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Masaaki Noiri Loses In Big Upset, Yamato Defeats Wielzen At Hoost Cup

The Hoost Cup went down in Japan today and the card featured many notable fighters like Masaaki Noiri, Tetsuya Yamato, Sergio Wielzen and Danilo Zanolini.

Although this fight was just before the main event, we'll get to it first because of the magnitude of it. Masaaki Noiri fought Raz Sarkisjan, from Holland, who came into this fight an absolute unknown with not even any fight videos of himself online aside from a highlight video. Noiri, being considered one of the best 63kg kickboxers in the world was obviously the huge favorite. Well, it didn't pan out that way at all, as Sarkisjan scored a major upset with a unanimous decision win, dropping Noiri twice in the second round before getting dropped himself in the third. It's good to see another name emerge around this weight and I hope a video comes out.

In the main event, the 2010 K-1 World MAX 63kg winner, Tetsuya Yamato took on the former It's Showtime 61MAX champion, Sergio Wielzen. Now these two are only separated by about 2kg when they usually fight but make no mistake, Yamato is just bigger than Wielzen. Wielzen is even small for 61kg and that didn't help as he was dropped in the third round, en route to losing a unanimous decision. Wielzen is a great fighter but the reality is that the separation between the guys that fight at 60-61kg is huge when compared to the guys that fight at 63-64kg. A lot of the guys that fight 60-61kg don't cut weight at all and are even small for that weight, like the It's Showtime 61MAX World Champion, Javier Hernandez.

In other action on the card, last year's Thai Fight participant Yuya Yamato got a unanimous decision over Kanongsak Weerasakrek, and Danilo Zanolini did the same against Suichiro Miyakoshi. Full results below:

63kg: Tetsuya Yamato def. Sergio Wielzen by unanimous decision.

64kg: Raz Sarkisjan def. Masaaki Noiri by unanimous decision.

HW: Tomasz Sarara def. Alex Roberts by unanimous decision.

Yamato Daichi def. Tsujide Yushyou by unanimous decision.

HW:Tsutomu Takahagi def. Gyro by split decision.

Jemyma Betrian def. Ooishi Ayano by TKO (Doctor Stoppage).

Yuya Yamato def. Kanongsak Weerasakrek by unanimous decision.

Danilo Zanolini def. Suichiro Miyakoshi by unanimous decision.

Shyou Ogawa def. Yuta Nogami by unanimous decision.

Dynamite Kakazaki def. Yasuda Keijirou by unanimous decision.

Kondou vs. Hirao ends in a draw.


Krush.18 Results: Kajiwara Defeats Hiroya, Takiya and H. Urabe Score Knockouts

Krush.18 took place earlier today, headlined by Krush 63kg champ Ryuji Kajiwara taking on 2008 K-1 Koshien champ Hiroya. Also on the card were 55kg champ Shota Takiya taking on the UK’s Reece Crooke and 60kg champ Hirotaka Urabe taking on MMA fighter Masato Kobayashi.

In the main event, Krush Lightweight champion Ryuji Kajiwara took a unanimous decision over 2008 K-1 Koshien champion Hiroya on scores of 30-28(x3). Kajiwara (22-10-1, 6 KO) dropped Hiroya (10-6-0, 5 KO) in the first round and maintained his lead, with rounds 2 and 3 going 10-10 on all 3 judges’ cards. The win is Kajiwara’s third straight and makes him 8-1 in his last 9 with his only loss in that stretch coming to Masaaki Noiri. Talent-wise, it’s hard to argue that Kajiwara is #3 at his weight in Japan, but wins over Koya Urabe, Kizaemon Saiga, Tetsuya Yamato, Naoki Ishikawa and now Hiroya make it hard to argue that he should be considered anything but #3. Kajiwara has adapted very well with age and his counter-punching style has worked wonders for him and his career, as he’s managed to knock down top fighters en route to decision wins during his impressive stretch. This was Kajiwara’s first fight since his first title defense against Tetsuya Yamato, so it’s likely he could take another non-title fight before defending again, but when it comes time to do so, Masaaki Noiri and Keijiro Miyakoshi are at the top of the list of candidates. Hiroya is now riding a 3-fight losing streak and has seemed to hit a ceiling at this point in his career. Hiroya’s defense is atrocious and with the first round knockdown, it doesn’t seem like it has improved much. If he wants to start winning again and be considered an elite fighter, it may be best for him to get back to basics and start drilling defense.

