“Death From Tokyo” will not let age slow him down
In all his fights, current URCC flyweight champion Hideo Morikawa looked every bit a middle-class hero. Someone who knows he may never have it easy, so he trains every day to constantly improve his game. He’s the guy you love to watch because he never truly is in a boring fight.
“There were many times I was pushed into a corner; those exciting fights came from my desperate wish for victory. So far, most of my matches were full of struggles. But I think that’s okay as long as my fans were happy with them.”
His upcoming fight, a championship match against CJ De Tomas, may not be different. “This time also, I’ll just be practicing hard as usual. No matter how many times I get knocked down, kicked, thrown away, or even choked, whatever happens, I will fight so that my hand will be raised at the end.” That being said, he believes his conditioning and mental toughness will serve him the victory.
However, “Death from Tokyo” is quick to acknowledge his rival’s arsenal. “CJ’s Muay Thai is considerably high, and you can easily see it in his past matches. I might be knocked out in a moment if I lose my concentration. But for me, I have members of Team Zendo-kai and fighters of Submission Sport Philippines, including Sir Erwin, to support me.” And while he is the more senior of the two, it’s the 19-year-old De Tomas who has more fight experience, given his rich amateur background.
The Japanese knows his opponent will be fueled with added motivation once they step inside the cage. After all, CJ is out to avenge his father’s loss at the champion’s own hands almost six years ago. Hideo, though, refuses to dwell on this angle. “He is he, his father is his father. However, we can fight with a special story inside our hearts.”
Asked if age will play a factor in the fight, he said:
“I work for a Japanese NGO as a volunteer. There, we take young victims of domestic violence and drug addiction under our care. Through combat sports, I try to motivate them so they live a life of happiness. As I regularly stay with the kids, I think I’m young at heart.
“Though age doesn’t matter in this match, old men in the Philippines might feel bad if they see an old buddy tortured by a young fighter, as if seeing themselves being under pressure from young co-workers in a company. So please lend me your hand, people of the same age and above. I will show the power of an old man to the young.”
Hideo has been fighting in the URCC since 2009. Yet, every time he steps inside the ring or cage, he is seen as a foreigner; this is something he wants every local MMA fan to get out of their system.
“I want you to think, I’ve been living here for eight years and have devoted all my training and professional career to the URCC. I’ve got a Filipino wife and a child. I eat adobo and sinigang, and I ride jeeps and buses. Might be nothing to be proud of, but I have never lived in a furnished condo with a driver. I used to eat and sleep together with my students at the gym in a remote countryside in Laguna. I am just a rural man who loves combat sports so much, and I have always supported Filipino fighters.”
URCC 27: Rebellion fires at the Marriott Grand Ballroom on April 23 in Pasay City. At stake are five championship belts so be sure you save a seat.
Mark “Sexymundo” Raymundo is a copywriter and an amateur fighter with a perfect record of 21-0. Nah, he’s just a copywriter.