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Krush.16 Results: Kubo and Sato Claim ISKA Titles, Xu Yan KOs Yuya Yamamoto

Krush.16 took place earlier today at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo and it marked the company's second co-promotion with ISKA, again with two titles on the line, pitting Japanese kickboxers against European kickboxers for the ISKA Light Welterweight and Light Middleweight titles. 2011 K-1 63kg Japan Tournament champion Yuta Kubo took on former WPMF France champ Charles Francois for the ISKA World Light Welterweight title while 2010 K-1 MAX World Tournament Runner-up Yoshihiro Sato took on reigning ISKA World Light Middleweight champ Fadi Merza for his title. Also, K-1 regular Yuya Yamamoto took on fellow K-1 veteran Xu Yan at 70kg.

In the main event, Yuta Kubo continued his reign of terror, stopping Charles Francois with a body shot at 2:18 into the 2nd round to claim the ISKA Light Welterweight title. Kubo used his offensive skill-set to keep Francois off rhythm and scored a down in the first round with a head kick. In the second, Kubo worked Francois' body en route to a body shot KO. Kubo (32-4-1, 15 KO) is now on a 9-fight win streak, going an incredible 13-1 (5 KO) since the beginning of 2010. An interesting note is that his last four wins have come over European competition. With FIKA showing signs of life with their recently announced Koshien Tournament, expect their focus for tournament selection to still be Japan-centric at -63kg and Kubo is the #1 fighter in Japan at the weight. Not to mention the lighter weight tournaments have usually taken place earlier in the year. Francois (33-10-1, 25 KO) was 2-6 in his last 8 coming into this fight, so it seems like a bit of a squash match, something Kubo has had trouble avoiding lately.

In the co-main event, Yoshihiro Sato has taken a positive step in reclaiming some consistency, taking a unanimous decision over ISKA Light Middleweight champion Fadi Merza on scores of 50-45 (x3) to claim the ISKA World Light Middleweight title. Sato (49-17-0, 20 KO) made it to the finals of the most recent K-1 MAX World Tournament in 2010, defeating Yuya Yamamoto, Michal Glogowski and Gago Drago, but losing to kingpin Giorgio Petrosyan in the finals. After that fight, Sato won a questionable split decision over Shemsi Beqiri in Krush, then lost a questionable decision to Armen Petrosyan, lost to Andy Souwer in Shootboxing and was involved in yet another questionable decision with his win over Albert Kraus in K-1, then lost his most recent fight to Alex Tobiasson Harris at Rumble of the Kings 2011, though that fight was at 75kg. Not to say those questionable fights weren't very close, but they could have easily gone the other way. Merza (118-18-3, 43 KO) was coming off of a loss to Cedric Muller in The Challenger Muay Thai.

In a 70kg bout, K-1 veteran Xu Yan scored a bit of an upset, knocking out 2009 K-1 MAX World Tournament semifinalist Yuya Yamamoto at 1:39 into the 1st round. Yan appeared to get off to a good start, landing against the defensively flawed Yamamoto. Then in the second round Yan took over, scoring three knockdowns and earning him the TKO victory. Yan (30-13-0, 15 KO) had lost 4 straight fights coming into this fight with back to back losses to Abdallah Mabel in Fight Code. He was previously best known for his KO of Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima in K-1 in 2009. Yamamoto (33-22-1, 11 KO) hit his career peak in 2009, defeating Chi Bin Lim and Gago Drago to make it to the semifinals of the 2009 K-1 MAX World Tournament where he lost to Giorgio Petrosyan by KO. Since, he has struggled immensely, going 6-5 (2 KO), being upset by Hinata and Shintaro Matsukura and most recently being KO'd by Yuji Nashiro in the finals of the 2011 K-1 MAX Japan Tournament after taking a questionable decision win over Kenta in the semifinals.

