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Krush.20 Results: Urabe Stops Osawa in Title Defense, Yuya Yamamoto Upset by Zaurus Asami

Krush.20 took place yesterday at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, headlined by a 60kg title fight.

In the night's main event, Krush 60kg champ Hirotaka Urabe defended his title against 60kg tournament winner Fumiya Osawa by 1st round KO at 2:48. Urabe scored with a spinning back kick to Osawa's body that dropped the challenger and left him unable to get up. Urabe (15-5-2, 9 KO) is now undefeated in his last 8 and has won 3 straight since fighting Naoki Ishikawa to a draw in his first title defense. He could see himself facing Ishikawa for a third time in a future title defense. Osawa (7-8-1, 2 KO) rebounded from a 4-fight winless streak by winning the Krush 60kg tournament with wins over Makoto Morishige, Yuya and Katsuya Goto. A good fight for him would be against Kan Itabashi to see where he stands in the division.

In the co-main event, Yuya Yamamoto was shut out by Zaurus Asami, losing a unanimous decision on scores of 30-28(x3). Yamamoto (33-23-1, 11 KO) has been horribly inconsistent throughout his career and has now lost three straight, being knocked out by Yuji Nashiro and Xu Yan in his last 2 outings. This is a huge loss and another setback for him. Asami (9-8-1) gets the biggest win of his career and some momentum after going 1-4 in his 5 fights heading into this.

In first bout of the 4th leg of the Krush Wildrush League, current league leader Hideaki Yamazaki knocked out Naoki Terasaki just 24 seconds into the fight with a left hook. The knockout gives Yamazaki 9 points with just one fight left and puts him in a very good position to win the tournament. The second and third placed fighters Hitoshi Tsukagoshi and Yukimitsu Takahashi have 5 and 4 points, respectively, and face off at Krush.21 on August 12th and the winner is the only person left with a realistic shot at taking the lead from Yamazaki. Should it be Takahashi, he and Yamazaki face off in the final leg of the league.

At 63kg, Hiroya was able to stop fellow Krush Youth Tournament participant Daizo Sasaki with low kicks at 2:43 of the 3rd round. Both fighters had lost 3 in a row heading into this bout with Hiroya (11-5-0, 6 KO) losing to Masaaki Noiri, Naoki and most recently Krush 63kg champ Ryuji Kajiwara, and Sasaki losing to Noiri, Kengo Sonoda and Atsushi Ogata. This is a bounce back win for Hiroya and a good next fight for him might be a rematch with Sho Ogawa, depending on when the Krush Youth tournament begins this year. 

Finally, at 70kg, TOMOYUKI picked up an extension round decision win over Shintaro Matsukura, winning on all 3 cards after judges ruled a draw on scores of 29-28, 29-29 and 30-30. Tomoyuki first made a name for himself earlier this year, upsetting then Krush 70kg champion Kenta in his first fight of 2012 and has gone 2-1 since then, with the loss to MA Kick champ Kazuya Takeda. Matsukura (5-6-0, 4 KO) had just ended a 3-fight losing streak with a win back in June. After his upset of Yuya Yamamoto, Matsukura has been rather pedestrian, going 1-4, though losing a split, majority and now extension round decision along the way.

Quick results after the break

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MA Kick - Kick Guts 2012 Results: Akimoto Remains Undefeated With 1st Round TKO

MA Kick held an event titled Kick Guts 2012, a memorial event dedicated to Hisao Maki, founder of the Maki Dojo and a big name in Kyokushinkai, who passed away in January. The event featured an MA Kick title fight, a WPMF title fight, a WBC Japan #1 contender fight, a WPMF Japan #1 contender fight, an MA Kick #1 contender fight and a pair of MA Kick champions taking on well-known Thais in superfights.

