Tuesday, December 05, 2023  |


Kenshiro Teraji, Junto Nakatani, Tenshin Nasukawa morning-after presser comments

Kenshiro Teraji met the Japanese press the day after he defended his 108-pound world titles against former champ Hekkie Budler. Photo by Photo Finito
Fighters Network

It’s a tradition of Japanese boxing that champions and main event participants hold a press conference the morning after their fight night. 

On Tuesday, three Japanese stars answered questions from the media at the Hotel Edmont Iidabashi in Tokyo: Ring Magazine/WBA/WBC junior flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji, who stopped former champ Hekkie Budler in nine rounds; Junto Nakatani, who defended his WBO 115-pound title with a unanimous decision over Mexican contender Argi Cortez; and kickboxing superstar Tenshin Nasukawa, who won his second pro boxing bout with a decision over Mexican bantamweight champ Luis Guzman. The three co-headlined at Ariake Arena in front of 11,000 fans.  

Below are their answers to the press conference Q&A session:

For Kenshiro Teraji:

What did you do after the fight before coming here?

Teraji: I went home for a small celebration party.

Have you already reviewed your fight?

Teraji: Not yet, but I know it was a really tough fight. Budler was fighting so determined that I could not drop him, which I tried to do from the beginning. I was happy that I was able to get a second wind with key advice from my chief trainer Kenta Kato, which was to step (to my) left to block the (lateral) movement of Budler and that led to the TKO victory. I will remember this move against Budler when I am in that situation again in the future. That’s how experience works. I will review and study the fight carefully with Coach Kato to become a better fighter.

Coach Kenta Kato, have you watched the fight?

Kato: Actually, yes. I did three or four times already. I saw it the same way I felt during the fight. He did a good job to get close to Budler, as planned in the earlier rounds. It was not easy to end it because Budler was so durable and he knew how to deal with adversity. And it was even better that Kenshiro could adjust to the ex-champion’s strategy and finish him.   

What do you think of your performance yesterday?

Teraji: I am happy that I did a good job. Now I feel my body getting sore, I see some bumps on my forehead from head butting, and this all makes me feel like I battled hard last night. And also I can rate my work higher because I earned a TKO instead of a decision. I believe I entertained the fans. That is what I am happy about.

Do you have any plans for your days off training?

Teraji: I want to rest first. I will stay home for a while because my face has little scars and I feel some pain all over my body.

What is in your mind for your near future?

Teraji: Like I said yesterday, I want to collect the other titles at 108 pounds. Maybe my next fight will be early 2024.

What if you cannot make unification fights?

Teraji: Then maybe I’ll be moving up to flyweight. It is not because I am tired of making weight; 108 pounds is not a problem at all, but because I want to face strong, competitive opponents. I am looking for someone challenging. 

How have you been able to score four KOs in a row? 

Teraji: It’s due to my experiences in past fights. Now I can perform and execute what Coach Kato teaches me much better than before. 

Kenshiro Teraji pressed his attack on Hekkie Budler in Round 9. Photo by Naoki Fukuda


For Junto Nakatani:

What did you do after the fight?

Nakatani: It was a long night. I fought the full 12 rounds, so I slept very well. When I woke up I did not feel that much muscle pain. I walked around to relax with my teammates and long time friends Anthony Olascuaga, who also fought last night, and Adrian Alvarado. We talked about our dream that we three would one day fight on the same show.

Have you watched your fight already?

Nakatani:  Yes, I watched it partly. I will review and study it later to see what was good and what was bad in the way I fought. 

What about the fight were you most happy about?

Nakatani:  What I am happy about is that I could drop Cortez three times. He was such a durable fighter, as we expected. It was also good that I could pace the fight throughout against that tough opponent.

—  What did you think of Cortez, who gave Juan Fransisco Estrada a hard time a year ago?

Nakatani:  Cortez had a good style to deal with Estrada. I never underestimated him and got prepared with many plans of attack that would work against him. Body shots were among them. And it worked. 

Did you watch Olascuaga’s fight, which was just before your fight?

Nakatani:  Yes, I watched it on the monitor in my dressing room during my warm up. How he fought made me a little worried but I believed he would be victorious. His KO win made me excited and motivated.  

What do you want to do now?

Nakatani:  I want to eat! I want to enjoy eating now. I want some good stakes!

—  Will you be back in the gym soon?

Nakatani: Maybe after a week off. I don’t have much damage from the fight, besides slight muscle fatigue. 

—  What’s your vision for the near future?

Nakatani: I want to unify titles. I would like to face the other champions in the division. I want this strongly. But if it does not come to pass, I will think about moving up as I have to admit that making weight is getting harder, though it did not affect me this fight.

Junto Nakatani landed his best shots against tough Argi Cortes, who suffered three knockdowns but lasted the 12-round distance. Photo by Naoki Fukuda


 For Tenshin Nasukawa:

What is in your mind about your fight last night?

Nasukawa: I checked highlights of the fight and saw my improvement, and that means that I am on the right track to my goal. But I also see it is a long way to get there, because when I see that I’ve leaned one thing, I also see another thing that I need to learn. But I love to keep going that way to eventually be one of the best of the best. 

—  What was in your mind when you dropped Guzman in the first round?

Nasukawa: To be honest, I was kind of surprised that I could drop an opponent with my punch at that time. Wow, my punch can knock him down. Of course, I have worked on it. But I found that I did not have enough self-belief to go for the stoppage. So the experience gives me confidence going forward.

Tenshin Nasukawa celebrates his opening-round knockdown. Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Now we see a bandage on your left hand. How bad is your injury?

Nasukawa:  I will see a doctor tomorrow to know what it is. I hope it’s not a bone fracture. I hope I can be back in training in a week. I want to resume my training as soon as possible. I love fighting sports so much that I cannot live without it. There is nothing but fighting that I can devote myself to and enjoy. I just want to be stronger and stronger. 

—  Is there anything you want to do besides boxing now?

Nasukawa: Well… I have not thought of it. Maybe surfing ? or I would like to enjoy wild nature. I want to go somewhere out of reach of signals. 

—  What do you think about your doubters?

Nasukawa: Actually, nobody can bother me. I don’t care at all how doubters see me. I just listen to the real voices of people who really know me, my supporters and my team. I am always doing my best to be a better fighter. That’s the truth. I think about how I fight and how I behave proves that.

—  People expect you to challenge for a world title in near future.

Nasukawa:  I know I have to take my time. I believe in my promoting team 100%. I’m not asking for a fast track. I just want to improve myself steadily. I just want to see how far I can go in boxing after having nothing left to prove in kickboxing. It’s a true pleasure to pursue it.