Closing out our coverage of RIZIN 24, we spoke with Koji ahead of his fight with Tenshin Nasukawa. Koji is an experienced fighter coming over from K-1, he takes on the talented Tenshin and looks to surprise fans from Japan and around the world.
Koji enjoys fighting and has for a long time. But he has an interest in many sports. He did soccer at a young age and even played on the Junior Club Team. But, he didn’t feel like he had enough control over the outcome of the sport and decided to take on a sport that he had complete control over: fighting.
“I was influenced by my father and started Karate and Kempo when I was little. Then I got into Soccer and played in a Junior club team for Cerezo Osaka. When I was in 9th grade we lost a game where I scored 3 goals gave up 4 goals, and I blamed other people for the loss. That incident made me not want to compete in team sports anymore and focused on martial arts. I also hated when people would look down on me and thought about the most convincing way for people to not look down on me, which was to become a world champion in combat sports.”
Outside of fighting, Koji enjoys the leisure of golf and spends his time playing. “My hobby is golfing. I gold a lot on during my times off.”
Koji vs. Tenshin Nasukawa
On RIZIN 24, Koji has the monumental task of dethroning the seemingly-invincible Tenshin Nasukawa. While he knows how tough of a task this will be, he plans on getting in there and making Tenshin regret ever stepping foot in the ring with him.
“I think most fighters focus on getting getting better overall when they train. But I have been training specifically to make Tenshin cry so I’m well prepared.”
With Koji stepping over from K-1 to RIZIN, he has the opportunity to expand his fanbase and represent himself on a new stage. He plans to entertain fans and put on an incredible show at RIZIN 24.
“My mindset hasn’t changed too much from when I was fighting in K-1. My motto is to put on a fight for the fans, so I’m not looking to put on a crappy performance in my first fight in RIZIN.”
At 31 years old, Koji is a veteran of the sport. He has over 40 fights to his name and has fought in a lot of different arenas. But, it’s the early career that Koji believes will stick out as his favorite as time passes.
“I’m not quite sure. I think all venues were great. The most memorable venue would be a hostess club that only fit 80 people in my early career days.”
Koji’s career is far from over and he has goals to achieve. He wants to not only make a living prizefighting, but he also wants to provide and make his family and other people happy as well.
“My goal is to make a lot of money to a point where I can make other people happy! You need money to do anything in this world, so I’ll make all the money and make my family, friends and fans all happy.”