Double IWGP champion Kota Ibushi issued a statement to the NJPW press addressing the recent challenge made by long-time rival Tetsuya Naito, who will battle Ibushi at the February 28th Castle Attack event, but only for the Intercontinental title. Ibushi questions what Naito’s intentions are for only coming after one belt, stating that he has a strong connection to both.
Ibushi also claims that he is feel more confident as the promotion’s top champion following his third successful defense over LIJ’s SANADA at the New Beginning in Hiroshima. Check out his full statement below.
“First of all, yesterday, I was able to defend both of my titles. Already I’m heading into my third defence. For some reason, Tetsuya Naito has said he only wants to face me for the Intercontinental Championship. I thought Naito would be coming for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, but instead, he’s challenging for the Intercontinental. I’d really like for him to explain why that is. Are you sure you wouldn’t want to come for two? Instead Naito wants to come for the IC. I’d like to know what he’s thinking. As far as yesterday’s match is concerned; it was tough, really tough. But little by little, with every defence I’m growing in confidence as a champion, and growing in strength with every obstacle; both personal strength and also strength in terms of my power of persuasion and my influence.
One more thing, to get back to this Intercontinental Championship. Perhaps one reason (Naito challenged) is out of opposition to my idea of unifying these two titles. I want to say that I have a deep, deep connection to both of these titles. I have my own way of thinking, and when these two belts become one, then I can really achieve my dream, and bring professional wrestling to new heights.”