In the night's main event, 2010 K-1 Koshien runner-up Hiroki Akimoto remained undefeated in his professional career with a 1st round stoppage due to a cut at 1:28 of Hiroki Fujisawa, netting him the MA Kick Featherweight title. Akimoto cut Fujisawa with an elbow and swarmed on him, leading to a standing 8 count which then led to a doctor stoppage due to the cut. Akimoto (16-0-0, 8 KO) made it to the quarterfinals of the 2009 K-1 Koshien tournament where he lost to finalist Shota Shimada and made it to the finals himself the following year, taking out the likes of Keigo Ishida and 2011 champ Sho Ogawa, before being stopped by Shohei Hareyama in the 3rd round of the final. Despite those losses, Akimoto is still undefeated in his pro career and since that loss to Hareyama, he has now won his last 7 fights by knockout, including KOs of Turbo and Pinsiam Sor. Amnuaysirichok. Though his record is impressive, Akimoto is rather untested and there are a lot of names at 57.5kg that could challenge him, including Yosuke Morii, Genji Umeno, Heihachi Nakajima and even Ryuya Kusakabe, should he move up. Nevertheless, Akimoto has a very bright future with his 20th birthday coming in just over a month and is another exciting product of the K-1 Koshien system.

In the co-main event, former WPMF Japan Welterweight champ Daiki Watabe scored a TKO due to a cut in the 4th round at 2:08 over #1 ranked MA kick Welterweight Yukimaru to earn a shot at Yuya Yamato's WBC Japan Welterweight title. Watabe dropped Yukimaru in the 2nd and 3rd rounds and was in control of the fight until the stoppage. Watabe (13-8-1, 9 KO) is a REBELS regular, though he is just 1-3 in his last 4 fights for the organization and 2-3 in his last 5 overall, dropping a pair of decisions to T-98 which lost him his WPMF Japan title and losing to Chi Bin Lim. This is a solid win for him, though I don't think he has much chance against Yamato. The fight is set for October 7th, which shouldn't be a problem for Yamato who has a tough test in Yuta Kubo on August 26th in Krush.

In a 51kg bout, WBC and WPMF Japan Flyweight champion Ryuji Kato was able to defend his WPMF title with a 4th round KO of Shuichi Wentz at 1:43 via knee. Kato (18-3-1, 9 KO) finished 2011 strong, winning a 4-man tournament with a pair of KOs to claim the first WPMF Japan Flyweight title and then defeating Naoki Otsuki for his WBC Japan Flyweight title. However, 2012 was not as good for Kato, who lost his MA Kick Flyweight title to Yuuji, then followed it up with a loss to Ngoprajan Chuwattana. This win snaps his 2-fight losing streak. After the fight, he called out WPMF Japan Super-Flyweight champ Kiminori Matsuzaki, who defeated his teammate Takuma Ito for the WPMF Japan title. Wentz (15-8-1, 6 KO) had most recently defeated the aforementioned Yuuji in M-1, snapping a 5-fight winless streak that dated back to 2010 which saw him lose twice to TO-MA, go 0-1-1 against Yuki and lose to Romie Adanza. This loss is another setback, though Wentz's only losses have come to top names and usually in title matches. He has a wealth of options, with possible rematches against TO-MA, Yuki and Yuuji, possibly for the MA Kick title, or fresh matchups against Taisuke Degai or Takahiro.

Analysis of Machida-Kanongsuk, Miyamoto-Pinsiam and Sho Ogawa's bout and quick results after the break

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Krush-EX 2012 vol.4 Results: Urabe Cruises, Ogata Upsets Taniyama

With Krush.20 just a week away, Krush held the 4th installment of its 2012 Krush-EX series, headlined by Koya Urabe and also featuring Krush regulars Toshiki Taniyama and Yu Hirono, among others.

In the night's main event, Koya Urabe took a commanding unanimous decision over the heavy-handed Ryukei on scores of 30-25(x3). Urabe dominated the entirety of the fight, scoring downs in the 1st and 3rd rounds on a head kick and spinning back fist, respectively. The win is the second straight for Urabe (20-4-0, 2 KO) after dropping a decision to Keijiro Miyakoshi in NJKF back in April. His most recent win came at Big Bang 9 where he dominated the fight and remained aggressive throughout the entire fight and it seems to be a repeated effort here. I believe Urabe is still eligible for this year's Krush Youth tournament, and if he is I'd imagine he wants to participate and avenge his loss to Masaaki Noiri if he can. If not, I'd expect him to be first in line should Thomas Adamandopoulos take the Krush 63kg belt from Ryuji Kajiwara in August. Ryukei (7-3-0, 7 KO) only had a puncher's chance, which seemed pretty good considering Urabe's lack of defense, but wasn't able to come through. Aside from this loss to Urabe, he has a pair of losses to DEEP*KICK 60kg champ Hiroto Yamaguchi. He isn't a bad fighter by any means, but he won't be making any waves at 60-63kg. Still, it'd be nice for Krush to keep him around as he can always provide a good knockout.

