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Andy Souwer vs. Yoshihiro Sato Set for Shootboxing

  • Published in Kickboxing

Souwer SatoK-1 may be quiet these days, but that doesn't mean the rest of the kickboxing world is just sitting back.  Shootboxing has their 2nd big show of 2011 coming up later this month, and they have just announced quite the main event.  Headlining Shootboxing 2011 act.2 on April 23 will be former multi-time Shootboxing S-Cup and K-1 MAX Grand Prix champion Andy Souwer vs. Yoshihiro Sato.  According to our rankings, that's a clash between the #3 and #5 fighters in the world at 70kg, and no matter how you see it, this is undoubtedly a great fight.

Souwer will come into the fight with a considerably edge in Shootboxing rules; an edge he has used to his advantage before, including his quick submission victory over Hinata last year.  He also has the advantage of already holding a win over Sato - the two men met once before in K-1 MAX in 2007 with Souwer scoring the decision win (video below).  But Sato is an incredibly skilled fighter, and an opponent you can never underestimate.  After a rocky 2008, the Japanese star has regained his footing somewhat, going 9-3 in the last two years.  He will be coming in off an upset loss to Armen Petrosyan, while Souwer has two recent upset loses of his own, to Abraham Roqueni under K-1 rules, and to Toby Imada at Shootboxing's 2010 S-Cup.

I see this being a highly technical affair, with both men using superior skill.  The trouble for Sato is that Souwer may just have a few more skills in his arsenal.  In addition to the experience in Shootboxing's unique rules, Souwer also is skilled at fighting in the clinch - and area that has shown to be a weakness for Sato, as seen most recently in the Armen Petrosyan fight.  As he typically does, Sato will have a reach advantage here, and as always, he'll know how to use it.  I expect he will try to keep on the outside and pick Souwer apart, but Souwer should be able to break through that range, get inside, and cause Sato enough damage to take the win.  This is definitely one of those fights where the old adage of a human chess match will come to life.

This show will serve as a benefit for disaster relief in Japan, with many of the fighters already promising to donate their purses to relief efforts.  Also announced for this card are some of Shootboxing's biggest homegrown names: Girls S-Cup champion RENA, Shootboxing 55kg champion Ryuya Kusakabe (who is also scheduled for Krush on April 30, so may end up dropping out of one or the other), and the popular Hiroaki Suzuki.

Andy Souwer vs. Yoshihiro Sato, K-1 MAX, 2007:

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Krush Results: Urabe, Sato Victorious

  • Published in Asia

Urabe LeeResults are in from this weekend's Krush First Champion Tournament Round 2 show, and while the favorites did win in the big fights, things didn't go as smoothly as some may have expected.

In the main event, Yoshihiro Sato squeaked by Shemsi Beqiri via split decision victory.  Scores were 30-28, 29-28, 28-29.  I have to consider that a moral victory for Beqiri, who was making his Japanese debut here.  Going to a split decision with the top 5 ranked Sato in front of a Japanese crowd should be a great boost for the 24 year old Beqiri, and will hopefully open the doors for him to return to Japan this year.  Beqiri had an excellent and very busy 2010, going a whopping 10-2 including a tournament win in Klash and a 2nd trip to a Klash tournament final.  He definitely has earned a shot at K-1 MAX - let's hope he gets it in 2011.

In the semi-main event, Koya Urabe (pictured) edged out Son Hyun Lee, though it took an extension round for Urabe to claim the unanimous decision win.  Urabe is on a great win streak and is clearly establishing himself as the man to beat in Japan at the 63kg ranks.  With this win he moves onto the tournament semi-finals, where he will be the heavy favorite.  Good performance from Lee as well, who was coming in off his K-1 MAX win over Kizaemon Saiga.  Expect to see him on K-1 shows coming out of Korea this year.

Speaking of Kizaemon Saiga, the brash youngster also advanced in the tournament, defeating Naoki Terazaki by unanimous decision.  In the other tournament fights, Takuya Shirahama defeated Yuki Yamamoto by unanimous decision after an extension round, and Ryuji Kajiwara scored a unanimous decision win over TaCa.  Saiga, Urabe, Shirahama, and Kajiwara will now meet in the semi-final and final rounds, both to be held on March 19, with the winner becoming the first ever Krush 63kg champion.

In non-tournament action, former K-1 MAX Final 4 competitor Yuya Yamamoto added another KO win to his belt.  This one came at the expense of Masahiro Watanabe, who Yamamoto KO'd in the 2nd.  While Yuya had some struggles in K-1 MAX through 2010, he still puts on very entertaining fights and remains a threat at 70kg.

