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K-1 World MAX 2011 70kg Japan Tournament FINAL on September 25

  • Published in Kickboxing

World MAXK-1's recent purchase was bound to lead to more announcements and speculation, and outside of the rumor of the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16 in October, there has actually been another show scheduled for September, which is looking to be the K-1 World MAX Japan tournament finals for the 70kg weight class. This is the tournament that would usually happen around February, but due to K-1's problemed year, this tournament will be happening in September instead. We've already seen a few fights in this "tournament" and are set to see the rest of the tournament unfold on the 25th of September.

It will happen in Osaka, Japan on September 25 with a host of participants planned for the show; Albert Kraus, Yuya Yamamot, Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima, Yasuhiro Kido, Yuta Kubo, Kizaemon Saiga, Yuji Nashiro, KENTA, Takafumi Morita, YOSHI and Takeshi Yokoyama. As you can tell, a mix of -63kg fighters and 70kg fighters, so it won't strictly be the 70kg tournament, much like there were MAX/70kg fights at the -63kg tournament.

It should also be noted that if K-1 wanted to hold a World MAX tournament around that time it would be impossible for them, as It's Showtime is promoting their Fast and Furious 70kg MAX tournament on September 24th. It will be two incredible days for kickboxing for sure. [source]

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Could Shootboxer RENA's Popularity Help FEG?

  • Published in Kickboxing

RENAI'm not sure if what I'm posing at this point is a rhetorical at this point or if it actually has value. Recently SHOOTBOXING Girls S-Cup 2009 and 2010 champ Rena Kubota (simply called RENA) made a television appearance on the Female Athletes TV show on TBS, and the ratings she scored for her segment were quite positive. The overall rating for the show was 11.8%, with RENA's segment where she embarrassed three male comedians in the ring received a staggering 16.8%.

RENA, to say the least, has proven that she has the attention of Japan's fickle audiences, and once again on a show featuring female athletes from different sports, was able to prove that combat sports can be seen as "cool." This is immensely important for combat sports. Recently, @DanHerbertson, @Kuri_Kinton and myself (@LiverKickdotcom) had a discussion about the future of combat sports in Japan. Stuart Tonkin (Kuri Kinton), of course, for the uninitiated has been in Japan for ages and does work for K-1, while Herbertson is MMAFighting.com's Japan reporter.

The talk came on the heels of Herbertson and myself discussing TBS and FEG's future, which at this point is a big unknown. TBS had a two year deal with FEG that expired at Dynamite!!, which means as of right now the future of K-1 MAX and DREAM are uncertain on television. This of course could all be idle talk and TBS picks FEG programming back up and simply alters the contract a bit, but if they opt out it is incredibly uncertain for the future. K-1 MAX was the brainchild of FEG and TBS, used mainly to capitalize on the popularity of Japanese Middleweight kickboxer Masato. Masato scaled back his participation and soon retired, leaving MAX in a bad spot.

Then there is DREAM. DREAM is essentially a venture between FEG and what we all knew as DSE. If you don't remember DSE, think back to PRIDE. K-1 currently resides on Fuji TV, who killed off PRIDE's programming after the yakuza scandal DSE had and refuse to associate with that again. This means even if Fuji TV, who have a great relationship with Kazuyoshi Ishii, pick up K-1 MAX, DREAM might be without a home.

Are you following where RENA comes into play yet? Satoshi Ishii's popularity is in the balance right now, and if he disappears again for a prolonged period of time or says something ridiculously stupid in interviews, well, that is it for Ishii. Ishii really needs better handlers, but then again, that won't change anything now. With proper management from the beginning we wouldn't have these issues with Ishii. K-1 has used RENA before, in 2009 she participated in their Korean MAX show where she had a tough extra round decision loss to Su Jeong Lim after being promoted as one of the show's headliners.