In the co-main event, Atsushi Ogata pulled off an upset, knocking out Toshiki Taniyama in the 2nd round at 3:00. Ogata came out aggressively and was able to use pressure to fold Taniyama with a left hook in the closing seconds of the 2nd round. This was Ogata's third fight in Krush, going 1-1 with a knockout loss to Ryukei and most recently a decision win over Daizo Sasaki back at Krush.19. From here he could possibly rematch Ryukei, though he could also leverage himself for a shot at Urabe as Krush was likely trying to set up a fight between Urabe and Taniyama. Taniyama (13-2-0, 5 KO) takes a big step back here as he was on a probable collision course with Koya Urabe and a possible title shot. This loss snaps a 5-fight winning streak which included 3 straight knockouts, most recently at Big Bang 9. A rematch with Keiji Ozaki would be fun, but I'd like to see him against Ryukei to see if he folds from the pressure of a heavy-handed striker.

Quick results after the break

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RISE 89 Results: Sun Hyun Lee Stops Yuto Watanabe

RISE held RISE 89 at Differ Ariake in Tokyo yesterday and although the card did not feature a slew of top names as previous RISE cards have, it did feature a battle between top 63kg fighters, as well as 55kg prospect Seiya Rokukawa and a few other RISE regulars.

In the main event, RISE Korea Welterweight champ Sun Hyun Lee was able to knock out recent title challenger Yuto Watanabe at 1:29 of the extension round to put himself in a very good position at 63kg. Lee was dropped in the second round on a spinning back kick, but controlled the rest of the bout, earning an extension round where he dropped Watanabe twice, forcing the ref to call off the bout. After the bout Takashi Ito, former kickboxer and a RISE representative, stated that Lee would need one more win before a rematch against current 63kg champ Yuki, who Lee edged out by majority decision at RISE 88, though the fight was at 64kg. There are two options for RISE here, with Yusuke Sugawara and Hiroshi Mizumachi, though it is unclear if Mizumachi will be fighting Yuki for the title or if he still needs one more fight. Despite losing his last two, Watanabe has elevated his status, as he was a middle of the road fighter, but has impressed in his last two fights, taking a huge lead over Yuki in the early rounds before an incredible comeback and managing to drop Lee and take him to an extension round despite being outclassed. A good next fight with him would be a rematch against Shohei Asahara, though he may get an easier fight after his last two.

In the co-main event, MA Kick Bantamweight champ Takashi Ohno gave DEEP KICK 55kg tournament champ Seiya Rokukawa his first career loss with a unanimous decision win on scores of 30-26 and 29-26(x2). Ohno dropped Rokukawa towards the end of the first round and cruised for the rest of the fight, dominating his younger opponent. Ohno has now won 7 straight and may have earned himself another fight in RISE and maybe one with some title implications as 55kg champ KENJI is more or less out of interesting opponents already. Rokukawa takes a step back, but then again, this was his first good opponent, really. At 25, he has time to mature, but it's worth noting that most of the elite fighters in the division are younger than him, so he may find it tough reaching the top of the division.
Finally, in a 63kg fight, #1 ranked Super Lightweight Yusuke Sugawara was able to earn a unanimous decision against #3 ranked Lightweight Shohei Asahara on scores of 29-28(x2) and 29-27. Sugawara dropped an extension round decision to Yukihiro Komiya at 65kg in Komiya's 65kg debut, moving Sugawara out of a title shot, though he may find himself in a #1 contender's bout at Lightweight with this win over Asahara, who had just lost a #1 contender's bout to Yuto Watanabe. He could find himself facing Sun Hyun Lee if he is chosen for the #1 contender's bout over Hiroshi Mizumachi. 
Full results after the break
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NJKF Kick to the Future 3 Results: Yamato Stops Takahashi in Strange Ending


