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Photo of the Day: Overeem and Badr Hari 2013

Well, they might not be fighting any time soon, as Badr Hari is currently a man without a home and Alistair Overeem is happy in his UFC contract, but fans can dream, can't they? These two have met in the ring twice now, with each having a win over each other, but they have been training together recently at Mike's Gym, which just proves that anything can happen in combat sports and that there really is no such thing as mortal enemies, right? [source]

Reem/Badr

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Ruslan Karaev Implicated in Rotterdam Art Theft

Karaev

This one is just a bit too odd. Ruslan Karaev, the former K-1 fighter who has kept a rather low profile over the past few years after he suffered a series of injuries, has once again gotten his name in the news. This time around it is not the way that he or his fans would like to see him, though, as he has been implicated in a case from last year where millions of dollars of paintings were stolen from a museum in Rotterdam.

Karaev, who is said to have some connections to Russian crime organizations, was named by suspect Radu Dogaru, with Dogaru claiming that he gave four of the paintings to the athlete after the initial theft. Karaev is not in custody nor is it clear what, if any involvement he actually had in this robbery, but we'll keep an eye out for more on this story. [Source]

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Final Fight 3: Jurkovic vs Catinas, Fight Card/Order

This is a huge upcoming weekend for combat sports in general. On the kickboxing side of things we obviously have GLORY 7 on Saturday, April 20, but before that there's another card that's worth checking out on Friday, April 19 in the form of Final Fight 3 from Split, Croatia. 

The main event features Igor Jurkovic taking on Raul Catinas. The card is mixed with both kickboxing and MMA bouts, with some more notable names being Pavel Zhuravlev taking on Luca Panto and Toni Milanovic fighting the upcoming Dutch-Moroccan Ibrahim El Bouni in a particularly interesting match-up.

There will be a live stream of the event and details will be announced in the next few days. For now, here's the complete fight card and order from fightsite.hr:

Preliminary Card:

MMA -77 kg: Dejan Milošević VS Ivan Gluhak
K-1 -85 kg: Toni Milanović VS Ibrahim el Bouni
MMA -93 kg: Teo Radnić VS Matej Batinić
K-1 +95 kg: Mladen Kujundžić VS Rok Štrucl

Main Card:

K-1 -81 kg: Zlatko Bajić VS Petros Vardakas
MMA -93 kg: Christian Golčić VS Tomislav Spahović
MMA +93 kg: Ante Delija VS Michail Laprakis
K-1 +95 kg: Pavel Zhuravlev VS Luca Panto
K-1 +95 kg: Igor Jurković VS Raul Catinas

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Japanese Scene Weekly Recap: April 8th - 14th

With the amount of kickboxing and muay thai promotions currently operating in Japan, I decided it would be easier to do a weekly recap that recaps the news and event results for each week. Some weeks are packed with events and news, while others are sparse, so I thought this would be a better way to keep everyone up to date with what's going on in Japan. I'll still do separate posts for big announcements and big event results, but this will cover everything that happened in the past week.

News

The biggest news that came out this week was from GLORY, who will host their second event in Japan on May 3rd with GLORY 8 Tokyo, headlined by GLORY's inaugural 65kg tournament. The quarterfinal matchups were announced and the upper half pits Mosab Amrani against Marcus Vinicius and Masaaki Noiri against Liam Harrison while the lower half has Abdellah Ezbiri against Gabriel Varga and Yuta Kubo against Chi Bin Lim. In reserve fights, Zen Fujita will fight Chonglek Super Pro Samui while Andre Bruhl faces Yukihiro Komiya. Also announced was a 4-man Road to GLORY 85kg tournament with Toshio Matsumoto vs Magnum Sakai in one semifinal and Kengo Shimizu vs Yuki Niimura in another. At 60kg, Yuji Takeuchi fights Tatsuya Inaishi. RISE 55kg champ Dyki will fight on the card as well, but he does not have an opponent yet.

