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Krush.16 Results: Kubo and Sato Claim ISKA Titles, Xu Yan KOs Yuya Yamamoto

Krush.16 took place earlier today at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo and it marked the company's second co-promotion with ISKA, again with two titles on the line, pitting Japanese kickboxers against European kickboxers for the ISKA Light Welterweight and Light Middleweight titles. 2011 K-1 63kg Japan Tournament champion Yuta Kubo took on former WPMF France champ Charles Francois for the ISKA World Light Welterweight title while 2010 K-1 MAX World Tournament Runner-up Yoshihiro Sato took on reigning ISKA World Light Middleweight champ Fadi Merza for his title. Also, K-1 regular Yuya Yamamoto took on fellow K-1 veteran Xu Yan at 70kg.

In the main event, Yuta Kubo continued his reign of terror, stopping Charles Francois with a body shot at 2:18 into the 2nd round to claim the ISKA Light Welterweight title. Kubo used his offensive skill-set to keep Francois off rhythm and scored a down in the first round with a head kick. In the second, Kubo worked Francois' body en route to a body shot KO. Kubo (32-4-1, 15 KO) is now on a 9-fight win streak, going an incredible 13-1 (5 KO) since the beginning of 2010. An interesting note is that his last four wins have come over European competition. With FIKA showing signs of life with their recently announced Koshien Tournament, expect their focus for tournament selection to still be Japan-centric at -63kg and Kubo is the #1 fighter in Japan at the weight. Not to mention the lighter weight tournaments have usually taken place earlier in the year. Francois (33-10-1, 25 KO) was 2-6 in his last 8 coming into this fight, so it seems like a bit of a squash match, something Kubo has had trouble avoiding lately.

In the co-main event, Yoshihiro Sato has taken a positive step in reclaiming some consistency, taking a unanimous decision over ISKA Light Middleweight champion Fadi Merza on scores of 50-45 (x3) to claim the ISKA World Light Middleweight title. Sato (49-17-0, 20 KO) made it to the finals of the most recent K-1 MAX World Tournament in 2010, defeating Yuya Yamamoto, Michal Glogowski and Gago Drago, but losing to kingpin Giorgio Petrosyan in the finals. After that fight, Sato won a questionable split decision over Shemsi Beqiri in Krush, then lost a questionable decision to Armen Petrosyan, lost to Andy Souwer in Shootboxing and was involved in yet another questionable decision with his win over Albert Kraus in K-1, then lost his most recent fight to Alex Tobiasson Harris at Rumble of the Kings 2011, though that fight was at 75kg. Not to say those questionable fights weren't very close, but they could have easily gone the other way. Merza (118-18-3, 43 KO) was coming off of a loss to Cedric Muller in The Challenger Muay Thai.

In a 70kg bout, K-1 veteran Xu Yan scored a bit of an upset, knocking out 2009 K-1 MAX World Tournament semifinalist Yuya Yamamoto at 1:39 into the 1st round. Yan appeared to get off to a good start, landing against the defensively flawed Yamamoto. Then in the second round Yan took over, scoring three knockdowns and earning him the TKO victory. Yan (30-13-0, 15 KO) had lost 4 straight fights coming into this fight with back to back losses to Abdallah Mabel in Fight Code. He was previously best known for his KO of Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima in K-1 in 2009. Yamamoto (33-22-1, 11 KO) hit his career peak in 2009, defeating Chi Bin Lim and Gago Drago to make it to the semifinals of the 2009 K-1 MAX World Tournament where he lost to Giorgio Petrosyan by KO. Since, he has struggled immensely, going 6-5 (2 KO), being upset by Hinata and Shintaro Matsukura and most recently being KO'd by Yuji Nashiro in the finals of the 2011 K-1 MAX Japan Tournament after taking a questionable decision win over Kenta in the semifinals.

In a 61kg fight, K-1 veteran Kizaemon Saiga picked up a majority decision win over Katsuya Goto on scores of 30-30, 30-29 and 30-27. Saiga (8-4-1, 1 KO) has proved himself to be a tough out in the 63kg division, but he is not quite an elite fighter. After an upset over Naoki Ishikawa in K-1, Saiga was KO'd in the semifinals by eventual champion Tetsuya Yamato, then upset by Korean prospect Sun-Hyun Lee. He won a fight in Krush, then lost in the opening round of the Krush 63kg Tournament to eventual champion Ryuji Kajiwara, then lost in the opening round of the 2011 K-1 -63kg Japan Tournament to eventual champion Yuta Kubo. In short, if you defeat Saiga in a tournament, you win the tournament, though the two times HIROYA defeated Saiga in the Koshien Tournament were the two years he lost. He is now on a 3 fight win streak. Goto (8-6-1, 3 KO) most recently defeated Takeshi Watanabe at Krush.11.

