Earlier today, Krush held a day-night event for their 2012 Youth GP, with the day portion featuring the semifinals of the 70kg Youth GP and the night portion featuring the quarterfinals and semifinals of the 63kg Youth GP, with a few superfights on each card.
In the 63kg GP quarterfinals, DEEP*KICK 65kg Hiroto Yamaguchi started things off with a 2nd round knockout of MA Kick #2 Super Lightweight Minoru Kimura at 2:01. In the second quarterfinal, tournament favorite and 2011 runner-up Koya Urabe cruised to a 2nd round KO of his own, a body shot KO of 2011 quarterfinalist Kengo Sonoda at 2:37. In the third quarterfinal, 2011 quarterfinalist Daizo Sasaki took a majority decision win over K-1 Koshien 2011 runner-up Yuya on scores of 30-29(x2) and 29-29. In the final quarterfinal, the night’s biggest upset took place, with the unheralded Hisaki Higashimoto knocking out Hiroya in his pro debut just 62 seconds into the first round.
In the first semifinal, Koya Urabe cruised to a unanimous decision over Hiroto Yamaguchi on scores of 30-28(x2) and 30-27. In the second semifinal, Hisaki Higashimoto remained unbeaten with an extension round split decision over Daizo Sasaki on scores of 10-9(x2) and 9-10.
The big story coming out of this tournament is of course Hisaki Higashimoto (2-0-0, 1 KO) making his pro kickboxing debut after a background in karate and knocking out Hiroya (11-6-0, 6 KO). I had thought Higashimoto would have trouble with Hiroya as Hiroya’s biggest liability is his boxing defense and coming from a karate background, Higashimoto would have trouble exposing that, but he was able to. Another big story is his semifinal opponent, Daizo Sasaki (7-8-1, 2 KO), who had lost 4 in a row coming into this tournament but was able to get past a good prospect in Yuya (6-2-0, 6 KO) and take Higashimoto to an extension round. This was the night Sasaki needed to help revive his career. Good showing from Koya Urabe (22-4-0, 3 KO) who went in and did what he needed to do to get to the finals again. Good to see him get a stoppage against Kengo Sonoda (3-4-1, 0 KO) as it showed he had some urgency to finish his first round opponent in order to be fresh for the semifinals, something that had been lacking before. Hiroto Yamaguchi (9-2-0, 5 KO) can walk away proud from this event, having knocked out Minoru Kimura (8-2-1, 6 KO) to bounce back from his first career loss, despite being shutout by Urabe. The Kimura hype train takes another hit with a second straight loss, but both have come to other promising prospects in Sho Ogawa and now Hiroto Yamaguchi. I favor Urabe in the finals as he is the proven fighter, but if Higashimoto is able to score another upset or even fights Urabe close, we will have another exciting prospect in the 63kg division.
In the 70kg semifinals, 2009 K-1 Koshien 70kg champ Shintaro Matsukura needed an extension round to get past RISE 2011 KAMINARIMON 70kg champ Kazuya Akimoto, but came up big in the extension round, scoring a knockout at 1:14 in the round. Matsukura will meet Taisei Kondo in the finals as he took a semifinal win over JungleKoki via majority decision on scores of 29-28(x2) and 28-28. Matsukura (6-6-0, 5 KO) has taken some tough losses recently, though they have come against top competition, dropping fights to Yasuhiro Kido and TOMOYUKI. He struggled a bit with Akimoto (2-1-0, 1 KO) but ultimately came out on top. Kondo (5-2-2, 2 KO) definitely has a chance at beating a vulnerable Matsukura who has some defensive liabilities and can be a slow, plodding fighter at times. He needed a late knockdown to beat JungleKoki (5-3-0, 2 KO) and could find the same magic against Matsukura in the finals, but I give Matsukura the edge. The 70kg final will take place on November 10th at Krush.24 and I assume the 63kg final will as well.
In a superfight, NJKF Super Lightweight Seiji Takahashi knocked out Atsushi Ogata in the 1st round. Takahashi was coming off of a knockout loss to Tetsuya Yamato while Ogata most recently upset Toshiki Taniyama.
Quick results after the break