Earlier today at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Krush held Krush.27, headlined by a 63kg title bout between current champ Thomas Adamandopoulos and 2012 WILDRUSH League winner Hideaki Yamazaki. Also on the card were the semifinals of the 58kg tournament, the second leg of the 55kg WILDRUSH League and fights featuring Krush standouts Koya Urabe, Yutaro Yamauchi, Yuji Takeuchi, Hisaki Higashimoto and MA Kick champion Keisuke Miyamoto.
The main event saw Krush 63kg champ Thomas Adamandopoulos attempt to defend his title for the first time against Hideaki Yamazaki, who earned the fight by winning the 63kg WILDRUSH League with a perfect 5-0-0 record. In a big upset, the Liver Kick #6 ranked Lightweight Adamandopoulos was dropped by a spinning backfist in the 2nd round and seemed to have a bit of trouble finding offense against Yamazaki, losing a unanimous decision on scores of 30-28(x2) and 30-27. I had given Yamazaki little chance to beat Adamandopoulos as he was coming off of a stoppage loss to Gagny Baradji, who had very little kickboxing experience despite being a Savate champion. Some might remember that Adamandopoulos' first trip to Krush saw him get dropped by a spinning backfist when he won his ISKA title against Keiji Ozaki. The win continues the chaos in the Lightweight division and could earn Yamazaki a spot in the top 10. I'd like to see Yamazaki rematch Gagny Baradji for the title and possibly see Adamandopoulos back in Krush against Koya Urabe. The odds of Urabe fighting his teammate Yamazaki are pretty low, though he did fight his teammate Ryuji Kajiwara in the finals of the Krush tournament.
The co-main event features were the semifinals of the 58kg tournament featuring Nobuchika Terado vs Shota Kobe and Takeru vs Yuzo Suzuki. Tournament favorite Terado struggled a bit, but was able to drop Kobe in the 2nd round and ride out a unanimous decision on scores of 30-28(x2) and 29-27. At this point is career it's clear that Terado has lost a step, but he's still one of Japan's best talents around this weight and his combination of power and heart makes him a difficult matchup for nearly everyone. The other semifinal saw the other favorite advance as Team Dragon's Takeru pushed his win streak to 5 with a unanimous decision over former Kyokushin world champion Yuzo Suzuki on scores of 30-28(x3). Takeru wasn't unhittable, but he controlled the action and landed the better shots, setting up a final against Terado. I have a feeling that Takeru will win, but the logical choice in the finals is Terado. Despite being 11 years older, Terado has shown the ability get hit and hit back harder. He gets knocked down more often at this point in his career, but he always seems to get back up. Takeru, on the other hand, has not been put in the same position, so it's impossible to know how he'll respond to being hit by Terado. I give Takeru the power advantage and it's very possible he could hurt Terado early and put him away, but he is also pretty wild and Terado can end a fight just as quickly. Regardless, the finals should be fireworks whether it lasts one round or three.
The main super fight saw 2012 63kg Youth GP champ Koya Urabe drop to 60kg to rematch 2012 60kg Tournament winner Fumiya Osawa. The two previously met very early in their respective careers, with Urabe winning by knockout with a flying knee. Urabe had grown into a star while Osawa meddled in mediocrity until surprising everyone by winning last year's 60kg tournament and a shot at Hirotaka Urabe's title. Despite that, he was coming off of two stoppage losses and most had him pegged as a big underdog in this rematch. That was until Koya Urabe tried the same flying knee that he stopped Osawa with in their first fight, which Osawa countered beautifully with a left cross, dropping Urabe. Unfortunately, however, I believe Urabe dropped Osawa with a right hook coming off of a break. Osawa was more or less knocked out and the referee had no other option but to disqualify Urabe. I can definitely see these two fighting for a 3rd time as the result here was inconclusive and I assume most people would want to see this fight again considering the underdog Osawa was able to drop Urabe early. Not to mention that Urabe is in no man's land when it comes to a title shot, as his brother holds the 60kg title and his teammate Yamazaki just won the 63kg title.
