Krush.23 took place earlier today featuring two of the promotion's champions taking on French opponents, as well as a trio of important 60kg fights and the final leg of the -63kg WILDRUSH League.
In the night's main event, Krush 60kg champion Hirotaka Urabe needed an extension round, but was able to force a doctor stoppage of France's Xavier Bastard. Urabe and Bastard were both able to land on each other, but it seems as though Urabe was landing slightly more often and hurting Bastard's body throughout the fight. The fight was stopped due to a large amount of blood coming out of Bastard's left ear, which I believe was largely a result of the pictured spinning heel kick. Urabe (20-6-2, 10 KO) pushes his unbeaten streak to 12, going 11-0-1 over that stretch, and defending his Krush title twice. I expect Urabe to be back in Krush early next year to defend his title, possibly against Naoki Ishikawa. Good showing from Bastard, who was the closest to beating Urabe since Ishikawa fought him to a draw. It's a shame the fight didn't go to the scorecards.
In the co-main event, Krush 70kg champion Yasuhiro Kido had little trouble with Frenchman Ludovic Millet, winning a unanimous decision on scores of 30-26(x3). Kido was able to drop Millet twice, but wasn't able to put him away. Kido (30-13-1, 14 KO) has won six in a row, most recently defeating Yu Hirono in Big Bang. He is due for a title defense before the end of the year, but with the K-1 World MAX Finals on December 8th, I think Kido will be given an exemption by Krush and be able to defend his title next year.
In a 60kg fight, Naoki Ishikawa edged out Shota Senchaigym with a unanimous decision on scores of 28-27(x3). Although the fight was close on the scorecards, Ishikawa largely controlled the fight outside of a knockdown in the first round. However, immediately on the restart, Ishikawa threw a flying knee that scored him a knockdown of his own and managed to control the rest of the fight with his unorthodox style. Ishikawa (35-18-5, 18 KO) is now on a two-fight win streak after a win over Kan Itabashi in June and could find himself fighting Hirotaka Urabe for the title next, though I'll talk about that situation in a little bit. Shota is now 1-1-1 in Krush, drawing Makahira Keita at Krush.18 and most recently beating Takeshi Watanabe at Krush.21. Good showing from him considering he was able to drop Ishikawa, but outside of that he had little answer for Ishikawa.
In another 60kg fight, "Kyoken" Yuji Takeuchi returned to Krush for the first time in over a year and scored a dramatic 3rd round KO Krush 60kg Tournament winner Fumiya Osawa. Osawa dropped Takeuchi once in the first round and twice in the second, but Takeuchi roared back with a knockdown of his own in the 2nd before the deciding third round saw Takeuchi drop Osawa twice en route to a stoppage when Osawa stumbled around the ring after the second knockdown. Takeuchi (22-8-2, 13 KO) didn't fail to entertain the fans in his return to Krush and has now won 2 in a row after returning with a win in MA Kick earlier in the year. Osawa (7-9-1, 2 KO) put forth a great effort, dropping Takeuchi 3 times, but was unable to close it out. After winning the Krush 60kg tournament, he has dropped two in a row, losing his title shot to Hirotaka Urabe and now losing to Takeuchi. I'd like to see him take on Shota Senchaigym next.
In the final 60kg fight, former RISE champion Kan Itabashi scored a first round KO of Katsuya Goto. Itabashi (20-6-2, 4 KO) picks up his first win since last July after dropping two straight to It's Showtime champ Masahiro Yamamoto and Naoki Ishikawa. This win keeps him in the upper echelon of the 60kg division in Krush. Goto is now on a 2-fight losing streak after losing in the Krush 60kg tournament finals to Fumiya Osawa. A third fight between them would be a good fight.
Now to look at the 60kg division after tonight's fights. In my eyes, the logical move would be to set up Urabe vs Ishikawa 3 for the title and Takeuchi vs Itabashi with the winner being next in line, considering that Ishikawa has recent wins over both Takeuchi and Itabashi and fought Urabe to a draw in his title shot. However, Ishikawa vs Takeuchi 3 is another very real possibility that is hard to say no to as they have produced fireworks in their two previous bouts, with their first fight in the AJKF Lightweight Tournament Semifinals in 2009 becoming an instant classic and their last fight also seeing them both hit the canvas.
Finally, in the conclusion of the WILDRUSH League, 4th placed NOMAN scored a 1st round knockout of last placed Naoki Terasaki which propelled him to a third place finish in the league. In the first deciding fight of the WILDRUSH League, second placed Hitoshi Tsukagoshi needed a knockout and a Hideaki Yamazaki loss to win the League and the title shot, but was dropped 3 times by 5th placed TaCa en route to a one-sided unanimous decision win, winning the WILDRUSH League for Yamazaki. However in his own fight, Yamazaki went out and closed out the League with a unanimous decision of Yukimitsu Takahashi, finishing the WILDRUSH League with a perfect 5-0-0 (1 KO) record and earning himself a title shot against current 63kg champion Thomas Adamandopoulos. I'm not entirely sold on Yamazaki as an elite contender in the 63kg division, but he beat everyone they put in front of him in the WILDRUSH League, including avenging his sole loss to TaCa. I don't like his chances against Adamandopoulos, but he has two teammates at Team Dragon who recently fought him, so he could develop a gameplan to shock everyone.
Also at the event, Krush announced their first two shows of 2013, first a show taking place on January 14th (presumably Krush-EX 2013 vol.1) at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium, though I believe it will be held at the smaller venue there as opposed to the 14,000+ seat arena. The other show announced was Krush.26 on January 26th.
Quick results after the break