Switch to desktop Register Login

LiverKick - LiverKick

Japanese Kickboxing Scene: March Recap

March was a huge month for Japanese kickboxing, with two Rajadamnern Stadium title fights, the Road to Glory 65kg tournament and big cards from RISE and Krush. This post will recap all of March's kickboxing and muay thai action from the past month.

March 3rd: Krush Ignition 2013 vol.1 and 2

Krush's series of smaller shows, previously known as Krush-EX, kicked off in March with a day-night double header. The main event only lasted 2:19, but was a wild affair with 2012 Youth GP semifinalist Daizo Sasaki knocking down prospect Minoru Kimura. However it was Kimura who came out on top, dropping Sasaki 3 times en route to a stoppage and giving him his third straight stoppage win after a pair of losses, which seem to have reenergized him. The co-main event saw Masanobu Goto rebound from a loss to Keiji Ozaki with a 1st round KO of Atsushi Ogata, who has proved to be little more than a punching bag since an upset win over Toshiki Taniyama. Ryuma Tobe returned to action after a 10 month layoff, knocking out Hiroshi Kamata in the 3rd round.

Tenkaichi 65

While the main event was an MMA fight, the main kickboxing attraction saw Legend 63kg champion Kouki Nakamura stop Masataka Maeda in the 1st round. Nakamura has fought on Big Bang cards before, losing to Koya Urabe and Naoki, and could find himself in Krush or RISE if he continues to dominate lower level competition.

March 10th: Road to GLORY Japan -65kg SLAM

The most stacked weekend of the month was headlined by GLORY's first Road to GLORY Japan event. The quarterfinals saw Zen Fujita stop Riki Matsuoka, Yuki beat Mohan Dragon, Masaaki Noiri get by HIROYA for a 3rd time and Yukihiro Komiya score an upset over Ryuji Kajiwara in a brawl. The semifinals saw Yuki use his signature low kicks to stop Zen Fujita while Noiri got by Komiya. In the finals, Noiri turned it on and dropped Yuki six times over the course of two rounds, ultimately stopping him with a brutal knockout and earning himself a spot in GLORY's 65kg world tournament in May. The event also featured a big superfight between Krush champ Hirotaka Urabe and WPMF champ SHIGERU in what was one of the best fights of the night. After three even rounds, Urabe opened up a nasty cut over SHIGERU's eye with a flying knee in the extension round, forcing a doctor stoppage. Full recap here.

SNKA: Magnum 31

This event featured two Rajadamnern Stadium title fights as Hiroki Ishii defended his 140lb title while Bantamweight champ Manasak Pinsinchai defended his strap against Mutsuki Ebata. Despite facing his second straight undersized opponent, Ishii was dropped in the 2nd round by an elbow and, despite recovering, finished in the 4th round by Aikpikart Mor Krongthepthonburi, who claimed Ishii's Raja title. In the co-main event, Manasak dominated Ebata in every aspect of the fight for the first four rounds and fended off a strong charge from Ebata in the final round, defending his title on foreign soil for the first time. Also on the card was 2010 K-1 Koshien champ Shohei Hareyama bouncing back from a loss to Shota Saenchaigym with a with a unanimous decision over Haruki. NJKF Welterweight Taeyeon was also on the card and despite impressing over the past year, he was knocked out in the 1st round by Shota Otsuki.


REALDEAL Gym's 32nd event was headlined by a rematch between one of their top prospects and RISING Rookies Cup 70kg winner Ryota Toyoshima and Akio Kishima. Toyoshima won their first bout, but this fight couldn't have ended differently as Kishima landed with a big head kick in the 1st round that put Toyoshima to sleep.


The main event saw the popular TOMONORI defeat WAKO Korea Flyweight champion Gan Byon-ju by decision, dropping him once in the fight. Also on the card was NJKF and Krush vet Shoya Suzuki who picked up a  win over Yoshiyuki Nagayama.

Recap of the second half of the month after the break.


Krush.27 Results: Yamazaki Upsets Adamandopoulos for 63kg Title

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


RISE 92 Results: Yamamoto Edges Bennoui, Umeno Avenges Loss

A big RISE 92 card went down today in Japan and featured some pretty big fights in the lighter weight divisions with a number of RISE titles on the line.

The biggest fight on the card wasn't for a title but featured two of LiverKick's top ranked lightweights, Masahiro Yamamoto and Karim Bennoui. This fight had been a long time in the making and it seemingly lived up to expectations and went into an extra round. Yamamoto edged the fight out in the extra round to get the decision win, continuing on the roll that he's been on as of late. This win really does prove just how good Yamamoto is, even after a long career. 

RISE's 65kg title was on the line in a match-up that was built up for a long time between champion Koji Yoshimoto and challenger Yasuomi Soda. The bout went all five rounds and Soda got a majority decision. With that, he becomes the new RISE 65kg champion.

Chang Hyun Lee and Genji Umeno put on one of the fights of the year in 2012 and today they rematched on this card. The fight seems to have gone in a much different direction than last time, as Genji Umeno won a unanimous decision on scores of 30-27 across the board. With that, he avenges the loss to Lee from last year.