In one of the night’s co-features, Krush 55kg champ Shota Takiya brutalized ISKA UK 55kg champ Reece Crooke en route to a 3rd round KO via left hook at 2:22. Takiya (21-4-0, 13 KO) put his entire offensive arsenal on display in the first round, but it was in the second where the damage began to pile up as Takiya caused a cut on Crooke’s ear. In the third round, Takiya landed a clean high kick that sent Crooke down, then put him away with a left hook. The report reads more or less like the beating Takiya put on Damien Trainor and he has now won 9 in a row, with 7 coming by way of knockout. Takiya is an animal and it’s time for Krush to bring in either Ryuya Kusakabe or KENJI for a rematch as it is evident that these are the only two guys who can test Takiya right now. Crooke (23-7-2, 9 KO) had just won the 55kg ISKA UK title and makes it 0-3 for British fighters in Krush so far, with none of them fairing well.

In the other co-feature, Krush 60kg champ Hirotaka Urabe made short work of MMA fighter Masato Kobayashi, scoring a head kick knockout at 1:23 of the 1st round. This was Urabe’s (12-5-2, 6 KO) first fight since drawing Naoki Ishikawa in his first title defense back in January and puts him on a 6 fight unbeaten streak. His next fight will be against the winner of the Krush 60kg tournament final between Katsuya Goto and Fumiya Osawa. Kobayashi (1-1-0, 1 KO; 6-3-1 MMA) was coming off of a DEEP record 9-second knockout at DEEP 57th Impact in February, but he was sort of thrown to the wolves here as a tune-up for Urabe.

In the third leg of the -63kg WILDRUSH League, 2nd placed Hitoshi Tsukagoshi picked up a unanimous decision over Naoki Terasaki to give him a total of 5 points. Tsukagoshi is only 1 point behind league leader Hideaki Yamazaki and his only threat of being overtaken is TaCa, who could move into a tie for 1st with a knockout of Yukimitsu Takahashi at Krush.19.

Quick Results and event photos after the break

Results and photos thanks to GBRing and boutreview


NJKF Kick to the Future 2 Results: K. Miyakoshi Upsets K. Urabe, Yosuke Morii Wins WBC Japan Title

Yesterday, NJKF held the second installment of its Kick to the Future series which have so far featured WBC title fights and some big names in Japan like Tetsuya Yamato, Koya Urabe, TOMONORI and Kenta.

This installment’s biggest feature, although it wasn’t the main event, was a 63kg bout between NJKF Lightweight champ Keijiro Miyakoshi and Koya Urabe which saw Miyakoshi squeeze out the upset by majority decision on scores of 29-29 and 30-29(x2). This bout was contested without elbows so it seemed like Urabe would have a slight advantage. Miyakoshi (11-3-1, 4 KO) had his best year in 2011, going 3-1 with one of those wins in a rematch against Ikki for the NJKF Lightweight title and another against Akihiro Kuroda for the right to face WBC Japan Lightweight champion Rashata. Rashata was set to be Ryuji Kajiwara’s first title challenger in Krush so with Miyakoshi’s win here, if he were to fight Rashata next, the winner could get a shot at Kajiwara or whoever the Krush champion could be at the time. Everything else aside, huge win for Miyakoshi and this definitely makes him a major player at 63kg. Urabe (18-4-0, 2 KO) is now 1-2 in his last 3, but he’s fought a top fighter in almost every one of his past 15 fights. That being said, Urabe barely got past Kizaemon Saiga and the knockout loss against Noiri could be having some lingering effects for the defensively deficient fighter. I think he’ll bounce back from this well because he’s a decision fighter who’s just hit a bit of a rut against top competition and there’s no shame in that.

In the real main event, Yosuke Morii snapped a 2-fight losing streak with a 5th round knockout at 2:31 over Heihahci Nakajima to win the vacant WBC Japan Featherweight title. Morii (18-3-2, 8 KO) had his fight with Genji Umeno built up quite a bit, but Morii got dominated en route to a one-sided decision loss, then went over to Thailand with Umeno, where both of them lost. This win should restore some confidence for Morii as Nakajima is a tough out. Nakajima (12-4-0, 4 KO) had won two straight coming into this fight, most recently against Chao “Shimura” Logate in HEAT.

In a NJKF Bonita Boxeo Featherweight title fight, reigning champion Azuma defended her title for the first time over Team Dragon’s Satoko Sasaki by unanimous decision on scores of 30-29 and 30-28(x2).

