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EA Sports Fight Night Champion x Reigning Champ Hoodie and Interview with Kenta Goto & Freddy Ouano

EA Sports’ Fight Night franchise and its latest title may not immediately evoke similarities with Reigning Champ, but beyond the superficial, the two share some compatible traits which come to fruition with an all-new hoodie seen here. Organized by EA Sports’ Freddy Ouano & Jeff Atienza, they worked alongside Reigning Champ’s parent company CYC Corp. which included Craig Atkinson and Kenta Goto. Together they devised a special hoodie inspired by Fight Night Champion‘s career mode character Andre Bishop and his training grounds, Carisi’s Gym. The aesthetic of an old school and rugged hoodie were all integrated into the overall design. We took the opportunity to speak with both Kenta Goto and Freddy Ouano to gain their insights into the game and the collaboration. The hoodie will be made available only to a select few influential personalities with some reserved as prizes for tournaments slated for later on in the year.

Reigning Champ/CYC and Fight Night make sense in this collaboration because…

Kenta Goto: From day one at Reigning Champ we set out to make efforts in collaborating with true “reigning champs” of their market or field. Obviously we saw EA Sports as a leader in their field. Although Reigning Champ doesn’t focus on any one sport, we do produce “sportswear” and when the opportunity came up to work with the Fight Night boxing franchise, we jumped at it. Also the fact that both the brands are based out of Vancouver the project seemed to make even more sense.

Freddy Ouano: Reigning Champ and EA Sports are leaders in what they do and both companies bring innovation and quality to every project they do. We’ve always felt the design sense and aesthetic of RC fits well within the Fight Night franchise and wanted to think of new ways to integrate the brand.

The weak points of previous EA Sports Fight Nights that have been improved upon are…
FO: Improved boxer likeness, realistic damage, new controls and a deeper, richer legacy mode and online experience among others. But those are just some of the things we improved on. Fight Night Champion is loaded with new features including customizable tattoos, online gyms, XP progression and of course the all-new single player experience, Champion mode.

When Kenta went out to design the hoodie, things to consider were…
KG: Details in the garment that would best represent a seasoned boxer such as (the game’s character) Andre Bishop. Sitting down with the Fight Night crew, we decided that instead of a corporate collaboration with EA Sports or with the Fight Night franchise, we wanted to create a real hoodie for Carisi’s (the fictional gym in the game) as if we had a real contract to build garments for the gym. We wanted the hoodie to have an old-school vintage character so we gave it a 1-piece hood, contrast flat-locked seams, rounded patch pockets, natural trim, ribbed side gussets and a distressed Carisi’s logo screen on the chest. To commemorate the project we designed a custom label that is applied on the back in true vintage sportswear fashion.

In a world where MMA is becoming more and more popular, boxing is…
FO: A sport rich in tradition and history. Boxing is a purist fighting discipline that plays a huge role within MMA just as jujitsu, wrestling and grappling do. MMA fighting has the knockouts and tap-outs to keep today’s viewers enticed, but boxing has produced iconic heroes and legends like Ali and Tyson who have played big roles in pop culture.

The best part about Fight Night is…
FO: Not only is it the most realistic boxing simulation out there, it’s also a fun gameplay experience where the player(s) can learn so much about the great sport of boxing. All aspects of the sport from its lifestyle & culture, traditions & rules, personality & characters of past and present fighters, all in a package while virtually taking part.

The best player out of all of us in Fight Night is…
KO: Like Malcolm Gladwell explains in his book the Outliers, the “10,000 Hour Rule” to greatness, the crew at Fight Night have at least a 500+ hour head start on us at Reigning Champ before the game even dropped. But put us in a real ring… naw, still Freddy!

FO: Agreed, Fight Night crew would definitely rock the Reigning Champ at Fight Night, but Kenta would surf circles around us on some waves!

Working with Mike Tyson to create videos for the campaign was…
FO: Pretty amazing and surreal. As a huge boxing fan, meeting the “baddest man on the planet” was an incredible experience. Mike was great to work with and gave us everything we needed for the campaign. He may not have the same reputation as he once did, but he’s still a legend in the sport.

The promotion of brands in video games such as Jordan Brand for Roy Jones Jr. and Nike for Manny has always had a place in boxing. Reigning Champ sees this as…
KG: An opportunity to reach an entirely different audience for us. Even within the fashion/menswear world, Reigning Champ isn’t a major player. But within that wide realm we are making great connections with the people that understand what we are offering. Taking to market a brand of a certain quality and aesthetic, drawing from sports and active lifestyle, we are reaching like minded people and the word spreads organically. Our community is still very selective or specialized and not for the mass. We believe Fight Night captures a core gaming community that has a love and appreciation for the sport of boxing. This is a great way to work with the reigning champ of video games, EA Sports and reach a very select group who may have more in common and like mindedness with our brand and community.

Pac-Man or Pretty Boy Floyd?
KG: The Singer or The Dancer? Floyd is pretty, no doubt. But Manny carries an entire country on his shoulders and carries eight divisional titles. The People’s Champion. Floyd has the clean record with no losses and Manny has 3 losses to his record. But I believe losing makes you stronger.

FO: It’s a scary question, I’m a huge fan of both fighters – an unstoppable tornado of punches versus an impenetrable wall of defense. Regardless, I gotta go with my man Manny to hand Floyd his first “L.”

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