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Fujiwara Festival Results: Umeno Dominates Morii, Masahiro Yamamoto, Kusakabe and T-98 Score Wins

Earlier today at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, the last major kickboxing event of the year took place, the final It's Showtime Japan show of the year, a co-promotion with the annual Fujiwara Festival. The card featured a Top of Featherweight showdown between Genji Umeno and Yosuke Morii, three WPMF Japan Title fights in T-98 vs Daiki Watabe, SHIGERU vs Takahito Fujimaki and Little Tiger vs Fir, a WPMF Japan #1 contender's bout between Ryuya Kusakabe and Sota Ichinohe and super fights that featured Masahiro Yamamoto, Naoki Samukawa and Atsushi Sasatani.

In the main event, Featherweight rivals Genji Umeno and Yosuke Morii finally squared off, and Umeno got the better of the affair, brutalizing Morii over the course of 5 rounds and earning a unanimous decision on scores of 50-45(x3). Umeno ran through Morii, battering his opponent's ribcage with mid kicks and scoring a down in the 2nd round. The win moves Umeno's record to an impressive 19-1 (9 KO) and puts him on a 10-fight win-streak. After the bout he announced that he was more or less done with the Featherweight division in Japan and was setting his sights on the top Thai fighters, calling out the likes of Saenchai Sinbimuaythai, Pornsaneh Sitmonchai, Jomthong Chuwattana and Pakon Sakyotin and stated that he wants to win a Lumpinee Stadium title. Morii (17-3-1, 7 KO) was on a 4-fight unbeaten streak heading into this fight and with Umeno supposedly leaving Japan, Morii assumes the role of divisional kingpin. An interesting next fight for him would be a defense of his WPMF Japan title against #1 ranked Yuji Umehara or Chao Shimura, who scored a win over the last man to beat Morii other than Umeno. Morii could also be an interesting fight for 55kg standouts Shota Takiya and Ryuya Kusakabe should either decide to move up in weight.

In the co-main event, T-98 claimed the WPMF Japan Welterweight Title in his third fight against champion Daiki Watabe, winning a majority decision on scores of 49-48, 50-48 and 49-49. The two first met in July of last year with the fight ending in a draw. Before the two met again this July at the first It's Showtime Japan event, Watabe had claimed the WPMF Japan title and T-98 had been on a slide, going 2-3 and falling out of contention. However, in their rematch T-98 was able to shut out Watabe and earn a unanimous decision. This win for T-98 (11-5-1, 5 KO) moves him to 2-0-1 against Watabe and puts him on a 4-fight win-streak. An interesting next fight for him would be a matchup for his WPMF Japan title against undefeated J-NETWORK champion Masato Otake. Watabe (12-10-1, 7 KO) now falls back into the long list of contenders at 67kg and should see himself in a rematch with Hideya Tanaka or Atsushi Sasatani, or even a fight with Kou Suman.

In a fight for the vacant WPMF Japan Super Featherweight Title, #1 ranked SHIGERU and #2 ranked Takahito Fujimaki fought to a majority draw on scores of 48-48(x2) and 47-48. Fujimaki scored a down in the first round, but SHIGERU took over in the later rounds to even the score and force a draw. The two will likely rematch at some point in the future.

In a bout to determine the next challenger for the WPMF Japan Super Bantamweight title, Ryuya Kusakabe snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, scoring a knockdown of former WPMF Japan Bantamweight champion Sota Ichinohe in the final round to earn him a unanimous decision on scores of 48-47(x2) and 49-46. After having his 7-fight win-streak snapped by Shota Takiya in the finals of the Krush 55kg tournament, Kusakabe (15-4, 7 KO) has put himself back on a 2-fight win-streak and now has the right to face WPMF Japan Super Bantamweight champion Yusuke Shimizu. Ichinohe (11-7-4, 8 KO) had his 3-fight win-streak snapped with a draw against Takuma Ito back in August.

In a 61kg fight, It's Showtime 61kg #1 contender Masahiro Yamamoto scored a unanimous decision win over Genki Kanazawa on scores of 30-25(x5). Yamamoto (36-10-6, 10 KO) scored knockdowns in the 1st and 2nd rounds to earn him the win. He has bounced back nicely from a rough 2010 with 3 straight wins over Arita Tsukahara, Kan Itabashi and now Kanazawa. At some point he will fight current It's Showtime champ Javier Hernandez but no date has been targeted for that bout.

Quick Results after the break


HEAT 20 Results: Danilo Zanolini KOs Su Hwan Lee in 70kg Title Defense

Japanese hybrid Kickboxing-MMA promotion HEAT held HEAT 20 at Differ Ariake in Tokyo on the 17th.

