Posted at www.myspace.com/MMACards
In the winter of 2004 Nali'iPoaimoku Suganuma
came to Japan looking to get a glimpse of the world before settling down to a career in computer science, his college major. He moved to quiet prefecture of Shizouka, facing a new culture, language, and perspective while working as a singer, ukulele player, and English teacher.
He was an avid weightlifter and after many frustrating attempts at finding a decent gym he was pointed in the direction of Twist, a grappling/MMA dojo. From then on, life would never be the same.
Through Twist Suganuma, a former high school wrestling champion, won a grappling competition and next decided to give mixed martial arts a try. After only a month of MMA training he won his first bout by referee stoppage in the 1st round. A month later he would go on to win again, this time by TKO, in Osaka's POWERGATE event, getting the attention of the Pancrase organization.
Nali'iPoaimoku, better known as Poai, tore through the light heavyweight division, winning 4 straight, making it to the finals of the King of Pancrase tournament, before losing to Kestutis Arbocius by referee stoppage in the 3rd round.
Suganuma decided to take a step back and, bidding farewell to teacher Takafumi Hanai and Twist teammates, went back to his hometown of Hilo to train under former UFC champion and MMA megastar B.J. Penn. Since then he's rebounded from his only loss, winning both at the Hawaii Fight Championship and the March 31st Icon Sport Card. Computer science's loss has indeed been MMA's gain.
I caught up with Poai while he made a return visit to Japan on 4/12/07 to talk about the new direction of his fight career and B.J. Penn's website reality show at www.BJPenn.com
MMA Cards: How does it feel to be back in Japan?
Poai Suganuma: It feels good, kinda cold, but it's nice to be back. There were a few things I missed. Well I can't really say I missed the train rides, but it's always interesting to see what happens.
MMAC: Did you get a chance to visit Twist?
PS: No I didn't, hopefully I'll be able to go this weekend.
MMAC: We talked before and you said you were not happy with your last victory (over Nate Carey) at Icon Sport. Do you care to go into why?
PS: I thought I could have done better. I ended up gassing out a lot more than I thought I would. If I stayed standing instead of taking him down, I feel pretty confident that the match would have ended sooner. And he dominated the last round. That should have never happened. I know what I should have done. I just wasn't able to do it. I have to make sure that mistake doesn't happen again.
MMAC: Do you consider Nate Carey to be your toughest opponent to date?
PS: I don't know that he's my toughest opponent, but it was definitely my toughest fight.
MMAC: How is training with BJ Penn? Have you noticed a real difference since coming from Japan and changing gyms?
PS: I think one of the biggest things that, well one of the biggest things in general, is just that there are a lot more people and a lot of those people are bigger (than Twist in Shizuoka, Japan) and almost any time of day that I go into the gym, there are people there.
MMAC: And that wasn't the case in Shizuoka?
PS: Well everyone else had full time jobs and people in Hawaii have full time jobs as well, but a lot of them have swing shifts and work nights so even if they're working full time they're still there at different hours of the day.
MMAC: Has your next fight been scheduled?
PS: Yes, my next Icon fight is June 30th.
MMAC: And your opponentâ€¦
PS: Is yet to be named.
MMAC: Do you have a multi-fight contract with Icon?
PS: Yes, I have a 3 fight contract with Icon, so that leaves 2 left.
MMAC: I heard that you were actually offered a few fights in Pancrase in between (your last fight and) the January fight (versus Auggie Padaken at HFC)
PS: Yeah I was offered a fightâ€¦they had an event in Okinawa. I was offered a fight in that and another one as well. I turned them down because I wasn't sure how the training would go between that and my last fight.
MMAC: You also told me a little bit about www.BJPenn.com. Do you want to go into telling the fans why they should go check that out?
PS: Well, basically in BJPenn.com they show the day by day training down at his gym so if you wanna see what it looks like for most of us training there you get something of an idea by watching this. They're also giving out free instructional â€¦â€¦.video clips I guess you could say and really they are DVD quality.
MMAC: I've watched them. The music's really good.
MMAC: When can we expect to see you in the show?
PS: Well, I go back next week Monday, so Tuesday (laughs)
MMAC: Cool. Do you plan to fight in Pancrase again?
PS: I would really like to, to be honest. But right now I can't guarantee I will or will not.
MMAC: Fair enough, Is there anyone you'd like to thank?
PS: Yeah I'd like to thank my sponsor Savage ( www.savagefightgear.com
) who's helped me out a lot and I'd like to thank Icon Sports and Pancrase for giving me a shot.
To learn more about Poai Suganuma check out his Myspace page at http://www.myspace.com/poai
Posted at www.myspace.com/MMACards
<br><br>Post edited by: admin, at: 2007/04/21 14:11