Yoshihiro Akiyama held a press conference at Tokyo Dome City Hotel and explained that he will not be able to fight in this year’s DREAM middleweight GP. According to Akiyama during a sparring session on April 9th, he took a punch to the nose and it didn’t stop bleeding for a while. On the next day, X-rays confirmed a fracture at the exact same place on his nose where he got damaged from the Kazuo Misaki fight on New Year’s Eve 2007.
Therefore, Akiyama is not fighting in this year’s DREAM middleweight GP. I would have to say; finally, he stepped out of the GP. Ever since March 15th, it was more than apparent that Kazushi Sakuraba would not be competing in the GP as long as Akiyama was in. Of course Sakuraba never put it in that way but it was obvious that he is still not happy with Akiyama back on the spot light with just a one-year suspension. At this first DREAM show, although Sakuraba was introduced to the 19,000 plus fans at Saitama Super Arena as one of the fighters confirmed for the GP, he immediately denied it in front of everyone. Sakuraba made it clear that he is indeed NOT going to fight in the GP.
At first he said it’s because of the scab on his shin. Then on March 27th, at the press conference held at Sakuraba’s own dojo Laughter 7, FEG head Sadaharu Tanikawa announced Andrews Nakahara from Kyokushin Karate as Sakuraba’s first round opponent. However on the spot, Sakuraba told everyone, "I didn’t know about it. I came here because I was told that FEG wanted to use my dojo to do the press conference. My scab is healed but now my other leg hurts so I don’t even know if I am going to fight. After everyone leaves today, there will be devils rising here."
Now Akiyama is out due to a broken nose so this probably means Sakuraba is in. Well, from the moment he showed his scab on the shin to the reporters, everything looked like the typical Sakuraba-like joke. Then FEG officially announces Sakuraba’s GP first round bout, but Sakuraba denies it but now Akiyama is out. So now there is one last thing Sakuraba needs to do. Put a period to this "I am not fighting in the GP" drama he has been playing for a while.
FEG ‘OLYMPIA DREAM.2 Middleweight GP Opening Round’
Tuesday April 29th, 2008
At Saitama Super Arena, Saitama, Japan
Confirmed Cards (Subject to Change):
JZ Calvan (Brazil / American Top Team) vs. Shinya Aoki (Japan / Paraestra Tokyo)
Taiei Kin (Japan / Seido Kaikan) vs. Minowa-man (Japan / Freelance)
Magomed Sultanakhmadov (Russia / Club Volk Han) vs. Zelg Galestic (Croatia / Team Trojan)
Yoon Don Sik (Korea / Freelance) vs. Shungo Oyama (Japan / Freelance)
Ronaldo Jacare Santo (Brazil / Plaza Jiu-jitsu) vs. Frank Trigg (USA / RAW Team)
Kazushi Sakuraba (Japan / LAUGHTER 7) vs. Andrews Nakahara (Brazil / Kyokushin Kaikan)
Kiyoshi Tamura (Japan / U-FILE CAMP.com) vs. Masakatsu Funaki (Japan / ARMS)
Denis Kang (Canada / American Top Team) vs. Gegard Mousasi (Holland / Team Musashi – Red Devil Interntional)