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Danyo Ilunga, Gago Drago Fighting Tomorrow In Germany

Once again Germany has a kickboxing card with some notable fighters. Tomorrow, September 8 in Merseburg, Germany, Merseburger Fight Night goes down with names like Danyo Ilunga, Gago Drago, Marco Pique and Wendell Roche on the card.

The It's Showtime 95MAX World Champion Danyo Ilunga will be competing in a one night, eight man tournament for a prize of $10 000. Ilunga faces Wendell Roche in the first round of the tournament, in a rematch of their It's Showtime title fight from December of 2010. The other first round tournament match-ups are Utley Meriana vs. Salvo Polugic, Senad Hadzic vs. Martin Jahn and Uguz Ovgur vs. Vladimir Toktasynov. Reserve fights are Sergio Pique vs. Jerry Otto and Romano Romasco vs. Steve Kitzing.

Gago Drago returns to action as he takes on Bakar Barakat. This is Drago's first fight since his loss to Andy Ristie in May at K-1 in Madrid, and he's lost eight in a row. Barakat has mostly done boxing lately, fighting 23 boxing matches in 2011. (Yes, we're not kidding.) The level of opposition that he beat, however was for the most part not good. He comes off two decision losses in a row in boxing this year. Barakat is a veteran of kickboxing, though.

Marco Pique fights Max Baumert. Pique comes off a loss to Aikpracha Meenayothin, although there's no shame in that.

Superfights
Bakar Barakat vs Gago Drago
Alban Ahmeti vs Onur Karaoglan
Max Baumert vs Marco Pique
Waldemar Wiebe vs Peter Bäumler
Muay Thai
Peter Chobanov vs Mikail Bajramov
K-1 $10 000 Heavyweight Tournament
Group 1
Utley Meriana vs Slavo Polugic
Patrick Liedert vs Martin Jahn
Group 2
Wendell Roche vs Danyo Ilunga
Uguz Övgür vs Vladimir Toktasynov
Reserve Fights
Sergio Pique vs Jerry Otto
Romano Romasco vs Steven Kitzing
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Hiroki Akimoto vs Yosuke Morii Headlines MA Kick/WBC Japan Card on 10/7

MA Kick has announced a co-sponsored event with WBC Muay Thai set to take place on October 7th at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo and featuring 3 WBC Japan champions defending their titles, as well as a battle for the vacant Bantamweight title. 

The main event will feature one of, if not the biggest fight to take place in the Japanese scene outside of Krush, RISE and Shootboxing this year, pitting current WBC Japan and WPMF Japan Featherweight champion Yosuke Morii against MA Kick Featherweight champion Hiroki Akimoto for Morii's WBC Japan title. Morii (20-3-2, 9 KO) had a very strong 2011 which culminated in a much-hyped fight against Genji Umeno, which Umeno won quite handily. This year, Morii is 2-1, taking a loss in Thailand to begin his year, but bouncing back with a win over Heihachi Nakajima to win the vacant WBC Japan title and defending his WPMF Japan title against Hiroki Nagashima. After a successful career in K-1 Koshien, which saw his only two losses coming in 2009 to eventual finalist Shota Shimada and in the 2010 finals against Shohei Hareyama, Akimoto is 15-0-0 (8 KO) in his professional career and has won his last 8 fights by knockout, most recently stopping Hiroki Fujisawa to claim the vacant MA Kick Featherweight title. While Akimoto hasn't exactly fought elite competition in the division, it is hard to argue against him being #3 behind Morii and Umeno considering how his career has gone so far. With Morii just 24 and Akimoto very recently turning 20, this is a key battle between two young stars in the Featherweight division and with K-1's weight class expansion, the winner of this fight will likely have a better chance of getting chosen by K-1, especially with Genji Umeno attending the most recent K-1 press conference. I give a slight edge to Morii here as he has more experience and will probably be able to handle what Akimoto throws at him more than Akimoto can handle Morii's offense.

