Carvalho Injures Knee In Shooto Title Fight Loss To Inoue
Carvalho Injures Knee In Shooto Title Fight Loss to Inoue
By Kelsey Mowatt
"Lion" Takeshi Inoue defeated Shah Franco fighter Antonio Carvalho on Friday night, at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, winning the Shooto Lightweight Championship. Carvalho had been slated to fight "Pequeno" Nogueira for the 143-pound title. However, the Brazilian fighter was unable to fight due to a knee injury and was stripped of his belt after he couldn’t defend his title within Shooto’s mandatory 18-month term.
In what can only be termed as tragic irony, Carvalho informed FCF this week that he too has incurred a similar injury to Nogueira’s, an injury he incurred during his fight with Inoue.
"When I slipped, I tore a ligament in my knee," Carvalho says of the injury to his left knee. "I think it is the ACL. It was already slightly damaged, but I pretty much tore during that fight. However, that still does not explain my inability to not defend myself properly from my back. Whether, I had injured myself or not I would not have won the fight anyway. Him pounding me into the ground has nothing to do with my knee."
Friday’s fight marked the second time Carvalho and Lion had met, as Carvalho defeated Inoue last August at Shooto 2005 10th edition by majority decision. Carvalho, who had told FCF last week that he expected Inoue to come out striking, was ready for the stand-up exchanges that ensued after the opening bell sounded.
"I circled away from his power side and attempted some fakes," Carvalho tells FCF. "He tried to come forward and that is when I fired a high left kick that landed solid. I tried two straight rights that missed their mark. As he stumbled back, I noticed that his hands dropped to his side. He was literally out on his feet. In fact, after the fight, Lion asked me what I had hit him with because he did not remember how we got to the ground!"
Unfortunately for Carvalho, the momentum he had after stunning Inoue soon withered away, as the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt was unable to finish the fight after the bout spilled to the mat. Lion’s counter-punches to Carvalho’s submission attempts found there mark, as the referee was forced to stop the bout at 3:06 of the first round, giving the Inoue the TKO victory.
There was almost a delayed reaction," Carvalho recalls. "When I shuffled forward, I tried a right high kick to finish the job, but my left leg slipped from under me and he just caught me on the way down which made it look like he took me down, but he didn’t. I had actually slipped and lost my balance. Once on the ground, I was convinced that I could submit him. I tried for triangles and armbars, but as soon as I would miss, he would posture up and throw some bombs down. I just didn’t have the right answers and I didn’t defend the punches properly. I was too convinced that I was going to submit him. This was a technical mistake."
Carvalho knew from previous experience that Inoue would once again be a most formidable opponent and has nothing but respect for Shooto’s new Lightweight Champion.
"He had the revenge factor in his mind as well as the belt," Carvalho says. "He fought with his heart and took advantage of every opening. I have never been pounded like that before. The ref was justified in stopping the fight, Lion Takeshi fought like a champion, I did not. I did not deserve to be a champion that night. I lost the fight. I have a ton of respect for Lion Takeshi and he is a true champion."
The win brings Takeshi’s record to 9-1, and marks the third win a row for Inoue since losing in his only career defeat to Carvalho last summer. After defeating Japanese legend Rumina Sato in February by TKO, in what was arguably the high point of Carvalho’s career thus far, Friday night’s outcome has been bitterly disappointing for the Toronto resident. Until a better prognosis can be given on Carvalho’s injured knee, talk of his future plans and a possible rubber match with Inoue will have to wait.
"I need to heal first and then see what happens from here," Carvalho tells FCF. "I don’t think I will ever be the same again. I’m going to have to dig deep and find out why I fight and become strong again. Right now I am heartbroken and I am lucky that I have such wonderful people encouraging me to continue to pursue my dream. I love my family and friends and without them I would be nothing. I would also like to thank all the Canadian fans that supported me and always gave me words of encouragement and believed that I could win. They have not gone unnoticed. I thank you all very much!"