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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.

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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

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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:

 

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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

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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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J-Network - Next J-Generation Results: Soichiro Miyakoshi Defeats Undefeated Masato Otake

Earlier today, J-Network held Next J-Generation, an event headlined by a 67kg fight between Welterweight champ Masato Otake and WBC Japan Super Welterweight champ Soichiro Miyakoshi and a 70kg bout between Super Welterweight champ Tomoaki Makino and WPMF Japan Super Welterweight champ Takeru Shimizu, as well as the opening round of an 8-man Bantamweight tournament.

Undefeated J-Network Welterweight champion Masato Otake tasted defeat for the first time against WBC Japan Super Welterweight champ Soichiro Miyakoshi. Miyakoshi was able to keep pressure on Otake (9-1-0, 3 KO) throughout the course of the 3 rounds to earn a unanimous decision on scores of 30-27(x3). Miyakoshi had a rough 2011, dropping back to back fights to Yuya Yamato and Takafumi Morita, seemingly solidifying his place as a gatekeeper, but he bounced back with a win over WBC Japan Super Welterweight champ and Krush 70kg tournament finalist Yutaro Yamauchi to net him that title. Adding onto that today puts Miyakoshi back into contention with Japan's top 70kg fighters. A good next step for Otake may be a defending his title in J-Network as it seems Miyakoshi exposed him a bit.

In a 70kg fight, WPMF Japan Super Welterweight champion Takeru Shimizu fell behind early, but scored a knockdown of J-Network Super Welterweight champ Tomoaki Makino in the 3rd round to complete a comeback and earn a majority decision win on scores of 29-28, 29-27 and 28-28. Shimizu was coming into this fight off of a loss in MA Kick to Kazuya Takeda while Makino hadn't fought since an August loss to Buakaw Por. Pramuk in Thai Fight.

This event also marked the opening round of the J-Network Bantamweight tournament for the vacant Bantamweight title. #6 ranked Super Bantamweight Kentaro Kimura scored a TKO due to a cut over #2 ranked Super Flyweight and former boxer Chiharu Manda at 2:14 in the first round. #8 ranked Super Bantamweight Ki-Hoon Kim was able to pull off the upset over #1 ranked Bantamweight Kiyokazu Ohara, taking a unanimous decision on scores of 30-29 and 30-28(x2). #5 ranked Super Flyweight Kenta defeated #4 ranked WPMF Japan Bantamweight Jun Miyoshi by unanimous decision in an extension round on scores of 10-9(x3). And finally, #3 ranked Bantamweight Tatsuya Hibata defeated #7 ranked WPMF Japan Bantamweight Ken Takehara by unanimous decision on scores of 29-28(x3).{jcomments on}

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NJKF Kick to the Future 1 Results: Yamato, Adanza Score Stoppage Wins, Kenta Upset by TOMOYUKI

Yesterday at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, NJKF held its first major card of 2012, a new series entitled Kick to the Future. The card was headlined by a rematch between Tetsuya Yamato and Densiam Lookprabaht, a WBC Muay Thai International Super Flyweight title fight between TOMONORI (Sato) and Romie Adanza, and a 70kg super fight between Kenta and TOMOYUKI. There were also a pair of title fights, with Seiji Takahashi and Ikki fighting for the vacant Super Lightweight title and Hiroshi Saenchaigym and Rookie fighting for the vacant Super Bantamweight title.

In the main event, 2010 K-1 -63kg Tournament champion Tetsuya Yamato took swift revenge, knocking out former Lumpinee Stadium champion Densiam Lookprabaht in the 1st round at 2:28. Yamato (26-9-1, 21 KO) apparently dropped Densiam with a huge left hook that Densiam got up from, but didn't recover from, as Yamato rushed him and knocked him down again, prompting the ref to stop the fight. The win snaps a 2-fight losing streak for Yamato who dropped decisions to Jomthong Chuwattana and Ryuji Kajiwara in WBC and Krush title fights, respectively. After the fight, Yamato claimed that a WBC World title was his current goal, so I expect his next fight to take place in NJKF.

In the co-main event for the WBC International Super Flyweight title, WBC U.S. Bantamweight champion Romie Adanza and WMC Intercontinental Super Flyweight champion TOMONORI fought an abbreviated fight that was stopped at 0:19 into the 2nd round because of a cut that was a result of an elbow that Adanza threw. Neither fighter seemed to take much of a lead after the first round, but shortly into the second, Adanza landed an elbow that opened up a deep cut on TOMONORI's head that caused the ref to immediately call in the ringside doctor, who took little time to determine that the cut was too deep, an assessment that TOMONORI was not happy with at all. The win gives Adanza the WBC International Super Flyweight title, but with the way the fight ended, I wouldn't be surprised if a rematch was in the works. TOMONORI (30-13-3, 15 KO) was coming into the fight on a 3-fight winning streak.

In the big upset of the night, TOMOYUKI was able to squeak by Krush 70kg champion Kenta and take a majority decision on scores of 29-29, 30-29 and 29-28. It appears as though in rounds 2 and 3, TOMOYUKI constantly came forward and outworked Kenta to get the nod from the judges. TOMOYUKI is best known for his fight at Thai Fight Japan where he lost a decision to Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee. With this win, he gets his name out in what is the currently muddled 70kg division in Japan which has been controlled by a variety of inconsistent fighters since Masato's retirement. This fight was Kenta's (23-9-3, 8 KO) first fight since September's K-1 MAX Japan Tournament where he lost a razor-thin extension round decision to Yuya Yamamoto in the semifinals. Despite the loss, this may be a positive for Kenta who gets some action ahead of his higher profile March 17th title defense against Yasuhiro Kido in Krush.

In a bit of a surprise, NJKF Lightweight champion Keijiro Miyakoshi and MA Kick Super Featherweight champion Hikaru Machida fought to a majority draw on scores of 30-30, 30-29 and 29-29. Miyakoshi (10-3-1, 4 KO) was riding a 3-fight win streak coming into the bout and most recently had defeated J-Network Lightweight champ Akihiro Kuroda to earn a WBC Japan title shot. Machida (14-4-1, 4 KO) was fighting for the first time since September when he defended his MA Kick title against Nobuhiro Iwai. I would imagine Miyakoshi still has his title shot lined up and Machida is now likely in consideration as well.

In a bout for the vacant NJKF Super Lightweight title, WBC Japan Super Lightweight champion Seiji Takahashi was able to outpoint former NJKF Lightweight champ Ikki to earn a unanimous decision on scores 50-47 and 49-47(x2). Takahashi was coming in off of a successful defense of his WBC Japan title against Yusuke Sugawara back in October while Ikki had lost his most recent fight at Krush.14 to Yosuke Mizuochi.

Finally, #1 ranked NJKF Super Bantamweight Hiroshi Saenchaigym took a close split decision over #2 ranked Rookie on scores of 49-48(x2) and 48-49.

Quick Results after the break

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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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