RISE's 55kg title was also on the line in a fight between Dyki and Seiya Rokukawa. This seems to have been a pretty close fight, going to a split decision in Dyki's favor after all five rounds.

Last but not least for the title fights, the RISE 90kg title was on the line between two heavyweights dropping down, in Kengo Shimizu and Makoto Uehara. This fight was the main event and like the 55kg title fight, also went to split decision. Uehara got the decision, with a point deduction from Shimizu in the second round seemingly being the deciding factor.

RISE 90kg title: Makoto Uehara def. Kengo Shimizu by split decision.
RISE 65kg title: Yasuomi Soda def. Koji Yoshimoto by majority decision.
RISE 55kg title: Dyki def. Seiya Rokukawa by split decision.
61kg: Masahiro Yamamoto def. Karim Bennoui by unanimous decision in an extra round.
60kg: Genji Umeno def. Chang Hyun Lee by unanimous decision.
60kg: Motochika Hinada def. Taison Maeguchi by unanimous decision.
63kg: Yuya Fujita def. Yuto Nakaegawa by TKO in Round 3.
57.5kg: Masato Sato and Yuta Sashikubi draw after an extra round.
57.5kg: Tomoaki Iemoto def. Ryoma Hasumi by unanimous decision.
63kg: Keisuke Niwa def. Tomohiro Sato by majority decision.



Masaaki Noiri Wins Road to Glory JAPAN 65kg SLAM Tournament

Earlier today in Shinjuku, Tokyo, GLORY held its first Road to GLORY Japan event, a 65kg tournament with Masaaki Noiri, Yuki, Ryuji Kajiwara and Hiroya, among others. Also on the card was a big 60kg fight between Hirotaka Urabe and Shigeru.

Zen Fujita and Riki Matsuoka opened up the tournament with the REBELS champ Fujita stopping the Koshien semifinalist with a pair of knockdowns in the 3rd after getting knocked down once himself in the previous round. The second fight was my most anticipated opening round matchup as brawlers Yuki and Mohan Dragon faced off, but it was the former RISE champ Yuki winning a decision on scores of 29-27, 28-27 and 30-27 over the MA Kick champion due to Mohan Dragon having points being taken away for low blows. The third quarterfinal saw a 3rd matchup between former Koshien champs Masaaki Noiri and Hiroya. This fight was much closer than their first two affairs as Noiri was only able to pick up a majority decision due to a point deduction for low blows to Hiroya, resulting in scores of 30-29(x2) and 29-29. The last quarterfinal featured an upset as Yukihiro Komiya defeated former Krush champion Ryuji Kajiwara in an extension round after a split draw. Kajiwara was deducted a point for shots to the back of the head in the extension round, but lost the round on each judge's scorecard, as well.

The semifinals saw Zen Fujita go down again, but this time he was sent right back to the canvas after suffering some of Yuki's brutal leg kicks. Yuki won by TKO at 2:42 of the 2nd round and advanced to the finals. In the other semi, Noiri struggled once again, but again came out with a majority decision over Yukihiro Komiya on scores of 30-30, 30-29 and 30-28. However in the finals Noiri made sure he didn't win a close decision and knocked Yuki down twice in the 1st round and twice in the 2nd en route to a 2nd round stoppage at 1:35 to win the tournament and a spot in GLORY's World Tournament in May. 

Despite going up in weight, the tournament win further solidifies Noiri as the world's top Lightweight. It's interesting to see how he'll fare against bigger fighters in the main GLORY tournament, but I don't see any reason to not consider him the early favorite. Sure, scores indicate that he struggled with a bigger Hiroya and Komiya, but until footage of the fights comes out it'll be hard to know. It is very possible he chose to work at range and save his energy, an approach he's taken to tournaments before. Yuki lived up to my expectations by getting past Mohan Dragon, albeit in an unconventional way, and then stopping Zen Fujita. And as I expected, Yuki had the flaws in his game exploited by the technically superior Noiri. Still a good showing from Yuki and a good way to bounce back from the loss to Sung-hyun Lee. Yukihiro Komiya made the biggest impression in the tournament. The former RISE Middleweight champion had looked very good since dropping to 65kg, but his loss to Yasuomi Soda made it seem like it was a bit too late for him to break through. However, he was able to pull off the upset against Kajiwara and gave Noiri a good run for his money. Zen Fujita made it to the semis, but didn't give me any reason to think he's close to a world level. He got dropped by Matsuoka in his quarterfinal and although he showed great heart by coming back and getting a stoppage, he wasn't ready for Yuki's low kicks. Kajiwara had a disappointing night, but it's not as if he wasn't competitive. His run at 63kg was far from a fluke, but his style relies heavily on his opponent coming at him. I would assume the more experienced Komiya didn't fall into that trap and that's why he was able to win, but according to GLORY's Martijn De Jong on Twitter, the fight was action packed, so I guess that's another good way to throw a counter fighter off of his game. Despite losing, Hiroya fighting Noiri close and not getting dropped says, to me at least, that he's made some improvements and that the move to 65kg is bigger than I thought it would be. Mohan Dragon mostly gave me what I expected and I'm not surprised his wild, looping shots resulted in low blows against a fighter who loves to be on the inside. I guess I could say Matsuoka surprised me by dropping Fujita, but his lack of defense cost him.