Quick Results after the break

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January Recap: RISE 86 - Yoshimoto Defends Against Soda, KENJI Defeats Pajonsuk

I've been busy lately so I wasn't able to recap most of what took place for the second half of January, so over the next couple days I will put up event recaps of RISE 86, It's Showtime Japan Countdown/REBELS.10 and Shin Nihon Kickboxing Association's Brave Hearts 18 cards.

First, I will start with RISE 86 that took place on January 28th at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo and was headlined by a Super Lightweight title fight between champion Koji Yoshimoto and Yasuomi Soda. Also on the card were a pair of superfights featuring promotional Bantamweight champion KENJI and Middleweight champion Takafumi Morita, as well as a #1 contender's bout at 63kg between K-1 vets Yuto Watanabe and Shohei Asahara.

In the main event, Super Lightweight champion Koji Yoshimoto defended his title for the second time, edging out Yasuomi Soda and taking a unanimous decision on scores of 48-47, 47-46(x2). It appears as though with the win Yoshimoto (24-13-3, 3 KO) will be focusing on going global and taking on some of the world's best, presumably at 63kg and not 65kg. Yoshimoto may not have been on a lot of people's radar, but a win in K-1 and a huge win over prospect Son Hyun Lee back at RISE 85 has made Yoshimoto an interesting fighter to look out for. At 32, if Yoshimoto is looking to make a run at the top of the 63kg division, his time is winding down. Personally, I don't think Yoshimoto possesses the tools to challenge the likes of Koya Urabe, Masaaki Noiri, Rashata, etc., let alone the world's best. The loss for Soda (10-1-0, 3 KO) is his first as he sported a spotless 10-0 record coming into the fight. Despite the loss, Soda put forth a good effort against a fighter who seems to be hitting his stride and at 23, Soda has time to improve.

In the co-main event and probably the most important fight of the night, RISE Bantamweight champion KENJI took on Lumpinee Bantamweight ranker Pajonsuk Por. Pramuk in a 55kg fight. The fight appears to have been close, but Pajonsuk suffered from two (possibly three) point deductions that were a result of clinch knees, something that has been removed from RISE, much like K-1 and Krush. KENJI took a unanimous decision on scores of 29-26 and 29-25(x2). This is a huge win for KENJI (19-4-0, 13 KO) and further establishes his name at 55kg. His next fight will take place in what should be shaping up to be a stacked RISE 87 card, though it is unclear whether or not he will be defending his title, but with a lack of new challengers, he will likely be in a superfight. Pajonsuk (110-20-1) has fought in Japan several times before in Shootboxing, where he has had great success, however he hadn't faced anyone with the same skill level of KENJI. However, Pajonsuk had fought the week prior against Karim Bennoui at 60kg where he managed a 5 round draw, so one could assume that fight took a bit of a toll on him.

In another superfight featuring a RISE champion, Middleweight champ Takafumi Morita scored a unanimous decision win over Korean fighter Cha Un-pyo on scores of 30-27, 29-26 and 30-26. Morita (12-1-1, 5 KO) scored a pair of knockdowns to nab the win. Morita is a fighter that, along with Kenta and Yuji Nashiro, made a name for himself in the K-1 Japan MAX Tournament last year.  Unlike fellow prospect Hiroki Nakajima, who he beat in that tournament, Morita possesses equally impressive offensive and defensive tools and likes to use pressure and a high volume of strikes to crack his opponents. If FIKA holds a Japan qualifying tournament, Morita has a very good chance to play spoiler should he be selected for the tournament.

In a 63kg #1 contender's bout, #2 ranked Yuto Watanabe was able to edge out an extension round majority decision over #3 ranked Shohei Asahara on scores of 10-10 and 10-9(x2) after a 3 round majority draw on scores of 29-28 and 29-29(x2). With the win Watanabe (10-5-0, 2 KO) earns the right to face current Lightweight champ Yuki in his first title defense at RISE 87 on March 24th. Watanabe is a middle of the road fighter at 63kg and has had trouble stringing together wins since reaching the higher levels of the division, going 4-4 in his last 8 without any consecutive wins. I expect the trend to continue for Watanabe, though the long layoff for Yuki could cause problems and give Watanabe an edge. Asahara (8-6-0, 2 KO) drops back onto a 2-fight losing streak and cements his status as a divisional gatekeeper.

RISE 87 is set for March 24th and although only one fight has been announced, the list of participants is very promising. The lone fight announced is Lightweight champion Yuki defending his title against Yuto Watanabe. Participants for the card are Heavyweight champ Makoto Uehara, Bantamweight champ KENJI, Super Featherweight champ Kosuke Komiyama, Erika Kamimura, Kengo Shimizu, Ryo Pegasus and J-Network Featherweight champion Masato Sato. Speculation on my part is that Uehara will defend his title against Shimizu and, with two quarterfinal bouts left in the RISE Featherweight tournament that are set to take place on this card, Ryo Pegasus and Masato Sato will each be featured in one, but likely not against each other as they are the #1 and #2 ranked fighters in the division.

