MENU
#Conor McGregor #UFC 216 #GSP #Tony Ferguson #Nate Diaz #Fight Night Rotterdam #Kevin Lee #Nick Diaz #Darren Till #Michael Bisping #Anderson Silva #Donald Cerrone #Dominick Cruz


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.

Comments

Show Comments

Related News

Champion Andrea Lee Thinks He's A Better Fighter Than Her LFA 23 Opponent | MMAWeekly.com

  • 29 days ago
  • 12 views

Andrea Lee will finally get the opportunity to defend her 125-pound title when she takes on Jamie Thorton in the LFA 23 co-main event on Friday. read news >>

Paige VanZant Reveals Title and Cover for Her New Book Due Out in 2018 | MMAWeekly.com

  • 29 days ago
  • 14 views

Paige VanZant will release her first book in 2018 and she's finally revealed the title and the cover for her upcoming autobiography. The book will be titled "Rise: Surviving the Fight of My Life", wh read news >>

UFC champ Michael Bisping's ideal scenario could delay retirement past GSP fight

  • 28 days ago
  • 26 views

Michael Bisping (sort of) walks back his comments on his last fight potentially being at UFC 217 against Georges St-Pierre.Filed under: Featured, Featured Videos, News, UFC read news >>

After postponement for UFC 215 fight, Jeremy Stephens finally got married over the weekend

  • 23 days ago
  • 28 views

After pushing back his wedding to fight at UFC 215, Jeremy Stephens had his wedding over the weekend.Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC read news >>

Aspen Ladd Finally Books Long Awaited UFC Debut Fight in Poland | MMAWeekly.com

  • 22 days ago
  • 16 views

Highly touted bantamweight prospect Aspen Ladd has finally booked her Octagon debut against Lina Lansberg at UFC Fight Night in Poland on Oct. 21. UFC officials announced the new matchup on Tuesday. read news >>

ONE Championship's November lineup? Open-weight fight, champ-vs.champ, retirement title bout

  • 21 days ago
  • 14 views

By all measures, November could be the biggest month for ONE Championship, which boasts a handful of can’t-miss fights.Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, Videos read news >>

If Chuck Liddell ends retirement, he says Chael Sonnen would be easy warmup fight

  • 21 days ago
  • 9 views

Chuck Liddell is still retired, but if he does come back, the UFC Hall of Famer likes the idea of fighting Chael Sonnen.Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>

Dominick Cruz Returns; Cynthia Calvillo Booked Against Former Champ at UFC 219 | MMAWeekly.com

  • 21 days ago
  • 57 views

Former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz has finally booked his next fight as he will face off with Jimmie Rivera at UFC 219 in Las Vegas on Dec. 30. Cruz has been out of action since losing the ba read news >>

Threats of broken legs, retirement? Justin Gaethje latest to beef with Tony Ferguson

  • 18 days ago
  • 414 views

Justin Gaethje is the latest to land on Tony Ferguson’s radar ahead of the latter’s interim UFC lightweight title fight at UFC 216.Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC read news >>

UFC veteran Kyle Noke has 'that fire again,' announces return from retirement

  • 18 days ago
  • 22 views

UFC veteran Kyle Noke is the latest to end a short-lived retirement from MMA competition. Filed under: News, UFC read news >>