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MMA legend Emelianenko may hold return bout in Japan on New Year — ex-manager

September 10, 2015, 17:36 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The titled 38-year-old Russian fighter announced his comeback in mid-July
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Fedor Emelianenko

Fedor Emelianenko

© AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, Archive

MOSCOW, September 10. /TASS/. Russia’s greatest heavyweight mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Fedor Emelianenko, who announced in July his comeback to the ring after three years in retirement, may hold his first bout after the return in Japan during the New Year celebrations, Vadim Finkelstein, the fighter’s former manager, told TASS on Thursday.

Nicknamed ‘The Last Emperor,’ 38-year-old Emelianenko took by surprise his numerous fans worldwide on July 15 after posting a statement on the Russian MMA Union’s official website about his decision to return to professional sports.

"Each year Japan organizers the New Year show and it could mean a single bout," Finkelstein said in an interview with TASS.

Announcing his comeback in mid-July, the titled fighter, who boasts a record of 38 fights on the professional ring (Won 34, Lost 4), said "It’s extremely important for any athlete to do what you love, to work out on training sessions, to prove yourself on the competitions, representing your Motherland."

Besides occupying the post of the Russian MMA Union’s president, Emelianenko also served since November of 2012 as an advisor to Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko. On July 15 the ministry’s spokeswoman announced that the mixed martial arts fighter had resigned.

Emelianenko, who is also an outstanding sambo and judo wrestler, last fought his MMA bout on June 21, 2012 against Brazil’s Pedro Rizzo defeating the Brazilian heavyweighter nicknamed ‘The Rock’ with a knockout on the second minute into the opening round.

Right after the blitz clash with Rizzo, the Russian fighter announced to the audience his decision to wrap up professional career as he said "I think the time has come and I leave."

"My family influenced my decision to leave," Emelianenko, the father of three daughters, said at that time. "Daughters are growing up without me, that is why it is high time to leave."

Born on September 28, 1976 in the town of Rubezhnoye (located currently on the territory of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic in Ukraine’s east), Emelianenko fought to champions titles throughout his career. He is the MMA Pride Fighting Championships Heavyweight Champion (2003-2007), FIAS World Combat Sambo Championship Heavyweight Champion 2002, 2005, 2007 and Russian Judo Federation National Championship bronze medalist (1998, 1999).

In 2009, US respected sports magazine Sports Illustrated named him "the top MMA fighter of the decade."

Former martial arts, wrestling, boxing and other fighting stars such as Mike Tyson and Chuck Norris, alongside with current MMA fighters Junior dos Santos, Fabricio Werdum and Jose Aldo as well as sports editions named Fedor Emelianenko as the greatest mixed martial arts fighter of all time.

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