Quick results after the jump

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DEEP*KICK 10 Results: Undefeated Seiya Rokukawa Wins 55kg Tournament

Over the past year, Japan’s 55kg division has began to heat up with the emergence of Ryuya Kusakabe, Shota Takiya and KENJI, brother of Yuta Kubo and now it appears that there is another rising star in the Super Bantamweight division and it is 25 year old Seiya Rokukawa. At DEEP*KICK 10 earlier this week, Rokukawa asserted his dominance in the promotion’s first 55kg tournament, scoring consecutive knockout wins over Yuki Kyotani and Yukinobu Nakatsukasa in the semis and finals, respectively. The wins move Rokukawa to 8-0-0, 6 KO and is his second tournament win of his young career as he won the RISE Rising Rookies Cup last year at 55kg, scoring knockouts in the semifinals and finals of that tournament as well. Despite only having 8 pro fights, at 25, Rokukawa is older than the elite fighters in the division, but luckily RISE has one of the better 55kg divisions in Japan. If his power carries into the upper levels of the division, then potential matchups with Ryuya Kusakabe, Shota Takiya and Nobuchika Terado should be all the more entertaining.

Also on this card were a pair of retirement bouts. First, Yasushi Nobuhiro whose exhibition bout was against 2010 K-1 MAX Japan Tournament champion Yuichiro “Jienotsu” Nagashima. Nagashima still looked to be a bit heavy, but in shape so he may be on the path back to being a legitimate kickboxer. The other retirement exhibition was for the first NJKF Atomweight “BONITA BOXEO” champion taking on current WPMF Japan Women’s Atomweight champion Little Tiger. {jcomments on}

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Shootboxing 2012 act.1 Results: Stevelmans Outlasts Shishido, Suzuki Beats Bovy, Ai Takahashi Upset

Last night at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Shootboxing held its first big event of 2012. The emphasis on this card and in Shootboxing as of late seems to be on matching up fighters of different disciplines under Shootboxing rules as opposed to bouts between Shootboxing fighters. This could be seen as the card was headlined by Shootboxing star Hiroki Shishido vs K-1 veteran Warren Stevelmans as well as a 70kg bout between former boxer Satoru Suzuki and former thaiboxer Bovy Sor Udomson. Also in action were Shootboxing Women's Flyweight champion Ai Takahashi against 17 year old karate fighter Mizuki Inoue and Shooto legend Mamoru Yamaguchi taking on Shootboxing prospect Kazuyuki Fushimi.

In the night's main event, Shootboxing star Hiroki Shishido lost his third straight fight to South African Warren Stevelmans by unanimous decision on scores of 47-44, 46-44 and 47-46. It appears that the fight was a grueling affair with Shishido attempting to use throws and submissions to wear down Stevelmans while Stevelmans got the better of the striking exchanges. I believe Stevelmans scored two knockdowns while Shishido was able to get a shoot point. Stevelmans (55-15-4, 16 KO) first broke out in K-1 in 2008, winning the 2008 Netherlands qualifier tournament, defeating Chris Ngimbi and Marco Pique en route to his first shot at the Final 16. He made it to the quarterfinals before losing to Andy Souwer, which was part of a rough streak from 2008-2009 that saw Stevelmans go 3-6, however his losses were to Gago Drago, Souwer, Giorgio Petrosyan, Albert Kraus, Orono Wor Petchpun and Saiyok Pumpanmuang. Recently, he made it to the finals of the 2011 K-1 MAX Madrid tournament, losing to Rafi Zouheir in the finals and since has scored wins over Mohammed Medhar and Zeben Diaz, drew with Armen Petrosyan and lost to Buakaw Por Pramuk in his last fight. At 34, Shishido (48-12-0, 20 KO) is having his age catch up to him quite a bit. Since September of 2010, Shishido is just 1-5 and two of the losses in his current streak came to MMA fighters Toby Imada and "Lion" Takeshi Inoue.

In the co-main event, Shootboxing converts Satoru Suzuki and Bovy Sor Udomson fought in what appears to have been a thrilling affair which saw Bovy floored two or three times by Suzuki in the first round only to come back and go toe to toe with the former boxer. Despite Bovy's comeback, his first round deficit was too large and he lost a unanimous decision on scores of 28-26(x3). With the win, Suzuki improves his pro kickboxing record to 7-10-0, 5 KO and continues his up and down career as he was coming off of a loss to Christophe Pruvost at Shoot the Shooto back in November. The win also gets Suzuki's foot in the door for this year's S-Cup and if he is able to put together another win or two against top competition, expect him to be included in his first S-Cup. Bovy (84-44-2, 52 KO) was on a 2-fight win streak in Shootboxing with wins over Toby Imada and Gago Drago after a rough start to 2011 which saw him lose 3 straight fights. While the loss may jeopardize his spot in this year's S-Cup, it will not jeopardize his spot at the top of Shootboxing's cards as he has put on wildly entertaining bouts against Takaaki Umeno, Hiroki Shishido and Gago Drago and appears to have put on another great fight for Shootboxing.