New Japan Kickboxing Federation held the third installment of its Kick to the Future series, headlined by Tetsuya Yamato challenging for Seiji Takahashi's WBC Japan Super Lightweight title and a chance to face WBC International Super Lightweight champion Kevin Ross. Also on the card were former Krush 70kg champ Kenta and the continuation of the New Japan Wars 2012 series.
In the main event, Tetsuya Yamato stopped Seiji Takahashi at 1:29 in the 2nd round to win the WBC Japan Super Lightweight title and earn a shot at Kevin Ross, but not without some controversy. Yamato was controlling the fight and hurt Takahashi, sending him back into the corner where Yamato dropped him with elbows and punches, causing Takahashi to lean down against the ring post and before the referee was able to come in, Yamato landed a kick to his downed opponent, somewhat like Badr Hari's incident against Remy Bonjasky at the 2008 K-1 WGP Finals, but not as blatant. When the referee separated them, Takahashi was given time to recover, but was unable to do so and Yamato was handed the win on the grounds that his initial knockdown was legitimate. It's a bizarre ending, but Yamato (28-9-1, 22 KO) now moves on to face Kevin Ross for the WBC International Super Lightweight title on September 22nd in Tokyo. Yamato has put together a very solid 2012 with wins over Densiam Lookprabaht, Sergio Wielzen and now Takahashi, though he has been unable to finish out his past two years strong, with losses to Ryuji Kajiwara and Jomthong at the end of last year and a loss to Koya Urabe and a disappointing draw against MMA fighter "Wicky" Akiyo Nishiura in 2010. A win over Ross would keep Yamato's momentum strong and give some consistency to an inconsistent career. Takahashi (11-7-0, 6 KO) was game in the first round, but was unable to do much against the tough Yamato. Since he won the NJKF Super Lightweight title, I'd imagine his next fight would be whoever comes out on top of the New Japan Wars at Super Lightweight.
In the co-main event, former Krush 70kg champ Kenta returned to the win column with a 2nd round knockout of Shu Kiire at 1:48. Kenta controlled the entirety of the fight, causing Kiire's corner to throw in the towel in the 2nd round after a down. Kenta (24-10-3, 9 KO) came into the fight on a 3-fight losing streak, with a questionable loss to Yuya Yamamoto at last year's K-1 MAX Japan Tournament, an upset against TOMOYUKI at Kick to the Future 1 and then being KO'd by Yasuhiro Kido in the first defense of his Krush title. This is a much needed win for the exciting, talented fighter who was on fire last year. It does not seem like there was a moment in the fight he didn't control.
NJKF also held 5 fights in its New Japan Wars 2012 series, a tournament stretched across 2012 at each weight class to determine challengers for their current champions. In the first Super Featherweight semifinal, #1 ranked KEI took a majority decision over #4 ranked Nobuhiro Iwai who, after going 0-6-1 in his last 7, made it seem as though he was headed for retirement. In the other semifinal, #2 ranked Shoya Suzuki took a unanimous decision over #5 ranked Takeshi Tsuruya. In a Super Lightweight fight, #4 ranked Kazushige Sugama upset #1 ranked and former NJKF Lightweight champ Ikki by unanimous decision and denying Ikki a rematch against current champ Seiji Takahashi. In a Featherweight semifinal, #3 ranked Ayumu Sasara stopped #6 ranked Daiki in the 3rd round. And finally, in a 1st round Welterweight fight, #8 ranked Tae-yong stopped #9 ranked Masashi Aseishi in the 2nd round.
Quick results after the break
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Krush-EX 2012 vol. 3 Results: Takumi Earns 55kg Title Shot with KO

Krush held the 3rd edition of its Krush-EX series this year, headlined by a 55kg #1 contender’s bout between Team Dragon’s Takumi and Katsuki Sasaki.

In the main event, Takumi and Katsuki Sasaki faced off in a rematch of a fight from 2010 with Takumi scoring a first round knockout at 2:31, earning a shot at current 55kg champion Shota Takiya and a chance to avenge his most recent loss on August 26th at Krush.22. Takumi (12-2-0, 5 KO) is on fire right now, winning 6 in a row and scoring 4 of his 5 career knockouts in the process. The 22 year old throws crisp combinations, is prolific with knees and is a decent counter puncher. However, for everything he’s gotten offensively out of Team Dragon, he’s also inherited their lack of defense and his open offensive style leaves him open to get hit, which will definitely be a problem against the heavy-handed Takiya. The last time the two fought was in the opening round of the Krush 55kg tournament and Takiya stopped Takumi with a front kick. I think Takumi has somewhat of a shot, as he has power, can put strikes together and isn’t slow by any means and Takiya isn’t the hardest person to hit, but it’s going to take everything falling in place for him to come out the new Krush champion. Sasaki (4-5-1, 4 KO) isn’t that great of a fighter at 55kg, but has the power to stop pretty much anyone at the weight and was put into this fight because of his 1st round KO of Ryuma Tobe. A fun fight for him would be against Nobuchika Terado, KO-ICHI or Namito Izawa.