In a 61kg fight, K-1 veteran Kizaemon Saiga picked up a majority decision win over Katsuya Goto on scores of 30-30, 30-29 and 30-27. Saiga (8-4-1, 1 KO) has proved himself to be a tough out in the 63kg division, but he is not quite an elite fighter. After an upset over Naoki Ishikawa in K-1, Saiga was KO'd in the semifinals by eventual champion Tetsuya Yamato, then upset by Korean prospect Sun-Hyun Lee. He won a fight in Krush, then lost in the opening round of the Krush 63kg Tournament to eventual champion Ryuji Kajiwara, then lost in the opening round of the 2011 K-1 -63kg Japan Tournament to eventual champion Yuta Kubo. In short, if you defeat Saiga in a tournament, you win the tournament, though the two times HIROYA defeated Saiga in the Koshien Tournament were the two years he lost. He is now on a 3 fight win streak. Goto (8-6-1, 3 KO) most recently defeated Takeshi Watanabe at Krush.11.

Quick Results after the break


January Recap: RISE 86 - Yoshimoto Defends Against Soda, KENJI Defeats Pajonsuk

I've been busy lately so I wasn't able to recap most of what took place for the second half of January, so over the next couple days I will put up event recaps of RISE 86, It's Showtime Japan Countdown/REBELS.10 and Shin Nihon Kickboxing Association's Brave Hearts 18 cards.

First, I will start with RISE 86 that took place on January 28th at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo and was headlined by a Super Lightweight title fight between champion Koji Yoshimoto and Yasuomi Soda. Also on the card were a pair of superfights featuring promotional Bantamweight champion KENJI and Middleweight champion Takafumi Morita, as well as a #1 contender's bout at 63kg between K-1 vets Yuto Watanabe and Shohei Asahara.

In the main event, Super Lightweight champion Koji Yoshimoto defended his title for the second time, edging out Yasuomi Soda and taking a unanimous decision on scores of 48-47, 47-46(x2). It appears as though with the win Yoshimoto (24-13-3, 3 KO) will be focusing on going global and taking on some of the world's best, presumably at 63kg and not 65kg. Yoshimoto may not have been on a lot of people's radar, but a win in K-1 and a huge win over prospect Son Hyun Lee back at RISE 85 has made Yoshimoto an interesting fighter to look out for. At 32, if Yoshimoto is looking to make a run at the top of the 63kg division, his time is winding down. Personally, I don't think Yoshimoto possesses the tools to challenge the likes of Koya Urabe, Masaaki Noiri, Rashata, etc., let alone the world's best. The loss for Soda (10-1-0, 3 KO) is his first as he sported a spotless 10-0 record coming into the fight. Despite the loss, Soda put forth a good effort against a fighter who seems to be hitting his stride and at 23, Soda has time to improve.

In the co-main event and probably the most important fight of the night, RISE Bantamweight champion KENJI took on Lumpinee Bantamweight ranker Pajonsuk Por. Pramuk in a 55kg fight. The fight appears to have been close, but Pajonsuk suffered from two (possibly three) point deductions that were a result of clinch knees, something that has been removed from RISE, much like K-1 and Krush. KENJI took a unanimous decision on scores of 29-26 and 29-25(x2). This is a huge win for KENJI (19-4-0, 13 KO) and further establishes his name at 55kg. His next fight will take place in what should be shaping up to be a stacked RISE 87 card, though it is unclear whether or not he will be defending his title, but with a lack of new challengers, he will likely be in a superfight. Pajonsuk (110-20-1) has fought in Japan several times before in Shootboxing, where he has had great success, however he hadn't faced anyone with the same skill level of KENJI. However, Pajonsuk had fought the week prior against Karim Bennoui at 60kg where he managed a 5 round draw, so one could assume that fight took a bit of a toll on him.

In another superfight featuring a RISE champion, Middleweight champ Takafumi Morita scored a unanimous decision win over Korean fighter Cha Un-pyo on scores of 30-27, 29-26 and 30-26. Morita (12-1-1, 5 KO) scored a pair of knockdowns to nab the win. Morita is a fighter that, along with Kenta and Yuji Nashiro, made a name for himself in the K-1 Japan MAX Tournament last year.  Unlike fellow prospect Hiroki Nakajima, who he beat in that tournament, Morita possesses equally impressive offensive and defensive tools and likes to use pressure and a high volume of strikes to crack his opponents. If FIKA holds a Japan qualifying tournament, Morita has a very good chance to play spoiler should he be selected for the tournament.