In the main event, HEAT Middleweight champion Danilo Zanolini defended his title for the second time against K-1 veteran Su Hwan Lee via 2nd round KO at 2:37 into the round. Zanolini, who is probably best known for his KO loss to Yoshihiro Sato in K-1, has made a bit of a name for himself at 70kg in Japan. Along with this win over Lee, he holds wins over Shunsuke Oishi, Yuto Watanabe and Shingo Garyu. The win moves Zanolini to 22-8 (14 KO) and should see him taking a step up in competition against someone like Kenta, Yutaro Yamauchi or even Yasuhiro Kido. For Lee, the loss snaps a 4-fight win-streak and brings him to 19-10 (11 KO) on his career and likely halts a comeback to the world of K-1. Up next for Lee is a rematch with Woo Yong Choi, most known for his one-sided beating at the hands of Pajonsuk in K-1, at The Khan 3 on January 15th.

In the kickboxing co-main event, MA Kick Heavyweight champion Magnum Sakai picked up a 2nd round KO at 28 seconds into the round over SNKA #1 ranked Heavyweight Kuniyoshi. Sakai has fought all over Japan from 70kg up to heavyweight and has fought the likes of Takashi Ohno, Nathan Corbett, Fabiano Cyclone, Kaoklai, Taiei Kin and even former MMA fighter turned boxer Hiromitsu Miura, compiling a 21-10-2 (10 KO) record, though never really breaking out as a great fighter. He could be someone considered to fight Toshio Matsumoto at REBELS.10 for the It’s Showtime 95kg title shot.

In Featherweight action, Thai fighter and HEAT regular Chao “Shimura” Logate defeated RISE #1 ranked Featherweight Ryo Pegasus, forcing a doctor stoppage due to a cut at 2:20 into the 2nd round. The win moves Shimura’s record to an impressive 207-88 (18 KO) and drops Ryo Pegasus to 14-12-1 (4 KO). Pegasus is an interesting fighter as he is more or less a gatekeeper at Featherweight, fighting the likes of Yosuke Morii, Junpei Aotsu, Takaaki Kimura and Turbo, losing to all of them. An interesting fight for him would be against J-Network Featherweight champ Masato Sato for the vacant RISE Featherweight title as Sato sits behind Ryo Pegasus at #2.

Finally, K-1 veteran Tsutomu Takahagi scored a 2nd round KO at 2:48 into the round over Kazuki Ozawa. The win puts Takahagi (8-11-2, 3 KO) back on the winning track after he lost back to back fighst to Hiromi Amada at RISE 80 and Singh “Heart” Jaideep at RISE 83 which cost him a spot in the RISE Heavyweight Tournament. At 28, don’t expect Takahagi to make any waves in the heavyweight division, but he’ll still exist to serve as a gateway into the upper echelon of Japanese heavyweight talent.

Also on the card in MMA action was heavyweight Henry “Sentoryu” Miller who dropped his 5th straight fight to Shunsuke Inoue. {jcomments on}


Shin Nihon - Soul in the Ring IX Results: Hiroki Ishii and Yoshimichi Matsumoto Score KO Victories

Earlier today at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, New Japan Kickboxing Association(Shin Nihon Kickboxing Association) held Soul in the Ring IX headlined by Rajadamnern Stadium Super Lightweight champion Hiroki Ishii in his first fight since winning the title. Also on the card were K-1 veteran Yoshimichi Matsumoto, SNKA Flyweight champ Mitsuki Ebata, SNKA Heavyweight champ Toshio Matsumoto and SNKA Lightweight champ Tatsuya Ishii.

In the main event, Hiroki Ishii took on Thai fighter Phahurat Sukpaya(?), scoring a 5th round body shot KO at 1:25 into the round. The win is the 5th in a row for Ishii and moves him to 54-12-12 (26 KO). His first scheduled defense of his Rajadamnern Stadium title was announced after his fight to take place on March 11th at Korakuen Hall, though no opponent has been announced.

In a superfight, SNKA Heavyweight champion Toshio Matsumoto scored a 4th straight knockout win with a 2nd round KO of Rakhataya Pumpanmuang(?) at 1:30 into the round. The win moves the Shin Nihon champ to 8-1 at heavyweight with all 8 wins coming by KO. Up until 2008, Matsumoto was a 70kg fighter and had 2 fights in K-1, both losses to Duane "Bang" Ludwig and TOMO. His lone loss at heavyweight was to former K-1 fighter Hiromi Amada, so that sort of gives you an idea of where he stands. I believe he announced that he would be in a number 1 contender's bout for the It's Showtime 95kg title at REBELS.10 on January 22nd. Considering the lack of depth at heavyweight in Japan, Danyo Ilunga should run through whoever emerges as his challenger.

In yet another Japan vs Thailand superfight, SNKA Flyweight champion Mitsuki Ebata defeated Thai fighter Tahanek ParadonGym(?) by 2nd round KO at 2:50 into the round. The 20 year old Ebata is now 14-1-1 (9 KO) in his pro career, though he also dropped a decision to 2010 K-1 Koshien Finalist Hiroki Akimoto under the Koshien banner. His sole loss came to former AJKF and WBC Japan Bantamweight champion and former WPMF Japan Super Bantamweight champion Arashi Fujiwara at Sengoku: Soul of Fight. He and his twin brother Rui Ebata have a very bright future going forward and could join fellow young fighter Genji Umeno as Japanese fighters who excel in Thaiboxing.

