Update: Aoki-Alvarez in the Works, Not Official Yet
By: Brian Knapp Dec 2, 2008
Consider it an early Christmas present.
Alvarez and Shinya Aoki,
two of the world’s top four lightweights, may fight one another at
K-1 “Premium 2008 Dynamite” on Dec. 31 at the Saitama Super Arena
in Saitama, Japan. Monte Cox, who manages Alvarez, confirmed the
news to Sherdog.com on Monday.
Sherdog.com initially reported that both camps had verbally agreed
to the fight, but Tuesday afternoon Cox clarified that the fight is
in the works but not a done deal.
Alvarez (15-1) and Aoki were on track to meet in the final of the
Dream lightweight grand prix in July, but the American was unable
to continue in the tournament after his grueling semifinal victory
Kawajiri. Aoki, meanwhile, went on to lose to alternate
Hansen, the man Alvarez defeated in the quarterfinals.
A budding superstar and former Bodog Fight welterweight champion,
Alvarez has made quite an impact since moving down in weight. Based
out of Philadelphia’s Fight Factory, the 24-year-old has rattled
off five straight wins since suffering the only defeat of his
career -- a technical knockout loss to Nick Thompson
in April 2007. Knockout victories over Brazilian Andre Amade and
UFC veterans Aaron Riley and
Noble anchor his impressive resume.
Alvarez, who married in September, still plans to compete at an
Extreme Challenge show next month in Atlantic City, N.J. No
opponent has been named.
One of the world’s premier submission grapplers, Aoki (18-3) last
competed in September, when he submitted World Extreme Cagefighting
veteran Todd Moore in
70 seconds at Dream 6. More than half (10) of the 25-year-old’s 18
career wins have come by submission. Seasoned by the Pride, Shooto
and Deep promotions, Aoki holds notable victories against American
Top Team ace Gesias "JZ"
Cavalcante, Akira Kikuchi
(twice) and Clay French.
His loss to Hansen -- whom he also owns a win against -- in July
ended a 13-fight unbeaten streak.
The Alvarez-Aoki showdown provides more star power for the
traditional end-of-the-year K-1 show, which also includes a
non-title lightweight fight pairing Hansen with Cavalcante and a
long-awaited matchup between Kazushi
Sakuraba and Kiyoshi
Tamura. In addition, Dream middleweight champion Gegard
Mousasi and Kawajiri will be in action in separate bouts held
under K-1 rules.
This article was updated at 2:49 EST to clarify that
Aoki-Alvarez is in the works but not a done deal.