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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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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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Yuta Kubo, Yuji Nashiro to Compete in Krush 67kg GP

  • Published in Kickboxing


A few weeks ago, Krush announced the expansion of their weight classes, adding 67kg and 58kg. With that announcement came the announcement of an 8-man 67kg tournament set to start on Krush's January 14th event, which is set to be titled Jawin Presents Krush Grand Prix 2013 ~67kg First Class Tournament~. Krush just announced the first two participants in that tournament and although there are 6 more fighters to be announced, the tournament may already have its two biggest favorites in Yuta Kubo and Yuji Nashiro.

Former 63kg kingpin Yuta Kubo has slowly been moving up in weight over the past year, most recently fighting Yuya Yamato at 67kg at Krush.22. He was scheduled to make his 70kg debut at Glory 4 Tokyo on December 2nd, but with rumors about that card's postponement flying around, Kubo's 70kg debut may be postponed. Arguably the #1 fighter in Japan right now, Kubo (34-4-1, 16 KO) has won 11 straight fights. During that stretch, he won the 2011 K-1 -63kg Japan tournament, taking out Koshien products Kizaemon Saiga, Masaaki Noiri and Koya Urabe, then won 5 straight fights against European opposition, earning the ISKA Light Welterweight title in the process. His most recent bout was a head kick KO of top 67kg fighter Yuya Yamato. Kubo definitely has to be the favorite in this tournament, regardless of who is announced.

Nashiro has had an interesting career, to say the least. After a 39 second KO loss to Yuichiro Nagashima in the 2010 K-1 MAX Japan Tournament, Nashiro scored back to back wins over eventual Krush 70kg tournament finalists Yutaro Yamauchi and Kenta before losing to Yoshihiro Sato. A rematch with Yamauchi in the opening round of the Krush tournament saw Nashiro lose an extension round decision and seemingly fall off the map, as fighters like Yamauchi, Kenta, Shintaro Matsukura and others began to flood a chaotic 70kg division in Japan. Despite this, Nashiro was chosen as a participant in the 2011 K-1 MAX Japan Tournament, but drew Albert Kraus in the quarterfinals. With most expecting him to roll over, Nashiro brought the fight to Kraus, hurting him in the first and dropping him in the 3rd. He then went on to hand Takafumi Morita his first loss and knock out Yuya Yamamoto to win the tournament, effectively earning him a spot in the new K-1's Final 16 this May. However, that didn't go so well for him as he dropped a decision to Reece McCallister, failing to advance. The drop to 67kg is a great move for Nashiro, who stands at just over 5'6" and will still probably be a bit undersized at 67kg. 

Also announced to compete on the card are Krush 55kg champ Shota Takiya, 2011 Youth GP champion Masaaki Noiri, Yuji Takeuchi and Kan Itabashi. Takiya could be defending his title for the 3rd time. Noiri will likely face the winner of this year's -63kg Youth GP, which will be decided at Krush.24 this weekend when Koya Urabe faces Hisaki Higashimoto, as he won last year's Youth GP. With Naoki Ishikawa getting another title shot against Hirotaka Urabe, common logic says that Takeuchi and Itabashi, who are both coming off of wins at Krush.23 over 60kg tournament finalists Fumiya Osawa and Katsuya Goto, respectively, will face each other.

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