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Japanese Scene Weekly Recap: April 14th - 21st

News

In preparation for their second trip to Japan, GLORY announced a pair of fights for GLORY 8 Tokyo this week. First at 70kg, K-1 and GLORY veteran Yoshihiro Sato is set to take on RISE 63kg champion Sun Hyun Lee. Sato last competed in GLORY at GLORY 3 as a late replacement for Albert Kraus in the 70kg World Tournament, but lost to Sanny Dahlbeck. He is 1-1 since then, with a loss to Kenta and a win over Henri van Opstal. Lee, who is LiverKick's #4 ranked Lightweight, will have to overcome a 6+ inch height advantage in this fight, but this is not his first time competing at 70kg. Back in February, he won a K-1 MAX 70kg tournament in Seoul, despite being much smaller than many of the other competitors. Regardless of the outcome, I'd like to see GLORY have him fight at 65kg next time. GLORY also announced RISE 55kg champion Dyki's opponent for the card, South Korean Jang Yong-ho. Jang fought in Japan once before, losing to Masaaki Kadota for the GLADIATOR Lightweight title. I don't know much about him other than that he trains out of CMA Korea, but if Sun Hyun and Chang Hyun Lee have taught us anything, it's not to underestimate Korean fighters.

Perhaps the biggest news this week came from the Hoost Cup, who announced a card for June 16th with an all-star lineup. Although there is only one matchup announced so far, a rematch between Ryuya Kusakabe and Sota Ichinohe for Kusakabe's WPMF Japan Super Bantamweight title, the list of participants includes Saenchai PK Saenchaimuaythaigym, Yoshihiro Sato, Yuichiro Nagashima, NJKF Super Featherweight champion Daichi Yamato and Jemyma Betrian. 

RISE also laid out the plans for their next event, RISE 93, on June 9th. Scheduled to participate are 60kg champion Kosuke Komiyama, Yuto Watanabe, Raoumaru, Seiya Rokukawa, Motochika Hanada and Shohei Asahara, among others. J-Network Super Bantamweight champ Hiroaki Mizuhara is also expected to compete for the first time since last July, when he won the now defunct It's Showtime Japan's inaugural 55kg title. 

After making their first trip to Nagoya last year, Krush announced that it would be making its first trip to Hiroshima on August 25th to host Krush.31. Already announced for the event are Hiroshima natives Yuya Yamamoto and Nobuchika Terado. On top of that, Krush announced a pair of fights for Krush Ignition vol.4 on June 2nd. At 70kg, Hiroki Nakajima takes on NJKF's KEN and at 67kg, Makihira Keita fights NJKF's Tae-yeon. Nakajima and KEN both recently lost to Yutaro Yamauchi. 

REBELS made a pretty big announcement this week as well, scheduling two title fights for their June 9th card. At 67kg, WPMF Japan champion T-98 looks to bounce back from his upset loss to Tsukuru Midorikawa with a win over MA Kick champion Jun Nakazawa, who was upset by Yuma Matsui in his last outing. At Flyweight, divisional kingpin Ryuji Kato looks to prove that he can hang with both the old guard and the new guard as he will defend his title against the winner of the Eisaki Ogasawara vs Hiroyuki Yamano fight, both of whom have scored big upsets early in their careers. Also competing on the card is NJKF Welterweight champion Kenta, who will compete at 67kg, and MA Kick Super Welterweight champion Hiroshi Fire.

Finally, DEEP*KICK announced a pair of fights for their May 12th card. At 60kg, DEEP*KICK champion Yuto Tsujide takes on RISE's Tatsuaki in a non-title bout. At 65kg, Krush veteran Yuya looks to bounce back from his loss to 65kg champion Hiroto Yamaguchi with a win over 2012 RISING ROOKIES Lightweight runner-up Yasuhiro "TOKAREV" Shimizu.

Event results from this week as well as a couple other miscellaneous announcements after the break

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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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