RENA has rebound, though, having an incredible 10-fight win streak after that loss and taking two SHOOTBOXING tournaments, which is nothing short of spectacular. For TBS to feel comfortable with further FEG programming, they need some sort of star to push, a Japanese star, and there have not been any outside of Ishii that have presented themselves. If you think back, since the fall of PRIDE there have been no stars created, everything has been left over from PRIDE and earlier K-1 success. Using a female fighter like RENA might not attract the crowd that Japanese broadcasters and sponsors are looking for, but it will bring in viewers. At least until they finally find that "next Masato" they are grasping at straws for. There is a very, very good chance that K-1's KOSHIEN division, which we all laughed at years ago, can provide that next big star for them. There have already been a few fighters not named HIROYA who have come from the KOSHIEN program who have gone on to have success and could be huge stars. [source]

Video of RENA's appearance after the break.

 

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Shootboxing: Souwer Overcomes Sato, RENA Gets Knocked Down

  • Published in Kickboxing

Masato Delivers Flowers to Andy SouwerAfter a bit of a lull for high end kickboxing Shootboxing returns with a bang this weekend in an event featuing Andy Souwer, Yoshihiro Sato and female superstar RENA. Andy Souwer had a rematch with Yoshihiro Sato, but this time under Shootboxing rules where Souwer is much more comfortable than Sato. Sato was coming off a rather dirty loss to Armen Petrosyan but was still unable to overcome an environment where he could possibly be taken down.

A side note to the main event, retired K-1 MAX superstar Masato was in attendance and presented both Sato and Souwer with flowers before the bout (pictured, right). Whenever Masato makes his presence felt in the kickboxing world in Japan it should be noted, as there are persisting rumors that there are multiple forces trying to pull him back into active competition.

Hiroaki Suzuki was able to keep his winning streak alive in Shootboxing, besting the Korean Wu Hu Kim by decision. Japanese boxer-turned-kickoxer Satoru Suzuki continued to look strong with a first round knockout over Masahiro Shimada.

One of the most noteworthy moments of the show was an exhibition bout between Shootboxing's female ace RENA and a high school student, Erika Kamimura. Kamimura was a late replacement for Sun Young Kim, who didn't want to risk any type of exposure in Japan, but put on a quite impressive performance. They were given one three minute round to work in, and in that round Kamimura actually dropped the women's S-Cup Champion with a hook! By all reports Kamimura outclassed RENA, which leaves fans and pundits alike scratching their heads.

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Buakaw 'Allowed' to Fight Again -- Will Fight for MAX Muay Thai

  • Published in Muay Thai

Buakaw

Whenever the name Buakaw comes up people want to know if and when he'll sign with GLORY, when the reality is that his life is far more complicated than just signing a new contract now, and has been for a while. Buakaw Banchamek, formerly Buakaw Por. Pramuk, has had his life become very public over the last year or so, with his struggles against former camp Por. Pramuk and then with former promoter in Thai Fight. Now he is fighting for MAX Muay Thai, although he hasn't been able to "fight" due to a court case against Thai Fight.

Buakaw has instead been fighting demo fights, which means just exhibitions that don't count as legitimate fights towards his record, but still have him involved in the show to put butts in the seats. In a way it is kind of brilliant, if not kind of obnoxious.

Well, according to this photo from MAX Muay Thai's Facebook page, Buakaw can now fight for them, possibly on the August event in China.

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Askerov Out -- Xu Yan in for Fight Code Dragon's Tournament

  • Published in Kickboxing

Xu YanThere is no doubt that one of the more exciting names involved in the Fight Code Dragons Series was Dzabar Askerov, and sadly for fans, there is no chance that we'll see him move on in said tournament. Fight Code sent out a press release the other day detailing the reasons why Askerov has been removed from the tournament, chiefly that the event is in December and there is a contract clause within each Fight Code contract stating that no fighter may fight within a month of their bout with Fight Code. The trouble arose when Askerov was booked in a bout in Sweden on November 26th against Chahid Oulad el Hadj.

This leaves Abdullah Mabel with a new opponent, which was announced by Fight Code earlier today by the way of Xu Yan. Xu Yan is a Chinese kickboxer and while many might take a glance at his wikipedia entry and write him off, his full record is 29 and 14 with impressive wins over Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima, Baxter Humby and Malaipet. Xu Yan's last fight for Fight Code was in March against Sudsakorn sor Klinmee, who is easily one of the best kickfighters of any discipline or weight class in the world. Losing to Suds is nothing to be ashamed of.