In a 56kg bout, MA Kick Super Bantamweight champ Keisuke Miyamoto edged out NJKF Super Bantamweight champ Arashi by majority decision on scores of 30-29, 29-29 and 30-28. Miyamoto (13-1-0, 5 KO) was coming off of a knockout win of MA Kick Featherweight champ Minoru Junibayashi and is now on a 4-fight win-streak. Arashi (10-4-0, 4 KO) is 1-2 in his last 3 now, but just won the NJKF Super Bantamweight title in his most recent fight before this one.

NJKF has also set up a “New Japan Wars 2012” series which is aimed at making 8-man and 4-man tournaments in most, if not all of their weight classes to determine title challengers.

At this event, at Super Bantamweight #4 ranked Hiroya Haga took a unanimous decision over #3 ranked Hiroki Maeda. At Featherweight #7 ranked Shoya Suzuki knocked out Yuya Kai in the 3rd round and #8 ranked Takuma took a unanimous decision over #4 ranked Hiroshi Senchaigym. At Super Welterweight, #7 ranked Hiroki Yamamoto knocked out #5 ranked KEN in the first round. At Super Featherweight, #8 ranked Takeshi Tsuruya took a unanimous decision over #5 ranked Tatsunori. And at Super Lightweight #2 ranked Marimo took a TKO via cut win over #9 ranked Kaz Miyazawa.

Quick results below

Results thanks to gbring and boutreview


Krush-EX 2012 Vol. 1 and 2 Results: Goto and Osawa Advance to 60kg Tournament Final, Terado Wins

Krush held the first two installments in of their Krush-EX series in 2012 this past weekend, a series which often features lesser-known fighters. The focus of the day portion was Nobuchika Terado’s return to the ring after being KO’d by 55kg champ Shota Takiya in just 70 seconds in January while the night portion featured the first two rounds of an 8-man tournament to decide 60kg champ Hirotaka Urabe’s next opponent.

In the day portion’s main event, ISKA World Super Bantamweight champ Nobuchika Terado successfully returned to the ring, cruising past Team Dragon’s Namito Izawa by unanimous decision on scores of 30-25 and 30-26(x2). Terado (28-8-1, 12 KO) scored downs in the first and second rounds and controlled the pace and range of the fight, showing he still has it despite his quick loss to Takiya. Terado has faded out of the division’s elite with his most recent losses being to Ryuya Kusakabe and Shota Takiya, but he can still serve as a high-level gatekeeper as he possesses some difficult matchups for rising fighters with his power and experience. A good matchup would be a rematch with RISE Super Bantamweight champ KENJI, though that will be difficult to put together as RISE has him fighting as often as possible. Izawa (7-1-2, 2 KO) did well to not get finished, but he really shouldn’t have been in there with Terado. Understandably, it’s a bounce-back fight for Terado, but it was a win-win for Izawa if he made it out of the first round, so kudos to him.

In other day-portion action, 70kg Krush regulars Takuro Moriya and Hareruya squared off with Moriya taking a unanimous decision. Former female pro wrestler Akari took her second fight in Krush, improving to 2-0 in the organization, defeating Yuzukari Sakamoto.

Now on to the night portion, where Yuzo Suzuki, Junpei Aotsu, Katsuya Goto, Fumiya Osawa, Yuta Dynamite, Takashi Nakajima and Makoto Morishige fought to make it to the finals of the 60kg tournament.

In the first quarterfinal, Takashi Nakajima squeaked by Kyokushin karate champion Yuzo Suzuki by majority decision on scores of 29-29 and 30-29(x2). In the second quarterfinal, Katsuya Goto took a hard fought decision over Yuta Dynamite (Yuta Takahashi) on scores of 29-28 and 29-27(x2), scoring a down with a right hook in the 2nd round of what seems to have been a pretty good fight. In the third quarterfinal, Fumiya Osawa scored the tournament’s first stoppage with a 1st round KO via right cross of Makoto Morishige at 2:06 into the round. In the final quarterfinal, Yuya (Yuya Fujii) edged out Junpei Aotsu, earning a unanimous decision on scores of 29-27 and 29-28(x2).

The first semifinal had a bit of a strange ending it seems, as Katsuya Goto dropped Takashi Nakajima with a right hook in the 3rd round, but after Nakajima went down, he apparently closed his eyes, leading to the referee stopping his count and calling the bout, to Nakajima’s protest. Similar situations have happened in boxing before, and the bottom line is that if you appear unconscious or immobile to the referee, he has the right to stop the fight. In the other semifinal, Fumiya Osawa rose to the occasion and shut down Yuya, winning a unanimous decision on scores of 30-28 and 30-27(x2).