The event also featured a few super fights, the most significant of which featured Krush 60kg champion Hirotaka Urabe taking on WPMF Japan Super Featherweight champion Shigeru. After 3 rounds of what GLORY's Martijn de Jong called the fight of the night, the two went to an extension round. Less than 30 seconds into the extension round, Urabe opened up a nasty cut with a flying knee and forced a doctor stoppage. Urabe pushes his undefeated streak to 14 and picks up another win over a top 60kg fighter. Although he lost, Shigeru proves he's one of the best 60kg fighters in Japan after defeating Yuji Takeuchi and fighting Urabe even for 3 rounds. Clearly he has some defensive holes, but he's shown he can fight against all different types of fighters and under different rulesets. I'd like to see him fight Naoki Ishikawa in Krush with the winner getting another shot at Urabe. 

Quick results after the break


Japanese Kickboxing Scene: February Recap

February was kind of a slow month at the top of the ladder, especially when compared to January and March, but it still had a plethora of events and was not devoid of high level competition. Big cards in February included Shootboxing, NJKF and Fist Kick's first events of 2013, all of which featured top Japanese fighters taking on foreign competition, with two facing Rajadamnern Stadium champions.

February 3rd - J-Network: J-Fight in Shinjuku ~vol.29~/J-Girls 2013 ~Victorious Goddess 1st~

In the J-Network main event, Bantamweight champ Kentaro Kimura stopped MA Kick's Hiroshi Watanabe via cut in the 2nd round, bouncing back from a loss to Takuma Ito that snapped a 5-fight winning streak. In a fight that may have determined Kimura's next challenger, 7th ranked Yojiro upset #1 Kenta by split decision. For Yojiro it's his 3rd straight and Kenta is now winless in his last 4. As part of a 4-man mini-tournament to determine WPMF Japan Super Flyweight champion Kiminori Matsuzaki's next challenger (or for the vacant title if he vacated it), Ryuji Wakayama upset Hiroyuki Yamano by unanimous decision. This was quite the upset as Yamano was coming off of a win over Yuji Uwasawa. In the J-Girls main event, Yuichiro Nagashima student Chihiro Kira took a unanimous decision over Shootboxing JKS48 tournament runner-up Akari Eneos, avenging her sister, Yuki Kira, who lost to Akari last year. 

February 10th - DEEP*KICK 14

In the night's main event, 65kg champ and Krush regular Hiroto Yamaguchi took a close unanimous decision over 2011 K-1 Koshien runner-up Yuya Shibata. Yamaguchi has now won 2 straight since losing to Koya Urabe in the semifinals of the 2012 Krush Youth GP. Shibata also participated in that tournament, but lost his quarterfinal fight to Daizo Sasaki. The event was also supposed to have a 70kg title fight between champion Ren Takeno and Yoji Fujimoto, but Takeno weighed in 6.2kg over the limit and his title was forfeited to Fujimoto. In a pair of 55kg fights, Yokinobu Nakatsuka stopped Koki Nakamu in the 3rd round while Krush veteran Kazuki Tanaka defeated Ikki by decision. This likely sets up a fight between Tanaka and Nakatsuka and if Tanaka wins he could get a shot at 55kg champ Seiya Rokukawa. Nakatsuka has faced Rokukawa twice and lost convincingly both times.

MA Kick - Break 34

The main event saw #5 Welterweight Akira Makoto keep his undefeated record with a win over #1 Yasuyki Murata. Makoto will likely face off with champion Jun Nakazawa next and will need to bring it if he wants to stay undefeated. In the co-main event, Thai Pupanrek Esugym stopped Yukimaru in the 1st round.

February 17th - NJKF 2013 1st

In the month's biggest event, Rajadamnern Stadium champ Kaimookdham Aikbangzai dominated title challenger Kunitaka en route to a 2nd round stoppage, retaining his Raja Stadium title. The fight was a bit of a mismatch, as Kunitaka had a weak record against Thai competition. The main event saw Gansuwan Sasiprapa score a bit of an upset over Tetsuya Yamato. Gansuwan has had strong outings in his last two fights in Japan, taking out Tetsuya Yamato and Yuya Yamato. This loss stopped a 3-fight win streak for Yamato. In a NJKF Welterweight title fight, Yuya Yamato picked up a second close win over Soichiro Miyakoshi on scores of 49-48(x3) to earn his first title defense. Miyakoshi had looked very good since their first fight, but was unable to use his momentum to overcome Yamato despite a strong performance. His brother Keijiro Miyakoshi also fought, defending his NJKF Lightweight title against Ryota, snapping a 2-fight losing streak. NJKF Super Lightweight champion Seiji Takahashi defended his title as well with a one sided decision over Kazushige Sugama. NJKF Super Bantamweight champion Arato was unable to keep his title, losing a decision to challenger Hiroya Haga. WBC Japan Women's Featherweight champ Ayano Oishi defended her title with a 5th round TKO via cut in the 5th round over Team Dragon's Kimiko Sasaki. Finally, Flyweight prospects Nemo and Takashi Saenchaigym fought for a 2nd time, their first encounter ending in a draw, with Takashi picking up the unanimous decision win and vacant NJKF Flyweight title, ending Nemo's impressive run.

