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Shootboxing Girls S-Cup Results: Rena Wins 2012 Girls S-Cup, Inoue and Mio Claim Tournament Titles

Earlier today, Shootboxing held its fourth Girls S-Cup and third main Girls S-Cup tournament, as well as the finals of the 53.5kg Girls S-Cup and the JKS48 High School tournament at Yamano Hall in Tokyo.

In the main tournament, the quarterfinals started off with 2-time defending S-Cup champion Rena Kubota scoring a unanimous decision over Australia's Kim Townsend on scores of 30-25, 30-26 and 30-27. Rena scored shoot points in the first and second rounds while working her superior boxing, moving her into the semifinals. In the next semifinal, 2011 Girls S-Cup runner-up Seo Hee Ham took out late replacement Lisa Ellis by unanimous decision on scores of 30-26(x2) and 30-27. Ellis tried using the clinch to work her grappling, but Ham was just too much for her, scoring a knockdown in the second round and advancing to face Rena in the semis. In the other half of the bracket, 2009 S-Cup runner-up and 2010 semifinalist V.V Mei Yamaguchi needed an extension round, but was able to defeat Thai representative Namtarn Por Muangpetch by unanimous decision, winning the extension round 10-9 on all three cards. Namtarn wasn't able to keep V.V Mei away from her and resulted in Yamaguchi getting a shoot point in the second round and ultimately winning the extension round, despite not getting a shoot point. In the final quarterfinal, Holland's Lorena Klijn scored the night's biggest upset with an extension round win over 2011 S-Cup Preliminary tournament champ Erika Kamimura. Kamimura had a slight edge in the stand-up, but Klijn surprisingly used the clinch to her advantage and was able to score a shoot point in the extension round which was the difference.

In the semifinals, Rena needed an extension round to defeat Seo Hee Ham and make it to her third straight S-Cup final. The two were even throughout the course of 3 rounds, but in the extension round, Rena was able to separate herself from Ham and won the round on all 3 judges' cards. In the other semifinal, V.V Mei also needed an extension round to advance to her second S-Cup final with a win over Lorena Klijn. Both fighters looked to use their clinch game to advance, but Yamaguchi proved to be superior in that department, scoring a shoot point in the second round and two shoot points in the extension round, as well as a yellow card to Klijn, which secured the lopsided extension round win.

In a rematch of the first Girls S-Cup final in 2009, Rena proved her dominance in Shootboxing once again with a unanimous decision over V.V Mei on scores of 30-29(x3). Yamaguchi was not able to capitalize with her grappling against the experienced Rena, who used her superior stand-up to win her third straight Girls S-Cup.

While she has lost single fights in Shootboxing, including a big upset to Jessica Penne, Rena excels in tournaments and showed great stamina, fighting 10 rounds on the night against tough competition. She has a rematch with Erika Kamimura to defend her RISE Queen title at a yet to be determined date and should she win, the only options seem to be either a third fight with Ai Takahashi or a fight with the girl who beat Takahashi twice, Mizuki Inoue. For V.V Mei, this is huge. In my opinion, she was more of an afterthought for the tournament, as she was originally scheduled for this event, but not in the tournament field and was upset in the 2011 S-Cup preliminary tournament by Mina in the first round. Huge showing from her and she likely cemented her place in future Girls S-Cups to come. If there ever were an "elite-level gatekeeper", it would have to be Seo Hee Ham. In MMA, she owns wins over the likes of Hisae Watanabe, Saori Ishioka and V.V Mei, while her only losses have come to WMMA legends Miku Matsumoto, Megumi Fujii and Yuka Tsuji, with a pair of losses against undefeated prodigy and student of Fujii, Ayaka Hamasaki. In kickboxing and Shootboxing, she has beaten everyone thrown her way except for Erika Kamimura and now Rena. Kamimura and Klijn are probably the biggest stories to come out of this event. Kamimura was an unstoppable force on her rise to the top, knocking out nearly everyone who got in her path, both domestically and internationally, and was favored to meet Rena in the tournament finals. However, a close loss to Rena and this loss here have shown a few holes in her game. She still has extremely good power, possibly the best in women's kickboxing, but if she can't land her hooks, while she is a very talented kickboxer, she has trouble winning rounds and in Shootboxing, her grappling base isn't very strong. Big congratulations to Klijn who shocked nearly everyone and will have to be invited to the next Girls S-Cup.

In the finals of the 53.5kg Girls S-Cup, Mizuki Inoue proved her first win over Ai Takahashi wasn't a fluke, defeating Takahashi for the second time, this time over the course of 6 rounds, winning the extension round on all three judges' cards. Inoue used superior speed and movement to land against Takahashi and take her second big win over the former Shootboxing champion, winning the 53.5kg tournament title as well. Inoue is one of the brightest prospects in both MMA and kickboxing and should find herself in another marquee matchup, possibly against Rena, some time in the near future. Takahashi wasn't able to exploit her length as well as she did against smaller opponents in the S-Cup, but was able to keep up with Inoue. Now 0-2 against Inoue, she'll have to work her way back up if she wants a second chance at redemption.