Of the two finalists, I’d say Katsuya Goto is the favorite and would stand the best chance against Hirotaka Urabe. Goto did well against Kizaemon Saiga and showed good defense, including the use of head movement, something few Japanese kickboxers tend to utilize consistently, and powerful hooks. He displayed those hooks again in the tournament, scoring a knockdown and knockout with his right, so training with Kazuhisa Watanabe appears to have given him a good boxing base. Goto is just good enough in the right places to capitalize on someone like Hirotaka Urabe’s flaws, but not good enough to be considered a favorite by any means. Fumiya Osawa was my pick of least likely to win the tournament, as he was 0-3-1 in his last 4 fights heading into the tournament, but I guess that shows how much I know. This final is a rematch of a fight from Krush.14 in December which went to a majority draw. The rematch will take place at Krush.19 on June 8th while the title fight with Urabe is still set for Krush.20 on July 21st barring injury or something of the nature.

Quick Results after the jump

Reports thanks to gbring and boutreview


Thai Fight Pattaya Results: Buakaw Victorious

Thai Fight

Thai Fight Pattaya went off without a hitch. To say that feels good, as there were a lot of questions going into the event about what would become of Buakaw Banchamek. Although there were reports that Buakaw might not be able to fight, Buakaw came out swinging both during and after the fight. He handily dispatched Rustem Zaripov in the second round before he gave an emotional speech to the crowd, talking about his troubles with Por. Pramuk and losing his mother recently, inviting his father into the ring to show support.

In other action Kem Sitsongpeenong made incredibly short work of Mickael Cornubet with his elbows opening up a cut that stopped the fight in the first round. Singamanee Kaewsamrit took a hard-fought decision victory over Sudsakorn Sor. Klimee whose mediocre streak continues. Sudsakorn never seemed to really throw himself into the fight at all, which cost him dearly against a hungry Singamanee.

Buakaw (TKO - R2) Rustem Zaripov

Singmanee Kaewsamrit (Dec.) Sudsakorn Sor. Klinmee

Kem Sitsongpeenong (TKO (Cut) - R1) Mickael Cornubet

Bernueng TopKing Boxing (Dec.) Chaz Mulkey

Chanaeak PK Muaythaigym (Dec.) Bibi Team Nikiema

Kemarat Sitjapae (Dec.) Mathias Sitsongpeenong

Roongroj Petchrungruang (Dec.) Danny Jittigym

Armin Matli (TKO - R1) Ibrham Chiahou


Andy Souwer Wins At Shootboxing "Road to S. Cup" act.2

Andy Souwer returned to the ring today in Japan at the shootboxing event "Road to S.Cup" act.2. It was Souwer's first "real" fight of the year, as he was supposed to fight at the Fighterzone show on February 25 that got completely messed up at the last minute. Souwer ended up just fighting in an exhibition match.

His opponent, Satoru Suzuki, was fresh off a win over Bovy Sor Udomson back in February. Souwer ended up winning in the second round after knocking Suzuki down three times. Souwer said that there was one "moment of weakness" in the fight where he was met with a right hand from Suzuki but after he stepped on the gas at the end of the first round. In the second round, Souwer said that his only goal was to make Suzuki leave the ring early. He used different techniques to force the knockdowns but said that his most effective techniques "once again" were his low kicks.

Souwer will be making some quick turn-arounds after this fight, as he already has two scheduled. On May 27 he'll be fighting at the K-1 MAX Final 16 in Madrid, Spain. On June 30 he'll be fighting Chris Ngimbi for the It's Showtime 70MAX World Title in Brussels, Belgium.


RISE 87 Results: Yuki Defends Title, KENJI Wins, Kamimura, Komiyama, Uehara Score Quick Knockouts

RISE 87 took place at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo yesterday in an event that featured many of the promotion’s top fighters, and seems to have delivered in entertainment value. The card featured 63kg champ Yuki’s first title defense against Yuto Watanabe, as well as 55kg champ KENJI in a superfight against Shooto 52kg champ Mikhito Yamagami and 3 RISE vs China fights featuring 60kg champ Kosuke Komiyama, Erika Kamimura and Heavyweight champ Makoto Uehara.