In what has to be seen as probably the biggest upset of 2012 so far, 17 year old karateka and JEWELS MMA -56kg Rough Stone GP winner Mizuki Inoue was able to sneak by Shootboxing Women's Flyweight champion Ai Takahashi in an extension round, winning on scores of 10-9(x3) after a majority draw on scores of 30-29, 30-30 and 29-29. Inoue appeared to have utilized good head movement to avoid Takahashi's offense while counter-striking and scoring with her own. The win for the 17 year old Inoue (4-1-0, 0 KO) shakes the women's Flyweight division as Inoue only had 4 prior kickboxing bouts, two of which were under Shootboxing rules, and because she is splitting time between kickboxing and MMA. Inoue will likely receive an invite to this year's Girls S-Cup. The loss for Takahashi (11-3-0, 5 KO) is devastating as she had become divisional kingpin by default with RENA's victory over Erika Kamimura at RISE 85 in November. Likely a factor in the loss was Takahashi's 7 month layoff due to an orbital bone injury. This year's Girls S-Cup should be essential in determining who the top of the crop is as it will likely include Takahashi, Inoue, RENA and Erika Kamimura.

In another MMA vs Shootboxing bout, Shootboxing prospect Kazuyuki Fushimi took on former Shooto Bantamweight and Featherweight champion Mamoru Yamaguchi, but Fushimi was unable to pick up his second straight win against an MMA fighter as Yamaguchi won a close majority decision on scores of 29-29 and 30-29(x2). Yamaguchi (4-1-0, 0 KO) gets a win in his first fight in Shootboxing in over 2 years and although he was not one of the four men selected to participate in the first UFC Flyweight tournament, Yamaguchi is still a top contender and as he has proven in Shootboxing, has the striking to challenge anybody in the division. Fushimi (14-9-0, 4 KO) has had trouble staying consistent and has faltered against all of his name opponents save MMA fighter Junji Ito, but at just 20 years old he still has time to sharpen his tools and possibly become a threat to the top 55kg fighters in Japan.

Finally, Shootboxing prospect Masaya Matsuhana took a unanimous decision over MMA fighter Tenkei Oda on scores of 30-28, 30-26 and 29-26.

Quick Results after the break

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Krush.15 Results: Takiya KOs Terado in 1st, Urabe and Ishikawa Draw, TaCa Leads WILDRUSH League

Krush held its first event of 2012, Krush.15 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo earlier yesterday. In the headlining bouts, 55kg champ Shota Takiya and 60kg champ Hirotaka Urabe defended their titles against Nobuchika Terado and Naoki Ishikawa, respectively. Krush.15 also kicked off the -63kg WILDRUSH League which is a 6-man round-robin to determine the next 63kg title challenger.

In the main event, 55kg champ Shota Takiya continued his reign of terror, stopping Nobuchika Terado just 71 seconds into the first round, scoring 3 downs with a pair of left hooks and a flying knee. The win is Takiya’s (18-4, 12 KO) first defense and moves his win-streak to 9. With possible opponents KENJI and Ryuya Kusakabe busy with prior engagements, expect Takiya to take a super fight before taking a trilogy fight with either man. The quick loss is disappointing for Terado (27-8-1, 12 KO), who had a good shot at being the man to stop Takiya’s current streak, but he never got into his rhythm and was stopped right away. Should Kusakabe be Takiya’s next opponent, Krush would be well-served in organizing a fight between Terado and KENJI in Krush or RISE to see if KENJI is ready to take a step up in the division and challenge the top fighters in Japan.

In the co-main event, Hirotaka Urabe and Naoki Ishikawa proved to be evenly matched after the two fought to a unanimous draw after 3 rounds on scores of 29-29 and 28-28(x2). Urabe seems to have gotten the better of rounds 1 and 2, but a cut above Urabe’s eye caused by a flying knee allowed Ishikawa to win the 3rd and bring the fight to a draw. Despite the draw, Urabe (13-5-2, 5 KO) defends his title and is now on a 7-fight unbeaten streak. It’s hard to guess what is next for Urabe, should it be FIKA at 63kg or fighting in Krush. If he stays in Krush, matchups with Masaaki Noiri, Kosuke Komiyama or Kejiro Miyakoshi could provide a good test for any of the fighters involved. After his last bout, Ishikawa (33-18-5, 18 KO) talked about retirement, but I do not believe he mentioned it after this bout and according to Boutreview, he seemed pleased with his performance against Urabe. Ishikawa has his ups and downs, but with a win over Yuji Takeuchi followed by this draw against Urabe, Ishikawa is proving to still be a top fighter as he ages and could find success over the next couple of years should he continue to fight.

