MIZUGAKI EARNS RESPECT IN WAR WITH TORRES
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JAPANESE STAR APPLAUDED FOR HEROIC PERFORMANCE AGAINST WEC® BANTAMWEIGHT CHAMPION
Las Vegas, NV (USA) – For five grueling rounds on April 5, Japanese striker Takeya Mizugaki pushed WEC® bantamweight champion Miguel Angel Torres to the limit. Utilizing a strong clinch game and vicious stand-up, the 25-year-old traded leather with one of the sport’s top pound-for-pound fighters. And although Mizugaki ended up losing via narrow decision, much of the talk after the fight centered on the Japanese star’s outstanding performance.
“Takeya battled with one of the pound-for-pound best fighters in the world and did more than just go the distance,” WEC General Manager Reed Harris said, adding that he considers the bout a Fight of the Year candidate. “We are very proud and happy to have added Mizugaki to our 135-pound division and look forward to watching him compete as he fights his way back to another title shot.”
Mike Brown, the WEC’s featherweight champion, sat cageside for the fight and agreed with Harris’ assessment.
“Mizugaki proved to be a really tough opponent for Miguel. His striking was very impressive and I am excited to see him in the WEC again. He’s definitely one of the best bantamweights in the sport.”
While Harris and Brown were more than complimentary of Mizugaki, perhaps the most praise came from the bantamweight champion. Having battled Mizugaki for 25 minutes, Torres spoke highly of the power-punching challenger. In fact, he considers Mizugaki to have been one of his toughest opponents to date.
“You’re a great challenger,” Torres said to Mizugaki shortly after the fight concluded. “I didn’t expect that great of a fight out you. I have a lot of respect for you. No one has ever taken me that far.”
In the end, Mizugaki may not have returned to Japan with the WEC title, but he did leave the United States with thousands of new fans. Likewise, he made an extraordinary first impression in the WEC and undoubtedly earned the respect of the mixed martial arts community.
“Takeya has all the makings of a world champion,” Harris said. “He’s a tremendous fighter and his humility and determination shined through on April 5. Before the Torres fight, many people had questions about Takeya. He answered those questions with his performance against Miguel.”