In the night’s main event, defending Lightweight champion Yuki scored two downs in the 5th round to storm past challenger Yuto Watanabe and win a close majority decision on scores of 45-45 and 46-45(x2). As he has been known to do, Yuki (31-13-1, 23 KO) started slow and was dropped in the 1st roud by Watanabe (11-6-0, 3 KO), who dominated the first half of the fight and earned himself a sizable lead on the scorecards. However, Yuki began to turn the tide in the 3rd and came storming back, punishing Watanabe in the 4th round before getting two standing 8 counts in the 5th that ultimately sealed the win for the champ and gave him his first title defense. This was Yuki’s first fight since last June’s K-1 -63kg Japan Tournament where he lost in the first round to Koya Urabe, but not before putting a beating on his lead leg which ultimately cost him the tourney. After the fight, I believe Yuki stated that he tore a ligament in his left foot, so there may be a bit of a layoff before his next fight which is unfortunate as Yuki is one of the sport’s most entertaining fighters. This is a tough loss for Watanabe, who earned a huge lead early only to squander it. This fight was his chance to fight his way out of mediocrity in the 63kg division after two straight wins, most recently against Shohei Asahara to earn the title shot and although he lost, this fight may boost his stock a bit.

In the co-main event, promotional Bantamweight champ KENJI struggled a bit, but bested Shooto Flyweight champ Mikihito Yamagami, earning a unanimous decision on scores of 29-25, 28-25 and 28-26. KENJI (20-4-0, 13 KO) scored a pair of knockdowns in the 2nd round that gave him a substantial lead, but judging from the scores it seems like a rather pedestrian performance from him otherwise. Since losing to Shota Takiya in the semifinals of the Krush 55kg tournament, KENJI has strung together 6 straight wins, most recently trumping Thai Pajonsuk Por Pramuk at RISE 86 in January. If KENJI wants to take a step up in the division, his 3 targets should be Nobuchika Terado, Ryuya Kusakabe and Shota Takiya as he is 0-2 against Takiya and 0-1 against Terado. Kusakabe has a fight next weekend, while Terado’s next fight is on April 22nd and Takiya’s in early May. Unless RISE orders a title defense against Ryuma Tobe, KENJI could be free to chase one of those 3 fighters in the near future. There is no shame in losing for Yamagami (1-2-1 KB; 7-2-0 MMA) who was fresh off of his knockout of Junji Ikoma in November to win the Shooto Flyweight title.

In a rather uneventful promotion, 60kg champ Kosuke Komiyama, Heavyweight champ Makoto Uehara and Erika Kamimura all took on Chinese competition, but the three took little over 2 minutes combined to finish their opponents, with Komiyama scoring a knockout at 1:21, Kamimura at 33 seconds and Uehara at just 22 seconds, all in the first round. While RISE has had as much success as Krush with foreign competition in the past, this attempt to replicate Krush’s efforts flopped pretty hard. This was all of these fighters’ first fights since the RISE 85 super-card last year and while they were likely set up to be winnable showcase fights anyway, none of them lasted long enough to showcase the fighters.

Nevertheless, let’s focus on the fighters. Komiyama (17-2-0, 10 KO) is riding a 6-fight winstreak and his most recent loss was a debatable decision to Keiji Ozaki in K-1. In those 6-fights, Komiyama took the RISE title from Kan Itabashi and most recently looked impressive against Sergio Wielzen in a fight that he won by stoppage due to a cut. Komiyama has been clamoring for a fight with Krush 60kg champ Hirotaka Urabe, but unless that fight is set up for Krush.18, Komiyama will have to wait for a while as Urabe is scheduled to fight the winner of an 8-man tournament in July.

Uehara (12-4-0, 8 KO) surprised a lot of people at RISE 85 by making it to the finals of the RISE HWGP, winning decisions over Stefan Leko and Jan Soukup. The most impressive thing was that Uehara, who had shown deplorable cardio throughout his career, managed to go 7 full rounds that night, winning in an extension round against Jan Soukup in the semifinals. He cut down to 90kg for this fight, which is probably where he should be as he is just under 6 ft and could see himself defending his title in a rematch against Kengo Shimizu, who he defeated in their first encounter by KO.

Kamimura (24-2-0, 13 KO) seemed unstoppable over the last 2 years, winning 13 straight, 9 by KO, and showed no signs of slowing down. Last summer she was set to face Shootboxing champ Ai Takahashi before Takahashi suffered an injury in training and was forced to pull out. Instead, she entered the 2011 Girls S-Cup Preliminary Tournament and stormed through the first two rounds before meeting Seo Hee Ham in the finals, where the two put on an extremely entertaining fight that Kamimura emerged victorious from. At RISE 85, she faced RENA in what was perhaps the most anticipated women’s kickboxing bout in recent memory and, despite being upset by MMA fighter Jessica Penne leading up to the bout, RENA won a razor-thin decision and derailed Kamimura. This quick KO puts Kamimura back on the winning track and she should be hungrier than ever, as Mizuki Inoue’s upset of Ai Takahashi has left the door open for a kingpin(queenpin?) to emerge. With Shootboxing planning to hold a Girls’ S-Cup this August, expect Kamimura, RENA, Takahashi, Inoue and Ham to all be involved and vying for the title of #1.