In a super-fight, flashy K-1 veteran Keiji Ozaki scored a 2nd round KO at 37 seconds into the round over Hironori Hattori. The win is a good bounce-back for Ozaki (24-15-1, 10 KO) who was coming off back to back losses to foreign fighters Thomas Adamandopoulous and Romain Mailov.

Krush.15 also marked the beginning of the -63kg WILDRUSH League which features 6 fighters in a round robin where the fighter with the most points after 5 fights will earn the right to challenge for the Krush -63kg title. Fighters receive 3 points for a KO win, 2 points for a decision win and 1 point for a draw.

Tournament favorite and member of Team Dragon Hideaki Yamazaki(12-1, 6 KO) started off strong with a clear unanimous decision victory over Silver Wolf’s Hitoshi Tsukagoshi (9-2, 5 KO) on scores of 30-29 and 30-28(x2). The win gives Yamazaki two points, however Triple-Y’s TaCa(record N/A) earned himself a 1st round lead with a quick knockout of Naoki Terasaki(8-4, 2 KO) at 1:34 into the 1st round, giving TaCa 3 points. In the final WILDRUSH League fight, Supernova tournament semifinalist Yukimitsu Takahashi(11-4-2, 4 KO) and Krush regular NOMAN(record N/A) fought to a split draw on scores of 30-30, 29-30 and 30-29, giving each man a point and 3rd place in the standings. The lead is nice for TaCa, but it is just the first round and Hideaki Yamazaki has only gotten better as his career as progressed. The draw is tough for Takahashi who will likely need to defeat both TaCa and Yamazaki if he wants to win this tournament.

Finally, in a clash between J-Girls champions, Featherweight champion and Team Dragon’s Kimiko Sasaki defeated Bantamweight champion Shiho Mizuno by unanimous decision on scores of 30-29, 30-28 and 30-27.

Quick results after the break:

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NYE Kickboxing Fix: Kubo, Noiri Win + Aerts, JLB in Pro Wresling

Fight For Japan: Genki Desu Ka Omisoka 2011 took place today in Tokyo, Japan and featured a few notable kickboxers on the card. Yuta Kubo and Masaaki Noiri, arguably the top two fighters that K-1 has at 63kg, fought in separate bouts. Long time K-1 legends Peter Aerts and Jerome Le Banner both took part in pro wrestling matches.

Yuta Kubo fought Nils Widlund, a Swedish San Shou stylist. The first round saw Widlund treating the fight like a San Shou match, consistently catching Kubo's kicks and sending him to the ground. Kubo was landing all the notable shots though and began to really take over in the second round. By the third round, Widlund was there to be finished and Kubo turned up the pace, going for the finish. A right high kick followed by a knee to the body dropped Widlund and the Swede didn't get up. Kubo won all six of his fights in 2011.

Masaaki Noiri took on Kengo Sonoda and took a unanimous decision. Sonoda was able to land a bit, but Noiri's arms and gloves absorbed most of the shots. Noiri's offense was just much more dynamic than Sonoda's and ultimately lead to the win.  This win is Noiri's second of December, coming three weeks after his spectacular KO of Koya Urabe at Krush.14.

Peter Aerts faced long time MMA veteran Kazuyuki Fujita. Aerts hit Fujita with a lot of punches and at one point even hit him with a high kick that seemed to actually hurt Fujita. Fujita got Aerts in a Boston crab and Aerts tapped out. It looked like Aerts may have legitimately hurt his back. Jerome Le Banner was up against former UFC heavyweight champ Tim Sylvia. Sylvia took down Le Banner a few times before Jerome figured just to actually hurt Tim. Le Banner hit Sylvia with a liver kick, just like the one he hit Andrei Kirsanov with yesterday and Tim went down. A few knockdowns later and some ground and pound and Jerome Le Banner was declared the winner.

Overall, obviously some more kickboxing would've been nice, but we got what we could in terms of fights. Let's hope good things are in store for kickboxing in 2012.

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Fujiwara Festival Results: Umeno Dominates Morii, Masahiro Yamamoto, Kusakabe and T-98 Score Wins

Earlier today at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, the last major kickboxing event of the year took place, the final It's Showtime Japan show of the year, a co-promotion with the annual Fujiwara Festival. The card featured a Top of Featherweight showdown between Genji Umeno and Yosuke Morii, three WPMF Japan Title fights in T-98 vs Daiki Watabe, SHIGERU vs Takahito Fujimaki and Little Tiger vs Fir, a WPMF Japan #1 contender's bout between Ryuya Kusakabe and Sota Ichinohe and super fights that featured Masahiro Yamamoto, Naoki Samukawa and Atsushi Sasatani.