At Flyweight, WBC Japan and WPMF Japan Flyweight champion Ryuji Kato will look to make the first defense of his WBC title against Hiroyuki Yamano. Kato (18-3-1, 9 KO) is coming off of a defense of his WPMF Japan title against Shuichi Wentz which snapped a 2-fight losing streak. He won his WBC Japan title about a year ago, defeating then-champion Naoki Otsuki. Yamano snapped a 2-fight losing streak of his own with an upset TKO of MA Kick Flyweight champ Yuuji Uwasawa via cut. The two have two common opponents in recent times in Yuuji Uwasawa and Naoki Otsuki, with Yamano going 2-0 and Kato going 1-1. Despite that, I give an edge to Kato as I feel he is the better fighter and Yamano's win over Uwasawa was a product of circumstance seeing as he won by cut while Kato took him 5 rounds and only lost by a point on two cards.

WBC Japan and NJKF Welterweight champion Yuya Yamato will look to defend his WBC title against former WPMF Japan Welterweight champ Daiki Watabe. Yamato (14-7-0, 9 KO) most recently took a tough fight against Yuta Kubo in Krush, losing by 2nd round KO and snapping a 2-fight winning streak where he took wins off of Kanongsuk Weerasakreck and Pradesh Lookprabaht. Yamato won his WBC title from Soichiro Miyakoshi last July and will look to make his first defense here. While Watabe (13-8-1, 9 KO) is just 3-3 in his last 6 fights, he is a deserving challenger, as those 3 losses came to Chi Bin Lim and twice to T-98, who is proving to be one of the top Welterweights in Japan. He has won two in a row, most recently stopping Yukimaru to earn this fight. Yamato should be a good favorite here, but being rattled by Yuta Kubo may have some negative effects on him and could open a window of opportunity for Watabe, who has the power to stop Yamato, who was stopped in 3 of his last 4 losses.

In the final WBC Japan title fight, Takuma Ito and J-Network Bantamweight champion Kentaro Kimura will face off for the vacant WBC Japan Bantamweight title. Ito (13-3-1, 6 KO) started his career 12-0-1, but suffered three straight losses, losing in battles for the vacant WPMF Japan Super Flyweight and Bantamweight titles to Kiminori Matsuzaki and TO-MA, respectively, and losing his MA Kick Bantamweight title to Takashi Ohno. He recently bounced back with a stoppage of Banzen Esugym in June. Kimura has won 5 in a row since a loss to Namito Izawa at Krush.11, winning the J-Network Bantamweight tournament and most recently defeating Yuya Suzuki at Krush.21. Though I like Ito a lot as he trains out of Hashimoto Dojo, he has been shaky in title fights and Kimura has a more impressive resume, especially across his last 5 wins. 

Finally, MA Kick Flyweight champion Yuuji Uwasawa will take a non-title bout against Nagata Haryi. While Haryi isn't a big opponent, Uwasawa has already lost a non-title fight to an unheralded opponent this year and will need to come ready to fight if he doesn't want to fall to 0-2 in non-title fights.

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Mix Fight Gala XIII Results: Schneidmiller, Mailov, Kehl Win

Mix Fight Gala XIII went down yesterday in Frankfurt, Germany. Among names on the card were long time veterans like Warren Stevelmans and Dennis Schneidmiller, and young up and comers like Roman Mailov and Enriko Kehl.

In what was probably the most significant fight on the card, Warren Stevelmans fought Germany's Dennis Schneidmiller in a battle of two members of the GLORY First 16. The fight was close throughout, with both fighters finding their opportunities to land with mostly punch combinations and some occasional low kicks. Schneidmiller would get off first most of the time and by the time Stevelmans was set to throw, Schneidmiller would tie him up in the clinch and get the fight reset by the referee. Schneidmiller ended up winning a decision, probably due to his higher workrate.

