ZAGREB, 24 March 2019 – Earlier this month, former Japanese Olympic judo gold medalist, Satoshi Ishii, officially became a Croatian citizen.
Ishii has been living in Croatia and is part of Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipović’s team based in Zagreb.
“I did not think I would stay in Croatia so long, but this is a dream country. I lived all over, in Asia, in South America, North America, in the Netherlands, but nowhere is like here. The weather is nice, the people are open and friendly, everyone loves me,” Ishii said after obtaining his citizenship this month.
Ishii, who had to give up his Japanese citizenship and passport after obtaining Croatian citizenship, won gold in judo at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.
“It makes me proud going into the ring under the Croatian flag. I love this country and people and have a lot of support. I feel the love towards me. I love ćevapi, pljeskavica and lamb,” he said.
After making his MMA debut in 2009, last night was his first fight under the Croatian flag as a citizen at KSW 47 in Lodz, Poland. Ishii won a split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29) against former champion Fernando Rodrigues Jr. It was also his debut KSW fight.