The Rizin 41 press conference took place this morning and it featured a good old fashioned brawl. Kouzi and Ryusei Ashizawa came to blows after exchanging insults ahead of their fight.
The two are set to face off in a bantamweight kickboxing bout at the Maruzen Intec Arena in Osaka on April 1st. Ashizawa was so incensed by something which Kouzi said that he charged across the conference table to kick his seated opponent in the chest.
If Rizin officials were upset about this incident it certainly didn’t stop them from sharing the photos and video. Promoter Nobuyuki Sakakibara even posted a link to the video for anyone who missed the live stream:
4/1(土) 丸善インテックアリーナ大阪で開催する、2023年のシーズン開幕戦 #RIZIN41 の追加カード発表会見を行いました！
— NOBUYUKI SAKAKIBARA (@nobu_sakakibara) February 16, 2023
The Rizin president even made a point of telling fans that,
The Kouzi vs. Ashizawa match is going to be big!
For some reason no weight class or ruleset was declared when the but was originally announced. But it was confirmed earlier today that they would face off under normal kickboxing rules.
Kouzi has established a reputation for trash talking and getting in altercations at press conferences. It has proved to be a shrewd career move and helped secure him an exhibition boxing match with J’Hon Ingram, who is part of Floyd Mayweather’s entourage, in Dubai.
He is also an experienced kickboxer who has been in with both Takeru and Tenshin Nasukawa. He beat veteran Genji Umeno at Rizin 34 last year.
🔴RIZIN Kickboxing Rules
— RIZIN FF OFFICIAL (@rizin_PR) February 16, 2023
Ashizawa is a K-1 veteran who will be making his Rizin debut. He was last seen in action at The Match where he was knocked out by Ya-Man in the opening round.
This is not the strongest looking fight card that Rizin has put on and the promotion will be hoping that the personal animosity between these two kickboxers will generate a bit of interest.
The event looks set to be headlined by a featherweight fight between Yoshinori Horie and Vugar Karamov. There are currently no title fights on the card but with only seven bouts announced there will probably be more matchups released in the coming weeks.