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"KID" Yamamoto No Longer Fighting Just on Intuition

TOKYO -- Since his last win in December 2007, Norifumi "KID" Yamamoto's star has fallen far. A knee injury sidelined the K-1 Hero's champion for 2008 and his return was spoiled by Joe Warren who was only 1-0 going into the bout. The rest of 2009 did not improve for "KID." Two more losses, one in K-1 and one in Dream, as well as going through a divorce has left the "Child of God" looking distinctly less godly.

A match against Federico "Kiko" Lopez at Dream.14 may be the last chance for Yamamoto to get his career back on track.

Yamamoto met with the press Friday at East 21 Hotel in Toyocho, Tokyo to discuss his training, his opponent and how he is actually learning techniques now rather than just fighting on intuition.

So this time it's going to be in a cage. Do you feel different because of this?

Well I won't know until I actually experience it and go inside the cage. I'll see. I'm looking forward to it.

You look relaxed. Are you relaxed right now?

I saw this t-shirt this guy is wearing and it's really funny. It says "I want to be loved by women." I'm not that tense. Your shirt is funny.

Are you psyched up for the fight?

Yeah, I'm looking forward to it. I'm really looking forward to it.

What are you looking forward to? The match, your opponent?

Regarding my opponent, he looks like an aggressive person. Height wise, weight wise and his physical body is very similar to me so let's find out how this fight will go.

Can you recall your past experience in a cage?

No, not at all. There's a cage in a gym that I go to but practice and the actual event is a different thing. I'm only used to fighting in the cage because there is one in the gym but I think that this will be totally different.

So the cage that you have, isn't the material different than the actually Dream cage?

I think the cage that Dream uses is a little softer. That's what I heard. I won't know how it will feel fighting in an actual cage until I actually fight.

I heard that you participated in a boxing gym in Okinawa? Why at this time did you want to reinforce boxing techniques?

Yeah, well I don't know how to explain this but I guess that's just the flow that it is right now.

Technique-wise, has anything really changed?

Well I learned a lot of boxing techniques and I was able to understand that boxing is really deep and how I use my body has improved since the past so intuition isn't the only thing that is necessary. That's what I've learned. I've been experiencing a lot of losses lately so this sixth sense or intuition is not the only thing.

In the past when you trained yourself you didn't really learn the techniques but you kind of intuitively practiced?

Yes. Pretty much, yes.

How is your boxing now?

I've learned how to use my body in a better way. It hasn't been six months yet since I implemented this training but I think I'm in better condition then I was in the past so I'd like to test myself to see how far I can go.

A little while ago, Kiko Lopez said that he has looked up to you since he was young. What do you feel about this?

I met him before and we talked with one and other and I saw his matches. He was defeated by Hiroya. If it was MMA, it would have been something different. I think he would win. He has good momentum and he is a good fighter. He fights well so when I found out that I'm fighting Kiko Lopez I thought, "Oh, it'll probably be a good match," and [I'm looking] forward to it.

He is very quick. He is in the 60kg range in terms of his weight, he is speedy and has fast punches so I think it will be a good match.

He is saying that he is looking up to you. Do you feel like you don't want to lose to someone who is looking up to you?

Well actually, I don't want to lose to anybody regardless of whether they are looking up to me or not so it's not something that bothers me. Of course I am flattered and happy that he made those comments about me.

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