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Krush Youth GP Opening Round Matchups Announced

Krush has announced the matchups for the opening round of their 63kg and 70kg Youth tournaments on September 9th as well as some single fights, with the semifinal round of the 4-man 70kg tournament taking place during the day and the quarterfinals and semifinals of the 8-man 63kg tournament taking place during the night portion.

In the 70kg semifinals, tournament favorite Shintaro Matsukura will take on Silver Wolf's Kazuya Akimoto while JungleKoki takes on Taisei Kondo in the other semi. The Matsukura-Akimoto matchup has a bit of added drama as it is a K-1 Koshien champ taking on a RISE KAMINARIMON champ, but I would definitely have to favor Matsukura here. In the other semi, I'd give JungleKoki a slight edge and if he and Matsukura both win, it would set up a rematch of the 2009 K-1 Koshien 70kg tournament final.

In the 63kg quarterfinals, Hiroya takes on Hisaki Higashimoto while Daizo Sasaki takes on Yuya in one half of the bracket. In the other half, Koya Urabe takes on Kengo Sonoda while Hiroto Yamaguchi battles Minoru Kimura. It's not much of a surprise to see Hiroya and Urabe on opposite sides of the bracket as they are the favorites. In the upper half of the bracket, I like Hiroya to win easy over Higashimoto and Yuya to take out Sasaki. While Hiroya has been prone to upsets, his quarterfinal opponent Higashimoto is a karate practitioner, meaning he won't be able to expose Hiroya's biggest weakness, his boxing defense. I favor Yuya because he made it to the finals of the K-1 Koshien tournament in 2011, beating Keisuke Ishida and losing to Sho Ogawa, while Sasaki has lost 4 in a row and doesn't have any major wins on his record. In a presumed semifinal between Hiroya and Yuya, I favor Hiroya. However, Sho Ogawa had some success against Hiroya in last year's quarterfinal, so if Yuya has any of the boxing ability of Ogawa, he can cause problems for Hiroya and possibly even score a knockdown. In the lower half of the bracket, I like Urabe to cruise over Sonoda while the final quarterfinal between Hiroto Yamaguchi and Minoru Kimura is the hardest quarterfinal matchup to call. If I had to pick someone, it'd be Kimura, though this fight is a complete toss-up. Either way, I favor Urabe to win against either man, though whoever makes it out will have the best chance outside of Hiroya and Urabe to win the tournament.

In the main single fight of the day portion, NJKF Super Lightweight champ Seiji Takahashi will take on Krush regular Atsushi Ogata. Takahashi recently lost by TKO to Tetsuya Yamato in NJKF while Ogata is fresh off of an upset of Toshiki Taniyama at Krush-EX vol.4 in July. Other single fights include Team Dragon's Takeru taking on Yuki Masato at 55kg as well as Team Dragon's Keisuke Ishida taking on Ryusei at 55kg. For the night portion, only one single fight has been announced with Team Dragon's Namito Izawa looking to rebound from his first two pro losses against Koki Nakagawa.


6 More Krush Events This Year

Krush consistently puts on good shows in Japan with some of the top lighter weight class talent in the world. While it may take a while for everyone outside of Japan to view their events, it's well worth it and Krush is currently working on making videos from their events more accessible.

We've got some good news, as Krush has six more events planned for the rest of the year. Their most recent event was on Krush.21 August 12, which saw Thomas Adamandopoulos defeat Ryuji Kajiwara for the Krush 63kg title and also saw Nobuchika Terado defeat Andy Howson for the ISKA 55kg K-1 rules title.

Krush has noticeably been bringing in more foreign opposition lately this year, much like they did for Krush.21. This is great as it lets us get a better grasp on who stands where in the lighter weight divisions and provides for some great fights and clashes of styles. Krush wants to develop more strong relationships with overseas promoters and continue to bring in international talent. They're open to any good fighters, no matter where they're from so promoters and managers around the world should be eager to get their fighters an international opportunity on a stage like Krush where they will be noticed.

Here's the tentative Krush schedule for the rest of the year:

August 26 - Nagoya

September 9 - Shinjuku

October 8 - Tokyo

October 21 - Shinjuku

November 10 - Tokyo

December 14 - Tokyo


Shishido vs Suzuki 2, Komiyama vs Utagawa Added to Shootboxing Act.4 on 9/17

With the Girls S-Cup coming in two weeks and the men's S-Cup following in November, only one "road to S-Cup" event remains this year, Shootboxing 2012 Act.4 on September 17th at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo and Shootboxing has announced what presumably will be the headlining fights for the event, as well as a couple familiar, albeit not to Shootboxing, competitors who are looking to make their way into the S-Cup.