In a battle of two prospects, Roman Mailov from Ukraine met the Croatian-German fighter Leo Zulic at 70kg. Despite both fighters coming up from lower weights in recent times, Mailov looked like the much bigger fighter and it showed, with his strikes damaging Zulic a lot more than Zulic's strikes damaging him. Zulic came out with punch combinations while Mailov used the first round as more of a feeling out round. Mailov started to get an edge in the second when he implemented numerous step up knees to the body of Zulic that were clearly wearing the German fighter out. By the third round, Mailov was clearly getting the better of the fight, forcing Zulic into the corner and scoring with punch combinations to the body and end along with more step up knees to the body. The judges called the fight a draw and thus it was supposed to go to an extra round, but Zulic couldn't continue so Mailov got the TKO win.

Dima Weimer beat Alex Schmitt thanks to the help of a few knockdowns and Alexander Braun beat Marco Aschenbrenner by decision. Up and coming 20 year old German fighter Enriko Kehl stopped Dutch-Moroccan fighter Mohammed Medhar in the second round via TKO.

Priest West def. Omar Amrani by decision.

Denis Schneidmiller def. Warren Stevelmans by decision.

Roman Mailov def. Leo Zulic by TKO (Corner Stoppage) after Round 3.

Ania Fucz def. Sarah Debaieb by decision.

Dima Weimer def. Alex Schmitt by decision.

Alexander Braun def. Marco Aschenbrenner by decision.

Thilo Schneider def. Valdet Gashi by decision.

Enriko Kehl def. Mohammed Medhar by TKO in Round 2.

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Naoki Ishikawa, Yuji Takeuchi Added to Krush.23

After a strong end of the summer, Krush will be returning to its numbered cards with Krush.23 on October 8th. The event was already set to host the final leg of the -63kg WILDRUSH League and now has 3 additional 60kg fights which will likely have an impact in deciding 60kg champ Hirotaka Urabe's next challenger.

First, former 60kg title challenger Naoki Ishikawa will take on Sho Senchaigym. Ishikawa (34-18-5, 18 KO) is 1-0-1 this year with the draw coming in a title fight against Hirotaka Urabe and the win, a close decision win over former RISE champ Kan Itabashi. Sho had fought primarily in NJKF up until this year when he took 2 fights in Krush, also going 1-0-1, with a draw against Makihira Keita and a win over Takeshi Watanabe at Krush.21. Ishikawa is obviously favored here and with his win over Itabashi from Krush.19, stands out as the top contender for Urabe's belt. I assume the two fighters who win most impressively of the 3 announced matchups will be slotted into a title eliminator.

In the next bout, "Kyoken" Yuji Takeuchi will make his return to Krush against Hirotaka Urabe's most recent challenger, Fumiya Osawa. After back to back losses in K-1 against Yuki and Koya Urabe, Takeuchi (22-8-2, 12 KO) scored knockouts in the quarters and semis of the first Krush 60kg tournament over Yosuke Mizuochi and Masaaki Noiri, before being KO'd by Hirotaka Urabe in the finals. After that, he took a rematch with Naoki Ishikawa and the two put on an entertaining fight before a cut let to a technical decision in 2 rounds, with Ishikawa emerging victorious again. After almost a year out of action, Takeuchi returned on July 29th with an extension round win in MA Kick. Osawa (7-8-1, 2 KO) proved to be better than his record when he won the Krush 60kg tournament this year, defeating Katsuya Goto in the finals.  However, he too was knocked out by Hirotaka Urabe in his challenge for the title by a spinning back kick to Osawa's body. Takeuchi is the favorite here as he shed some of his ring rust in MA Kick and likely still has the power and excitement that we are used to seeing. But don't count Osawa out, as he has been very impressive over the last 2 years despite his record.

Finally, former RISE 60kg champ Kan Itabashi will fight in Krush for the second time against 60kg tournament runner-up Katsuya Goto. Itabashi (19-6-2, 3 KO) first debuted in Krush at Krush.19 against Naoki Ishikawa, losing a close decision. Before that, he had lost a pair of fights to Masahiro Yamamoto and lost his RISE title to Kosuke Komiyama, while beating Anuwat, Kanongsuk and Genki Yamamoto. Goto followed up a close decision loss to Kizaemon Saiga with a run to the finals of the Krush 60kg tournament, where he lost a decision to Fumiya Osawa. 

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