More results, quick results and pictures after the break

Photos and results thanks to boutreview and gbring


Krush.17 Results: Kido KOs Kenta for Title, Noiri and Urabe Win, Yamazaki Leads WildRush League

Krush.17 took place yesterday at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, headlined by 70kg champion Kenta's first defense of his title against Yasuhiro Kido, as well as super fights Masaaki Noiri vs Cedric Peynaud and Koya Urabe vs Kizaemon Saiga, and the second round of the Krush -63kg WILDRUSH League.

In the main event, Yasuhiro Kido got revenge in his rematch with Krush 70kg champ Kenta, scoring a spinning backfist KO at 1:28 of the second round. Kido (27-13-1, 13 KO) appears to have started off very strong, using his length and step-up knees to hurt Kenta (23-10-3, 8 KO). He carried that momentum to the second round, where he landed a huge spinning backfist that Kenta tried to get up from, but could not, earning Kido his second high-profile KO in the past 6 months, as he stopped Shintaro Matsukura back in December with the same spinning backfist. Kido is now on a 3-fight win streak, all by KO, and has won 7 of his last 8, with the sole loss coming to Kenta, and has re-established himself as a top Japanese fighter at 70kg after his struggles in 2009 and 2010. Kenta is now on a 3-fight losing streak, as he lost to Yuya Yamamoto after defeating Kido in last year's K-1 MAX Japan Tournament, then lost his return fight to TOMOYUKI last month. I wouldn't be surprised if his next fight is a bounce-back against a lower-tier fighter as he's gone from the top of the pack to the middle in less than a year.

In the co-main event, Krush Supernova tournament winner Masaaki Noiri got his first taste of foreign competition and won a tough decision over WKA Super Lightweight champion Cedric Peynaud on scores of 30-28 and 29-28(x2). Noiri (12-2-0, 5 KO) seems to have struggled a bit early, but Peynaud (71-9-2, 45 KO) was unable to capitalize due to Noiri's defense, and Noiri was able to take over with his diverse offensive arsenal. After the fight, Noiri stated he wanted an ISKA World Title shot, so if his wish is granted he'll most likely face 63kg champ Thomas Adamandopoulos, who defeated Keiji Ozaki in Krush last year to claim the ISKA world title. The win was Noiri's 6th straight.

In a 63kg fight, Koya Urabe snuck by Kizaemon Saiga, earning a majority decision on scores of 30-30 and 30-29(x2). It appears as though Urabe (17-3-0, 2 KO) had trouble finding Saiga (8-5-1, 1 KO) throughout the fight, but Urabe was the aggressor and earned a round on two judges' scorecards. This was Urabe's first fight back since being brutally KO'd by Masaaki Noiri in the Krush Supernova Tournament finals in December and until video comes out, it's hard to say whether Saiga is just a bad matchup, or if the defensively flawed Urabe was a little gun shy, as he has been in the past, and was unwilling to open up. Saiga was coming into the fight riding a 3-fight win streak, but again comes up short against the division's elite. It is unclear whether this fight will earn Urabe a title shot, as his performance doesn't seem to have been very impressive and champion Ryuji Kajiwara is his teammate, but Krush isn't the deepest organization and unless Krush pushes Noiri into a title fight, they have few options outside of Urabe until the WILDRUSH League is over. If Noiri doesn't get an ISKA or Krush title shot, I'd like to see him against Saiga, who would present an interesting and possibly difficult style matchup for Noiri.

In the 63kg WILDRUSH League, which will determine a 63kg title challenger, tournament favorites Hideaki Yamazaki and TaCa squared off in a rematch, with Yamazaki avenging his only pro loss with a unanimous decision on scores of 29-27, 30-27 and 30-26. Yamazaki (13-1-1, 6 KO) scored a knockdown in the opening round and commanded the rest of the fight. He is now at the top of the standings with 4 points, while TaCa drops down to second with his 3 points. In another WILDRUSH League fight, Hitoshi Tsukagoshi scored a knockout with a left hook over NOMAN at 44 seconds into the 3rd round in what seems to have been a pretty entertaining fight. Tsukagoshi (10-2-0, 6 KO) lost a decision to Yamazaki in the first leg of the WILDRUSH League, but is now in 2nd place with 3 points here while NOMAN has just 1 point from a 1st leg draw. In the final WILDRUSH League fight, Yukimitsu Takahashi fought to his second consecutive draw, this time against Naoki Terasaki on scores of 30-29 and 29-29(x2) in what appears to have been a very entertaining fight. Reports show both fighters landing hard and often and pictures show the faces of both fighters beat up. Takahashi (11-4-3, 4 KO) now has 2 points while Terasaki earns his 1st point after being knocked out by TaCa in the 1st leg.