In a 61kg fight, "Kyoken" Yuji Takeuchi made quick work of Team Dragon's Shota Hayashi, stopping him with his favored left hook at 1:48 in the 1st round. Admittedly, the fight was a squash match, much like Takeuchi's last fight in Krush which ended in a no contest due to an accidental low blow, and it seems like they're trying to give him wins just to keep him in the picture at the top of the division and open up possible rematches with SHIGERU and Naoki Ishikawa. If Hirotaka Urabe fights Naoki Ishikawa for a 4th time in the near future and SHIGERU doesn't come to Krush, I'd like to see him fight Kan Itabashi. Otherwise give him Ishikawa or SHIGERU in a #1 contender bout.
Krush 70kg tournament finalist Yutaro Yamauchi knocked out fellow tournament participant Hiroki Nakajima with a right hook at 1:10 of the 2nd round. This fight was a rematch of a fight from 2009 which saw Nakajima win by decision. This time, however, Nakajima was coming off of a 14 month layoff and it really hurt him as Yamauchi constantly hurt and dropped Nakajima en route to a stoppage. Krush has a lack of fresh options at 70kg with Kenta beating Yoshihiro Sato and unless Krush rushes right into a third fight between Kenta and Yasuhiro Kido, I'd like to see Yamauchi get a rematch with Kenta with a shot at Kido on the line. If not, a fight with Takuro Moriya or Asami Zaurus would be a good indicator as to where the 35 year old Yamauchi stands in the division at this point in his career.
At 55kg, MA Kick champion Keisuke Miyamoto and MAD MAX Gym's Masahiro faced off in a matchup of 20 year old prospects. Miyamoto showed he was the better fighter over 3 rounds, earning a unanimous decision on scores of 30-29(x3). After a 2012 that had me name him the #2 prospect in Japanese kickboxing, Miyamoto had a bumpy start to 2013, barely being able to retain his MA Kick title with a majority draw against Kunihiro. Conversely, Masahiro had a great start to his year as he picked up a big win over Shuichi Wentz. Masahiro was able to hang, but he was outgunned by Miyamoto, who snaps a 2-fight winless streak.
At 63kg, Ikki was able to knock out 63kg Youth GP finalist Hisaki Higashimoto in the 3rd round with a right cross. This fight seemed to go much like Higashimoto's fight with Koya Urabe where he started strong in the first, even winning the round, began to lose a step in the 2nd and was ultimately finished in the 3rd. By upsetting Hiroya by knockout in his pro debut, Higashimoto made himself a hot commodity in Krush, and a strong performance against Koya Urabe solidified that, despite being finished. However, I think Krush and his management need to take a step back so they don't ruin his career before it has a chance to get started. I didn't have a problem with this fight because it was a real test to where Higashimoto stood, but it's clear he doesn't have the experience to be fighting a guy like Ikki. He's just 20 and clearly has a lot of potential, but he needs to learn how to pace himself over 3 rounds and needs more ring experience before he's ready for the upper echelon of the division. Nonetheless, solid win for Ikki.
Finally, this event also saw the 2nd leg of the 55kg WILDRUSH League take place with tournament favorite Takumi picking up a decision win over Yuki Masato and improving to 2-0, Yuya Suzuki and Kazyosi fighting to a majority draw and Kazuki Okawa knocking out Masanori Shimada in the 1st round. After 2 rounds of fights, the standings look like this:
1. Takumi, 4 pts (2-0-0, 0 KO)
2. Yuya Suzuki, 4 pts (1-0-1, 1 KO)
3. Kazuki Okawa, 3 pts (1-1-0, 1 KO)
4. Kazyosi, 2 pts (0-0-2, 0 KO)
5. Yuki Masato, 1 pt (0-1-1, 0 KO)
6. Masanori Shimada, 0 pts (0-0-2, 0 KO)
Quick results after the break