The other day, NJKF held the sixth installment of its Kick to the Future series at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo headlined by Tetsuya Yamato in a fight for the WBC International Super Lightweight Title, as well as 4 other WBC Japan titles on the line.
In the main event, Tetsuya Yamato took a unanimous decision over late replacement Paul Karpowicz on scores of 50-48 and 49-48(x2) to win the vacant WBC International Super Lightweight title. Yamato was originally set to face Leo Monteiro, who was replaced a few weeks back by Karpowicz. Yamato (29-9-1, 22 KO) seemed to have a little bit of trouble with Karpowicz, needing a knockdown in the final round to secure the win. He improves to 4-0 in 2012, with wins over Densiam Lookprabaht, Seiji Takahashi, Sergio Wielzen and now Karpowicz. Next for him could be another foreigner, perhaps even Liam Harrison, or he could toss his hat back in the ring at 63kg in Japan, but he seems pretty focused on international muay thai competition.
In the co-main event, WBC Japan Super Welterweight champ Soichiro Miyakoshi made the first defense of his title with a 3rd round TKO via cut of former Krush 70kg champ Kenta at 2:22. Miyakoshi (19-9-1, 10 KO) has had a pretty good year since dropping back to back fights to Yuya Yamato and Takafumi Morita last year, going 3-1 since with wins over then-undefeated J-Network champ Masato Otake, WBC Super Welterweight champ Yutaro Yamauchi to win this title and now Kenta to defend it, with the loss coming to Danilo Zanolini at the Hoost Cup. Despite the loss, these are three big wins for Miyakoshi and have helped in changing his role of gatekeeper to one of the top 70kg fighters in Japan. After a strong 2011, Kenta (24-11-3, 9 KO) seemed to be a strong candidate to rule the 70kg division in Japan in a post-Masato world, but a 1-3 record in 2012 has him on the outside looking in. He was upset by TOMOYUKI at Kick to the Future 1 in his first fight of the year, then lost his Krush title to Yasuhiro Kido at the hands of a spectacular knockout. A win in June over Shu Kiire helped him get his bearings back, but this loss makes it 1-4 in his last 5 and he is in need of a big win to turn his career around. With Yutaro Yamauchi making his return to Krush next month, Kenta could be a good opponent for a rematch should Yamauchi win his fight.
In the next WBC Japan title fight, Super Featherweight champ Yoshinori Nakasuka made his second defense with a unanimous decision over MA Kick Super Featherweight champ Hikaru Machida on scores of 50-46, 49-46 and 48-46. Nakasuka had yet to fight this year, most recently losing to Australian Joe Concha last November. This is a huge win for Nakasuka as Machida had been one of the hotter prospects of late. Machida takes his first loss of the year after he had a pair of draws against Kanongsuk and Keijiro Miyakoshi and a win over Takaaki Kimura.
In a fight for the WBC Japan Super Bantamweight title, MA Kick champion Keisuke Miyamoto beat reigning champion Ryuya Kusakabe on scores of 48-47 and 49-48(x2) to become the new WBC Japan Super Bantamweight champion. Miyamoto (14-1-1, 6 KO) is now undefeated in his last 6 and with recent wins over NJKF champ Arato and now Kusakabe, as well as Kenji's departure from kickboxing, is now arguably the #2 guy at 55kg behind Krush champ Shota Takiya. As big of a fan of Kusakabe as I am, this is exactly what the division needed as the top three guys had been fighting everyone but each other since the end of the Krush tournament and it seemed as though they were near untouchable. This win shakes up the division and presents a new, legitimate challenge to Takiya's throne. Kusakabe (13-2-0, 5 KO) is handed just his second pro loss, the first coming to Takiya in the Krush 55kg tourney finals, and has a three-fight winning streak snapped. I would like to see him fight a few guys in Krush to build a third fight with Shota Takiya, but who knows what he wants to do next. Either way, both of these fighters were born in 1992 and Takiya in 1989, so the three of them have plenty of years left to entertain fans and fight each other.
In the final WBC Japan title fight, WPMF Lightweight champ Yosuke Mizuochi was all over reigning champ Keijiro Miyakoshi en route to a unanimous decision win on scores of 50-45, 50-47 and 49-48. Mizuochi recently had his 6 fight winstreak snapped by Chonden Chuwattana in August, but bounces back with arguably a career best win here. Miyakoshi tastes defeat for the first time in 2 years, as he had gone 4-0-1 since 2011, winning the NJKF and WBC Japan Lightweight titles and most recently scoring a career best win over Koya Urabe. After a huge rise in stock, Miyakoshi takes a hit and will need some big wins to break into the upper echelon of the division.
Quick results after the break
WBC International Super Lightweight Title Fight: Tetsuya Yamato def. Paul Karpowicz by Unanimous Decision (49-48, 49-48, 50-48)
WBC Japan Super Welterweight Title Fight: Soichiro Miyakoshi (c) def. Kenta by 3rd round TKO (cut) at 2:22
WBC Japan Super Featherweight Title Fight: Yoshinori Nakasuka (c) def. Hikaru Machida by 5th round Unanimous Decision (50-46, 49-46, 48-46)
WBC Japan Super Bantamweight Title Fight: Keisuke Miyamoto def. Ryuya Kusakabe (c) by 5th round Unanimous Decision (48-47, 49-48, 49-48)
WBC Japan Lightweight Title Fight: Youske Mizuochi def. Keijiro Miyakoshi (c) by 5th round Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-47, 49-48)
NEW JAPAN WARS Super Bantamweight Final: Hiroya Haga def. Hiroshi Senchaigym by 3rd round Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-29, 30-29)
NEW JAPAN WARS Super Welterweight Final: Takenaka Shirakami def. Hiroki Yamamoto by 3rd round Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
NEW JAPAN WARS Super Featherweight Semifinal: Daichi Yamato def. Shoya Suzuki by 3rd round Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-28, 30-28)
NEW JAPAN WARS Welterweight Semifinal: Tae-yong def. Baku Senchaigym by 2nd round KO (elbow) at 0:35
NEW JAPAN WARS Super Lightweight Semifinal: Kazushige Sugama def. Noriyuki Miyajima by 3rd round KO (knee) at 2:32
NEW JAPAN WARS Super Lightweight Semifinal: Marimo def. Akira by 3rd round Unanimous Decision (30-26, 29-27, 29-27)