Speaking of Terado, he took place in an exhibition bout against J-Network Super Flyweight champ Yuki after Yuki’s original opponent, SATOI, pulled out with an injury earlier in the week, leaving Krush no time to find a suitable replacement.

In a 55kg bout, Team Dragon prospect Namito Izawa was handed his second pro loss by Shibuya Scramble’s Yuya Suzuki, with Suzuki winning a unanimous decision on scores of 30-28 (x3). Suzuki dropped Izawa in the 2nd round with a right cross, which ended up being the deciding factor in the fight. This win throws his name in the hat at 55kg and could see him taking on Nobuchika Terado, Katsuki Sasaki, SATOI or Ryuma Tobe. Izawa has now dropped two in a row, the first two losses of his career, after losing to Nobuchika Terado in the main event of Krush-EX vol.1 earlier this year.

Finally, exciting 60kg fighter Yuji “Kyoken” Takeuchi announced that he would be returning to fight soon after being sidelined since his exciting rematch against Naoki Ishikawa back in September at Krush.12.

Quick Results after the break

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Battle for the Belts: Pinca, Kem, Sagetdao, Schilling Among Winners

Battle for the Belts took place in Bangkok yesterday. Although the card was nowhere near what it looked like on paper originally, there were still some good fights that went down with some of the best in the world.

Just two weeks after his loss to Giorgio Petrosyan, Fabio Pinca fought Big Ben Chor Praram for the WBC title at 67kg and walked away with a decision win. Pinca seemed to stun Big Ben in the second round and almost scored a knockdown with low kicks in the third, with Big Ben's leg visibly being hurt. Big Ben, however, controlled the fourth and fifth rounds while Pinca was still competitive.

For the lightweight WBC title, Jomthong Chuwattana took a comfortable decision over Yetkin Ozkul, dominating the fight. Ozkul was game but he got dominated by Jomthong, who used his height and technical skills to keep Ozkul at bay the whole fight. For the super lightweight WBC title, Sagetdao Phetphayathai disposed of Sofiane Derdaga via cut stoppage in the third round.

For the super welterweight WBC title at 70kg, Kem Sitsongpeenong scored a nasty elbow KO over Alejandro Asuma Osu. Kem, predictably, looked a lot more comfortable fighting Muay Thai than he did fighting kickboxing at Glory recently.

Since Artem Levin, Simon Marcus and Artem Vakhitov all pulled out of the fight at one time or another, Joe Schilling ended up facing a Golden Glory kickboxer, Karapet Karapetyan. Schilling won most of the fight, except the third round and turned it up in rounds four and five to get a decision victory, for the interim WBC light heavyweight world title.

At super cruiserweight, 95kg, Steve McKinnon stopped Frank Munoz very quickly into the first round with a right hand that sent Munoz down and unable to beat the count. Fabiano Aoki defeated Christian Bosch for the WBC's heavyweight world title via jumping knee KO.

Fabio Pinca def. Big Ben Chor Praram by decision.

Jomthong Chuwattana def. Yetkin Ozkul by decision.

Sagetdao Phetphayathai def. Sofiane Derdaga by TKO (Cut) in Round 3.

Kem Sitsongpeenong def. Alejandro Asumu Osa by KO (Elbow) in Round 2.

Joe Schilling def. Karapet Karapetyan by decision.

Steve McKinnon def. Frank Munoz by KO (Overhand Right) in Round 1.

Fabiano Aoki def. Christian Bosch by KO (Jumping Knee) in Round 2.

 

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Saenchai Outclasses Peneak in Vintage Performance at Lumpini Stadium

Saenchai put in a vintage performance to outclass the newly crowned fighter of the year Peneak in the main event of the biggest show of the year so far at Lumpini Stadium. He was fighting at 127.5 lbs, something which he has supposedly told promoters he will never do again, and the question was whether the weight cut would leave him drained and give the younger, taller Peneak an advantage.

The answer was an emphatic no. Saenchai controlled the action from start to finish, repeatedly making Peneak miss and seemingly sweeping him and throwing him to the ground at will. In his last outing Peneak was able to drop Sam A with an elbow but this time he was unable to mount any serious offense with Saenchai at his imperious best.

