Krush has been planning their first event in Nagoya for a few months and finally, the fight card is starting to come together for August 26th. They had announced a little while back that the event would feature 5 Nagoya vs. Tokyo fights, pitting fighters from/based in Tokyo against those from Nagoya and 4 of them were announced today.
By far the biggest announcement was the fight that will likely be top billed in the Nagoya vs. Tokyo battle, pitting ISKA Light Welterweight World champ Yuta Kubo, representing Tokyo, against WBC Japan and NJKF Welterweight champ Yuya Yamato, representing Nagoya, at 66kg. Kubo (33-4-1, 15 KO) has slowly been crawling his way up towards 70kg, where he has stated he could possibly end up and has continued his impressive win streak, rattling off 10 straight wins, though the last 5 have been against somewhat questionable foreign competition. This fight marks his return to facing Japanese competition and it won't be an easy one. Yamato (13-6-0, 8 KO) made a name for himself last year, upsetting Fabio Pinca by cut at Thai Fight Extreme France, however their rematch saw Pinca dominate Yamato en route to a decision. Yamato's lone fight this year is a solid win against the declining, but game Kanongsuk Weerasakreck at the Hoost Cup back in May. Yamato fights between 63kg and 67kg normally, so Kubo will actually keep his size advantage in this fight. Kubo is the favorite in this fight, but Yamato is very capable of pulling off the upset.
The next fight announced was Nagoya's Masaaki Noiri taking on Tokyo's Makihira Keita at 63kg. Noiri (12-3-0, 5 KO) is coming off of a huge upset, losing to the then-unknown Raz Sarkisjan at the Hoost Cup, being floored twice, but not without forcing Sarkisjan to the mat once himself. Despite the hiccup, Noiri is still one of the top 63kg fighters in Japan, holding wins over both Urabe brothers, Ryuji Kajiwara and Hiroya, both in Koshien and professionally. His opponent Keita isn't exactly a top guy, but competed in last year's Supernova Tournament, defeating Hiroshi Matsui in the opening round before losing a decision to Koya Urabe in the quarters and subsequently losing a reserve fight to K-1 Koshien champ Sho Ogawa. This year he is 1-0-1, with a KO win at Krush.17 and a draw against Sho Senchaigym at Krush.18. While this is a bit of a mismatch, Keita hung tough against Urabe and Ogawa and should provide some resistance against Noiri. The questions around this bout are how Noiri will bounce back from his loss, though he answered some of those questions in that very fight, coming back in the 3rd round and scoring a knockdown after being dropped twice.
At 63kg, Tokyo's Keiji Ozaki will be facing off against Nagoya's Taito. Ozaki (25-15-1, 9 KO) ended last year with a pair of losses, but has bounced back in 2012 with a pair of wins, albeit against not so great competition, knocking out Hinori Hattori at Krush.15 and taking a decision over China's Ding Ning at Krush.19. His opponent Taito (7-8-0, 2 KO) is a bit of a strange choice considering he's lost his last 3 bouts. He was in an opening fight at last year's K-1 MAX 70kg Japan Tournament, controlling his fight before being knocked out in what was his opponent's only significant offense and has gone 0-2 this year, losing to DEEP Kick 65kg champ Hiroto Yamaguchi and most recently in April, being KO'd by Kaew Fairtex in a tournament in China, who actually went on to defeat Yodsanklai in the finals of that tournament. Taito is not devoid of talent, but this should be a cakewalk for Ozaki who should really be fighting better competition on a regular basis.
The final fight announced for the card is at 60kg, with Nagoya's Yuya taking on Tokyo's Syota Hayashi. Yuya was a participant in this year's Krush 60kg tournament where he defeated Junpei Aotsu in the opening round, but was shut out by eventual tournament winner Fumiya Osawa in the semis. Hayashi is 2-0 in Krush this year, scoring KOs at Krush-EX vol.2 and 3 in 49 and 32 seconds, respectively. I'm taking Yuya as the favorite here, but Hayashi certainly has power that could end the fight at any point.
The fifth and final fight has not been announced yet, but it will be at 60kg with Masayuki Ishibashi representing Nagoya. Ishibashi is 2-1 this year, winning his quarterfinal bout in the RISE Featherweight tournament over Takayuki Nagayama and taking a win in Nagoya Kick before losing to Ittao in the semifinals at RISE 88 last month.
These fights join the previously announced main event, a 55kg title fight between defending champion Shota Takiya and #1 contender Takumi.