Also in the 70kg division, Yuji Nashiro decisioned Daisuke Tsutsumi.  Both Yamamoto and Nashiro will likely be involved in the Krush 70kg tournament beginning April 30, and both could be early favorites depending on the field.

Filing out the results: Kenta KO'd Hidetora in the 2nd, Yu Hirono defeated Takuma Konishi via unanimous decision, Yoshi KO'd Asamisaurus in the 2nd, and Yuzo Suzuki took a unanimous decision win over Minato Kato.

Next show for Krush is the March 19 event featuring the 55kg, 60kg, and 63kg semi-finals and finals in what should be a superb night of action.

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Full Card for Oktagon 2011: Mar 12

  • Published in Kickboxing

Oktagon 2010This past weekend, Giorgio Petrosyan once again asserted his dominance over the Middleweight ranks with a victory over Sudsakorn.  With that fight done, The Doctor now looks ahead to his next fight - a March 12 clash with Cosmo Alexandre.

Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Cosmo Alexandre will headline Oktagon 2011, a kickboxing and Muay Thai event taking place in Milan.  The fight will be 3 x 3 rounds, K-1 rules, at 70kg.  We've discussed this fight before, but it should be another good challenge for the champ.  Alexandre has been hot for the past 2 years, with big wins in It's Showtime and other international promotions.  He's a smart fighter with a deadly flying knee that he could use to great advantage here.  The difficulty he may face is the weight cut - Alexandre has been fighting almost exclusively at 77kg recently, and a drop all the way down to 70 could be tough.  He'll have to come in with a perfect game plan, and execute that game plan flawlessly if he wants to earn the win here.  For fans who appreciate the technical side of kickboxing, this one could be a classic.

The full card for the Oktagon show has now been released, and unlike many smaller shows, this one features more of note than just a main event.  In the past, Oktagon has worked in collaboration with It's Showtime, putting on last year's It's Showtime Milan show that featured Petrosyan vs. Khem, plus 2009's first meeting between Petrosyan and Andy Souwer.  They're running this year's event on their own, and have put together another stacked card.

In the semi-main event, Giorgio's brother Armen Petrosyan faces Yoshihiro Sato under K-1 rules.  Like Giorgio, Armen was also victorious this Saturday, defeating Miodrag Olar.  Sato will be a step up for Armen, but the lesser known Petrosyan is a tough fighter himself, ranking at #25 in the LiverKick.com rankings.  Considering that Sato recently lost to Giorgio and is likely looking for a rematch, this could be an interesting contest, giving Giorgio another opportunity to closely scout Sato, while Sato has a chance to make adjustments based on the Giorgio fight.  Again, this will be a technical fight that should deliver.

Also on the card:

Andre Kulebin vs. Fabio Pinca - Pinca has been around for a few years, but has increased his profile lately, with bigger fights and a victory in the 2010 Isuzu Thai Fight tournament.  He also holds a 2008 win over Sudsakorn.  Kulebin is a highly respected veteran who last year was in the WKN Big 8 tournament where he made in to the finals, losing to Sudsakorn.  This is a Muay Thai fight, 5 x 3 rounds, 65kg.  Another one that could potentially steal the show here.

Khalid Bourdif vs. Marcus Oberg - Bourdif has been making waves in It's Showtime lately, establishing himself as a top contender at 77kg.  He drops down to 70kg here to face K-1 MAX veteran Marcus Oberg under K-1 rules.  Oberg is ranked at #24 in our rankings, and although he is coming in off a loss to Kyshenko, he always provides a tough challenge.

Dzhabar Askerov vs. Chris van Venrooij - Askerov is a popular K-1 MAX veteran who had a rough run in 2009 but has since come back and is 7-1 in his last 8.  Van Venrooj is an oft overlooked, but solid fighter.  This is a rematch from 2008, where Askerov took a split decision.

Rounding out the card: Xu Yan vs. Adem Bozkurt; and Daniel Sam, Chingis Alasov, Phillipe Salmon, and a Japanese fighter identified only as "Morija" (?) will all face opponents yet to be named.

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Hinata Victorious in Japan

  • Published in Asia

HinataHinata was in action this weekend, taking part in an event for Japan's REBELS organization.  The young fighter was in the main event, facing Korea's Woo Yong Choi. K-1 MAX fans may remember Choi as Pajonsuk's victim at the 2010 MAX Grand Prix Final 16 event.  Hinata took the victory, scoring a head kick knockout at the start of the 3rd round.  There's no video available yet, although pictures available at BoutReview.com certainly indicate that Choi took quite the beating.  Check out the impressive photos here.

