K-1 Koshien Post Tournament Interviews
written by Monty DiPietro

Hiroya, Koya Urabe, Ryuya Kusakabe and Shota Shimada talk about the K-1 Koshien 2008 tournament, their fights and their future plans.

HIROYA (K-1 Koshien Winner)

Your thoughts about the fight?
Hiroya: I'm glad I won, but there are a lot of things I would have changed about how I fought.

How do you feel about last year's champion, Yudai?
Even though I won the tournament, I regret that I couldn't have a rematch against Yudai. It would have been a much more meaningful victory if I could have defeated him as well.

How did you feel coming in to the extra round?
Well, the same thing happened last year and I knew I'd have to try harder in the extra round or I wouldn't have learned anything from last year's loss.

What do you think about the other Koshien fighters?
My opponents were tough. I couldn't knock them down. If I could only do like I do in training I should have done much better.

K-1 Koshien Champion 2008: Hiroya

K-1 Koshien Champion 2008: Hiroya

Your plans for next year?
I'll take a rest and then go right back to training. I'm able to relax and use all my training in my muay thai fights, but for some reason, my rhythm gets messed up when I fight K-1. It's something I'll have to work on. I hope to fight even stronger fighters in the future.

Koya Urabe

Your thoughts about the fight?
Koya Urabe: I'm just glad it's over. It was an exhilerating experience. I thought I had the first two rounds, but I felt I was in trouble in the last round. Coming up against Hiroya, I could feel that he had a lot more experience.

What did you think about going into the extra round?
I was a bit surprised that it was a draw. I just tried to keep going with a similar strategy as before.

Now that the K-1 Koshien is over, what are your impressions?
This really was a great experience. I feel like my life has turned around 180 degrees.

Your plans for next year?
I'd like to get more experience and have more fights.

Did your brother say anything to you about the fight?
My brother was supportive, but he saw a lot of flaws that I'll need to work on.

Ryuya Kusakabe

Your thoughts about the fight?
I just couldn't move like I wanted to. My condition was good leading up to the fight, but once I got into the ring, I tightened up. Next year I'll practice three times as hard and become champion.

Shota Shimada

Your thoughts about the fight?
Shota Shimada: Hiroya is really strong. Especially his punches. His experience really showed through.

What was your plan of attack?
I was going to use more leg techniques, but once I got in the ring, I got caught up in the fight and my plan went out the window.

Would you like a rematch?
I'd like to work on my punch game, get more experience and come back even stronger.