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Old 04-09-2009, 07:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Masato To Retire!!




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Many of us hoped it was an April Fool’s Day joke when on April 1 Masato – Japan’s most successful K-1 fighter – announced this as the last year of his K-1 fight career. Indeed we’d heard Masato flaunt the idea of retirement since first winning the coveted K-1 MAX title in 2003. But looking into his eyes at the April 1 press conference and hearing the solemn tone of his voice, we knew this time was for real.

“An athlete can choose his own timing for retirement,” said Masato, causing a lump to well in most every fan’s throat. “There are three ways to (determine that timing). He can lose early in his career and give up on himself. He can enjoy the sport for as long as he can. Thirdly, he can quit when he is at the top level and at his strongest. I choose the third one.”

Always a man in control and his own destiny, Masato added: “I want to be cool at any time.”

With those well-constructed words succinctly explaining his reason for retirement, Masato promised to have two more fights and an exhibition match before saying good-bye to the K-1 ring at 11.59pm on December 31 at Dynamite.

The exhibition match will take place on April 21 at the Marine Messe in Fukuoka when Masato fights K-1 Koshien (under 18) champion Hiroya. Seventeen-year-old Hiroya, who won the K-1 Koshien title at Dynamite last New Year’s Eve, is considered the Masato of the next generation. His chance to trade kicks and punches with the Silver Wolf – albeit in an exhibition match – will be a ceremonial chance for Masato to pass the torch to the teenage wunderkind.

“I think Hiroya is the future of K-1 MAX,” says Masato. “There are many things I want to teach him and I’d like to teach them to him in the ring with my technique. I want to show him the level of technique of the K-1 MAX champion and what level he should aspire to.”

The first of Masato’s two retirement fights will take place in July at the Budokan. The historic venue, built for the 1964 Olympic Games and which played host to the Beatles Japanese debut and Muhammed Ali’s mixed fight against Antonio Inoki, was the place where Masato last won the MAX Championship in October. His yet-to-be-named opponent will be a fan’s choice, with names such as Tatsuya Kawajiri and a rematch with Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto being bandied about.

Masato’s last K-1 match will take place at Dynamite on New Years Eve against whoever the K-1 MAX champion. The MAX Championship will be decided in October when the top four fighters do battle in an elimination contest for the strap.

“I want to fight the champion on fresh terms rather than enter the tournament,” says Masato, who as a two-time tournament winner has nothing left to prove by winning a third. “I don’t plan on fighting a lukewarm match (on New Year’s Eve). The MAX champion will be the strongest opponent possible.”
It is unknown what road Masato will take after his retirement. His matinee-star looks would suggest a career in television (Masato already does several guest commentary spots on TBS). There is also the possibility he could join FEG as a K-1 MAX producer or consultant. However Masato says that he’s not too bothered about the direction of 2010 and beyond but rather concentrating on winning his last two fights.

Source K-1

This is pretty damn shocking.
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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no MASATO!!!!!! but i guess he is right it is better to go out on top
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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no MASATO!!!!!! but i guess he is right it is better to go out on top
Agreed. But it's the curse of a fighter to 'retire.' Then decide it's time for a comeback.
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Old 04-09-2009, 11:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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as long as he stays training and if he decides to come back i dont think he will miss a beat. that is if it isnt a loong time.
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Old 04-10-2009, 01:03 AM   #5 (permalink)
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as long as he stays training and if he decides to come back i dont think he will miss a beat. that is if it isnt a loong time.
If he goes 2+ years he'd be coming back with alotta ring rust.
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Old 04-10-2009, 01:23 AM   #6 (permalink)
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He showed some signs of diminishing skills, but then bounced back to win the MAX~! But he's done everything he can K1, let the guy have a farewell tour and be able to walk when he turns 40
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Old 04-10-2009, 03:49 AM   #7 (permalink)
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He'll probably do the whole "I'm retiring, and then 3 weeks later come back" routine.
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Old 04-10-2009, 07:27 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Hiroya will probably kick his ass anyway.
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Old 04-13-2009, 09:17 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Masato is the man and has proven a lot but im worried by his possible opponents before retiring. He will beat Hiroya show some technique and show him he has lots to learn, but a fight with Kawajiri makes no sense as he will make him look stupid k1 rules. Im all up for a fight with Kid but thats it, I would of preferred him just taking one more fight and I dont mean Sato or Buakow but Andy souwer!!!!
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