In a 63kg #1 contender's bout, #2 ranked Yuto Watanabe was able to edge out an extension round majority decision over #3 ranked Shohei Asahara on scores of 10-10 and 10-9(x2) after a 3 round majority draw on scores of 29-28 and 29-29(x2). With the win Watanabe (10-5-0, 2 KO) earns the right to face current Lightweight champ Yuki in his first title defense at RISE 87 on March 24th. Watanabe is a middle of the road fighter at 63kg and has had trouble stringing together wins since reaching the higher levels of the division, going 4-4 in his last 8 without any consecutive wins. I expect the trend to continue for Watanabe, though the long layoff for Yuki could cause problems and give Watanabe an edge. Asahara (8-6-0, 2 KO) drops back onto a 2-fight losing streak and cements his status as a divisional gatekeeper.

RISE 87 is set for March 24th and although only one fight has been announced, the list of participants is very promising. The lone fight announced is Lightweight champion Yuki defending his title against Yuto Watanabe. Participants for the card are Heavyweight champ Makoto Uehara, Bantamweight champ KENJI, Super Featherweight champ Kosuke Komiyama, Erika Kamimura, Kengo Shimizu, Ryo Pegasus and J-Network Featherweight champion Masato Sato. Speculation on my part is that Uehara will defend his title against Shimizu and, with two quarterfinal bouts left in the RISE Featherweight tournament that are set to take place on this card, Ryo Pegasus and Masato Sato will each be featured in one, but likely not against each other as they are the #1 and #2 ranked fighters in the division.

Quick results after the jump


DEEP*KICK 10 Results: Undefeated Seiya Rokukawa Wins 55kg Tournament

Over the past year, Japan’s 55kg division has began to heat up with the emergence of Ryuya Kusakabe, Shota Takiya and KENJI, brother of Yuta Kubo and now it appears that there is another rising star in the Super Bantamweight division and it is 25 year old Seiya Rokukawa. At DEEP*KICK 10 earlier this week, Rokukawa asserted his dominance in the promotion’s first 55kg tournament, scoring consecutive knockout wins over Yuki Kyotani and Yukinobu Nakatsukasa in the semis and finals, respectively. The wins move Rokukawa to 8-0-0, 6 KO and is his second tournament win of his young career as he won the RISE Rising Rookies Cup last year at 55kg, scoring knockouts in the semifinals and finals of that tournament as well. Despite only having 8 pro fights, at 25, Rokukawa is older than the elite fighters in the division, but luckily RISE has one of the better 55kg divisions in Japan. If his power carries into the upper levels of the division, then potential matchups with Ryuya Kusakabe, Shota Takiya and Nobuchika Terado should be all the more entertaining.

Also on this card were a pair of retirement bouts. First, Yasushi Nobuhiro whose exhibition bout was against 2010 K-1 MAX Japan Tournament champion Yuichiro “Jienotsu” Nagashima. Nagashima still looked to be a bit heavy, but in shape so he may be on the path back to being a legitimate kickboxer. The other retirement exhibition was for the first NJKF Atomweight “BONITA BOXEO” champion taking on current WPMF Japan Women’s Atomweight champion Little Tiger. {jcomments on}


Shootboxing 2012 act.1 Results: Stevelmans Outlasts Shishido, Suzuki Beats Bovy, Ai Takahashi Upset

Last night at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Shootboxing held its first big event of 2012. The emphasis on this card and in Shootboxing as of late seems to be on matching up fighters of different disciplines under Shootboxing rules as opposed to bouts between Shootboxing fighters. This could be seen as the card was headlined by Shootboxing star Hiroki Shishido vs K-1 veteran Warren Stevelmans as well as a 70kg bout between former boxer Satoru Suzuki and former thaiboxer Bovy Sor Udomson. Also in action were Shootboxing Women's Flyweight champion Ai Takahashi against 17 year old karate fighter Mizuki Inoue and Shooto legend Mamoru Yamaguchi taking on Shootboxing prospect Kazuyuki Fushimi.