It is rare to see a Muay Thai fighter continuing to compete at an elite level in Thailand past the age of 30 but not only is Saenchai still a match for the very best, on his day he is still capable of outclassing just about anyone. After back to back losses to Saketdaw and, somewhat controversially, Fabio Pinca he has bounced back in spectacular style by putting on masterclasses against two of Thailand's best in Saketdaw and Penek.

In a star studded card the fight of the night was between Wanchai and Sarawut. Sarawut controlled the early action and swept Wanchai on multiple ocassions at the start of the fourth round to move ahead but Wanchai just kept coming and coming, walking his opponent down to take the decision on two of the three judges scorecards.

In the co main event experience prevailed over youth as Singdam's famous right body kick was the story of the fight against up and coming teenager Wanchalerm Udonmuang.  Old adversaries Nong O and Petbonchu locked horns again, this time Nong O was unable to score a stoppage as he has done repatedly in previous meetings although he did get the nod from the judges at the end of a close, competitive fight.

In another battle between a teenager and a veteran Petpanomrung was just too good for Ting Tong. Wanchalong beat Choknamchai, Petmorakot defeated Nattachai and Superlek's size advantage proved too great for Palongpon to overcome

Results:

Superlek Wor Sangprapai defeated Palongpon Watcharachai 

Wanchai Sor Kittichai defeated Sarawut Pikadpadang

Choknamchai Sitjaagung defeated Wanchalong Sitsonong to win Lumpinee Super Flyweight Title

Petmorakot Teedet99 defeated Nattachai Pran26  to win Lumpinee Bantamweight Title

Petpanomrung Wor Sangprapai defeated Tingtong Chor Koiyuhaisuzu

Nong-O Gaiyanghaadao gym defeated Petbonchu FA Group

Singdam Kiatmoo9 defeated Wanchalerm Udonmuang (Lumpinee Lightweight Title)

Saenchai PKMuaythaigym defeated Penek Sitnumnoi 

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Krush.19 Results: Kubo Cruises, Osawa Wins 60kg Tournament, Ishikawa Edges Out Itabashi

Krush.19 took place earlier today at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, headlined by top Lightweight Yuta Kubo and also featuring the 60kg tournament final and Japanese stars Naoki Ishikawa, Kan Itabashi and Keiji Ozaki.

In the main event, Yuta Kubo moved up to 65kg to take on WKN European Welterweight champ Abdellah Ezbiri, cruising to a unanimous decision on scores of 30-26 and 30-25(x2). Kubo dropped Ezbiri twice in the 2nd round, first with a left hook and again with a spinning back fist, but Ezbiri showed his toughness by gutting it out the entire 3 rounds. Kubo (33-4-1, 15 KO) continues his roll and pushes his win-streak to double digits with his 10th straight win. After the fight, he announced that, with this small jump in weight, he has the intention of moving up to 70kg in the future, which is exciting news for fans of the sport as Kubo has a case for being considered the top Lightweight in the world. At 5’9”, Kubo will lose his size advantage that he usually has over his competition, but he will by no means be small for 70kg, so the move makes a lot of sense, especially considering he’s entering into his prime with his 25th birthday on the horizon. Ezbiri (27-5-0, 11 KO) has no shame in losing here and could have even helped himself out a bit despite losing, as he showed heart and toughness by picking himself up off the canvas twice and managing to stay on his feet in the 3rd round, where Kubo usually smells blood and finishes off a hurt opponent.

In the co-main event, Naoki Ishikawa cemented his status as the #2 guy in Krush at 60kg, edging out former RISE champion Kan Itabashi on scores of 30-29(x3). Ishikawa (35-18-5, 18 KO) has once again clawed his way towards the top of the division after a 1-4 stretch, going 2-0-1 in his last 3 with wins over Yuji Takeuchi and now Itabashi, and drawing Krush champ Hirotaka Urabe in a title fight. Had Krush not held the 60kg tourney, Ishikawa would be the obvious next opponent for Urabe, as he is 0-1-1 against the champ and currently the only viable option inside Krush at the moment. As it stands, Urabe is defending his title against Fumiya Osawa in July, so Ishikawa will likely have to wait about 6 months. Possible matchups in the mean time are 60kg tournament participants Katsuya Goto, Takashi Nakajima or Yuya, or possible a foreign opponent. Itabashi (19-6-2, 3 KO) came close, but faltered once again against the division’s elite. Despite wins over Anuwat, Kanongsuk, Yuki and Keiji Ozaki, Itabashi has dropped a pair of fights to Masahiro Yamamoto, lost his RISE title to Kosuke Komiyama in a close fight and now lost to Ishikawa. I would like to see RISE take him back in and set him up for a rematch with Komiyama, though I do not think it will fare too well for him as Komiyama has improved with each fight since the two first met.

