Akira Shoji will have his last bout April 23 against Kazuo Misaki. | Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog.com


One of the most recognizable fighters of the Pride era is finally ready to call it a career.

At Deep "52 Impact" on Friday in Tokyo, hard-luck veteran Akira Shoji announced he would fight once more before officially ending his professional fighting career. Shoji offered an open invitation to opponents, which was quickly accepted by former Pride grand prix champion Kazuo Misaki.

Misaki and Shoji will meet for the second time at Deep's "53 Impact" on April 23 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. Shoji and Misaki originally met in February 2006 at Deep's "23 Impact," where Misaki floored Shoji with brutal striking before eventually finishing the fight via guillotine in just 2:32. Shoji has not competed since the last-ever Pride event in April 2007, when he was knocked out by Gilbert Yvel in the first round.

Perhaps realizing their second encounter is one in which a win would be difficult, a somber but determined Shoji claimed, "This is my retirement fight, and I don't want my career to end with any regrets, so I want this fight to end in kaishaku."

By "kaishaku," Shoji refers to the Japanese ritual suicide, “seppuku,” in which the person committing suicide has a second individual assist in chopping off his head, provided he is unable to completely disembowel himself.

Falling in line with the drama, an intense Misaki said, "We fought in February 2006, and that fight made me who I am today. I want to show a fight with a samurai's soul. I will crush him."

Shoji, a former Chukyo University judo standout, started his MMA career in 1996 after joining Wajutsu Keishukai. The undersized Shoji went on to compete 23 times for Pride, where he developed a reputation for his gameness in challenging much larger and more talented foes, earning the nickname "Mr. Pride."

Shoji faced a "Who's Who" of MMA, including Igor Vovchanchyn, Mark Coleman, Dan Henderson, Wanderlei Silva, Mauricio Rua and even giant multiple-time K-1 World Grand Prix champion Semmy Schilt. The perpetual underdog also pulled off several upsets, taking wins over the likes of Guy Mezger and Alex Stiebling.

More recently, Shoji has served as a professional wrestler with Pride-linked professional wrestling organization Hustle, while also embarking on his career as an MMA official, regularly serving as a judge for both Dream and Deep in the last two years.

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Mark Hunt Unloads on Brock Lesnar and UFC in Expletive Laden Interview

  • 29 days ago
  • 844 views

Mark Hunt exploded on Brock Lesnar the UFC on Monday, but finally got a response from the UFC in order to address his concerns. read news >>

Finally Healthy, Lynn Alvarez Returns Against Mizuki at Invicta FC 18

  • 27 days ago
  • 7 views

Lynn Alvarez will finally return to fighting on Friday, when she takes on late replacement Mizuki Inoue in a main card 115-pound bout at Invicta FC 18. read news >>

Namajunas Finally Ready to Meet Title Expectations

  • 28 days ago
  • 0 views

No. 3-ranked strawweight Rose Namajunas wasn't quite ready for superstardom after making waves on Season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter. But now, with title shot in reach, she's mentally prepared for any read news >>

UFC 201 Video: Tyron Woodley Plans to Show He’s the Best Welterweight in the World

  • 25 days ago
  • 9 views

Tyron Woodley finally gets his shot at the UFC 170-pound title on Saturday when he faces champion Robbie Lawler in the UFC 201 main event. read news >>

UFC: Does the Promotion Finally See What It Has in Cris Cyborg?

  • 20 days ago
  • 46 views

Never in the history of MMA has a promotion been so reluctant to accept a contracted fighter’s stardom as the UFC was to accept that of Cris “Cyborg” Justino. Obsessively selling the sport—both the m read news >>

UFC 202 Free Fight: Conor McGregor Takes Out Chad Mendes for Interim Title

  • 15 days ago
  • 112 views

Conor McGregor finally earned UFC gold when he defeated Chad Mendes at UFC 189 for the interim featherweight title. read news >>

Diaz vs. McGregor 2: UFC 202 Odds, Predictions and Pre-Fight Twitter Hype

  • 5 days ago
  • 17 views

Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz will finally come face to face once again in one of the most anticipated rematches in UFC history—a welterweight bout at UFC 202 on Saturday, August 20. Diaz shocked the read news >>

UFC 202 Embedded, Episode 6: Diaz, McGregor, Weigh-ins, Cops and Fans… Oh My!

  • 4 days ago
  • 17 views

On Episode 6 of UFC 202 Embedded, it's finally weigh-in day, as the situation between Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor remains on edge. read news >>