Fist Kick IX

The main event saw Rajadamnern Stadium Featherweight champion Sirimongkol Eiwaigym make his third trip to Japan, this time defeating Daiki Nagashima by unanimous decision, although the fight was pretty close. Sirimongkol improves to 2-0-1 on Japanese soil, having previously defeated Shunta Ito and surprisingly drawing with Yusuke Shimizu. The co-main event saw Kanongsuk WSR pick up a win over WPMF Japan Super Lightweight champion Hidekazu Tanaka. Kanongsuk had just been knocked out by undefeated prospect Yasuyuki while Tanaka was coming off of a loss to Minoru Kimura. Polish fighter Joanna Jedrzejczyk returned to Japan after a win over Ayano Oishi in the Hoost Cup and picked up another win over NJKF Featherweight champ AZUMA. In a bit of an upset, Takeshi Shimizu defeated TOMOYUKI to win the vacant WPMF Japan Super Welterweight title. TOMOYUKI had recently had a 3-fight win streak snapped by Buakaw in Thai Fight while Shimizu was knocked out by Takayuki WSR in his last outing. In another upset, Noro Yuki stopped J-Network Super-Flyweight champ Yuki via cuts in the 2nd round to win the vacant WPMF Japan Bantamweight title. Noro Yuki now has two big wins over guys moving up in weight recently, previously picking up a win over TO-MA. Yuki had won three straight including a win at Bantamweight over Kenta. In the other semifinal of the aforementioned WPMF Japan Super Flyweight tournament, Nagata Haryi upset Sazanami Satsutama in an extension round and will now face Ryuji Wakayama. This is a much more shocking upset than Wakayama's win over Yamano as Satsutama had looked very strong over the past few years, only losing to the top 3 fighters in the division. Also in action was Madoka Jinnai, also known as Erika Kamimura's amateur rival and the first girl to beat her, albeit in amateur competition, defeated J-Girls Bantamweight champion Yukino Oishi, winning the vacant WPMF Japan Bantamweight title.

February 22nd - Shootboxing 2013 act.1

The main event saw the struggling Yoshihiro Sato take on "Japanese Killer" and 2012 S-Cup runner-up Henri van Opstal. Sato became the first Japanese fighter to defeat van Opstal, winning a close majority decision. Sato was coming off of a disappointing loss to Kenta which dethroned him as Japan's top Middleweight, a distinction he had held since Masato's retirement. The co-main event saw Warren Stevelmans pick up a win over the entertaining Bovy Sor Udomson. Stevelmans was supposed to compete in last year's S-Cup, but opted to fight as a late replacement in GLORY. Bovy did compete in the S-Cup, but lost in the opening round to Henri van Opstal. Shootboxing Featherweight champion Akira Utagawa took a one-sided decision over Kazuki Tamagawa, scoring shoot point after shoot point. MMA fighter Joachim Hansen returned to Shootboxing after a surprisingly close fight with Hiroaki Suzuki in last year's S-Cup in his Shootboxing debut, this time picking up a win over Kenji Kanai on extremely impressive scores of 30-21(x2) and 30-20. Hinata competed on the card, picking up an easy win over Masatoshi Hyakutake. K-1 veteran Kizaemon Saiga returned to Shootboxing as well, picking up his second win in the promotion with a win over Makoto Yamauchi. Ai Takahashi returned with a win, defeating Korean Mi-jeon Jang. Finally, Rena's protégé and JKS48 winner MIO suffered her first pro loss at the hands of J-GIRLS MiniFlyweight champion Momi. 

February 24th - Big Bang 12

The main event saw Krush 70kg champ Yasuhiro Kido take on Asami Zaurus, who lost a close fight to Takuro Moriya which would have given him a shot at Kido's Krush title. Asami put up a good fight, but came up short as Kido picked up yet another win. Shunta Ito bounced back from a close loss to Hiroki Akimoto with a 4th round KO of Korean fighter Seong-bum Woo. At Heavyweight, Hiromi Amada had his first real competition in a while and picked up a win over Tsutomu Takahagi. Toshiki Taniyama picked up his 2nd straight win with a close majority decision over Korean fighter Son-cheol Oh. At 71kg, Yoichi Yamazaki stopped K-1 veteran Shingo Garyu while 55kg Krush prospect Namito Izawa dropped a decision to Ariaki Okada. 

