RIZIN announces eight new fights for RIZIN 22 and 23 today. In a press release from the promotion, they said the double-header will continue both kickboxing and MMA bouts.
RIZIN 22: Starting Over
RIZIN 22 adds three fights to it’s card and has some banger matchups. First announced is between Nadaka Yoshinari (30-5-1) and Yuushin (3-1). Yoshinari has fought in Thailand and Japan and claimed titles in the legendary Rajadamnern and Lumpinee stadiums. This bout will be under RIZIN kickboxing rules which allows for elbows. This fight is a rematch from when the two were amateurs.
Nadaka Yoshinari is excited to fight on a big platform like RIZIN. “I’m very honored to be able to fight on such a prestigious platform. I want to show my skills and abilities of a Muay Thai Champion to everybody.”
Yuushin is excited for a chance to prove himself against someone as honored and accomplished as Yoshinari. “I’m honored to be able to face the current Champ for both Rajadamnern Stadium and Lumpinee Stadium. I’ve fought Nadaka once in my amateur and lost, but I will make revenge this time.”
Also on RIZIN 22, Rikuto Shirakawa (7-7-1) takes on Kyohei Hagiwara (0-2). In addition to that, the third bout for RIZIN 22 is between Erson Yamamoto (3-4) and Kenji Kato (10-7).
Yamamoto talks about the pandemic and how his fighting career has been changed. “The pandemic has torn our everyday lives apart. But thanks to Sakakibara and all of his staff, we are given another chance to fight. I am truly grateful. This will be my return after an injury. I understand the situation I am put in, and I will climb back up to where I belong.”
Kenji Kato is looking for redemption at RIZIN 22. “In my last fight in RIZIN, I lost without being able to show anything. I have been training hard since my last fight and have always been ready. I will prove that I belong here by taking off of my opponent’s head.”
RIZIN 23: Calling Over
Rizin 23 adds even more bouts than RIZIN 22. Kotetsu Boku (26-14-2) takes on Jin Aoi (7-3-1). Boku is the former ONE Lightweight Champion and is returning to RIZIN.
Boku was looking forward to a higher-profile matchup with Kai Asakura, but that fight did not materialize. He is ready to just get back to fighting. “I was supposed to fight Asakura, but I think the most important thing right now is to fight. I know my next loss will be my last fight, so I will keep challenging until I get the Asakura fight. I keep myself motivated by training everyday, but I was able to use this quarantine period in a very good way. When you fight as long as I have been fighting, all of my opponents will be younger. So I plan to teach these kids a tough lesson.”
Aoi knows how big of a matchup he has ahead of him and how tough of a task it will be. “I’m both nervous and excited about this opportunity. I know I need to prove myself in this fight to determine my future in the sport. Boku was a world class fighter and I am very excited to see how my skills will hold up against him. I appreciate Boku for taking the fight against me, so all I can do to put on my best performance.”
Next on the card is Taiga (21-11-1) and Kento Haraguchi (15-1-1). The two fought to a draw at RIZIN 13. Taiga has had a hard time as of late, going 1-7-1 in his last nine fights. He looks to rebound at RIZIN 23.
“I have been training and have been ready for any offer, and I am happy that RIZIN is getting back on it’s feet. I live in the fight business, I will show what I live for and why I do it. I think I am in the best shape of my life, I am a totally different fighter than my last fight.”
Haraguchi is excited to fight a staple of JMMA. He throws shade at Taiga and vows to win. “I’m very honored to be getting the offer, but I want to make RIZIN regret they didn’t call me up earlier. I’ve fought my opponent before, but now he’s turned into a Youtuber. I know I am better than him. I will dominate.”
Shintaro Matsukura (26-16) also makes an appearance on the card as he takes on Kojo Mori (12-7-2). Matsukura calls out Mori for making excuses ahead of their fight. “He may have transitioned to kickboxing from MMA, but I already see he’s making excuses of the lack of kickboxing experience. I am confident in my abilities and I will put on a great fight. I know that everybody involved are risking things by putting on an event, so I would like to return the favor with my performance.”
Mori is happy to be able to compete in new sports and the opportunity RIZIN has given him. “I’m still new to kickboxing, but I’m excited for this big opportunity. My style is to finish, and I will show you an exciting brawl.”
Yusaku Nakamura (16-7-1) and Tatsuki Saomoto (14-2) are also on the RIZIN 23 card. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity. I will put on a fight that never misses,” says Nakamura.
Saomoto is ready for everything and is happy to fight for RIZIN. “I am very honored to be fighting on one of my dream stages. I have been with Mr. Miyata since highschool so I want to return the favor of him taking care of me. I want to prove that I am the vest in the division.”
Last match added is a great fight between Kaito (34-6-1) and Daryl Lokoku (10-6-1) in a kickboxing bout. Kaito has been itching to fight and is ready to get back in the ring. “I haven’t been able to fight since February, so I am very much looking forward to fight again. My opponent is bigger and stronger so I must be careful, but I think it will be a very fun fight.”
Lokoku is ready to expand his forte as he’s fought in multiple combat sports before. He is ready to add kickboxing to that list. “I’ve been fighting MMA, and Lethwei, and this will be my first time fighting kickboxing. My opponent is very strong, but I will keep challenging and do my best to win.”
Stay posted to My MMA News for all the latest surrounding RIZIN 22 and 23. Thanks for reading!