There was Mick Spinks, Bruno Panno, Ray Matsumura, Greg Winter and his crew and myself on a Qantas flight to Narita Aiport, Tokyo. I still remember Greg and I trying to sneak into business class and when we got caught we pretended to sleep. We got kicked out not long after that but it was cool anyway because we had a crew we filled out this upper section of the plane.
We finally landed in Japan after a 10 hour flight, got to customs and what do you know I forgot to get my Entertainment Visa. So they put me in a room for half an hour doing their best to interrogate me (a bit hard given the language barrier). Luckily K1 have a bit of pull in Japan. Once I was confirmed as a K1 fighter to the Japanese customs they wished me luck and granted me entry, THEY EVEN SHOOK MY HAND.
We did the usual stuff which i’ll let you know in another entry. I will go directly to where the fun began on this trip….
I arrived at the Prince Takanawa Hotel in Shinagawa, Tokyo. Checked in at the K1 desk to get my schedule, had a small feed with Mick and Bruno and went to bed. I woke up the next morning and checked my schedule. Training was at Masatos gym.
I got through the morning and headed off to Masatos gym to go through our fight plan. Got there all we could hear was PA PAPA PA echoing through the walls. Masato was there training, smashing through everything his trainer put in front of him. We all had to take our shoes off before entering the gym. We snuck past Masato and headed up the stairs to the second ring. I got changed , did some pads with Mick then got ready to roll with Bruno. As Bruno and I were getting ready National Geographic approached us to find out if they could film. We responded affirmatively. But me being the over zealous character that I was had spun 360 degrees with Bruno still latched onto my foot. Purely self inflicted we both heard a loud POP! We stopped , Bruno looked at me with confusion as to why I would have done such a thing and me trying to act as if nothing happened. We left the gym and walked about 1.5km back to the train station.
On the way back to the hotel room Ray took me with Mick and Bruno by my side to the doctor to get an xray. I found out that I had partially torn my MCL. My knee was like a balloon.
Back at the hotel my knee was wrapped in ice and I got some rest. Ray had a friend who was an old ancient spiritual healer who played the bongos while we sparred. He insisted on doing magic healing techniques on my knee. God love him. Im not sure what it was doing but I guess its the thought that counts.
The next morning I woke my knee was a mess but I had media and photo opps to attend. I got up and got ready and limped down to breakfast I ate a boiled egg and some seaweed as I was still yet to make weight. I was doing my best to hide my injury all day not wanting to let on to the media that there was an issue but I dont think I was doing a very good job. I finally got the day done headed back up to my room and crashed.
I woke up starving and in pain. I went straight to the sauna , put my sweat suit on and started my dehydration phase. I dehydrated for about 3 hours. At intervals that same dude was there again performing his magic on my knee (God love him) I rocked up to the weigh in to find out that I was 300 grams over weight. I was given one hour to lose the rest. I came back all smiles yet stepping on the scale was the mission of the day, doing my best not to expose my injury. After the weigh in I hammered Pocari Sweat and energy jelly drinks , a bit of food then prepared for the press conference.
At the press conference we get directed to the back room where the red and blue corners sit in a line waiting to be called out. As each fighter gets called out K1 have a promo reel of each fighter to walk out to.
My name came up and Kid Yammamoto and I walked straight up to each other and virtually headbutted. Usually it is required to stare down for 30 seconds for the media to get some good shots. But we stood there eyes locked , fists up for at least 3 minutes. I thought it was going to be on. They finally broke it up and we went our separate ways.
I woke up the next morning focussed on my fight, my injury did not even exist. We all met in the foyer jumped on the bus headed for Yoyogi Stadium. Massive show… Bob Sapp, Peter Aerts and Ray Seffo to name few on the card. I was wrapped as I found out I was main event. We got off the bus, media crews in our faces and headed for the locker rooms. Did the doctors check and he prescribed local anaesthetic for my knee. We usually leave the docs office with a show bag of 2 bananas, Calorie – Mate bar and a bottle of water. Got back to the kennel and took a nap until it was time to warm up.
Mick woke me up , I saw the doctor again for 3 injections of local anaesthetic in my knee. I headed to warm up jumping around telling Mick ‘I cant feel it’. Mick was emphasizing to take it easy.
Officials came and told me my fight was up. Mick and I looked at each other and said ‘Lets do this’. We walked out to the ring…
TO BE CONTINUED….