In the main event, Featherweight rivals Genji Umeno and Yosuke Morii finally squared off, and Umeno got the better of the affair, brutalizing Morii over the course of 5 rounds and earning a unanimous decision on scores of 50-45(x3). Umeno ran through Morii, battering his opponent's ribcage with mid kicks and scoring a down in the 2nd round. The win moves Umeno's record to an impressive 19-1 (9 KO) and puts him on a 10-fight win-streak. After the bout he announced that he was more or less done with the Featherweight division in Japan and was setting his sights on the top Thai fighters, calling out the likes of Saenchai Sinbimuaythai, Pornsaneh Sitmonchai, Jomthong Chuwattana and Pakon Sakyotin and stated that he wants to win a Lumpinee Stadium title. Morii (17-3-1, 7 KO) was on a 4-fight unbeaten streak heading into this fight and with Umeno supposedly leaving Japan, Morii assumes the role of divisional kingpin. An interesting next fight for him would be a defense of his WPMF Japan title against #1 ranked Yuji Umehara or Chao Shimura, who scored a win over the last man to beat Morii other than Umeno. Morii could also be an interesting fight for 55kg standouts Shota Takiya and Ryuya Kusakabe should either decide to move up in weight.

In the co-main event, T-98 claimed the WPMF Japan Welterweight Title in his third fight against champion Daiki Watabe, winning a majority decision on scores of 49-48, 50-48 and 49-49. The two first met in July of last year with the fight ending in a draw. Before the two met again this July at the first It's Showtime Japan event, Watabe had claimed the WPMF Japan title and T-98 had been on a slide, going 2-3 and falling out of contention. However, in their rematch T-98 was able to shut out Watabe and earn a unanimous decision. This win for T-98 (11-5-1, 5 KO) moves him to 2-0-1 against Watabe and puts him on a 4-fight win-streak. An interesting next fight for him would be a matchup for his WPMF Japan title against undefeated J-NETWORK champion Masato Otake. Watabe (12-10-1, 7 KO) now falls back into the long list of contenders at 67kg and should see himself in a rematch with Hideya Tanaka or Atsushi Sasatani, or even a fight with Kou Suman.

In a fight for the vacant WPMF Japan Super Featherweight Title, #1 ranked SHIGERU and #2 ranked Takahito Fujimaki fought to a majority draw on scores of 48-48(x2) and 47-48. Fujimaki scored a down in the first round, but SHIGERU took over in the later rounds to even the score and force a draw. The two will likely rematch at some point in the future.

In a bout to determine the next challenger for the WPMF Japan Super Bantamweight title, Ryuya Kusakabe snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, scoring a knockdown of former WPMF Japan Bantamweight champion Sota Ichinohe in the final round to earn him a unanimous decision on scores of 48-47(x2) and 49-46. After having his 7-fight win-streak snapped by Shota Takiya in the finals of the Krush 55kg tournament, Kusakabe (15-4, 7 KO) has put himself back on a 2-fight win-streak and now has the right to face WPMF Japan Super Bantamweight champion Yusuke Shimizu. Ichinohe (11-7-4, 8 KO) had his 3-fight win-streak snapped with a draw against Takuma Ito back in August.

In a 61kg fight, It's Showtime 61kg #1 contender Masahiro Yamamoto scored a unanimous decision win over Genki Kanazawa on scores of 30-25(x5). Yamamoto (36-10-6, 10 KO) scored knockdowns in the 1st and 2nd rounds to earn him the win. He has bounced back nicely from a rough 2010 with 3 straight wins over Arita Tsukahara, Kan Itabashi and now Kanazawa. At some point he will fight current It's Showtime champ Javier Hernandez but no date has been targeted for that bout.

Quick Results after the break

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HEAT 20 Results: Danilo Zanolini KOs Su Hwan Lee in 70kg Title Defense

Japanese hybrid Kickboxing-MMA promotion HEAT held HEAT 20 at Differ Ariake in Tokyo on the 17th.

In the main event, HEAT Middleweight champion Danilo Zanolini defended his title for the second time against K-1 veteran Su Hwan Lee via 2nd round KO at 2:37 into the round. Zanolini, who is probably best known for his KO loss to Yoshihiro Sato in K-1, has made a bit of a name for himself at 70kg in Japan. Along with this win over Lee, he holds wins over Shunsuke Oishi, Yuto Watanabe and Shingo Garyu. The win moves Zanolini to 22-8 (14 KO) and should see him taking a step up in competition against someone like Kenta, Yutaro Yamauchi or even Yasuhiro Kido. For Lee, the loss snaps a 4-fight win-streak and brings him to 19-10 (11 KO) on his career and likely halts a comeback to the world of K-1. Up next for Lee is a rematch with Woo Yong Choi, most known for his one-sided beating at the hands of Pajonsuk in K-1, at The Khan 3 on January 15th.

