competitive decision over Jae Sun Lee. WVR and Sengoku company director Takahiro Kokuho indicated that he had to carefully consider whether to place Takimoto in a title fight since he showed an inability to finish in his win. Takimoto, a 2000 judo gold medalist, has his own doubts about earning the shot.

“I continue on in my career because I want a belt,” he said. “Honestly, I am disappointed at the moment at my performance, so I have to do something significant before getting a title shot. If I get the chance at the title in the future, of course I'll try my best, but I need to take one more step forward and then fight for the belt.”

Thompson Contemplates Retirement

The fireworks of the Dan Hornbuckle-Nick Thompson bout came at a high price. In the wake of his latest loss, “The Goat” is mulling retirement.

“At this point I don't know if there will be a next fight,” Thompson said. “I feel like going home, hugging my daughter and maybe calling it quits.”

Be that as it may, Thompson was gracious in praising Hornbuckle's performance and expressing optimism for his future.

“I knew that Dan was a tough guy, but I thought I was the better fighter in every area,” he said. “My theme going into this fight was that he's probably the future of the sport, but I'm the present. After today, I guess I'm the past and he's the present.”

Yokota Takes Another Step Toward Hirota

“In the past, most of my fights started standing and I'd take them down somewhere in the middle. For this fight, I wanted everything standing up,” said Kazunori Yokota of his lightning-fast knockout of former IFL lightweight champ Ryan Schultz. “I'm sure that [Schultz] didn't see my punch coming and that I completely caught him off-guard.”

Keeping the momentum going since his comeback win over Leonardo Santos in May, Yokota cited his superstitious nature as lending to Wednesday's highlight-reel win. By wearing the same pair of shoes, stepping on the ring stairs the same way and doing a customary turn about the ring the same as in previous fights, Yokota believed he was able to replicate success.

“I think the gods smiled upon me today,” he added. “I went to the temple and the grave of my ancestors before my match. Maybe that's why I could perform impressively and be that much closer to a title shot.”

Company director Kokuho commented that Schultz, though taken to the hospital shortly after being knocked out, was cleared by doctors Thursday as having no serious injuries. Kokuho also stated that Yokota would likely meet Eiji Mitsuoka before earning another chance at the title. Yokota acknowledged that he must win impressively to earn any chance to challenge Sengoku lightweight championship Mizuto Hirota.

Cage Force Champ to Resurface at Sengoku 11

Nearly 10 months removed from his championship victory over “Wicky” Akiyo Nishiura, Yuji Hoshino has finally resurfaced in Sengoku. He’s set to face Marlon Sandro at Sengoku’s Nov. 7 event from the Ryogoku Kokugikan.

“I got married and I was busy with my private life,” Hoshino said. “I was also injured at the time, so despite the offers I received, the timing just wasn't right. My injuries are healed now though.”

Hoshino was unable to pinpoint an exact injury that kept him from competition. He said he had too many to be properly named, let alone remembered.

A dedicated Cage Force champion, Hoshino voiced a desire to bring some cage fighting sensibilities to the Sengoku ring.

“In the cage, there's no possibility of fighters falling out during the fight, but in the ring, the possibility is always there,” he said. “The good thing about the cage is that once you're in there, no one can get out until the end of the fight. I really like the atmosphere of the cage, and hope to bring in some of the advantages and ambiance of cage fighting when I enter the ring.”

While speculation was that Hoshino would eventually end up in WEC after winning Cage Force's featherweight championship, it appears that fighting abroad is not completely out of the picture as Hoshino's contract is non-exclusive -- a boon given that Hoshino expressed a desire to continue fighting in cages.

“I thought about fighting in the States, but when I got the offer from Sengoku, I looked at their fighters and saw that they were all very talented,” Hoshino said. “If I get the chance though, of course, I'd like to challenge myself abroad. If I can be the champ here in Sengoku, then I would like to proudly fight as their champion overseas.”

Hoshino also denied rumors that he was one of many high-profile fighters to depart from Japanese MMA gym network Wajutsu Keishukai.

“There are some fighters leaving WK, and I understand their feelings and we can't help anything about it,” he said. “But I'm still part of WK, and I respect the gym. I must become one of their top fighters, a veteran who can lead the way for the team.”

Fighting alongside Hoshino and Sandro on the Nov. 7 Sengoku 11th Battle will be Michihiro Omigawa and Hatsu Hioki, the winner of which will earn the right to face Sengoku featherweight champion Masanori Kanehara on the Dec. 31 inaugural Sengoku Raiden Championship, according to company director Kokuho.
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