In the finals of the 60kg tournament, Fumiya Osawa earned the right to challenge current champ Hirotaka Urabe by squeaking by Katsuya Goto via extension round split decision on scores of 10-9(x2) and 9-10. This is a rematch from last December which saw the two fight to a majority draw, so it is pretty obvious that these two are more or less equals. This is huge for Osawa, who was 0-3-1 in his 4 fights previous to entering the tournament, but he has now scored 3 quality wins and is set to face Krush champ Hirotaka Urabe in July. While his chances aren’t that good, it’s not as if Urabe is unhittable and the 20 year old Osawa was a tough out for Kizaemon Saiga last year and only seems to have gotten better. Goto misses out on his opportunity to fight for the title, but with a close loss here and a close loss to the aforementioned Saiga, Goto is by no means out of the title picture. His head movement and strong boxing give him preferential style matchups against Naoki Ishikawa and Hirotaka Urabe. A good next fight for him would be against Junpei Aotsu.

In a 64kg bout, the exciting Keiji Ozaki returned to action with an easy win over China’s Ding Ning on scores of 30-28 and 30-27(x2). After a loss to Thomas Adamandopoulos for the ISKA 62.3kg title and a loss in Russia, Ozaki is 2-0 in 2012, though he was hardly challenged in either fight. Ozaki (25-15-1, 9 KO) is not an elite fighter, but he will always be fun to watch and his flashy taekwondo style, which features a plethora of spinning attacks, presents a difficult challenge for most fighters.

Finally, in the last fight of the 3rd leg of the Krush 63kg WILDRUSH League, Yukimitsu Takahashi picked up his first win of the tournament, earning a unanimous decision over TaCa on scores of 29-28, 30-28 and 30-29. Takahashi had been involved in two exciting fights before this one, but only managed to get a draw and a single point from each fight. This is a big win over one of the top fighters in this round robin and puts him at 3rd place with 4 points and in striking distance of league leader Hideaki Yamazaki. However, Takahashi has his two hardest matchups for his final two bouts, against #1 Yamazaki and #2 Hitoshi Tsukagoshi and being more of a decision fighter, the odds are stacked against him. TaCa sits at 1-2-0 (1 KO) in the tournament and gets jumped by Takahashi in the standings. To win the league, he would likely have to score back to back knockouts.

After 3 fights, the current standings of the WILDRUSH League are

1. Hideaki Yamazaki, 6 points (3-0-0, 0 KO)

2. Hitoshi Tsukagoshi, 5 points (2-1-0, 1 KO)

3. Yukimitsu Takahashi, 4 points (1-0-2, 0 KO)

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

5. Naoki Terasaki, 1 point (0-2-1, 0 KO)

5. NOMAN, 1 point (0-2-1, 0 KO)

Quick results after the break

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RISE 88 Results: Komiyama, Kamimura, Uehara, KENJI, Lee, Van Opstal Score Wins at RISE Supercard

The RISE 88 supercard took place yesterday at the Tokyo Dome City Hall, with 4 current RISE champions competing and a host of other top talents within the company.

The night’s main event saw promotional 60kg champ Kosuke Komiyama defend his title for the first time with a 4th round knockout of Motochika Hanada at 2:53. Hanada gave Komiyama a good challenge in the early stages of the fight, but as it progressed into the second round Komiyama took control, ultimately dropping Hanada in the 4th and causing his corner to throw in the towel. Komiyama (18-2-0, 11 KO) is now on a 7 fight winstreak and can probably lay claim to being the best fighter around the weight in Japan not fighting in Krush. With wins over Kan Itabashi and Sergio Wielzen, it’s hard to argue against Komiyama’s standing simply because he doesn’t fight in Krush. However, I would like to see him make the jump over and fight whoever holds the Krush 60kg title at the time, or possibly take a fight against Naoki Ishikawa or a top foreigner, as RISE has not been shy about looking for talent outside of the promotion. The loss isn’t that bad for Hanada (12-2-1, 4 KO) who is still pretty good.

