2008 Olympic gold medalist Satoshi Ishii stands in the Sengoku ring during intermission last night. (Photo via Kamipro.) It was announced that Ishii's bout with fellow gold medal judoka Hidehiko Yoshida will take place on New Year's Eve at the 10,000-seat Ariake Coliseum, putting World Victory Road in head-to-head competition with DREAM parent company FEG for the first time.
Beginning with the December 31st show, Sengoku will be known as Sengoku Raiden Championship. "Raiden" means "thunder and lightning" and refers to a legendary 18th century sumo. WVR exec Kokuho said they hope that the initials "SRC" will be more palatable to international audiences.
Some more thoughts on last night's show and news from the post-fight presser after the jump.
- Dan Hornbuckle will apparently fight for the vacant welterweight championship on New Year's Eve after handing Nick Thompson his first loss in Sengoku. After his performance tonight, don't expect to see Makoto Takimoto standing across from Hornbuckle for the title bout.
- Former LWGP participants Kazunori Yokota and Eiji Mitsuoka will likely face off at Sengoku 11, with the winner (should he emerge unscathed) challenging Mizuto Hirota for the title on December 31st.
- Maximo Blanco could be looking at a title shot himself with one or two more wins like that.
- Sengoku Gold Cup lightweight winner Ikuo Usuda improved to 6-0 with his TKO stoppage of Woo Hyon Baek in the opening bouts. Kokuho said they have Ian Schaffa in mind as an opponent for Sengoku 11. As for Shigeki Osawa, he couldn't finish Ki Hyun Kim and will probably head back to Pancrase for some more seasoning.
- Emerging victorious from the Battle of Dudes Upon Whom King Mo Has Tooled, Fabio Silva could be looking at a rematch with Mr. Lawal in the future. Of course, before that, Mo will have his hands full with Kevin Randleman at Sengoku 11.
- It's undecided whether Joe Doerksen will challenge Jorge Santiago for the middleweight title at Sengoku 11, but WVR wants to make an announcement soon.
- Kokuho thinks Takenori Sato showed good Japanese fighting spirit in defeat, and says he could return to Sengoku with a "clean" win in another organization - probably Pancrase, where he recently challenged for the middleweight crown.
- Apparently nothing is official yet with regards to Silva vs. Barnett for the Sengoku heavyweight title. Silva wants the fight, but Sengoku seems slightly more reticent now that he's openly fielding offers from the UFC.
- Hiroshi Izumi could get back in the ring on New Year's Eve. Sengoku has an internal policy wherein fighters who are knocked out receive 60-day suspensions. The suspension can be reduced to 30 days if cleared by a doctor.