Finally, in a 70kg fight, Shintaro Matsukura snapped a 3-fight losing streak with a dominant decision over Taisei Kondo on scores of 30-23 and 30-24(x2). Matsukura (5-4-0, 3 KO) upset Yuya Yamamoto in the opening round of the Krush 70kg tournament with a late knockdown, but lost in the semifinals in an entertaining fight with Yutaro Yamauchi. He went on to rematch Yamamoto in the 2011 K-1 MAX Japan tournament, then was knocked out by Yasuhiro Kido in December.

The WILDRUSH League standings are now:

1. Hideaki Yamazaki (2-0-0, 4 points)

2. TaCa (1-1-0, 3 points)

2. Hitoshi Tsukagoshi (1-1-0, 3 points)

4. Yukimitsu Takahashi (0-0-2, 2 points)

5. Naoki Terasaki (0-1-1, 1 point)

5. NOMAN (0-1-1, 1 point)

Quick results and pictures after the break:



Kunitaka, Genji Umeno and Yosuke Morii Fall Short in Thailand

Last weekend, Japanese standouts Kunitaka, Genji Umeno and Yosuke Morii took to Thailand to test their skills under full muay thai rules. Kunitaka took on Singdam Wor. Rungniran at Rajadamnern Stadium on the 24th while Umeno and Morii fought at Lumpini Stadium on the 25th against Kongnapha Srimongkol and Farmeechai Sitbhota, respectively.

At Rajadamnern Stadium, #6 ranked Rajadamnern Stadium Bantamweight Singdam Wor. Rungniran was able to stop WBC Intercontinental Super Bantamweight champ Kunitaka in the 3rd round with a series of clinch knees to the body and legs. The two were going blow for blow throughout a majority of the first two rounds, though Singdam's leg strikes seemed to be carrying a lot more power and causing more damage. Towards the end of the second round, Kunitaka found success in cutting off the ring and trapping Singdam in a neutral corner, something he found even more success with in the 3rd, however it appears that Singdam landed a strong, short elbow in the corner that deterred Kunitaka's further efforts. After a leg kick that appeared to buckle Kunitaka's leg, Singdam began coming forward and initiated a clinch that led to about 8 unanswered knees to Kunitaka's midsection followed by another clinch that saw Singdam abuse Kunitaka's left leg en route to the stoppage. The stoppage was a bit strange to me, though I don't watch a lot of muay thai, as Kunitaka may have been fading greatly from the leg strikes, but he was certainly capable of continuing. Nonetheless, it's a good win for Singdam who showed dominance with his leg kicks. For Kunitaka (36-22-3, 26 KO) it's a 3rd straight loss to a Thai as he was stopped by Rungravee Sasiprapa in Las Vegas and then dropped a decision to Kaimookdam Chuwattana in a fight for the WBC World Super Bantamweight title.

At Lumpini Stadium, Genji Umeno took his first fight as a Lumpini ranker, dropping a decision to #8 ranked Super Featherweight Kongnapha Srimongkol. Apparently it was a close fight and Umeno argued the decision, but Kongnapha was the victor nonetheless. The loss is a disappointment for Umeno (19-2-1, 9 KO) who was on fire with a 10-fight win-streak, with 5 of those fights coming against Thais and all 5 of those wins were by TKO or KO. At just 23, Umeno still has time to capture a Lumpini or Rajadamnern Stadium title.

Also fighting that night at Lumpini Stadium was Umeno's rival Yosuke Morii who had his fight stopped in the 3rd round due to a cut. Reports say that Morii was dropped before the fight was stopped, so he seemed to be on the way out before the cut. Morii's most recent fight was a loss to Umeno back in December. 

Video of Kunitaka-Singdam after the break


Big Bang 8 Results: Kido, Nashiro Score Wins, HIROYA Upset by Naoki

Taniyama Gym held the 8th event in its Big Bang series yesterday at Differ Ariake in Tokyo. On the card were top Japanese Middleweights Yasuhiro Kido and Yuji Nashiro taking on Baek Man-sun and Yukihiko Komiya, respectively. Also featured on the card were K-1 Koshien participants HIROYA and Hiroki Akimoto taking on Naoki and Ikuya Sasaki, respectively.