In the kickboxing co-main event, MA Kick Heavyweight champion Magnum Sakai picked up a 2nd round KO at 28 seconds into the round over SNKA #1 ranked Heavyweight Kuniyoshi. Sakai has fought all over Japan from 70kg up to heavyweight and has fought the likes of Takashi Ohno, Nathan Corbett, Fabiano Cyclone, Kaoklai, Taiei Kin and even former MMA fighter turned boxer Hiromitsu Miura, compiling a 21-10-2 (10 KO) record, though never really breaking out as a great fighter. He could be someone considered to fight Toshio Matsumoto at REBELS.10 for the It’s Showtime 95kg title shot.

In Featherweight action, Thai fighter and HEAT regular Chao “Shimura” Logate defeated RISE #1 ranked Featherweight Ryo Pegasus, forcing a doctor stoppage due to a cut at 2:20 into the 2nd round. The win moves Shimura’s record to an impressive 207-88 (18 KO) and drops Ryo Pegasus to 14-12-1 (4 KO). Pegasus is an interesting fighter as he is more or less a gatekeeper at Featherweight, fighting the likes of Yosuke Morii, Junpei Aotsu, Takaaki Kimura and Turbo, losing to all of them. An interesting fight for him would be against J-Network Featherweight champ Masato Sato for the vacant RISE Featherweight title as Sato sits behind Ryo Pegasus at #2.

Finally, K-1 veteran Tsutomu Takahagi scored a 2nd round KO at 2:48 into the round over Kazuki Ozawa. The win puts Takahagi (8-11-2, 3 KO) back on the winning track after he lost back to back fighst to Hiromi Amada at RISE 80 and Singh “Heart” Jaideep at RISE 83 which cost him a spot in the RISE Heavyweight Tournament. At 28, don’t expect Takahagi to make any waves in the heavyweight division, but he’ll still exist to serve as a gateway into the upper echelon of Japanese heavyweight talent.

Also on the card in MMA action was heavyweight Henry “Sentoryu” Miller who dropped his 5th straight fight to Shunsuke Inoue. {jcomments on}

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Shin Nihon - Soul in the Ring IX Results: Hiroki Ishii and Yoshimichi Matsumoto Score KO Victories

Earlier today at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, New Japan Kickboxing Association(Shin Nihon Kickboxing Association) held Soul in the Ring IX headlined by Rajadamnern Stadium Super Lightweight champion Hiroki Ishii in his first fight since winning the title. Also on the card were K-1 veteran Yoshimichi Matsumoto, SNKA Flyweight champ Mitsuki Ebata, SNKA Heavyweight champ Toshio Matsumoto and SNKA Lightweight champ Tatsuya Ishii.

In the main event, Hiroki Ishii took on Thai fighter Phahurat Sukpaya(?), scoring a 5th round body shot KO at 1:25 into the round. The win is the 5th in a row for Ishii and moves him to 54-12-12 (26 KO). His first scheduled defense of his Rajadamnern Stadium title was announced after his fight to take place on March 11th at Korakuen Hall, though no opponent has been announced.

In a superfight, SNKA Heavyweight champion Toshio Matsumoto scored a 4th straight knockout win with a 2nd round KO of Rakhataya Pumpanmuang(?) at 1:30 into the round. The win moves the Shin Nihon champ to 8-1 at heavyweight with all 8 wins coming by KO. Up until 2008, Matsumoto was a 70kg fighter and had 2 fights in K-1, both losses to Duane "Bang" Ludwig and TOMO. His lone loss at heavyweight was to former K-1 fighter Hiromi Amada, so that sort of gives you an idea of where he stands. I believe he announced that he would be in a number 1 contender's bout for the It's Showtime 95kg title at REBELS.10 on January 22nd. Considering the lack of depth at heavyweight in Japan, Danyo Ilunga should run through whoever emerges as his challenger.

In yet another Japan vs Thailand superfight, SNKA Flyweight champion Mitsuki Ebata defeated Thai fighter Tahanek ParadonGym(?) by 2nd round KO at 2:50 into the round. The 20 year old Ebata is now 14-1-1 (9 KO) in his pro career, though he also dropped a decision to 2010 K-1 Koshien Finalist Hiroki Akimoto under the Koshien banner. His sole loss came to former AJKF and WBC Japan Bantamweight champion and former WPMF Japan Super Bantamweight champion Arashi Fujiwara at Sengoku: Soul of Fight. He and his twin brother Rui Ebata have a very bright future going forward and could join fellow young fighter Genji Umeno as Japanese fighters who excel in Thaiboxing.

