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MARTINEZ TO FACE ENSON’S PROTEGE

Heavyweights to throw down in Tokyo

By Patrick Lujan

After a three-fight stint in the UFC and a Brawl bout, heavyweight champion Roque Martinez is back under Japan’s Rizin promotion this weekend in Tokyo.

Martinez is a veteran of five Rizin fights and three Deep fights, making Japan a familiar place to be.

“I love Rizin! I love Japan! It feels like my second home when I fight there,” Martinez said. “I turned down other promotions and even a chance to get into the PFL. Rizin is where I belong. It’s nostalgic for me because I grew up watching Pride.”

His return to Japan will be against 25-year-old Tsuyoshi Kamiyama on Saturday in RIZIN FF – LANDMARK VOL. 5.

CONNECTION WITH ENSON INOUE

An interesting twist to this fight is the connection with Enson Inoue, MMA legend and long-time friend of Guam. Kamiyama is one of Inoue’s students of the game in Japan. Martinez has been coached by Melchor Manibusan for most of his career. Inoue and Manibusan are brothers from different mothers.

“When Rizin called me about Roque, I told them ‘no’,” Inoue commented after a recent training session in Japan. “It’s like the same team. Melchor is like my little brother and he trains Roque. We’re all the same family and I didn’t want to do that.”

After some further thought and a call with Manibusan about the possibilities, both camps agreed and decided to “make the boys fight and we’ll go to dinner after,” according to Inoue.

“It’s going to be weird looking at each other across the ring. All around, it is a plus for everybody. It’s all about the sport. It’s nothing personal. After that we can train together.”

Martinez acknowledges the unique situation and says, “it’s kind of cool that both of their fighters will now fight each other on a big stage.”

NEXT CHAPTER

Now 37 years old with 26 pro fights under his belt, Martinez is a completely different fighter since his last time fighting in Japan.

“Having the experience in the UFC really allowed me to grow and learn a lot about myself. I believe I’ve developed as an overall fighter. And this time I’m looking to bring non-stop violence!”

Inoue, too, believes heavy leather will be flying. “They can knock each other out and it’s going to be one hell of a fight. No matter what the outcome, I’m going to be happy. It will be bitter sweet either way who wins.”

Martinez is a proud owner of a brand new boxing gym in Tamuning. He understands that after almost 20 years of organized fighting, the end game is closer than ever before.

“I’m pretty realistic with myself and also being smart about my long-term health and goals. I know I don’t have that much longer in the fight game. Right now, I just take it fight by fight and how my body feels. But ideally I want to end my fight on a nice impressive win streak. Hopefully, Rizin can make a heavyweight title too, so I can add that to my collection before I hang it up.”

“Roque is a class act and he’s a freakin’ warrior. He will go out on his shield,” Inoue added.

Roque Martinez and the boys from his fight camp get ready for his return to Rizin.

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COMING SOON …

All-Island Wrestling Alumni Tournament June 8

10th Micronesian Games from Marjuro

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Congratulations @seadancer_bailey

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