Interview: “Black Panther” BeyNoah Talks RISE 140 Fight, COVID-19, & MMA

"Black Panther" BeyNoah has made a name as an entertainer inside and outside the ring. Photo courtesy of BeyNoah.

In Japanese kickboxing, you don’t see a lot of theatrics from the fighters. One of the notable exceptions is “Black Panther” BeyNoah (15-2, 8 KO). The 24-year-old kickboxer has earned a reputation for his dance-filled entrances and charismatic personality. He is also a top-level kickboxer with fast striking and great stamina to go the distance if necessary.

BeyNoah, who is the RISE welterweight 67.5 kg champion will take on Tsukuru Midorikawa in the co-main event this Sunday at RISE 140 in a non-title match. Midorikawa has been a superwelterweight champion in RIKIX/WKBA and a New Japan Kickboxing Association Welterweight Champion. In one of his few interviews outside Japan, BeyNoah talked about his upcoming fight, training during COVID-19, and fighting in other combat sports.

Starting Out

BeyNoah makes his return to the RISE kickboxing ring this weekend. Photo courtesy of BeyNoah.

AB: Tell me about yourself. How did you get into kickboxing? When and where did you start training?

BN: I started in Kyokushin karate when I was 10 years old. Looking up to [kickboxer and karateka] Francisco Filio, I started kickboxing as a karateka at the age of 20. I started karate and kickboxing at Narimasu Dojo.

AB: I see you were born in California. When did you move and settle down in Japan?

BN: When I was 1 year old.

Other Combat Sports

AB: What is it about kickboxing that you enjoy most? Have you ever wanted to go into other combat sports such as shoot boxing, traditional boxing, or MMA?

BN: The harder I train, the stronger I can be. That’s the most exciting thing about kickboxing to me. Also, since I love to entertain people, I really enjoy performing as a kickboxer in the ring. Actually I have fought with Kaito in shoot boxing last year. Of course, I want to go into MMA in the future, hopefully, this year.

COVID-19

AB: Has your training been affected at all by the COVID-19 pandemic? If so what changes were made to your training regimen?

BN: The most difficulty caused by COVID-19 for me is not being able to practice with others. I have to train myself so I ran a lot these days.

Tsukuru Midorikawa

AB: What are your thoughts on your opponent Tsukuru Midorikawa?

BN: He is a tough fighter. He has a lot of experience.

AB: How are you preparing for this fight?

BN: I got the power. I focused on physical training.

AB: How do you see this fight going? Do you think Tsukuru Midorikawa will be an easy knockout or can you see it going all 3 rounds?

BN: I can see I’ll knock him out in the 1st round.

Tapruwan Hadesgym

AB: You are 1-1 with Tapruwan Hadesgym. Would you like to have a third match with Tapruwan Hadesgym?

BN: If the fans want to see it, I will.

Goals

AB: What are your goals as a kickboxer? What do you want to do after you win this fight?

BN: I have no goals. No kickboxing no life. I will be the best kickboxer in the world.

Akihiro Kaneko

AB: A question from a fan. How did you and Akihiro Kaneko become such good friends and what’s your favorite thing about their relationship?

BN: We met at the gym. We are funny and strong friends. We sometimes enjoy showing a live video on Instagram so please follow our accounts if you are interested.

AB: Is there anything else you want to mention about this fight, yourself, or anything else you would like to mention?

BN: Please keep an eye on it. Please pay attention not only to the match but also to the entrance and the microphone performance.

BeyNoah fights this Sunday at RISE 140 from Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan. Follow him on social media on Twitter @blapan_b_noah and on Instagram @noah__bey.

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