It is disappointing to fans that Askerov was forced to drop out, but Xu Yan is a solid fighter who can turn on the sparks when pushed hard enough and there could be huge things for him in the future. Even with the brackets not changing, this changes the entire landscape of the Fight Code Dragons Series tournament.

The tournament's Final 8 takes place in October and unravels as follows;

FIGHT CODE – FINAL 8 October 15th
Marseille – Aix en Provence (France)

SUDSAKORN (THAI) VS HALIM ISSAOUI (MAR)
BRUNO FRANCHI (ITA) VS NORBERT BALOGH (HUN)
ABDELLAH MABEL(FR) VS XU YAN (CHN)
ARMEN PETROSYAN (ITA) VS JURI BESSMERTNY (BY)
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Photo of the Day: Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima Training for Professional Wrestling

  • Published in K-1

There is something to be said about the combat sports community in Japan and how closely knit it is with the professional wrestling community. As we've reported before, K-1 MAX fighter Yuichiro Nagashima is looking to lace up his boots and enter into the world of professional wrestling. Nagashima will be wrestling on the Zero-One MAX show on May 5th in Japan and is training with Zero-One MAX wrestlers such as Shinjiro Ohtani.

The photos are from SportsNavi, they also have an interview up with him, he also looks to add 20kg (about 30lbs) of muscle mass for wrestling.

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Watch Masato's Return to the Ring

  • Published in Video

Stand Up Japan was an event a few days ago held in Japan that was featuring some of the biggest names in Japan's combat sports in exhibition bouts. The two big names at the event were KID Yamamoto and Masato. Masato retired at the ripe age of 30, during the peak of his career and did it on his own terms. Masato retired as a legend, while Yamamoto continues to fight past what many consider his prime and has had no success in the United States fighting for the UFC.

Daniel Herbertson of AOL's MMAFighting.com was live at the event and captured it on video, so sit back and watch clips from this great event. [source]

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LiverKick Throwback: Buakaw vs. Masato K-1 World MAX Finals 2004

  • Published in K-1

The world of kickboxing has a rich history to fall back upon so we here at LiverKick figure, why not? Why not give a glimpse into some of the fights from the past that have made up this wonderful sport and tie it all in to the present. The kids on the Instagram and Twitter like to call Thursdays "Throwback Thursdays," I'm just going to say that this is a LiverKick Throwback.

Let's travel back in time now, all the way back to 2004. Yes, 2004, almost exactly ten years ago to the day, on July 7th, 2004. The K-1 World MAX Finals were the hottest ticket in town since Masato's win in the first ever tournament back in 2002 and Buakaw Banchamek (formerly Por. Pramuk) vs. Masato was the fight that everyone was clawing to see. They were the best of the best; Masato representing the Japanese bushido spirit and Buakaw the best that Thailand had to offer (regardless of your opinion, he was the best in kickboxing at the time). 

This fight was everything that K-1 was meant to embody; Japan vs. Thailand, the foreigner vs. the hometown hero and it delivered in spades. We can look back upon this fight and marvel at the display, the heart and fortitude shown and how K-1 saw Buakaw as a threat to their Japanese-centric MAX brand. This fight was the poor kid from Thailand against the groomed mega-star of Japan and it is beautiful. 

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Remembering Masato's Awesome Career, New StillWill Highlight Reel

  • Published in Video

Our good friend Will, known as StillWill has made yet another of his highlight reels. You might remember his Badr Hari, Gokhan Saki or Melvin Manhoef videos. Well, this time around it is the retired, yet incredible, Masato. Masato was the kingpin of the K-1 MAX division since the inception of the division. The division was actually created with him in mind, a conglomeration of TBS and FEG, knowing that they had a huge star at their disposal by the way of Masato.

Masato was a rare combination of raw talent, skill, refinement, looks, charisma and just being a likable guy. Masato was a cultural icon in Japan; he appeared in films, television shows, newspapers, advertisements, everything. When Masato changed his hair, every major television personality had to follow suit, emulating his look. Masato was a trend-setter, really. Then there was his kickboxing career, as he is truly one of the greats in the 70kgs division. Many would argue the Greatest of all Time, and I'd be hard-pressed to argue that right now.

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