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Tetsuya Yamato vs Sergio Wielzen, Masaaki Noiri vs Raz Sarkisjan Headline May 20th Hoost Cup

A little while back, Ernesto Hoost announced that he would be holding a Hoost Cup event on May 20th in Nagoya, Japan and since, big fight announcements have been rolling in.

Headlining the card will be 2010 K-1 -63kg Tournament winner Tetsuya Yamato taking on former It’s Showtime 61kg champ Sergio Wielzen. Yamato (26-9-1, 21 KO) is coming off of a knockout over Densiam Lukprabaht, avenging a loss from 2009 which snapped a 2-fight loss streak thar saw him drop decisions to Jomthong Chuwattana and Ryuji Kajiwara. Yamato has never taken on European competition, but has faired decently against Thai competition. Wielzen (35-5-2 1 NC, 19 KO) has fought in Japan twice before, the first turned into an exhibition against Kanongsuk Weerasakreck as one of the two fighters missed weight and the second was Wielzen’s most recent fight, a TKO via cut loss to Kosuke Komiyama at RISE 85. Wielzen’s only other bout against Japanese competition was a TKO via cut win over Masahiro Yamamoto in his first defense of his It’s Showtime title. He lost that title to Karim Bennoui last March, but was able to pick up a pair of wins before the loss to Komiyama. Although it’s on Yamato’s turf, I’d favor Wielzen as Yamato has found trouble with upper echelon fighters, mostly due to his lack of speed and defense. However, Wielzen can’t take any time to relax in this fight as Yamato has very good power for the weight class and is extremely dangerous late, as 12 of his 21 knockouts have come in the 3rd round or later.

Perhaps the second biggest booking of this event is 2011 Krush Youth Tournament winner Masaaki Noiri taking on Holland’s Raz Sarkisjan. To many, Noiri (12-2-0, 5 KO) is the clear #2 Lightweight behind Yuta Kubo as his only pro losses are to Kubo and Yuji Takeuchi and holds wins over Koya Urabe, HIROYA, Ryuji Kajiwara and Hirotaka Urabe. Currently, he is riding a 6-fight win streak, most recently defeating Frenchman Cedric Peynaud, but not without Peynaud catching him in the first and dropping him. I can’t tell you much about Sarkisjan at all other than he is Dutch-Armenian and, according to the Krush press release, trains under Hans Nijman. Noiri would have to be the favorite here and if he puts away Sarkisjan with ease, I’d love to see him take on Ryuji Kajiwara for the Krush 63kg title or Naoki Ishikawa in a 60kg #1 contender’s bout as Ishikawa stated towards the end of last year that he wanted to face the winner of the 2011 Youth Tournament. However, it seems as though Noiri is content to stay at 63kg as he gets older and with Krush announcing a 2012 Youth Tournament, I’d imagine Noiri would like to participate again and defend his throne.

The next big fight is WBC Japan Super Welterweight champ Soichiro Miyakoshi taking on HEAT Middleweight champ Danilo Zanolini. Miyakoshi found himself in limbo in 2011 as he was regulated to gatekeeper status with losses to prospects Yuya Yamato and Takafumi Morita, but he closed off the year strong with a win over Yutaro Yamauchi to claim his WBC Japan Super Welterweight title and most recently, Miyakoshi became the first man to beat J-Network Welterweight champ Masato Otake. Miyakoshi is no stranger to foreign competition as he’s faced the likes of Christophe Pruvost and Liam Harrison, among others. It’s hard to refer to the Brazilian Zanolini as a foreigner as he’s fought his entire pro career in Japan, mostly in HEAT. He won the HEAT 70kg title back in 2010 and has defended it twice, most recently with a KO of Su Hwan Lee, while his most recent fight was a loss to Hiroki Nakajima for the inaugural It’s Showtime Japan 70kg title. I give Miyakoshi a slight edge in this fight.

In a 64kg bout, WBC Japan and NJKF Welterweight champ Yuya Yamato is set to square off with Kanongsuk Weerasakreck. Yamato (12-7-0, 8 KO) wasn’t much of a name outside of Japan before last May when he upset Fabio Pinca in Thai Fight via 3rd round cut. Since, however, the 21 year old prospect is just 1-3 with his win over fellow card participant Soichiro Miyakoshi and losses to Kazuki and Fabio Pinca in rematches and most recently to Klangsuan Sasiprapa in NJKF. Kanongsuk (64-15-2, 22 KO) was a force in the 63kg division with wins over Rashata, Tetsuya Yamato, Genki Yamamoto and Hirmoasa Masuda, among others, but has dropped his last two fights, first losing his WPMF Lightweight title to Arita Tsukahara by late KO, then dropping a decision back in March. This one’s tough to call as both fighters are on a slide, but I think Kanongsuk is just better at the moment.

