Yesterday at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Shootboxing held its second major event of the year, headlined by a 67kg matchup between fan favorite Hiroki Shishido and DREAM Featherweight champ Hiroyuki Takaya. The rest of the card featured Shootboxing stars RENA, Hiroaki Suzuki, Satoru Suzuki and Naguranchun Masa M16, as well as stars and champions from other promotions like Kosuke Komiyama, Kizaemon Saiga, Mohan Dragon and Lorena Klijn.
In the main event, Hiroki Shishido dominated DREAM champ Hiroyuki Takaya en route to a unanimous decision on scores of 28-26 from all 3 judges. Shishido knocked Takaya down twice in the opening round with a kick to the body and a spinning backfist, securing an early lead. In the 3rd, Shishido was deducted a point for kicking a downed Takaya, but he had already secured such a big lead that the deduction didn't hurt him. Shishido has now won 3 of his last 4 after seeing his career going into a tailspin, where he lost 6 of 7. Takaya hadn't been very active over the last year, fighting on New Year's Eve in 2011 and not fighting in 2012 until again on New Year's Eve, where he lost to Georgi Karakhanyan.
In the co-main event, MA Kick champion Mohan Dragon surprised nearly everyone by knocking out Shootboxing Lightweight champion Hiroaki Suzuki in the 1st round. The fight started well for Suzuki, who was returning to 65kg after fighting in last year's S-Cup, as he knocked Mohan down with a left hook. However, the brawler from Nepal refused to be put away and scored with a massive right hook that sent Suzuki to the ground where he struggled to get up before the count of 10, forcing the ref to stop the fight. The win is huge for Mohan Dragon, who competed and lost in the opening round of the Road to GLORY 65kg tournament. Going in, there was little doubt that this would be a brawl as both men love to throw down and pack significant power. However, the consensus was that Suzuki's defense was better, that he had more power and that he would dominate in every aspect of the fight. The loss is Suzuki's first since 2010 and snaps a 6 fight winning streak.
At 70kg, the crowd-pleasing Satoru Suzuki put his Shootboxing Super Welterweight title on the line against Yuki Sakamoto and it was Sakamoto who came out on top on scores of 50-48, 49-47 and 49-48. The little-known Sakamoto has quietly put together a 14-2 record entirely under the Shootboxing banner and the win will get him a lot of name recognition, as well as matchups with some of Shootboxing's better 70kg fighters or foreign talent. Despite his overwhelming popularity, the results have not been there from the former boxer Suzuki, who is just 2-5 since 2012.
In a 60kg #1 contender's bout, K-1 veteran Kizaemon Saiga took an extension round unanimous decision over Shootboxing Featherweight champion Naguranchun Masa M16 after a majority draw. Saiga's speed was too much, as he got the better of most of the boxing exchanges and Naguranchun wasn't able to abuse the Shootboxing ruleset enough to earn the victory. Saiga improves to 3-0 in the organization and has earned a shot at 60kg champ Akifumi Utagawa. Naguranchun drops his 2nd straight bout after losing to RISE champion Kosuke Komiyama.
Speaking of Kosuke Komiyama, he faced South Korea's Seong Jae Kim, winning a unanimous decision on scores of 30-26 and 30-27(x2). Komiyama got a bit of an easier challenge after taking on Shootboxing champions Naguranchun Masa M16 and Akifumi Utagawa in back to back appearances. He pushes his win streak to 9 and he could probably argue that he is the next challenger to the Shootboxing 60kg belt as well. I'd definitely like to see him fight Saiga, whether there's a belt on the line or not, either under Shootboxing rules or under Krush/RISE rules. Kim splits time between MMA and kickboxing, fighting out of the Gumi MMA gym, home to Korean MMA standout Doo Ho Choi.
Shootboxing prospect MASAYA moved up to 67kg and bounced back from a loss to Kizaemon Saiga with a 2nd round stoppage of Horu Tarai. I'd like to see him face Hiroaki Suzuki next, as his ties with the Cesar Gym mean he won't be leaving Shootboxing for some time.
Going over to the women's side, 3-time Girls S-Cup champion RENA took on highly touted Taiwanese muay thai practitioner Peiling Du. RENA took advantage of her opponent's unfamiliarity to the rules, scoring a few throws early in the fight before finishing it in the 3rd round with a choke. This was RENA's first fight since last year's Girls S-Cup in August, as she was recovering from an injury. It is very possible that her next fight will be her rematch with Erika Kamimura in RISE.
In a 53.5kg fight, Lorena Klijn, the woman who upset Erika Kamimura in last year's Girls S-Cup, returned to Shootboxing, taking a majority decision over Miyo Yoshida on scores of 30-29, 29-28 and 29-29. Klijn competed in last year's S-Cup, drawing tournament co-favorite Erika Kamimura in the quarters, but she hung with Kamimura over the first three rounds, forcing an extension round where she scored a shoot point, ensuring victory. In the semis, she faced 2009 finalist V.V Mei, again going to an extension round, but was on the receiving end of several throws that gave V.V Mei the win. This is a solid win over Yoshida, who has beaten everyone Shootboxing put in front of her except Kamimura and now Klijn.
Finally, in a JKS48 qualifier, 2012 champion MIO moved on to the next round with a over Sayaka Yoshina while 2012 quarterfinalist Yuuki Kiratsu beat 2012 semifinalist Yusa Taichi to advance.