At the end of the fight, Hinata issued a challenge to Japan's top K-1 MAX star Yoshihiro Sato, which sounds like a great fight to me.

Hinata was one of the break out stars of 2010, as wins over Yuya Yamamoto and Artur Kyshenko brought him great acclaim.  Since being choked out by Andy Souwer in Shootboxing, Hinata has now won two in a row, first over Andre Dida at K-1 MAX, and now against Choi.

 

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Krush Year Begins This Weekend

  • Published in Kickboxing

Krush TournamentThere's still plenty to discuss about the end of 2010. From the poor Dynamite!! ratings, to the K-1 v. MMA debate, to the Fight of the Year, we definitely remain in year end wrap up mode.  But now that it's 2011, and now that we've officially joined the awesome new MiddleEasy.com network (click the link!), let's stop looking back for a moment and look ahead.  Because even though K-1 may not be producing any fights for a few months, there's plenty of action upcoming.  In fact, we're just a few short days away from the first major event of 2011.

On January 9, Krush presents the Krush First Generation King Tournaments Round 2.  Which is a fancy way of saying this show will feature the first round in Krush's tournament to crown an inaugural 63kg champion.  The four tournament fights include:

-Koya Urabe, whose last fight was a win over K-1 63kg champion Tetsuya Yamato v. Korea's Sung Hyun Lee, last seen scoring a decision win over Kizaemon Saiga at the K-1 MAX Final 16

-Team Dragon member Ryuji Kajiwara, who defeated Naoki Ishikawa at Krush.9 last year v. TaCa

-Yuki Yamamoto, a WBC Muay Thai Japan champion v. Krush Rookies Cup winner Takuya Shirahama

-Kizaemon Saiga, one of the breakout fighters of 2010 v. Naoki Terasaki

Winners move on to the March 19 finals.

Urabe is the clear favorite to win the tournament, as he has looked more and more impressive with every outing.  I would love to see him meet both Saiga and Kajiwara before the tournament is done.

The main event this weekend is a big one for Krush, as the #5 ranked Yoshihiro Sato faces Shemsi Beqiri.  Sato is the definite favorite here, but don't rule Beqiri out.  He had a great 2010, including a win over Alviar Lima, and is just outside the top 25.  He has his work cut out for him, but is an exciting fighter, and this is a good match-up.

Two other MAX veterans are on the card - #17 ranked Yuya Yamamoto faces Masakazu Watanabe, and K-1 MAX Japan 2010 tournament participant Yuji Nashiro looks to continue his strong 2010 as he faces Daisuke Tsutumi.

This is the first of 4 shows Krush already has scheduled for 2011.  Up next is the March 19 event featuring the 55, 60, and 63kg tournament finals.  After that will be the 70kg quarter finals on April 30 with the finals on July 16.  With these tournaments, Krush has great potential to capitalize on the strong year they had in 2010.  Thanks in part to K-1 emphasizing the smaller fighters with their new 63kg division, Krush stars have begun to gain greater prominence in the larger kickboxing world.  But Krush has always been boosted by a relationship with K-1, and while that helped them in 2010, it may cause them trouble in 2011.  If K-1 de-emphasizes MAX and the 63kg division, it will definitely have an impact on Krush.  In the short term, it may help them to book more big name fighters who now find themselves with less Japanese fights.  But in the long term, if MAX fades, Japanese interest in the smaller weight classes may also fade, which would be a great trouble for Krush.  This is definitely a pivotal year for the company as they look to further establish their own identity apart from simply a K-1 feeder.

But that's all down the road.  For now, the next 6 months of Krush are bright and full of good fights - and those fights begin this weekend.

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Krush Adds Bennoui, Ezbiri to 67kg Tournament

  • Published in Kickboxing

Krush held a fan event in Tokyo yesterday, hosting promotional stars Yuta Kubo, Masaaki Noiri, Shota Takiya and Yasuhiro Kido, among others. However, the focus wasn't entirely on the fighters at the event, as Krush made a series of important announcements for their first two cards in 2013.