Other fights include Holland’s Jemyma Betrian taking on WBC Japan Women’s Featherweight champ Ayano Oishi, recently crowned 2011 K-1 Koshien champ Sho Ogawa vs Yuta Nogami, at heavyweight Noboru Uchida, who is best known for beating Alexey Ignashov in 2005, against Polish fighter Tomasz Sarara and Tsutomi Takahagi against Jairo Kusunoki. Also expected to participate are Daichi Yamato and Ramazon Ramazanov.{jcomments on}

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Naoki Ishikawa vs Kan Itabashi Added to Krush.19

Krush has begun building Krush.19, set for June 8th, with a 60kg matchup between former AJKF Super Featherweight champ Naoki Ishikawa and former RISE Super Featherweight champ Kan Itabashi. Ishikawa (34-18-5, 18 KO) has bounced back from a rough year that started in July 2010 that saw him go 1-4 by defeating Yuji Takeuchi at Krush.12 and drawing 60kg champ Hirotaka Urabe in a title fight at Krush.15 in January. Itabashi (19-5-2, 3 KO) had a rough 2011 which saw him lose his RISE title to Kosuke Komiyama, defeat Genki Yamamoto to earn an It’s Showtime #1 contender’s bout, but lose that #1 contender’s bout to Masahiro Yamamoto. Itabashi hasn’t fought since that fight back in October. Although Hirotaka Urabe is set to face the winner of the 60kg tournament, which concludes at Krush.19 as well, the winner of this fight has a strong case to be next in line, especially Ishikawa.

This fight joins the finals of the 60kg tournament between Katsuya Goto and Fumiya Osawa as well as a 63kg WILDRUSH League 3rd leg fight between TaCa and Yukimitsu Takahashi. Yuta Kubo and Keiji Ozaki are expected to participate, too.

Also on a side-note to the 63kg WILDRUSH League, the 3rd leg fight between current leader Hideaki Yamazaki and NOMAN has been scrapped due to an injury to NOMAN. Krush decided that due to the rigorous WILDRUSH League schedule that calls for 5 fights in one year, the fight would not be rescheduled and Yamazaki would receive a bye and the two points that would normally be awarded for a decision win. This secures Yamazaki’s spot at the top for the end of the 3rd leg with 6 points, but TaCa and Hitoshi Tsukagoshi could capture a share of the lead should either score a knockout.{jcomments on}

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Hiroaki Suzuki vs Hiroki Shishido Added to Shootboxing 2012 Act.3

Shootboxing has made its first fight announcement for Shootboxing Act.3 on June 3rd and it is a 65kg bout between 65kg champ Hiroaki Suzuki and Shootboxing star Hiroki Shishido. Suzuki (13-3-0, 5 KO) is currently riding a 4-fight win streak with 3 of those wins over MMA fighters and the other being against Yu Sugawara for the Shootboxing Super Lightweight title. His most recent win was a knockout of “Lion” Takeshi Inoue earlier this month. Shishido (48-10-0, 20 KO) seems to be heading towards the end of his career as he is 35 and is 1-5 in his last 6 fights. He also took on MMA fighter “Lion” Takeshi Inoue, but lost a close decision while his most recent fight was a loss to Warren Stevelmans at Shootboxing 2012 Act.1. Shishido usually fights at 70kg, but didn’t seem drained much by dropping to 67kg for the Inoue fight. However, at 35 this cut may be difficult and Shishido already has his hands full with Suzuki, so I expect his rough streak to continue.

Also expected to participate on the card is Ai Takahashi, who looks to join Mizuki Inoue in the next round of the 53.5kg Girls S-Cup, against a yet to be named opponent.{jcomments on}

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Ray Sefo vs Makoto Uehara, Erika Kamimura vs Seo Hee Ham 2 Among Fights Added to RISE 88

With a lot of top names in Japan returning to action in the coming months, RISE is looking to steal the spotlight by putting on what appears to be a super-card in RISE 88 on June 2nd, almost to the scale of RISE 85 this past November. So far, there is one title fight, one #1 contender fight, Ray Sefo vs promotional Heavyweight champ Makoto Uehara, a number of top contenders in various weight classes and two more champions expected to participate.

