Yuto Hokamura is definitely the dark horse in the Rizin bantamweight Grand Prix. No-one expects him to win and ‘Kintaro’ feels that Naoki Inoue is not taking him seriously.

The two face off in the quarter finals at Rizin 30 and Inoue is a strong favourite. But Hokamura has some strong words for his opponent,

“I will make sure to take Inoues life in this fight. I’m just ready for battle.”

Inoue refused to engage with him or even acknowledge his trash talk at the press conference. Hokamura admits to being stumped by the UFC veteran’s approach,

“The guy won’t speak, it’s hard to figure out a guy who won’t say anything.”

Bad luck

Inoue was not particularly enthusiastic about the prospect of facing ‘Kintaro’ and admitted he would have liked a bigger name. Hokamura is not offended but hopes to prove him wrong,

“I don’t blame him for not being excited about fighting me, I think he’s got bad luck.”

While Inoue can consider himself unlucky not to have been handed a marquee matchup ‘Kintaro’ has arguably been unfortunate to draw one of the top fighters in the tournament at this stage. He acknowledged this wit ha wry smile,

“There are only two big names, Kai Asakura and Naoki Inoue, and luckily I got one of them.”

More interesting

A reformed gangster, ‘Kintaro’ was forced to wear a rashguard to conceal his tattoos in some of his early Rizin fights. He is a colourful character and his hard hitting style is certainly fan friendly.

The 28 year old knows that no-one is expecting him to win but he thinks it would make life much more interesting for everyone the Japanese MMA scene if he did,

“It’s not about making the upset, I just think me winning the tournament would be much more interesting.”

Surprise in store

Hokamura’s gameplan is normally to swing for the fences but he hinted that he would have a surprise in store for Inoue at the Saitama Super Arena on September 19th,

“I cant go into details about my plan but I have ben working on something. He will be in for a surprise.”

His attempts at trash talk just seemed to amuse Inoue who wanted to shake hands and just smiled when ‘Kintaro’ refused. It is clear that Hokamura has failed to strike fear into his opponent and it is clearly a source of motivation for the reformed gangster,

“I will be the most annoying opponent he has ever faced. Ill wipe that smirk off his face.”