In the JKS48 High School tournament, Rena's younger sister Mio Kubota matched her sister's efforts and won the tournament with a unanimous decision over Yusa Tachi in the semis and a TKO of Akari Nakamura in the finals. It's hard to say what is in Mio's near future, but Shootboxing has a good number of former S-Cup participants with experience that could give her a good challenge and see if she has the same promise as her sister, who was fighting Miku Matsumoto and Su Jeong Lim when she was just 17. 

Finally, in a 53.5kg single fight, 53.5kg Girls S-Cup participant Rio Kamikaze scored an upset over prospect Seira Aragaki by majority decision on scores of 30-28, 29-28 and 28-28. Rio scored 2 shoot points in the third round with a hip toss that won her the fight. A rematch with Ai Takahashi could be a good next fight for her.

Quick results after the break

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Krush.21 Results: Adamandopoulos Wins 63kg Title, Terato Defends ISKA Title

Yesterday, Krush held Krush.21 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, headlined by a Krush 63kg title fight and an ISKA 55kg World title fight, with both featuring European challengers, as well as the last 2 fights of the 4th leg of the 63kg WILDRUSH League.

In the main event, Krush 63kg champ Ryuji Kajiwara was knocked out by former ISKA 62.5kg champ Thomas Adamandopoulos by headkick at 1:42 in the 2nd round. Adamandopoulos dominated the fight leading up to the stoppage and scored with a left high kick that knocked Kajiwara out cold. Adamandopoulos (41-8-1, 24 KO) is now 2-0 in Krush and the first foreign Krush champion. This was a big win for him as he had lost 2 in a row, a close split decision to Karim Bennoui and a 4th round TKO to Yetkin Ozkul, and is set to fight in Krush again in the future, presumably facing the winner of the Krush WILDRUSH League, or even someone like Masaaki Noiri or Tetsuya Yamato should the winner of the WILDRUSH League be injured. Kajiwara (22-11-1, 6 KO) finally had his age catch up to him a bit after going 7-1 in his last 8, mostly against much younger competition. A good next fight for him would be a rematch with Noiri to set up a title challenger after the WILDRUSH League winner gets his shot.

In the co-main event, Nobuchika Terado defended his ISKA World Bantamweight title against former ISKA World titleholder Andy Howson in an exciting fight with a 2nd round TKO at 2:07. Howson had Terado in a lot of trouble in the 2nd round, dropping the champion twice, but as Howson tried to find the finish, Terato managed to land a big left hook that dropped Howson before dropping two more times with a pair of right hooks to end the fight. Terado (29-8-1, 13 KO) is no stranger to slugfests, putting on one of the best fights that nobody saw back in 2010 against Ryuya Kusakabe, another fight where both men were hurt and suffered a knockdown. This is the first defense of his ISKA title that he won at Krush.11 over Kirean McAskill and moves him 4-1 in his last 5, most recently beating Namito Izawa at Krush-EX 2012 vol.1. A good next fight for him would be a rematch with Kusakabe to set up a third fight for either man with current champ Shota Takiya. Howson (53-10-1, 29 KO) recently lost his ISKA Bantamweight Muay Thai title to Dean James in May and lost a chance to win Terado’s Oriental Rules title here. The two were initially supposed to meet at Krush.5 in January of 2010, but Howson was forced out of the bout with an injury.

In a WILDRUSH League 4th leg bout, 2nd placed Hitoshi Tsukagoshi kept his hopes of winning the league alive with a majority decision over 3rd placed Yukimitsu Takahashi on scores of 30-28, 30-29 and 29-29, ending Takahashi’s chances of winning. Tsukagoshi now has 7 points and is 2 points shy of league leader Hideaki Yamazaki heading into the final leg. Tsukagoshi’s final fight is against the hard-hitting TaCa while he will need some help from Takahashi, who faces Yamazaki in the final leg. Tsukagoshi will need Takahashi to win against Yamazaki, as a draw would mean Tsukagoshi would need a knockout just to tie and I believe that since Yamazaki beat Tsukagoshi, he would hold the tiebreak. Takahashi remains with 4 points despite putting on some of the most entertaining performances throughout his fights in the league. He still has something to prove against Yamazaki in the final and although he can’t win the league, expect him to put on a good performance and solidify himself as an entertaining draw in Krush.

In the final 4th leg WILDRUSH League bout, 4th placed TaCa was upset by last placed NOMAN, who won a majority decision on scores of 30-28, 30-29 and 29-29. This is a bit of an upset as NOMAN was winless in the league before this while TaCa had knocked out Naoki Terasaki, while dropping decisions to Yukimitsu Takahashi and Hideaki Yamazaki. TaCa remains with 3 points while NOMAN has 3 points as well and moves up to 4th with TaCa.

The current WILDRUSH League standings after 4 legs is

1. Hideaki Yamazaki, 9 points (4-0-0, 1 KO)

2. Hitoshi Tsukagoshi, 7 points (3-1-0, 1 KO)

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

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

5. TaCa, 3 points (1-3-0, 1 KO)

6. Naoki Terasaki, 1 point, (0-3-1, 0 KO)

The WILDRUSH League concludes on October 8th at Krush.23, an event which is set to feature Yasuhiro Kido, Naoki Ishikawa, “Kyoken” Yuji Takeuchi and Kan Itabashi.