The first big fight announcement is that former K-1 star Ray Sefo (56-21-1, 38 KO) will be looking to bounce back from a loss to Mirko Crocop in Crocop’s return to kickboxing. Sefo’s task will not be an easy one, as he takes on RISE Heavyweight champ Makoto Uehara (11-4-0, 7 KO) in a non-title fight. Uehara had previously been known as a powerful fighter with a small gas tank, but a decision win over Stefan Leko in the quarterfinals of last year’s RISE Heavyweight Tournament and an extension round decision over Jan Soukup in the semifinals suggests that Uehara has a much improved gas tank and doesn’t blow himself out quite as fast. I’d have to give Uehara the edge in this fight. At 27, he seems to be hitting his prime and he’s found himself as a kickboxer more while at 41, Sefo could be vulnerable to a guy who has good, but not elite power.

The next major fight announced is a #1 contender’s bout for a shot at RISE 48kg champ RENA. The fight is a rematch from last year’s Shootboxing Girls’ S-Cup Preliminary Tournament final between South Korean MMA fighter/kickboxer Seo Hee Ham (6-1-0, 1 KO) and 19 year old phenom Erika Kamimura (24-2-0, 13 KO). The two put on an extremely entertaining first fight, with Kamimura taking a close decision. It will be interesting to see how this fight goes under RISE rules, as Kamimura got the better of the striking in their first bout. Personally, I’ve wanted to see Ham vs Rena for a while, but Kamimura should be the favorite here. However, Ham has shown superb standup in MMA and kickboxing, so she won’t be the punching bag that Kamimura has made many of her opponents look like.

The only current title fight set for the event is 60kg champ Kosuke Komiyama (17-2-0, 10 KO) taking on #1 contender Motochika Hanada. Komiyama has won 6 straight, most recently a quick KO of a Chinese fighter at RISE 87. Hanada’s riding a 3-fight winstreak, with his most recent win being a KO of Yutonaka Egawa at RISE 87. Komiyama should be the big favorite here as he’s been on fire and Hanada hasn’t really faced any top competition.

In a 65kg tilt, #1 ranked Middleweight Yukihiro Komiya (27-10-0, 6 KO) will be moving down from 70kg to take on #1 ranked Super Lightweight Yusuke Sugawara (22-14-2, 7 KO). Komiya has fought his entire career at 70kg, but moved down to 65kg once back in 2008 to fight Saenchai. He hasn’t been very active lately, with just 2 fights since the start of 2011 and both of those were losses, though they were to Takafumi Morita and Yuji Nashiro, two of the hottest fighters in the division. Sugawara has been up and down lately as he split a pair of J-Network title matches with Shunsuke Oishi in 2011, then dropped two straight with losses to WBC Japan Super Lightweight champ Seiji Takahashi and MMA fighter Shigeki Osawa, though that was in Shootboxing. A win at Shootboxing 2012 act.1 against Tappuron ForceGym was washed out by a loss at RISE 87 to MA Kick Super Lightweight champ Mohan Dragon in a close fight, which was his most recent bout. The winner may very well be next in line for Super Lightweight champ Koji Yoshimoto.

Rounding out the card as it currently stands is a 63kg bout between #1 ranked Hiroshi Mizumachi and Naoki. Mizumachi is ranked #1, but hasn’t won a fight since 2008, though he managed to do well against 65kg champ Koji Yoshimoto in a superfight. Naoki was a mid-level fighter until earlier this year when he scored an upset over HIROYA at Big Bang 8. Mizumachi was set to face Yuki before an injury and with Naoki’s recently elevated status, this may well be a #1 contender’s bout.

Also expected on the card are Lightweight champ Yuki, Super Bantamweight champ KENJI, #1 ranked Heavyweight Kengo Shimizu, #2 ranked Heavyweight Raoumaru, #2 ranked Super Bantamweight Dyki and the semifinals of the RISE Featherweight tournament. Yuki just defended his title at RISE 87 so I expect him to be in a superfight, but KENJI has yet to defend his title since winning it at RISE 85 in November, so he could be defending. The two candidates for a title shot are Ryuma Tobe, who he beat in the semifinals of the RISE Super Bantamweight tournament and Hiroki Maeda.{jcomments on}

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