TOKYO -- After 12 years and nearly 40 fights, Japanese fan-favorite Kazuo Misaki said farewell to the ring Saturday in front of a packed Korakuen Hall at Deep “Haleo Impact.”
In his final appearance, Misaki took on teammate and close friend Akihiro Gono in an exhibition kickboxing match. The bout began with shin-guards, but Misaki removed his before the second round and directed Gono to do the same. The two friends brawled for two rounds and embraced one another in tears after the final bell.
“I fought 40 fights over 12 years. What I learned from all of that was two important things: the terms ‘thank you’ and ‘challenge,’” Misaki told the crowd before giving thanks to his teammates, family and fans, bowing out with tear-filled eyes.
Misaki’s career saw him win the 2006 Pride Welterweight Grand Prix and includes notable wins over Dan Henderson, Denis Kang and most recently, Paul Daley.Story