When James Nakashima challenges Kiamrian “Brazen” Abbasov in Singapore for the latter’s ONE Welterweight World Title this Friday, November 6, at the previously recorded ONE: Inside The Matrix II, it will be the culmination of years of hard work.
However, the 32-year-old American believes that the achievement goes way beyond him.
“It’s just been a giant collaboration. It has nothing to do with just me,” Nakashima said. “That belt will be around me, but it’s so much more. It’s been a giant project with my parents, my family, my gym, and my coaches.
“Nothing in this world with greatness is done alone. It’s a lot bigger than me. Obviously, hard work has come along, but the support system for me is what has gotten me to this title fight. Without the support, I would be nothing.”
Nakashima comes in with a 12-0 record, having defeated some of the toughest names in the sport.
His biggest win came late last year, though, when he dominated veteran Japanese star Yushin “Thunder” Okami to secure his number-one contender status and prove that he is indeed ready for the World Champ.
The most impressive thing Nakashima showed in that match was his resolve, the way he plowed through injuries to secure a convincing decision win.
“That Okami fight was different. I could tell when I watched the film. I looked comfortable,” Nakashima said.
“I almost submitted him in the first round. I almost finished him in the second round with the left hand. I sprained my ACL and MCL in the second round, and I could barely keep pressure on my lead knee going into that third, but I still feel like I handled myself well in that third round,” he added.
“I think that the Okami fight really made me grow and believe in myself because I just have a lot of weapons.”
When the Circle door closes on Friday, Nakashima says there will be no pressure on him to deliver as he comes in loose and confident.
“I don’t, honestly, feel like this stuff is pressure. I’ve been quarantined in this hotel room ever since I got to Singapore, but I’m having fun. I’m super, super grateful for this opportunity,” he said.
“Real pressure is, I feel, growing up with parents that aren’t feeding you and you’re starving. Real pressure is, during this coronavirus, you lose your job, and you can’t afford to eat or feed your family.
“Obviously, there’s going to be excitement, and there’s going to be nerves [days] before the fight. But I’ve been doing sports for so long that I just don’t look too much into the pressure or the spotlight as being a big deal,” he closed.
Catch the previously recorded ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX II this Friday, November 6, on One Sports+ at 8:30 p.m. Philippine Standard Time (PHT).
One Sports will air the event on a same-day delay at 9 p.m. PHT while TV5 will air the event on a next-day delay at 11 p.m. PHT on Saturday, November 7.
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