In a non-title fight, 2010 K-1 -63kg Tournament semifinalist Yoshimichi Matsumoto snapped a 3-fight losing streak with a 2nd round flying knee KO of SNKA Lightweight champion Tatsuya Ishii at 2:58 into the round. The two fought once before in May of 2009 with Ishii taking a majority decision. Matsumoto won the SNKA Lightweight title before vacating it to compete in the 2010 K-1 -63kg Tournament which was his coming out party as he upset AJKF legend Haruaki Otsuki in the qualifying round and scoring a KO over Daisuke Uematsu in the quarterfinals before eating a huge high kick against Yuta Kubo that ended his night. After that fight, he got knocked out in the first round by Makoto Nishiyama and dropped a rematch to Katsuji by decision. The win is a huge bounce back for Matsumoto who moves to 15-5 (7 KO) on his career and should have an angle for a 3rd fight with Ishii for the title.

Finally, #3 ranked Masayuki Uchida defeated #1 ranked Katsuya Setoguchi by majority decision on scores of 48-48, 49-47 and 49-48 to claim the vacant SNKA Featherweight title. {jcomments on}


Japanese Scene Results: Yasuhiro Kido KOs Shintaro Matsukura at Big Bang 7

Back on December 11th, Yasuhiro Kido and Shintaro Matsukura squared off in the main event of a regional Japanese event titled Big Bang 7, a series put on by the Taniyama Gym. Also featured on the card were Japanese standouts Shunta Ito, Toshiki Taniyama, Marimo and Yuto Watanabe.

In the main event, fellow 2011 K-1 70kg Japan MAX Tournament participants Yasuhiro Kido and Shintaro Matsukura faced off, with Kido scoring a 2nd round knock out with a spinning backfist at 2:24 in the round. Kido (25-13-1, 11 KO) has had is struggles, but when he is on his game he is a very difficult fighter to beat. He was coming off a loss to Kenta in the quarterfinals of the Japan MAX tourney which snapped a 4-fight win-streak. After the win, Kido called out Kenta, stating that he wanted to be the first man for Kenta to defend his title against. The loss moves the 20 year old Matsukura to 4-4 (3 KO) in his 2-year pro career and despite being on a 3-fight losing streak, he has had a break out year. After ending 2010 with a loss on the Sengoku: Soul of Fight card, the 2009 K-1 Koshien 70kg champ started his year off with his biggest win, a huge upset in a great fight over Yuya Yamamoto in the quarterfinals of the Krush 70kg tournament. However, he lost in the semifinals to Yutaro Yamauchi and lost a rematch with Yamamoto in the K-1 Japan MAX tournament semifinals. At 20, Matsukura could use a step back in competition and a bounce back fight against someone along the lines of Yoshi, but a matchup with fellow prospects Hiroki Nakajima or Takafumi Morita would be interesting.

In the co-main event, WMAF Featherweight champion Shunta Ito scored a 4th round elbow KO at 27 seconds into the round over Thai fighter Fasanghan Or Benjamad. With the win, Ito is 7-1 in his last 8 and 23-9-4 (8 KO) overall. After the fight, it was announced that Ito would rematch Hideki Soga at 60kg. The two fought back in July of 2010 at Big Bang 2 with Ito escaping with a split decision win.

Also in action was K-1 fighter Toshiki Taniyama who picked up his 5th straight win with a 3rd round TKO over Thai fighter Shirichai Sukpanya(?) at 1:42 into the round. Taniyama is an interesting fighter at 63kg as he owns wins over Hirotaka Urabe and Yuto Watanabe in K-1, but lost to Keiji Ozaki, although that fight went into an extension round and outpointing the flashy Ozaki is a tough task for anyone. Taniyama is now 12-1 (4 KO) in his pro career and could see himself mixing it up with the division's elite more often in the future.

Speaking of Yuto Watanabe, he picked up a 1st round TKO at 1:39 into the round over club fighter Atsushi Masukura. The win moves him to 10-5 (3 KO) and is a good bounceback fight after a loss to Toshiki Taniyama in K-1. However if Watanabe keeps his recent streak up, he will lose as he is now 5-4 over his last 9 without putting together 2 straight wins.

Krush vet Marimo lost a unanimous decision to NKB Lightweight champion Naoki on scores of 30-28(x3). Marimo is best known for fighting Koya Urabe earlier this year in Krush. Before losing to Yuto Watanabe at RISE 68, Naoki was on a 10 fight win-streak and 16 fight unbeaten streak going 15-0-1 after starting his career 0-1-1. He lost 4 straight fights, but has now bounced back and is on a 3-fight win-streak with one of those wins coming in an opening fight at the 2011 K-1 Japan MAX Tournament over Takayoshi Kitayama. Naoki is now 18-5-2 (5 KO) and the streaky fighter should see himself moving up in competition.

Finally, Team Dragon fighter and Krush vet Masakazu Watanabe improved to 15-12-1 (4 KO) with a split decision win over Ryoji on scores of 30-29, 28-29 and 30-28. {jcomments on}


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