Quick results after the break

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It's Showtime Japan countdown-2/REBELS.12 Results: van Opstal, Hinata Win

With It's Showtime prepared to make their first full venture into Japan in little over a month and a half, It's Showtime Japan countdown-2 and REBELS.12 took place earlier today at Differ Ariake in Tokyo.

In the main event, Team Souwer's Henri van Opstal improved to 5-0 against Japanese competition with a majority decision over It's Showtime Japan 70kg champ Hiroki Nakajima on scores of 30-29(x3), 29-29 and 30-28. Nakajima scored early to the body, but his lack of defense allowed van Opstal to find openings throughout the fight and pick apart his opponent. van Opstal (18-3-0) has now won two in a row after a loss at It's Showtime 55, most recently stopping Hinata in the 3rd round at RISE 88. He could find himself fighting on the main It's Showtime Japan card, but with a Shootboxing event the same day, it is hard to know if he will compete on either card. Nakajima (15-6-0, 10 KO) recently ended a 1-5 run with a win over Danilo Zanolini to win the It's Showtime Japan 70kg title, but it's the same story for him; until he develops some sort of defense, he is extremely limited. While he has power and a dynamic offense, he just gets hit too much and guys at van Opstal's level will be able to expose him with ease. He is set to fight on the It's Showtime Japan card in September, but let's hope he's put in a rematch with Yuichiro Nagashima and not in a fight with Andy Ristie or Robin van Roosmalen.

In the co-main event, Hinata bounced back with a quick 1st round knockout of Korean Kang Jung-woo at 1:24 with a high kick. Hinata (23-12-1, 8 KO) is just 3-3 in his last 6 bouts, with two of those three wins against mediocre competition and the third against a guy fighting 10 pounds above his natural weight. While his losses did come to Giorgio Petrosyan, Andy Ristie and van Opstal, his only quality wins since 2010 are over Yuya Yamamoto, who looks worse with every outing, and Artur Kyshenko. If he wants to be considered a competitor at 70kg, he needs to start fighting top competition more regularly and get some wins, rather than lose to a top fighter and bounce back with an easy win. 

In a fight to determine the first It's Showtime Japan 65kg champion, MA Kick Super Lightweight champ Mohan Dragon and Zen Fujita fought to a majority draw after 5 rounds on scores of 48-47 and 48-48(x4). In what seems to have been an exciting fight, as most of Mohan Dragon's fights are, Mohan Dragon started very strong, hurting Fujita in the first and carrying that momentum into the second round before tiring in the bout's closing stages and allowing Fujita to come back and secure a draw. Fujita is now 1-1-1 in 2012, with a loss at 70kg to Hinata back in April and a win over Junichi Maruyama back in June at 65kg. Mohan Dragon is now 2-0-1 on the year, defending his MA Kick title with a knockout of Hidekazu Tanaka and edging out J-Network champ Yusuke Sugawara at RISE 87. This fight likely could have been to determine Lim Chi-bin's opponent in the It's Showtime 65kg World title fight, but the draw likely cost both men that opportunity.

In a fight to decide the inaugural It's Showtime Japan 55kg champion, J-Network Super Bantamweight champ Hiroaki Mizuhara took a unanimous decision over Taisuke Degai on scores of 49-48(x3), 48-47 and 49-47. Mizuhara is now 2-1-1 on the year and could potentially rematch Yuki Noro, the man he defeated to get this fight, in his first title defense as Noro recently upset TO-MA in a bout billed under the It's Showtime banner. This loss snaps a 4 fight win streak for Degai.

Finally at 61kg, Kizaemon Saiga scored a unanimous decision over Tatsuya Inaishi on scores of 30-29, 30-28(x2), 30-27 and 29-28. Saiga (10-5-1, 2 KO) is now 3-1 on the year with a close win over Katsuya Goto, a close loss to Koya Urabe and most recently a KO of Arita Tsukahara back in May. Saiga was expected to fight for the It's Showtime Japan 61kg title at this event, but with Masahiro Yamamoto winning the It's Showtime 61kg World title and a 61kg title fight scheduled for the September event, I wouldn't be surprised to see Saiga slotted in against Yamamoto for the first all-Japanese It's Showtime title fight.

It's Showtime's main branch makes its first official venture into Japan on September 17th at Pacifico Yokohama in Yokohama. Only one fight is announced for the card, with It's Showtime 85kg champ Sahak Parparyan taking on It's Showtime Japan 95kg champ Toshio Matsumoto, but a 61kg title showdown between current champ Masahiro Yamamoto and Kizaemon Saiga is possible with both men slated for the event and Lim Chi Bin will be participating in an It's Showtime 65kg World title fight against a yet to be named opponent. Also expected to compete are Daniel Ghita, Robin van Roosmalen, Andy Ristie, Hiroki Nakajima and Yuichiro Nagashima.

REBELS.12 results and quick results after the break

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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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