Hoost Cup Spirit 2

The main event saw prospect Sho Ogawa struggle with RISE Lightweight Shohei Asahara, but ultimately pull out a split decision victory. After a strong run that saw him win the 2011 K-1 Koshien tournament and also pick up wins over Makihira Keita and Minoru Kimura, Ogawa is 1-1 in his last two and hasn't looked great in either fight. Asahara may not be the best Lightweight, but he is much better than his 0-5 record over his last 5 fights would indicate. He took RISE 65kg champ Koji Yoshimoto and top ranked RISE Lightweight Yuto Watanabe to extension rounds, lost close, competitive decisions to Yusuke Sugawara and current RISE Lightweight champ Sung-hyun Lee and now loses a split decision to Ogawa. 

NJKF Muay Thai Open 23

The main event pitted Kongenchai Esugym against Shota Saenchaigym and started well for Shota, who scored knockdowns in the 1st and 2nd rounds. However, Kongenchai stormed back and was eventually able to cut Shota with an elbow, causing the doctor to stop the fight in the 4th. Though he likely would have lost a decision, Kongenchai showed a lot of heart and was able to get the stoppage, even if it was kind of anti-climactic. This is a tough loss for Shota who was winning and had won 2 straight, including a win over Shohei Hareyama. The co-main event saw Dejpanom Saenchaigym bounce back from a loss to Seiji Takahashi with a win over Team Dragon's Shota Watanabe. 


Thai's Dominate at Thai Fight 2013- King of Muay Thai

In what's becoming a growing trend for Thai Fight events, the Thai's once again easily routed their less than stellar farang competition in a 7 fight shutout on the main card. Featured on the first Thai Fight of 2013 were fan favorites like Sudsakorn, Saiyok, Iquezang, and Saenchainoi.

One of the top 70 kg fighters,Saiyok Pumphanmung, took on a game Thiago Texeira in one of the few fights that went the distance. While Texeira was resilient enough to last until the final bell, he couldn't mount any sort of offence throughout 3 rounds that would threaten the veteran Thai. Saiyok won a unanimous decision win; his second in a row after dropping a loss via injury to Dylan Salvador late last year.

In another big name fight, the well known Sudsakorn Sor. Klinmee took on the not-so-well-known Veselin Veselinov from Russia. Veselinov looked good in the opening round, pushing forward and landing a few big lefts. Sudsakorn seemed to take the shots as minor annoyances more than anything and ramped up the pace in the second, dropping Veselinov in the middle of the round. He kept the pressure high and eventually the Russian wilted, going down to a hard shot midway through the third.

In the final fight on the card, Saenchainoi Pumphanmung fought Jose Neto in a bout that revealed the Thai's golden years may be behind him. Neto never hurt Saenchainoi, but he stayed in the match far more than he should have. It was an overall sloppy affair, with Saenchainoi already looking pudgy and slow from his jump to 68 kg. Regardless, he still won a unanimnous decision over the Brazilian on all the judges scorecards.

Overall, the quality of the competition was a bit dissapointing. None of the foreign fighters stood much of a chance against their Thai counterparts, which is strange considering there is so much international skill at 70 kg and 68 kg. Hopefully this downward spiral in talent will not be a mainstay of the event.


Saenchainoi def. Jose Neto by Decision

Payakdam def. Ashley Bryne by TKO in Rd. 1

Sudsakorn def. Veselin Veselinov by KO in Rd. 3

Yodpayak def. Paulo Sergio dos Santos by KO in Rd. 1

Iquezang def. Behzad Rafigh Doust by Decision

Saiyok def. Thiago Texeira by Decision

Peemai JitMuangnon def. Jackson Alves de Souza by Decision



Thai's Dominate at Thai Fight 2013- King of Muay Thai

In what's becoming a growing trend for Thai Fight events, the Thai's once again easily routed their less than stellar farang competition in a 7 fight shutout on the main card. Featured on the first Thai Fight of 2013 were fan favorites like Sudsakorn, Saiyok, Iquezang, and Saenchainoi.

One of the top 70 kg fighters, Saiyok Pumphanmung, took on a game Thiago Texeira in one of the few fights that went the distance. While Texeira was resilient enough to last until the final bell, he couldn't mount any sort of offence throughout 3 rounds that would threaten the veteran Thai. Saiyok won a unanimous decision win; his second in a row after dropping a loss via injury to Dylan Salvador late last year. 

In another big name fight, the well known Sudsakorn Sor. Klinmee took on the not-so-well-known Veselin Veselinov from Russia. Veselinov looked good in the opening round, pushing forward and landing a few big lefts. Sudsakorn seemed to take the shots as minor annoyances more than anything and ramped up the pace in the second, dropping Veselinov in the middle of the round. He kept the pressure high and eventually the Russian wilted, going down to a hard shot midway through the third. 

