Results are in from this weekend's Krush First Champion Tournament Round 2 show, and while the favorites did win in the big fights, things didn't go as smoothly as some may have expected.
In the main event, Yoshihiro Sato squeaked by Shemsi Beqiri via split decision victory. Scores were 30-28, 29-28, 28-29. I have to consider that a moral victory for Beqiri, who was making his Japanese debut here. Going to a split decision with the top 5 ranked Sato in front of a Japanese crowd should be a great boost for the 24 year old Beqiri, and will hopefully open the doors for him to return to Japan this year. Beqiri had an excellent and very busy 2010, going a whopping 10-2 including a tournament win in Klash and a 2nd trip to a Klash tournament final. He definitely has earned a shot at K-1 MAX - let's hope he gets it in 2011.
In the semi-main event, Koya Urabe (pictured) edged out Son Hyun Lee, though it took an extension round for Urabe to claim the unanimous decision win. Urabe is on a great win streak and is clearly establishing himself as the man to beat in Japan at the 63kg ranks. With this win he moves onto the tournament semi-finals, where he will be the heavy favorite. Good performance from Lee as well, who was coming in off his K-1 MAX win over Kizaemon Saiga. Expect to see him on K-1 shows coming out of Korea this year.
Speaking of Kizaemon Saiga, the brash youngster also advanced in the tournament, defeating Naoki Terazaki by unanimous decision. In the other tournament fights, Takuya Shirahama defeated Yuki Yamamoto by unanimous decision after an extension round, and Ryuji Kajiwara scored a unanimous decision win over TaCa. Saiga, Urabe, Shirahama, and Kajiwara will now meet in the semi-final and final rounds, both to be held on March 19, with the winner becoming the first ever Krush 63kg champion.
In non-tournament action, former K-1 MAX Final 4 competitor Yuya Yamamoto added another KO win to his belt. This one came at the expense of Masahiro Watanabe, who Yamamoto KO'd in the 2nd. While Yuya had some struggles in K-1 MAX through 2010, he still puts on very entertaining fights and remains a threat at 70kg.
Also in the 70kg division, Yuji Nashiro decisioned Daisuke Tsutsumi. Both Yamamoto and Nashiro will likely be involved in the Krush 70kg tournament beginning April 30, and both could be early favorites depending on the field.
Filing out the results: Kenta KO'd Hidetora in the 2nd, Yu Hirono defeated Takuma Konishi via unanimous decision, Yoshi KO'd Asamisaurus in the 2nd, and Yuzo Suzuki took a unanimous decision win over Minato Kato.
Next show for Krush is the March 19 event featuring the 55kg, 60kg, and 63kg semi-finals and finals in what should be a superb night of action.
Dave Walsh has been covering MMA and Kickboxing since 2007 before changing his focus solely to Kickboxing in 2009, launching what was the only English-language site dedicated to giving Kickboxing similar coverage to what MMA receives. He was the co-founder of HeadKickLegend and now LiverKick. He resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he works as a writer of all trades.
His second novel, Terminus Cycle, is available now via Kindle and Paperback.
Dave (a) LiverKick dot com | @dvewlshWebsite: www.dvewlsh.com