In the main event, Yasuhiro Kido scored another KO win, this time of Korean fighter Baek Man-Sun at 2:02 in the 2nd round. Kido (26-13-1, 12 KO) landed repeatedly with high kicks and strong combinations, knocking Baek down 4 times before the fight was stopped. As most know, Kido has had his struggles in the past, but he is now 6-1 (3 KO) in his last 7 and his sole loss was a close decision to Kenta, the man he is set to face next month at Krush.17 for the Krush 70kg title. The relatively easy win bodes well for Kido, who is coming in extremely hot while Kenta suffered a loss in his first fight since last September's K-1 MAX Japan Tournament.

In the co-main event, 2011 K-1 MAX Japan Tournament winner Yuji Nashiro took a close, but clear decision win over former RISE Middleweight champion Yukihiko Komiya on scores of 30-29, 29-28 and 29-29. Komiya (27-10-0, 6 KO) made it a fight, but Nashiro's (10-3-0, 5 KO) offense was too much for him. Until last year's K-1 MAX Tournament, Nashiro was a bit of an overlooked commodity because of his 1st round KO loss to Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima in the 2010 K-1 MAX Japan Tournament. He scored a pair of wins over Yutaro Yamauchi and Kenta right after that, but a loss to Yoshihiro Sato and a close extension round loss to Yutaro Yamauchi in the Krush 70kg Tournament really dropped him off the radar. That is, until he upset former K-1 MAX champion Albert Kraus in the opening round of last year's Japan MAX Tournament. Nashiro followed that up with a decision win over prospect Takafumi Morita in the semis and a 1st round KO of Yuya Yamamoto in the finals. Nashiro could be in line for a Krush title shot against the winner of Kido-Kenta, but in the meantime, I'd like to see a fight with either TOMOYUKI, who just upset Kenta, or Hinata. Komiya is now on a 2-fight losing streak as this was his first fight back since losing his RISE Middleweight title to Takafumi Morita last July.

In the big surprise of the night, 2008 K-1 Koshien champ HIROYA dropped a close split decision to former NKB Featherweight and Lightweight champ Naoki on scores of 29-28, 30-29 and 28-29. Naoki (19-5-2, 5 KO) was able to pressure HIROYA (10-5-0, 5 KO) offensively and land enough to pick up a win on the scorecards. For Naoki, this win puts him on a 4-fight win-streak, which is a great recovery from the 4-fight losing streak he had prior to that. He would make an interesting matchup for the winner of the RISE Lightweight title match between Yuki and Yuto Watanabe. HIROYA is now on a 2-fight losing streak after losing to Masaaki Noiri in the semis of the Krush Supernova Tournament. This was a close fight, but if HIROYA wants to be considered on the same level as the division's elite, this isn't a fight he should lose. It appears as though his defense has become his biggest liability, as he was outpointed by Noiri and even in his Supernova Tournament wins, he was getting hit a lot. For all of his offensive gifts, he will never break through if his defense isn't adjusted.

Finally, in a 60kg bout, 2010 K-1 Koshien runner-up Hiroki Akimoto kept his undefeated pro record with a 1st round TKO due to a cut over Ikuya Sasaki. Akimoto (13-0-0, 6 KO) landed with a high kick that opened up a cut on Sasaki (0-3-0, 0 KO) that caused the ringside doctor to end the fight. Akimoto made it to the semifinals of the 2009 Koshien Tournament where he ended up losing to Shota Shimada and made it to the finals of the 2010 Tournament, defeating the likes of Sho Ogawa and Keigo Ishida before he succumbed to low kicks against Shohei Hareyama. Akimoto followed that up with a huge 2011 in which he went 4-0 with knockouts in each of those wins, including a knockout of Turbo, his highest-profile opponent yet. Though he's only 19, it is time for Akimoto to start taking steps forward to higher-level opposition as he was likely only fighting someone like Sasaki to get his legs back under him after a 6-month layoff. The next step for Akimoto could be a shot at current MA Kick Featherweight champ Minoru Junibayashi. Sasaki is an MMA fighter as well, but has had just as little success in that as he has in kickboxing, as he is a paltry 1-6-0 fighting for Shooto and GCM Cage Force after starting 3-1 as an amateur.

Quick results after the break{jcomments on}

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