In the final fight on the card, Saenchainoi Pumphanmung fought Jose Neto in a bout that revealed the Thai's golden years may be behind him. Neto never hurt Saenchainoi, but he stayed in the match far more than he should have. It was an overall sloppy affair, with Saenchainoi already looking pudgy and slow from his jump to 68 kg. Regardless, he still won a unanimnous decision over the Brazilian on all the judges scorecards.

Overall, the quality of the competition was a bit dissapointing. None of the foreign fighters stood much of a chance against their Thai counterparts, which is strange considering there is so much international skill at 70 kg and 68 kg. Hopefully this downward spiral in talent will not be a mainstay of the event.


Saenchainoi def. Jose Neto by Decision

Payakdam def. Ashley Bryne by TKO in Rd. 1

Sudsakorn def. Veselin Veselinov by KO in Rd. 3

Yodpayak def. Paulo Sergio dos Santos by KO in Rd. 1

Iquezang def. Behzad Rafigh Doust by Decision

Saiyok def. Thiago Texeira by Decision

Peemai JitMuangnon def. Jackson Alves de Souza by Decision



MA Kick ~Break 33~ Results

MA Kick started off 2013 with a big card headlined by a Heavyweight fight between Magnum Sakai and Alex Roberts as well as 5 title fights featuring MA Kick's biggest stars. The theme of the night was rematches as four of the five title fights were rematches, but only one fighter was able to pick up a 2nd win against his opponent, as two of the others lost their titles and the third nearly lost his title in a draw.

While Roberts vs Sakai was the main event, it was not the most important fight of the night, so I will recap the event by order of importance. At Flyweight, top 5 Flyweights Ryuji Kato and Yuji Uwasawa met for a second time and after another close fight, it was Ryuji Kato who came out on top, winning a split decision and earning the MA Kick Flyweight title. The win solidifies Kato as the #1 Flyweight in Japan as he had a win over almost every top fighter in his division except for Uwasawa, who he lost his MA Kick title in their first meeting last January. Kato has now won 4 in a row and is the owner of the MA Kick, WPMF Japan and WBC Japan Flyweight titles, so it's hard to know which one he will defend next, though I can imagine MA Kick want to book a 3rd fight between the two. Uwasawa was just 1-2 since beating Kato last year, getting stopped by Shuichi Wentz and Hiroyuki Yamano before picking up a win over Nagata Haryi. He is still a top 5 fighter, but he will need a solid win over a top 10 guy to remain elite.

In a Bantamweight title fight, Takashi Ohno improved to 2-0 against Takuma Ito with a majority decision win to retain his MA Kick belt. The two first fought last January with Ohno taking Ito's title and emerging as the top Bantamweight in Japan. Despite fighting in 2 different weight classes throughout his career, the 22 year old Ohno has put together a 12-4-1 record and hasn't lost a fight at Bantamweight since a split decision loss in January of 2010 to current MA Kick Super Bantamweight champ Keisuke Miyamoto. After the fight he stated he wanted to avenge his loss to Dyki and a rematch is definitely something I want to see as there's not a whole lot for him to do at Bantamweight at the moment as he owns two wins over the #2 in his division and has a win over Seiya Rokukawa, who fights Dyki for the vacant RISE 55kg title in March. Ohno vs the winner of that fight would be a great matchup. After losing in their first fight, Ito went on to lose to Kiminori Matsuzaki, which put him on a 3-fight losing streak. He bounced back with 3 straight wins, including a big win over J-Network champ Kentaro Kimura, but the loss here moves him back to square one. He did better in this fight than their first, as he was knocked down twice in their first encounter and he is still young, so it's not as if he's at a difficult time in his career. I'd like to see him rematch Matsuzaki or take on someone like J-Network Flyweight champ Yuki next.

In a Super Bantamweight title fight, champion Keisuke Miyamoto and challenger Kunihiro fought to a majority draw, giving Miyamoto his first defense. While Miyamoto escapes with the title, he takes a huge hit to his stock as Kunihiro won the only judge's card that wasn't a draw and Miyamoto was a big favorite in this fight after knocking off former #2 Super Bantamweight Ryuya Kusakabe in October. Like the two previous title fights, this was a rematch of a fight that  took place in 2011 that Miyamoto won quite handily. This draw is huge for Kunihiro, who didn't have a real quality win on his record. He goes from afterthought to legitimate contender and may have earned himself another shot at Miyamoto. While I think Miyamoto may have overlooked him a bit and I would favor him in a third fight, I think Kunihiro may have figured out a gameplan to beat Miyamoto.

In a Super Featherweight title fight, Tadahiro Hashio pulled off the upset, forcing a doctor's stoppage of Hikaru Machida in the 4th round to win the MA Kick Super Featherweight title. After failing to win the MA Kick Lightweight title from Yoshito Kajita, Hashio dropped to Super Featherweight where he is now 2-0 and the MA Kick champion. While this may look like a bit of a fluke win, Hashio was step for step with Machida after a rough first round and was able to open up a cut that stopped the fight, so props to him. Machida now finds himself on a 3-fight losing streak after a loss to Yoshinori Nakasuka and a similar cut stoppage loss to RIOT at K-SPIRIT 4. After looking to be one of Japan's most promising prospects over the last 2 years, Machida finds himself without any titles and with a bit of an exploitable flaw for the ruleset he fights under. While I don't think these cut stoppages will drive him away from full contact rules, it would be interesting to see what he could do against RISE and Krush's crop of 60kg fighters.

