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Andy Souwer vs. Yoshihiro Sato Set for Shootboxing

Souwer SatoK-1 may be quiet these days, but that doesn't mean the rest of the kickboxing world is just sitting back.  Shootboxing has their 2nd big show of 2011 coming up later this month, and they have just announced quite the main event.  Headlining Shootboxing 2011 act.2 on April 23 will be former multi-time Shootboxing S-Cup and K-1 MAX Grand Prix champion Andy Souwer vs. Yoshihiro Sato.  According to our rankings, that's a clash between the #3 and #5 fighters in the world at 70kg, and no matter how you see it, this is undoubtedly a great fight.

Souwer will come into the fight with a considerably edge in Shootboxing rules; an edge he has used to his advantage before, including his quick submission victory over Hinata last year.  He also has the advantage of already holding a win over Sato - the two men met once before in K-1 MAX in 2007 with Souwer scoring the decision win (video below).  But Sato is an incredibly skilled fighter, and an opponent you can never underestimate.  After a rocky 2008, the Japanese star has regained his footing somewhat, going 9-3 in the last two years.  He will be coming in off an upset loss to Armen Petrosyan, while Souwer has two recent upset loses of his own, to Abraham Roqueni under K-1 rules, and to Toby Imada at Shootboxing's 2010 S-Cup.

I see this being a highly technical affair, with both men using superior skill.  The trouble for Sato is that Souwer may just have a few more skills in his arsenal.  In addition to the experience in Shootboxing's unique rules, Souwer also is skilled at fighting in the clinch - and area that has shown to be a weakness for Sato, as seen most recently in the Armen Petrosyan fight.  As he typically does, Sato will have a reach advantage here, and as always, he'll know how to use it.  I expect he will try to keep on the outside and pick Souwer apart, but Souwer should be able to break through that range, get inside, and cause Sato enough damage to take the win.  This is definitely one of those fights where the old adage of a human chess match will come to life.

This show will serve as a benefit for disaster relief in Japan, with many of the fighters already promising to donate their purses to relief efforts.  Also announced for this card are some of Shootboxing's biggest homegrown names: Girls S-Cup champion RENA, Shootboxing 55kg champion Ryuya Kusakabe (who is also scheduled for Krush on April 30, so may end up dropping out of one or the other), and the popular Hiroaki Suzuki.

Andy Souwer vs. Yoshihiro Sato, K-1 MAX, 2007:

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Training Diary: April 1

It’s all about the little things.

The pivot on your foot. The rotation in your hips. The placement of your hand after the jab. The step through on your punch. The little things.

Last week’s entry led to a great discussion in the comments about these sorts of issues. As a result, they were fresh in my mind this week, and as fate would have it, they were also a big theme of this week’s training. I started the week paired up with a new sparring partner – one who was considerably above me in terms of experience. This ended up being a great thing, as he went out of his way to give me very specific pointers on ways to improve my form – all of which were very helpful and most appreciated.

The only difficulty is – there are just so many little things to remember. Let’s take one combo we worked: a relatively simple jab/cross. Combining instructor Andre’s pointers with my partner’s tips, I ended up with this list of things to watch for:

1. On the jab, snap my hand back up into place after the punch in order to protect my head.

2. Keep my hands a bit off to the side of my head, not right in front as boxers do.

3. On a double jab, don’t bring the first jab back all the way, and step forward as you bring it back so that the second punch has more forward motion.

4. Give a small pivot on the foot to the jab.

5. On the cross, pivot my whole body, especially in the hips.

6. Bring the cross back right away.

I think that’s it for this 3 punch combo, though I’m sure as I get these down there will be more to add to that list.

When I write them out and think about them one by one, each seems simple and easy to execute. But when throwing the combo at anything resembling a decent speed, it becomes much harder. I get in my head and before I know it, I’ve remembered to bring my hand back, but the second jab has come and gone and I forgot the step. Clearly the key is to drill, drill, drill. Put these motions into your muscle memory so that your brain doesn’t need to do the work – your body does it for you. I suspect that will come, and I look forward to it – because right now I can’t possibly imagine adding responding to an opponent’s moves into the mix. And luckily, I don’t have to. For now, I’ll keep my mind on the hips, the pivot, the step, the guard, the... well, the little things.

For those of you who have been training, I’m sure it varies quite a bit from person to person, but when did you notice yourself getting out of your head and letting your body guide these motions more?

And one more highly practical question for the day – best way to wash hand wraps?

Training Diary is a weekly series documenting my journey starting Muay Thai training. For more on this series, read the first entry here. I train at Conviction Fitness & Martial Arts, 4430 N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL www.convictionfitness.com.


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Badr Hari Has a Message to His Fans; He's Ready

The Bad Boy will officially return to action on May 14th as Badr Hari is set to face off with Tony Gregory for It's Showtime in Lyon, France. The kickboxing world is on edge awaiting the return of the Golden Boy. Not many feel like Gregory is a worthy challenger, but regardless there is a ton of hype coming into the fight. This just proves that fans want what they want; they want Badr Hari to return to action and crush the opposition.

This interview with Badr Hari catches up with him to get his thoughts on returning to action and how he feels about competing in France, "it is a great honor to be fighting in France," he says, as he feels ready for action.

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The Reem Part II, Episode 2: The Tournament Begins

The age of the internet has led to a lot of great things, including being closer than ever to superstar athletes as they globe trot and make a bigger name for themselves. I firmly believe that Alistair Overeem's recent burst of fame has a lot to do with great management and the hype that was built up for him. Overeem's internet documentary The Reem is absolutely first class. We followed Overeem from his Strikeforce title win to his K-1 World GP win and now we follow him through the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP. This is the second episode of The Reem. [source]

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