In a rematch of a fight from 2010, Shootboxing legend Hiroki Shishido will take on former boxer Satoru Suzuki. The two first met at Shootboxing ISHIN 2 in 2010 with Shishido welcoming Suzuki in his Shootboxing debut with a 2nd round finish via front choke. Since, however, the slumping Shishido (48-11-0, 20 KO) is just 2-6, losing four in a row and 6 of his last 7, most recently losing to Shootboxing Lightweight champ Hiroaki Suzuki in June. Suzuki (8-11-0, 5 KO) is 5-5 since their first fight and has lost two in a row, to Andy Souwer and Toby Imada. The fight will likely take place at 70kg, although Shishido dropped down to 65kg for his last fight. It was not stated whether or not the fight was for an S-Cup spot, as it would be hard to imagine Shootboxing leaving Shishido out despite his recent skid and Suzuki has become one of their more popular fighters thanks to exciting performances, most notably in his win over Bovy Sor. Udomson. 

In the other announced matchup, RISE Super Featherweight champion Kosuke Komiyama will clash with recently crowned Shootboxing Super Featherweight champion Akifumi Utagawa in Komiyama's promotional debut. Komiyama (18-2-0, 11 KO) has made a name for himself in RISE with wins over Kan Itabashi and Sergio Wielzen and has made a case for being the best 60kg fighter in Japan not in Krush. This fight somewhat makes sense as he seems far and above his weight class in RISE and outside of fighting some guys at 63kg, doesn't have many options left in that organization. Komiyama has fought exclusively in RISE and K-1, meaning he has never fought with clinching allowed, let alone to the extent it is used in Shootboxing, so Utagawa definitely has a good shot at winning this fight. Utagawa (32-13-1, 1 NC, 15 KO) has won 4 in a row dating back to Shoot the Shooto 2011, with his most recent wins in a rubber match against Takeshi Ishikawa and a rematch with Koji Ikegami to win the Super Featherweight title. His key to victory is using his experience with the Shootboxing ruleset to make Komiyama uncomfortable. If he allows Komiyama to stay outside and work his kickboxing, he will have trouble winning a round, let alone the fight.

Also announced as participants to the card are former PRIDE star Akihiro Gono and K-1 and It's Showtime veteran Hinata, both looking to earn entry into this year's S-Cup. After retiring from MMA, Gono returned, somewhat, to his kickboxing roots, taking a fight under Shootboxing rules last month at Deep Tokyo Impact and winning by decision. Hinata infamously debuted at Shootboxing 2 years ago, losing to Andy Souwer in just 48 seconds by choke. His most recent fight, a 1st round KO of Korean Kang Jung-woo, was under Shootboxing rules. Both men will be looking for a win to get into the S-Cup in what would definitely bring more name value and attention to an already popular tournament. 

Also added to the Girls S-Cup card on August 25th is a single fight between 15 year old Seira Arigaki and Rio Kamikaze. Arigaki is another in the line of promising young female talent, joining the likes of Rena, Erika Kamimura, Mizuki Inoue and MIO, and holds amateur titles at 40kg and 50kg in M-1 as well as the J-Girls U-15 Mini Flyweight championship. Her opponent Rio most recently fought Ai Takahashi in the semifinals of the 53.5kg Girls S-Cup, losing by decision. 


Four Fighters Added to Girls S-Cup Including VV.Mei

With the 2012 Girls S-Cup just two weeks away, Shootboxing has almost finished rounding out the tournament field, adding four more competitors, leaving just one open spot remaining.

The four participants added include Valkyrie Featherweight champ VV.Mei, WMC World Flyweight champ Namtam Por. Muangpet from Thailand, WKF and ISKA Flyweight champion Olena Ovchynnikova from Ukraine and WPKL Flyweight champion Lorena Klijn from the Netherlands. As stated, Shootboxing chairman Caesar Takeshi wanted to bring in foreign talent and with just one spot open and three Japanese fighters already in the field, I assume he will reach out abroad to find the final competitor. My vote would be for American MMA fighter Jessica Penne who holds a win over 2-time S-Cup champ Rena. Of these four, VV.Mei is the only one to have competed under Shootboxing rules, taking part in the past two Girls S-Cups, making it to the finals in 2009 and the semifinals in 2010, losing to Rena and Ai Takahashi, respectively. These four join the previously announced Rena, Erika Kamimura and Seo Hee Ham and although this tournament lacks Shootboxing champion Ai Takahashi and buzz around a single competitor like Su Jeong Lim in 2009 and Hisae Watanabe in 2010, the possibility of rematches between Rena, Kamimura, Ham and Mei provides excitement of its own in what is sure to be a memorable tournament.


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