In the co-main event, promotional Heavyweight champ Makoto Uehara knocked out UFC veteran Crafton “Blaze” Wallace at 2:27 into the 2nd round. Uehara was able to hurt Wallace to the body in the second round and use his heavy hands to drop him twice, both times with right hooks, prompting the referee to stop the fight. Uehara (13-4-0, 9 KO) was originally supposed to take on Ray Sefo, but Sefo pulled out, citing a lingering eye injury that had not recovered from his previous fight against Mirko CroCop. Uehara was coming off of a quick KO of Won Jingan back at RISE 87 and this likely sets him up for a title fight with Kengo Shimizu for either Uehara’s Heavyweight title or an inaugural 90kg title. Wallace was a journeyman MMA fighter at Middleweight with no big wins, while his losses came to the likes of Nate Marquardt, Martin Kampmann and Patrick Cote.

In a 64kg superfight, 63kg champion Yuki was unable to defeat surging prospect and RISE Korea Welterweight champ Sun Hyun Lee, though the fight was close with Lee taking a majority decision on scores of 28-28, 29-28 and 28-27. Lee first got his name out with a one-sided beatdown of Kizaemon Saiga, then lost a razor-thin extension round decision to Koya Urabe in the opening round of the Krush 63kg tourney. He won the RISE Korea title last year in a 4-man one-night tournament and lost a close decision to RISE 65kg champ Koji Yoshimoto at RISE 85, though the fight would have been a draw had Lee made weight. A good fight to make would be between Lee and K-1 veteran Lim Chi Bin, who recently dropped down to 65kg. Yuki (31-14-1, 23 KO) may not be in the division’s elite, but he is certainly in the upper tier and is a damn tough out for any of the top guys at the weight. He was coming off of an incredible comeback win that saw him score two downs in the 5th over title challenger Yuto Watanabe back at RISE 87. He could find himself defending his title again against Hiroshi Mizumachi in the near future.

In the last superfight featuring a current RISE champion, 55kg champ KENJI continued his mean streak with a 3rd round KO of WAKO European Bantamweight champ Franck Gross. KENJI landed a huge left head kick in the 3rd round that put Gross out and forced the referee to stop the bout before starting a count. KENJI (21-4-0, 13 KO) has won 11 of his last 12 and without a deep talent pool, RISE has exhausted all options for him outside of bringing over foreign competition. They could potentially go out and get Ryuya Kusakabe to challenge for the title, but an ideal world would see him in Krush against Nobuchika Terado, Kusakabe or current Krush champ Shota Takiya. Gross now drops to 21-5-1 (3 KO).

In a bit of an upset, Team Souwer’s Henri van Opstal scored a KO of Hinata at 19 seconds into the 3rd round. The two seemed to have been even for the first two rounds, but van Opstal scored a huge right high kick that sent Hinata down and while he tried to get back up, he was unable to do so. This is a big win for van Opstal and is a good bounce back from a loss to Hafid el Boustati at It’s Showtime 55 in January. Hinata (22-12-1, 7 KO) is now 0-2 against Team Souwer and has not fared so well against non-Asian competition since his upsets of Mike Zambidis and Artur Kyshenko, being choked out in under a minute by Souwer, shut out by Giorgio Petrosyan, blown out of the water by Andy Ristie and now KO’d by van Opstal.

In the last “big” fight of the event, Erika Kamimura earned a second shot at RISE -48kg Queen RENA, defeating Seo Hee Ham for the second time by unanimous decision on scores of 30-28 and 29-27(x2). The fight does not appear to have been as action-packed as their first, but it seems like Kamimura stung Ham a couple times. Kamimura (25-2-0, 13 KO) earns a rematch with RENA for the RISE belt, though it is hard to say when that fight would take place as Shootboxing is currently holding first round fights for a 53.5kg Girls S-Cup and, according to their schedule, is planning on holding the tournament in August. Ham (6-2-0, 1 KO) wasn’t as successful as she was in their first fight, likely due to difference of rulesets, but she has nothing to hang her head about. She is one of the top female fighters in women’s kickboxing and MMA, but never quite broke through into the division’s elite, with her MMA losses coming to legends Miku Matsumoto, Yuka Tsuji and Megumi Fujii and a pair of losses to Fujii student and prodigy Ayaka Hamasaki and now her only two kickboxing losses against Kamimura.

More analysis and quick results after the break

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