Last week, after the press conference of Sengoku Ninth Battle, WVR (World Victory Road) Director Takahiro Kokuho talked about the future of a their prized catch, an Olympic gold medalist Satoshi Ishii.
Ishii signed a multi-fight deal with Sengoku on July 4th so the question everyone wants to ask is, when is his first fight? His first MMA fight and his first fight in the ring. Kokuho replied, “Including the opponent, I am talking to Ishii’s management but for now no progress has been made.”
Some predicted his debut to be on August 2nd but Kokuho answered, “That’s a thin possibility.”
But he added, “We are not in a rush. If not a fight then he can always step into the ring to greet the fans” which means more than likely Ishii will be at the August 2nd show at Saitama Super Arena.
The Japanese media are trying to hype up a showdown between Ishii and the other gold medal winning judoka Hidehiko Yoshida, “Right now we are talking to him. Is he going to have a big fight at the end. We are carefully discussing the options. If he is going to fight at light-heavy then he would need time to cut weight too.”
Ever since Ishii signed with Sengoku, he has been on a number of variety shows on TV but at the same time, it’s almost a year since he captured gold in Peking and considering how public interest does not last too long we can assume Sengoku is trying to, at least, get him the first fight before the end of this year.
At the same time, it’s more than apparent that WVR is trying to utilize their new star to its maximum potential, meaning, nailing a national TV deal.
As soon as WVR can finalize the TV deal that is when Ishii would have to fight however the general reaction of the Japanese TV industry, according to our source, is that they would be interested in an Ishii fight, but only an Ishii fight.
Which means national TV would broadcast only Ishii’s fight and doesn’t even bother with others in Sengoku. That is not too ideal for the promoters because this would provide a spotlight to Ishii, the fighter, nothing else.
For WVR it’s essential for them to be able to promote their own show Sengoku through national television so it’s going to be interesting to see how and in what way Ishii’s MMA debut would hit the public airwaves of Japan.
The fate of Ishii’s future relies on the hands of some Japanese TV station, at least that is what it looks like.
Report by Shu HirataPhoto by Yoshinori Ihara (www.boutreview.com)
PIC: Satoshi Ishii signed a multi-fight deal with WVR earlier this month but since then nothing has been announced in terms of his first fight.