Shootboxing also made headlines with some good fight announcements including a Super Featherweight title fight between champion Naguranchun Masa M16 and K-1 and Krush veteran Kizaemon Saiga. Saiga is 2-0 in Shootboxing and is one of the best Lightweights in Japan, so he could definitely upset Naguranchun. Shootboxing also announced two big women's fights with 3-time Girls S-Cup champion RENA taking on Taiwanese muay thai champ Peiling Du. In the other matchup, 2012 Girls S-Cup semifinalist Lorena Klijn fights Miyo Yoshida. Klijn upset Erika Kamimura in the quarterfinals of last year's S-Cup before losing a close fight to V.V Mei.

M-FIGHT put together a fight between two of Japan's top Super Featherweights, pitting WPMF Japan champion SHIGERU against former WPMF Japan Featherweight champion Yosuke Morii for the interim WPMF World Super Featherweight title. SHIGERU recently suffered his first defeat via extension round cut stoppage against Krush champion Hirotaka Urabe in a close fight. Morii has been considered the #2 Featherweight in Japan for the past few years, defeating everyone in his path outside of Genji Umeno and Hiroki Akimoto. He recently fought Pornsaneh Sitmonchai to a draw at RISE/M-1MC Infinity.II in January. The fight takes place on May 26th at Fist Kick X and the winner fights current WPMF World Super Featherweight champ Rungravee Sasiprapa.

NJKF didn't announce any new fights, but were forced to make an alteration to one of their previously planned ones for their April 29th card. NJKF Lightweight champion Keijiro Miyakoshi, who was originally set to fight Tadahiro Hashio, will now face Gansuwan Sasiprapa, who defeated Tetsuya Yamato in his last outing.

J-NETWORK made a couple of announcements regarding two of their May cards, first announcing that Yusuke Sugawara had vacated his Super Lightweight title and that top ranked Shunsuke Oishi would be taking on Krush veteran Yukimitsu Takahashi for the vacant title on May 6th. On May 19th, Bantamweight champion Kentaro Kimura is set to make his first defense against the surging Yojiro.

Finally, Tenkaichi announced a WPMF Japan Super Welterweight title match for May 12th between champion Takeru Shimizu and MA Kick champion Hiroto.

Results

MA Kick DRAGON ~THE ONE AND ONLY TAKE 1~ JMC 10 Year Anniversary: The headlining bout was a Featherweight matchup between MA Kick champ Hiroki Akimoto and 8th ranked Rajadamnern Stadium Featherweight Songkhom Sreesuriyanyothin, which Akimoto won by unanimous decision on scores of 50-47, 49-47 and 49-48. The win will get Akimoto ranked at Rajadamnern Stadium, though I don't know if he'll get an immediate title shot like Kunitaka or if he'll have to work his way towards one. The co-main event saw Jomphet Chuwattana make his second trip to Japan to take on MA Kick Bantamweight champ Takashio Ohno. After losing in his first trip by cut, Jomphet took a close majority decision over Ohno. In the last Japan vs Thailand fight, former MA Kick Welterweight champ Kazuya Takeda picked up a unanimous decision over Bettonkam Or Sithubon.

REBELS.15: In the main event, K-1 veteran Hinata won the inaugural REBELS 70kg title with a one-sided unanimous decision over Takuma Konishi. In the co-main event, SNKA Welterweight champion Tsukuru Midorikawa scored a huge upset with a majority decision win over WPMF champ T-98. At Featherweight, former NKB Lightweight champ Yasuyuki continued to impress with a unanimous decision over M-1 Interim Featherweight champ Yuji Umehara. I believe Yasuyuki will be fighting Shunta Ito in the near future and a win could vault him into the upper echelon of the division. At 60kg, Hikaru Machida's rough streak continued as he fought Fukashi to a draw. Finally, in another big upset, Krush veteran Yuma Matsui knocked out MA Kick Welterweight champion Jun Nakazawa.

M-Fight The Battle of Muay Thai: In the main event, REBELS 65kg champion Zen Fujita fought Puppanoi Esugym to a draw. The co-main event, between WPMF World Mini Flyweight champion Little Tiger and Italy's Soisci Porcetta also ended in a draw. At Welterweight, Kongfeh Esugym knocked Kousuman down four times en route to a unanimous decision.

RISE ZERO: In the main event, 2012 RISING ROOKIES Featherweight champion Masanobu Goshu took  a unanimous decision over Fumiya Sasaki.

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