Firstly, Krush announced two more participants for their 67kg tournament, adding European fighters Abdallah Ezbiri and Houcine Bennoui. Ezbiri made his Krush debut at Krush.19 back in June, giving Yuta Kubo one of his harder fights in recent times and being the only one of Kubo's last 5 opponents to hear the final bell. Bennoui, whose brother makes his promotional debut at Krush.25 in December, is another in the long list of French fighters who have invaded Krush over the last year. He holds notable wins over Singmanee Kaewsamrit, Lumpinee Stadium champion Damien Alamos, Mosab Amrani and former Kubo opponent Charles Francois. With the inclusion of these two and the assumed inclusion of Makihira Keita, only one spot remains open. Should Krush choose to fill that spot with a Japanese fighter, Yuya Yamato would be a great final piece to a tournament that is already packed with young talent.

Krush also announced two big fights for their January 14th card, pitting 2011 Youth GP champion Masaaki Noiri against M-1 Super Lightweight champion Makoto Nishiyama. Nishiyama has made his way around the Lightweight circuit in Japan, but at 35 he still lacks a signature win, dropping fights to Hiroki Ishii, Ryuji Kajiwara, Tetsuya Yamato and Kanongsuk Weerasakreck. A win over Noiri would definitely be a career best, but at this stage in his career and on a 2-fight losing streak that dates back to over 2 years ago, Nishiyama will be a massive underdog. Also announced for the card is Krush 55kg champion Shota Takiya taking on Andy Howson. Takiya has held his place atop the 55kg division since April 2011 when he won the Krush tournament and has been an unstoppable force since. Howson made his Krush debut back in August at Krush.21 where he faced Nobuchika Terado for the ISKA Bantamweight title. Howson looked like he was on his way to winning that fight after dropping Terado twice, but Terado stormed back and dropped Howson 3 times to force a stoppage. This fight, on paper, is absolute fireworks, with Takiya being just as prone to brawling as Terado. However, Howson will have to make some adjustments as Takiya is faster and hits harder than Terado. 

Moving on to the January 26th card which hosts the beginning of the 58kg tournament, the aforementioned Nobuchika Terado, as well as Yoshihiro Sato, were at the event to announce their participation for that card. Terado hinted at moving up to 58kg to compete in the tournament, though nothing is confirmed. Should Sato take (and win) a string of fights in Krush, a rematch with Yasuhiro Kido would be very possible and likely entertaining. The only announced fight for that card is a 70kg title match between champion Yasuhiro Kido and Takuro Moriya, assuming Kido doesn't suffer any lasting injuries in K-1 next month.

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Yoshihiro Sato vs Kenta Added to Krush.26

  • Published in Kickboxing

Krush announced earlier today that 2-time K-1 MAX Japan Tournament champion, 2010 World MAX Tournament finalist and current ISKA Middleweight champion Yoshihiro Sato would be returning to Krush to take on former Krush 70kg champion and current NJKF Super Welterweight champion Kenta at Krush.26 on January 26th. Sato (49-19-0, 20 KO) takes his first fight in Krush since Krush.16 in February where he defeated Fadi Merza to claim the ISKA Middleweight title. He has not faced Japanese opposition since a decision win over Yuji Nashiro in 2010 and has lost two in a row to Shemsi Beqiri and Sanny Dahlbeck in GLORY. While it was inarguable that Sato was the top Japanese fighter at 70kg in 2010, the division has seen the re-emergence of Yasuhiro Kido as well as the appearance of new talent like Kenta, Yuji Nashiro and Takafumi Morita, among others. While Sato is still, without a doubt, a top 2 or 3 fighter at the weight in Japan, his lack of domestic opposition in recent years makes it hard to determine if he is still a divisional kingpin, or if he has been surpassed. Kenta (25-10-3, 8 KO) will look for a fresh start in 2013 after a rough 2012 that saw him lose to TOMOYUKI, Yasuhiro Kido and Soichiro Miyakoshi, losing his Krush and WBC Japan titles in the latter two fights. He also managed wins over Shu Kiire and Takenaka Shirakami, defending his NJKF title in the latter, but his standing in the division has taken a big hit. The winner of this fight is likely the #1 contender for the 70kg title, which Yasuhiro Kido defends against Takuro Moriya at a date yet to be determined, but the resulting winner of what is essentially a 4-man tournament will be able to claim that he is the #1 70kg fighter in Japan. For Sato, a win means reinforcing what many still believe and it sets up a likely rematch with Yasuhiro Kido in a showdown between, at least in my opinion, the top two Middleweights in Japan. For Kenta, a win means regaining divisional relevance and a likely rubber match with Kido which could vault him into divisional supremacy, a place he seemed destined for in 2011. 

This fight joins the opening rounds of the Krush 58kg tournament and the 2013 55kg WILDRUSH League.

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