In the night's final title fight, Super Welterweight champion Kazuya Takeda was upset by Hiroto, who earned a doctor's stoppage via cuts in the 3rd round. Keeping with the night's theme, this was another rematch and Takeda had won their first fight in March of 2011, netting him the MA Kick title. Hiroto had failed twice before in winning the title, as he lost the first fight to Takeda and then lost to Masahito Arthur in a #1 contender bout. However a 4-1 record since the loss to Arthur earned him this shot which he capitalized on. Like the other fights, I expect a third fight between these two due to the nature of the stoppage, but it's a solid win for the previously unheralded Hiroto. Takeda reached a career high in 2012, going 4-0 including a big win over TOMOYUKI, but takes a step back to start 2013. That being said, I believe he is one of Japan's best 70kg fighters, if not the best, who has not fought on a bigger stage. 

Quick results after the break


Krush.26 Results: Kido Defends 70kg Title

After kicking off 2013 with their eight-man one-night 67kg tournament, Krush returned earlier today with Krush.26 featuring a 70kg title fight and the opening rounds of both the inaugural 58kg tournament and the 55kg WILDRUSH League, as well as a 70kg fight between top Japanese Middleweights Yoshihiro Sato and Kenta.

In the night's main event, Krush 70kg champion Yasuhiro Kido picked up his first title defense with a 2nd round knockout of Takuro Moriya. After a slow first round, Kido landed a flurry of punches that floored Moriya, who was unable to get up. There was a bit of trash talk from both fighters coming into this fight, with I believe Moriya trying to get Kido to bet that he'd retire if he lost, so it must've felt good for Kido to knock him out. This was Kido's first fight since being knocked out in the K-1 Word MAX Final in December, which snapped a 6 fight win streak, but Kido now improves to 2-0 with a pair of knockouts in Krush title fights. Next in line would probably be Kenta, but next for Kido is a fight in Big Bang in February. Moriya has a 4-fight win streak snapped including a pair of wins over Asami Zaurus, who he beat in a #1 contender bout to earn this fight. Next for him could possibly be a fight with Yoshihiro Sato and a win would definitely be a career best.

In the co-main event, former Krush 70kg champ Kenta pulled off an upset over Yoshihiro Sato, winning 29-28 on all 3 cards. Kenta seems to have used his high volume, presusre style while being able to get inside the taller Sato's reach. This is a huge win for Kenta who had a rough 2012 with losses to Yasuhiro Kido, TOMOYUKI and Soichiro Miyakosh and probably places him in line for a 3rd fight with Kido and the chance to get his title back. Big disappointment for Sato, who hadn't fought in Krush since February, as most people had him pegged as one of the top 2 Middleweights in Japan. He was coming in off of back to back losses in GLORY to Shemsi Beqiri and Sanny Dahlbeck.

In the opening round of the Krush 58kg tournament, Nobuchika Terado scored a 3rd round knockout of KO-ICHI, Takeru knocked out Kenta Yagami in the 1st round, Shota Kanbe won a unanimous decision over Koji and Yuzo Suzuki knocked out Tsuyoshi Nakajima. In the reserve bout, Yuta Otaki knocked out SATOI in the first round. Not a lot of surprises as tournament favorites Nobuchika Terado and Takeru moved through with stoppage wins while Suzuki proved that he had improved more than Nakajima since their first fight and Kanbe, the youngest fighter in the tournament, picked up a solid win. The semifinals take place at Krush.27 and will see Nobuchika Terado vs Shota Kanbe and Takeru vs Yuzo Suzuki. I fully expect Takeru and Terado to get by their opponents to set up a final between the two, though Suzuki has a lot of momentum going into this fight after two very strong performances in a row.

In the opening round of the 55kg WILDRUSH League, Takumi picked up a unanimous decision over Kazuki Okawa, Yuya Suzuki scored a 3rd round stoppage of Masanori Shimada and Yuki Masato and Kazyosi fought to a draw. Suzuki finds himself in first as the only person to score a knockout, earning 3 points, while Takumi gets 2 points for a decision win and Masato and Kazyosi each earn a point for a draw. The first round didn't teach us a whole lot, as Takumi won with ease and one of the other fights ended in a draw. However, 16 year old Masanori Shimada took a big hit in his stock as he was 2-1-1 as a pro and 36-2-2 as an amateur, and so did Kazyosi, who was 2-0-0 in his pro career coming in. Despite not getting 3 points for a stoppage, I'm still confident that Takumi will run through the tournament field, but he may need to score some stoppages to ensure that Suzuki doesn't outpoint him.

