Yuto Hokamura will be fighting in his own backyard at Rizin 29. The Osaka native is facing Kuya Ito in the first round of the bantamweight Grand Prix.
There will be around 5,000 fans in attendance at the Maruzen Intec Arena and Hokamura says most of them will be there to see him,
“If I fight in Osaka everyone will turn up to watch me.”
Hokamura has a misspent youth and he has the tattoos to prove it. He is now a reformed character but when he made his promotional debut at Rizin 21 he was forced to cover them up,
“They had me wear a rash guard, I’ve become a goody two shoes,” he recalls.
At Rizin 21 he submitted Kenji Kato. But at Rizin 24, with those tattoos on display, he dropped a split decision to Kenta Takizawa and Hokamura feels he was to restrained in that fight,
“I regret that I held back too much. This year I’m going to do what I please.”
He represents the Inaki Gumi camp in Osaka and Hokamura’s teammates have gained a reputation for being involved in good old fashioned tear ups. It is a tradition he is keen to continue,
“There’s something Yoshiro Maeda has been telling me. When Inaki Gumi steps in the ring we tear s**t up, we don’t leave the ring without creating havoc. Those are his words and I plan to implement them this time. I’m ready to create chaos in the ring.”
At Rizin 29 he will face Ito who is the reigning Grachan bantamweight champion. Hokamura noticed the belts his opponent wore to the press conference but claimed not to recognize him,
“I don’t know the name of the guy I’m sat next to. He has shiny belts so I assume he’s decent.”
The final four fights in the opening round of the Rizin bantamweight Grand Prix are set for Osaka on June 27th. Should Hokamura win he is scheduled to face either Takafumi Otsuka or Hiroki Yamashita.
It would be fair to say that Hokamura is looking past his upcoming opponent. The 28 year old is so confident of beating Ito that his thoughts have already turned to the next round,
“I look forward to smashing Otsuka in the face in the quarter finals”