Ishii-Minowa a Late Addition to Dream 16

By Tony Loiseleur Sep 22, 2010
TOKYO -- Officials from Fighting and Entertainment Group and World Victory Road held a last-minute press conference on Wednesday to announce an Ikuhisa Minowa-Satoshi Ishii open weight bout for Dream 16, set for Saturday at Nippon Gaishi Hall in Nagoya, Japan.

The tilt between the Dream Super Hulk tournament winner and the 2008 Olympic judo gold medalist was made at the 11th hour, according to FEG president Sadaharu Tanikawa. The deal was sealed in a Tuesday meeting between the FEG president, Dream Event Producer Keiichi Sasahara, World Victory Road President Toru Mukai, K-Dash representative Tatsuo Kawamura and Don Quijote owner and Sengoku Raiden Championships sponsor Takao Yasuda.

Ishii was complimentary of the professional wrestler/mixed martial artist. Despite the bout being presented to him on short notice, he claimed to be looking forward to it, as he had been a Minowa fan since his youth. Minowa, in typical “Minowaman” fashion, related his impression of Ishii in terms of his favorite professional wrestling animated series, “Kinnikuman.”

Previous reports had Ishii fighting on an SRC card later this year, but no concrete plans were announced by the judo gold medalist or SRC officials during the Dream 16 press conference. Mukai revealed that Ishii only had one fight remaining on his contract -- one in which he was allowed to compete in other promotions -- and that SRC held first right to negotiations. However, Mukai indicated that SRC changed the clause in Ishii’s contract, giving him freer reign to compete in other MMA promotions.

As such, Ishii said that he hoped to fight in the K-1 world grand prix in the near future. Tanikawa chuckled at the prospect, though he indicated he was open to it.

Also unaddressed were reports made by MMA Agents’ Ken Pavia to MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani on Friday that James Thompson had been initially tabbed to face Minowa. According to Helwani’s Twitter account, Thompson and his camp have already arrived in Japan and are working with FEG to find a replacement opponent. According to Sasahara, one more bout was still being negotiated at the time of the press conference. However, Sasahara was uncertain as to whether the match could be made in time or when Dream would officially unveil it. As it stands, the Minowa-Ishii bout rounds out the Dream 16 lineup at nine fights.
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