Full results after the break


Krush 67kg Tournament Results: Kubo Wins Tournament in Disputed Decision, Alamos Upsets Takiya

Krush started its 2013 year with one of the biggest events in the promotion's history, headlined by a 67kg tournament to crown a champion in one of Krush's two new weight classes with former K-1 stars Yuta Kubo, Yuji Nashiro, Yuya Yamamoto and Shintaro Matsukura, as well as Abdellah Ezbiri, TaCa, Hitoshi Tsukagoshi and Makihira Keita. Also on the card were Krush 55kg champ Shota Takiya taking on Mike Alamos, HIROYA taking on Keiji Ozaki, Masaaki Noiri against Makoto Nishiyama and other Krush standouts like Naoki Ishikawa, Yuji Takeuchi, Hisaki Higashimoto and Yukimitsu Takahashi.

In the first tournament quarterfinal, Abdellah Ezbiri was able to get a unanimous decision victory over 2011 K-1 MAX Japan Tournament champion Yuji Nashiro on scores of 30-27 and 30-28(x2). Nashiro entered the fight down a point as he failed to make weight on his first two attempts. However, that did not seem to make much of a difference as Ezbiri outboxed Nashiro over the course of 3 rounds. In the second quarterfinal, Yuya Yamamoto knocked out Hitoshi Tsukagoshi at 1:59 of the 3rd round on a left hook. Tsukagoshi apparently had the speed advantage, as he was moving up from 63kg while Yamamoto came down from 70kg, but Yuya had a clear power advantage and the hook that put Tsukagoshi down seems to have been pretty brutal. In the 3rd quarterfinal, tournament favorite Yuta Kubo used his signature body work to wear down TaCa en route to a 2nd round stoppage at 1:43. In the last quarterfinal, Shintaro Matsukura cruised to a unanimous decision over Makihira Keita on scores of 30-27 and 30-28(x2).

In the semifinals, Yuya Yamamoto showed he still had some fight in him, but lost an extension round split decision to Abdellah Ezbiri in what appears to have been the best fight of the tournament. After Ezbiri took the first round and the two drew the second, Yamamoto stormed back in the 3rd with his boxing to force an extra round. It seems the two both went for broke, but it was Ezbiri who came out on top, winning the round on 2 of the judges' cards. In the other semifinal, Yuta Kubo cruised to a unanimous decision over Shintaro Matsukura on scores of 30-27 and 30-26(x2). Kubo scored a knockdown in the first on a body shot and was able to outpoint Matsukura for the rest of the fight, however the inability to finish hurt Kubo, as Matsukura chopped away at his lead leg throughout the fight.

The finals saw a rematch between Yuta Kubo and Abdellah Ezbiri. Although Kubo had dominated their first fight, the two needed 5 rounds to determine a winner this time and it was Kubo who came out on top, winning a unanimous decision in the 2nd extension round to win the tournament title, but not without some controversy. It appears Kubo won the 1st round, but the tide started to turn in the 2nd and in the 3rd Ezbiri was able to take advantage of Kubo's lead leg to the point where Kubo was having trouble standing. In the first extension round, Ezbiri seems to have outlanded Kubo and further injured his leg, but was only able to win over one of the judges, as the other two scored it a draw, much to the distaste of the crowd who apparently booed the decision. However, Kubo somehow found it in himself to take over the 5th round, as Ezbiri was reportedly a bit sluggish in the final round and Kubo captured the tournament and inaugural Krush 67kg title. Despite this, Ezbiri was awarded MVP of the event and fight of the night and I wouldn't be surprised at all if he was brought back to Krush for a 3rd time to be Kubo's first title defense. Although Kubo won, there was a bit of an ironic twist, as he had won his K-1 Tournament title with a finals win over Koya Urabe, who had his lead leg decimated by Yuki in the quarterfinals, leaving Urabe as a one-legged fighter.

As far as impressions go for the tournament, we didn't learn much about Kubo. He was expected to win, as he did, albeit with some controversy, and a third fight with Ezbiri would likely look more like the first than this encounter, as he wouldn't have to battle through a damaged leg. However we did learn a lot about Ezbiri and Yuya Yamamoto. Ezbiri sees his stock shoot up a lot here as before this, he was just another in the list of foreign Kubo victims, but wins over Yuji Nashiro and Yuya Yamamoto, as well as the disputed finals decision, make him one of world's top kickboxers in the 65-67kg range, which isn't the deepest division. Yamamoto saw his stock shoot up after seeing his career sent into a downward spiral in 2012 with losses to Xu Yan and Asami Zaurus. As I said in my tournament preview, I could see Yamamoto beating Tsukagoshi and giving whoever he faced in the semifinals trouble, which he did, and for that he has to be commended. His brawling style works well in the tournament format, but I highly doubt he will ever be regarded as an elite fighter, even in Japan, as he lacks consistency and has shown he can both beat or lose to anyone on any given night. He is a wildly entertaining, but limited fighter.

Recap of the non-tournament fights and quick results below

Subscribe to this RSS feed

Copyright 2010 - 2014 All Rights Reserved.

Top Desktop version