I haven’t been keeping up with a lot of fight announcements, so I have decided to do a condensed post that highlights all the major event participants and matchups that have been announced.
First, starting off with the January 21st It’s Showtime Japan/REBELS 10 card, It’s Showtime Japan has announced that it has become its own regional product and will create its own rankings, ultimately sending its champions and top contenders off to fight in It’s Showtime. The first step in this process has been set for REBELS.10 with two It’s Showtime Japan title fights; Hiroki Nakajima vs Danilo Zanolini at 70kg and Koichi Pettas vs Toshio Matsumoto at 95kg.
Hiroki Nakajima (14-5-0, 10 KO) was once one of the hotter prospects in Japan. At the end of 2009, Nakajima won fights over Yutaro Yamauchi and Yuki Hirono to earn himself a spot in the 2010 K-1 MAX Japan Tournament where he scored back to back knockouts over Tatsuji and Hinata before being KO’d himself in a wild brawl with Yuichiro “Jienotsu” Nagashima in the 3rd round of the tournament final. Since, Nakajima’s defensive flaws have been exposed as he is 1-4, though he’s had tough matchups against Albert Kraus, Buakaw Por. Pramuk, Kenta and Takafumi Morita. Zanolini (22-8-0, 14 KO), best known for his fight against Yoshihiro Sato in K-1, is coming off of a big KO win over K-1 veteran Su Hwan Lee and should he score a win here, he could see himself in an extremely favorable position.
Koichi “Pettas” Watanabe (23-6-1, 13 KO) trains under Nicholas Pettas, hence the namesake and is actually one of the better heavyweight fighters in Japan. He is currently on a 7-fight win-streak and 9-fight unbeaten streak with 6 of those coming by KO. Toshio Matsumoto (33-9-6, 27 KO) was once a 70kg fighter, but has found success at heavyweight since moving up in 2008, going 8-1 with all 8 of those wins coming by KO, though his loss was to Hiromi Amada who is decent for a Japanese heavyweight, but not a top fighter. Though this is a competitive fight, the goal is to face It’s Showtime 95MAX champ Danyo Ilungo who I doubt either man will stand much of a chance against.
Other fights announced for the card are a Bantamweight matchup between WBC Japan Bamtamweight champion TO-MA (8-3-1, 2 KO) and Taisuke Degai(record N/A), a Bantamweight matchup between former WBC Japan Bantamweight champion Arashi Fujiwara (35-9-9, 22 KO) and #9 ranked Lumpinee Stadium Super Flyweight Ponmongkon KT Gym (68-10-5, 15 KO) and a women’s Atom Grade(48kg) Title match between champion Little Tiger (10-6-2, 0 KO) and 19 year old prospect NAO IIDA (2-0-0, 0 KO). Also participating are Yosuke Mizuochi and Akihiro Kuroda.
Krush couldn’t wait to announce matchups for Krush.16 on February 17th, as just 2 days after Krush.15 had ended, it was announced that Yuta Kubo (31-4-1, 14 KO) and Yoshihiro Sato (48-17-0, 20 KO) would be fighting for the ISKA World Light-Welterweight and Middleweight titles, respectively. Kubo’s opponent is French Muay Thai specialist Charles-Francois (33-9-1, 25 KO) while Sato is taking on Austrian Muay Thai fighter Fadi Merza (118-17-3, 43 KO). Unfortunately for fans, Charles-Francois is just 2-6 in his last 8 fights, so this will probably be the less competitive fight of the two. Merza was on The Challenger Muay Thai, but fell in the first round to Cedric Muller by close decision. Yuya Yamamoto has also been announced as a participant for Krush.16.
Krush also let loose some news regarding plans for their champions. Each champion must defend his title every 9 months at least, so 60kg champ Hirotaka Urabe and 55kg champ Shota Takiya’s next title defenses, should they not vacate their titles, will come this year, as well as 63kg champ Ryuji Kajiwara’s, as he defended his title back in December. It was also announced that 70kg champ Kenta is planning to defend his title for the first time at Krush.17 on March 17th. Krush also announced that going forward, they want to put more effort into getting international competition, specifically Europe, something that their partnership with ISKA is helping with.
Shootboxing kicks off its 2012 with Shootboxing 2012 act.1 on February 5th and so far two matchups have been announced. First, Shootboxing converts Bovy Sor. Udomson and Satoru Suzuki will square off in a 70kg bout. Former Thai Boxer Bovy (84-43-2, 52 KO) entered Shootboxing in 2009, defeating Hiroki Shishido. After falling to Andy Souwer in the quarterfinals of the 2010 S-Cup, Bovy lost his first 3 fights of 2011 before scoring back-to-back wins over Toby Imada and Gago Drago. Former boxer Suzuki (6-10-0, 5 KO) had his first two professional kickboxing fights against Masato and Mike Zambidis, losing both via leg kicks. He, too, entered Shootboxing with a fight against Hiroki Shishido, but lost because of a front choke. Since, he’s gone 4-3 with losses to Takaaki Umeno, Henri Van Opstal and Christophe Pruvost and wins over Kenji Kanai, MMA fighter Kuniyoshi Hironaka and Masahiro Shimada.
Also announced is Shooto legend Mamoru Yamaguchi taking on 20 year old prospect Kazuyuki Fushimi. Yamaguchi (3-1-0, 0 KO SB; 25-5-3, 9 KO 4 SUB MMA) actually holds a win over current Shootboxing Featherweight champ Naguranchan Masa M16 in Shootboxing and has not been KO’d in Shootboxing or MMA. Fushimi (14-8-0, 4 KO) has had an interesting 2011, going 3-1 in Shootboxing, with a win over MMA fighter Junji Ito at Shooto the Shoot back in November, and 0-1 outside of Shootboxing, getting KO’d by Dyki in RISE. This is a toss up and pretty good matchmaking from Shootboxing who have managed to put together a number of competitive fights between fighters of different disciplines over the past few years.
Set for this card is MMA fighter Tenkei Oda (2-1-0, 1 KO SB; 10-5-3, 3 KO 2 SUB MMA) is taking on #2 ranked SB Lightweight Masaya Matsuhana. Oda’s last fight in SB was a loss to Hiroaki Suzuki in 2010. Matsuhana’s last fight was at Shoot the Shooto where he scored a KO win over Hiroshi Mizumachi.
SB Women’s Flyweight champ Ai Takahashi and SB star Hiroki Shishido were announced as participants for the card as well.
RISE, NJKF, NJKA and J-Network news after the break