In the night's main event, Shootboxing star Hiroki Shishido lost his third straight fight to South African Warren Stevelmans by unanimous decision on scores of 47-44, 46-44 and 47-46. It appears that the fight was a grueling affair with Shishido attempting to use throws and submissions to wear down Stevelmans while Stevelmans got the better of the striking exchanges. I believe Stevelmans scored two knockdowns while Shishido was able to get a shoot point. Stevelmans (55-15-4, 16 KO) first broke out in K-1 in 2008, winning the 2008 Netherlands qualifier tournament, defeating Chris Ngimbi and Marco Pique en route to his first shot at the Final 16. He made it to the quarterfinals before losing to Andy Souwer, which was part of a rough streak from 2008-2009 that saw Stevelmans go 3-6, however his losses were to Gago Drago, Souwer, Giorgio Petrosyan, Albert Kraus, Orono Wor Petchpun and Saiyok Pumpanmuang. Recently, he made it to the finals of the 2011 K-1 MAX Madrid tournament, losing to Rafi Zouheir in the finals and since has scored wins over Mohammed Medhar and Zeben Diaz, drew with Armen Petrosyan and lost to Buakaw Por Pramuk in his last fight. At 34, Shishido (48-12-0, 20 KO) is having his age catch up to him quite a bit. Since September of 2010, Shishido is just 1-5 and two of the losses in his current streak came to MMA fighters Toby Imada and "Lion" Takeshi Inoue.

In the co-main event, Shootboxing converts Satoru Suzuki and Bovy Sor Udomson fought in what appears to have been a thrilling affair which saw Bovy floored two or three times by Suzuki in the first round only to come back and go toe to toe with the former boxer. Despite Bovy's comeback, his first round deficit was too large and he lost a unanimous decision on scores of 28-26(x3). With the win, Suzuki improves his pro kickboxing record to 7-10-0, 5 KO and continues his up and down career as he was coming off of a loss to Christophe Pruvost at Shoot the Shooto back in November. The win also gets Suzuki's foot in the door for this year's S-Cup and if he is able to put together another win or two against top competition, expect him to be included in his first S-Cup. Bovy (84-44-2, 52 KO) was on a 2-fight win streak in Shootboxing with wins over Toby Imada and Gago Drago after a rough start to 2011 which saw him lose 3 straight fights. While the loss may jeopardize his spot in this year's S-Cup, it will not jeopardize his spot at the top of Shootboxing's cards as he has put on wildly entertaining bouts against Takaaki Umeno, Hiroki Shishido and Gago Drago and appears to have put on another great fight for Shootboxing.

In what has to be seen as probably the biggest upset of 2012 so far, 17 year old karateka and JEWELS MMA -56kg Rough Stone GP winner Mizuki Inoue was able to sneak by Shootboxing Women's Flyweight champion Ai Takahashi in an extension round, winning on scores of 10-9(x3) after a majority draw on scores of 30-29, 30-30 and 29-29. Inoue appeared to have utilized good head movement to avoid Takahashi's offense while counter-striking and scoring with her own. The win for the 17 year old Inoue (4-1-0, 0 KO) shakes the women's Flyweight division as Inoue only had 4 prior kickboxing bouts, two of which were under Shootboxing rules, and because she is splitting time between kickboxing and MMA. Inoue will likely receive an invite to this year's Girls S-Cup. The loss for Takahashi (11-3-0, 5 KO) is devastating as she had become divisional kingpin by default with RENA's victory over Erika Kamimura at RISE 85 in November. Likely a factor in the loss was Takahashi's 7 month layoff due to an orbital bone injury. This year's Girls S-Cup should be essential in determining who the top of the crop is as it will likely include Takahashi, Inoue, RENA and Erika Kamimura.

In another MMA vs Shootboxing bout, Shootboxing prospect Kazuyuki Fushimi took on former Shooto Bantamweight and Featherweight champion Mamoru Yamaguchi, but Fushimi was unable to pick up his second straight win against an MMA fighter as Yamaguchi won a close majority decision on scores of 29-29 and 30-29(x2). Yamaguchi (4-1-0, 0 KO) gets a win in his first fight in Shootboxing in over 2 years and although he was not one of the four men selected to participate in the first UFC Flyweight tournament, Yamaguchi is still a top contender and as he has proven in Shootboxing, has the striking to challenge anybody in the division. Fushimi (14-9-0, 4 KO) has had trouble staying consistent and has faltered against all of his name opponents save MMA fighter Junji Ito, but at just 20 years old he still has time to sharpen his tools and possibly become a threat to the top 55kg fighters in Japan.

Finally, Shootboxing prospect Masaya Matsuhana took a unanimous decision over MMA fighter Tenkei Oda on scores of 30-28, 30-26 and 29-26.

Quick Results after the break


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