In a non-title fight, 2010 K-1 -63kg Tournament semifinalist Yoshimichi Matsumoto snapped a 3-fight losing streak with a 2nd round flying knee KO of SNKA Lightweight champion Tatsuya Ishii at 2:58 into the round. The two fought once before in May of 2009 with Ishii taking a majority decision. Matsumoto won the SNKA Lightweight title before vacating it to compete in the 2010 K-1 -63kg Tournament which was his coming out party as he upset AJKF legend Haruaki Otsuki in the qualifying round and scoring a KO over Daisuke Uematsu in the quarterfinals before eating a huge high kick against Yuta Kubo that ended his night. After that fight, he got knocked out in the first round by Makoto Nishiyama and dropped a rematch to Katsuji by decision. The win is a huge bounce back for Matsumoto who moves to 15-5 (7 KO) on his career and should have an angle for a 3rd fight with Ishii for the title.

Finally, #3 ranked Masayuki Uchida defeated #1 ranked Katsuya Setoguchi by majority decision on scores of 48-48, 49-47 and 49-48 to claim the vacant SNKA Featherweight title. {jcomments on}

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Japanese Scene Results: Yasuhiro Kido KOs Shintaro Matsukura at Big Bang 7

Back on December 11th, Yasuhiro Kido and Shintaro Matsukura squared off in the main event of a regional Japanese event titled Big Bang 7, a series put on by the Taniyama Gym. Also featured on the card were Japanese standouts Shunta Ito, Toshiki Taniyama, Marimo and Yuto Watanabe.

In the main event, fellow 2011 K-1 70kg Japan MAX Tournament participants Yasuhiro Kido and Shintaro Matsukura faced off, with Kido scoring a 2nd round knock out with a spinning backfist at 2:24 in the round. Kido (25-13-1, 11 KO) has had is struggles, but when he is on his game he is a very difficult fighter to beat. He was coming off a loss to Kenta in the quarterfinals of the Japan MAX tourney which snapped a 4-fight win-streak. After the win, Kido called out Kenta, stating that he wanted to be the first man for Kenta to defend his title against. The loss moves the 20 year old Matsukura to 4-4 (3 KO) in his 2-year pro career and despite being on a 3-fight losing streak, he has had a break out year. After ending 2010 with a loss on the Sengoku: Soul of Fight card, the 2009 K-1 Koshien 70kg champ started his year off with his biggest win, a huge upset in a great fight over Yuya Yamamoto in the quarterfinals of the Krush 70kg tournament. However, he lost in the semifinals to Yutaro Yamauchi and lost a rematch with Yamamoto in the K-1 Japan MAX tournament semifinals. At 20, Matsukura could use a step back in competition and a bounce back fight against someone along the lines of Yoshi, but a matchup with fellow prospects Hiroki Nakajima or Takafumi Morita would be interesting.

In the co-main event, WMAF Featherweight champion Shunta Ito scored a 4th round elbow KO at 27 seconds into the round over Thai fighter Fasanghan Or Benjamad. With the win, Ito is 7-1 in his last 8 and 23-9-4 (8 KO) overall. After the fight, it was announced that Ito would rematch Hideki Soga at 60kg. The two fought back in July of 2010 at Big Bang 2 with Ito escaping with a split decision win.

Also in action was K-1 fighter Toshiki Taniyama who picked up his 5th straight win with a 3rd round TKO over Thai fighter Shirichai Sukpanya(?) at 1:42 into the round. Taniyama is an interesting fighter at 63kg as he owns wins over Hirotaka Urabe and Yuto Watanabe in K-1, but lost to Keiji Ozaki, although that fight went into an extension round and outpointing the flashy Ozaki is a tough task for anyone. Taniyama is now 12-1 (4 KO) in his pro career and could see himself mixing it up with the division's elite more often in the future.

Speaking of Yuto Watanabe, he picked up a 1st round TKO at 1:39 into the round over club fighter Atsushi Masukura. The win moves him to 10-5 (3 KO) and is a good bounceback fight after a loss to Toshiki Taniyama in K-1. However if Watanabe keeps his recent streak up, he will lose as he is now 5-4 over his last 9 without putting together 2 straight wins.

Krush vet Marimo lost a unanimous decision to NKB Lightweight champion Naoki on scores of 30-28(x3). Marimo is best known for fighting Koya Urabe earlier this year in Krush. Before losing to Yuto Watanabe at RISE 68, Naoki was on a 10 fight win-streak and 16 fight unbeaten streak going 15-0-1 after starting his career 0-1-1. He lost 4 straight fights, but has now bounced back and is on a 3-fight win-streak with one of those wins coming in an opening fight at the 2011 K-1 Japan MAX Tournament over Takayoshi Kitayama. Naoki is now 18-5-2 (5 KO) and the streaky fighter should see himself moving up in competition.

Finally, Team Dragon fighter and Krush vet Masakazu Watanabe improved to 15-12-1 (4 KO) with a split decision win over Ryoji on scores of 30-29, 28-29 and 30-28. {jcomments on}

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