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Thai's Dominate at Thai Fight 2013- King of Muay Thai

In what's becoming a growing trend for Thai Fight events, the Thai's once again easily routed their less than stellar farang competition in a 7 fight shutout on the main card. Featured on the first Thai Fight of 2013 were fan favorites like Sudsakorn, Saiyok, Iquezang, and Saenchainoi.

One of the top 70 kg fighters, Saiyok Pumphanmung, took on a game Thiago Texeira in one of the few fights that went the distance. While Texeira was resilient enough to last until the final bell, he couldn't mount any sort of offence throughout 3 rounds that would threaten the veteran Thai. Saiyok won a unanimous decision win; his second in a row after dropping a loss via injury to Dylan Salvador late last year. 

In another big name fight, the well known Sudsakorn Sor. Klinmee took on the not-so-well-known Veselin Veselinov from Russia. Veselinov looked good in the opening round, pushing forward and landing a few big lefts. Sudsakorn seemed to take the shots as minor annoyances more than anything and ramped up the pace in the second, dropping Veselinov in the middle of the round. He kept the pressure high and eventually the Russian wilted, going down to a hard shot midway through the third. 

In the final fight on the card, Saenchainoi Pumphanmung fought Jose Neto in a bout that revealed the Thai's golden years may be behind him. Neto never hurt Saenchainoi, but he stayed in the match far more than he should have. It was an overall sloppy affair, with Saenchainoi already looking pudgy and slow from his jump to 68 kg. Regardless, he still won a unanimnous decision over the Brazilian on all the judges scorecards.

Overall, the quality of the competition was a bit dissapointing. None of the foreign fighters stood much of a chance against their Thai counterparts, which is strange considering there is so much international skill at 70 kg and 68 kg. Hopefully this downward spiral in talent will not be a mainstay of the event.


Saenchainoi def. Jose Neto by Decision

Payakdam def. Ashley Bryne by TKO in Rd. 1

Sudsakorn def. Veselin Veselinov by KO in Rd. 3

Yodpayak def. Paulo Sergio dos Santos by KO in Rd. 1

Iquezang def. Behzad Rafigh Doust by Decision

Saiyok def. Thiago Texeira by Decision

Peemai JitMuangnon def. Jackson Alves de Souza by Decision



MA Kick ~Break 33~ Results

MA Kick started off 2013 with a big card headlined by a Heavyweight fight between Magnum Sakai and Alex Roberts as well as 5 title fights featuring MA Kick's biggest stars. The theme of the night was rematches as four of the five title fights were rematches, but only one fighter was able to pick up a 2nd win against his opponent, as two of the others lost their titles and the third nearly lost his title in a draw.

While Roberts vs Sakai was the main event, it was not the most important fight of the night, so I will recap the event by order of importance. At Flyweight, top 5 Flyweights Ryuji Kato and Yuji Uwasawa met for a second time and after another close fight, it was Ryuji Kato who came out on top, winning a split decision and earning the MA Kick Flyweight title. The win solidifies Kato as the #1 Flyweight in Japan as he had a win over almost every top fighter in his division except for Uwasawa, who he lost his MA Kick title in their first meeting last January. Kato has now won 4 in a row and is the owner of the MA Kick, WPMF Japan and WBC Japan Flyweight titles, so it's hard to know which one he will defend next, though I can imagine MA Kick want to book a 3rd fight between the two. Uwasawa was just 1-2 since beating Kato last year, getting stopped by Shuichi Wentz and Hiroyuki Yamano before picking up a win over Nagata Haryi. He is still a top 5 fighter, but he will need a solid win over a top 10 guy to remain elite.

In a Bantamweight title fight, Takashi Ohno improved to 2-0 against Takuma Ito with a majority decision win to retain his MA Kick belt. The two first fought last January with Ohno taking Ito's title and emerging as the top Bantamweight in Japan. Despite fighting in 2 different weight classes throughout his career, the 22 year old Ohno has put together a 12-4-1 record and hasn't lost a fight at Bantamweight since a split decision loss in January of 2010 to current MA Kick Super Bantamweight champ Keisuke Miyamoto. After the fight he stated he wanted to avenge his loss to Dyki and a rematch is definitely something I want to see as there's not a whole lot for him to do at Bantamweight at the moment as he owns two wins over the #2 in his division and has a win over Seiya Rokukawa, who fights Dyki for the vacant RISE 55kg title in March. Ohno vs the winner of that fight would be a great matchup. After losing in their first fight, Ito went on to lose to Kiminori Matsuzaki, which put him on a 3-fight losing streak. He bounced back with 3 straight wins, including a big win over J-Network champ Kentaro Kimura, but the loss here moves him back to square one. He did better in this fight than their first, as he was knocked down twice in their first encounter and he is still young, so it's not as if he's at a difficult time in his career. I'd like to see him rematch Matsuzaki or take on someone like J-Network Flyweight champ Yuki next.

In a Super Bantamweight title fight, champion Keisuke Miyamoto and challenger Kunihiro fought to a majority draw, giving Miyamoto his first defense. While Miyamoto escapes with the title, he takes a huge hit to his stock as Kunihiro won the only judge's card that wasn't a draw and Miyamoto was a big favorite in this fight after knocking off former #2 Super Bantamweight Ryuya Kusakabe in October. Like the two previous title fights, this was a rematch of a fight that  took place in 2011 that Miyamoto won quite handily. This draw is huge for Kunihiro, who didn't have a real quality win on his record. He goes from afterthought to legitimate contender and may have earned himself another shot at Miyamoto. While I think Miyamoto may have overlooked him a bit and I would favor him in a third fight, I think Kunihiro may have figured out a gameplan to beat Miyamoto.

In a Super Featherweight title fight, Tadahiro Hashio pulled off the upset, forcing a doctor's stoppage of Hikaru Machida in the 4th round to win the MA Kick Super Featherweight title. After failing to win the MA Kick Lightweight title from Yoshito Kajita, Hashio dropped to Super Featherweight where he is now 2-0 and the MA Kick champion. While this may look like a bit of a fluke win, Hashio was step for step with Machida after a rough first round and was able to open up a cut that stopped the fight, so props to him. Machida now finds himself on a 3-fight losing streak after a loss to Yoshinori Nakasuka and a similar cut stoppage loss to RIOT at K-SPIRIT 4. After looking to be one of Japan's most promising prospects over the last 2 years, Machida finds himself without any titles and with a bit of an exploitable flaw for the ruleset he fights under. While I don't think these cut stoppages will drive him away from full contact rules, it would be interesting to see what he could do against RISE and Krush's crop of 60kg fighters.

In the night's final title fight, Super Welterweight champion Kazuya Takeda was upset by Hiroto, who earned a doctor's stoppage via cuts in the 3rd round. Keeping with the night's theme, this was another rematch and Takeda had won their first fight in March of 2011, netting him the MA Kick title. Hiroto had failed twice before in winning the title, as he lost the first fight to Takeda and then lost to Masahito Arthur in a #1 contender bout. However a 4-1 record since the loss to Arthur earned him this shot which he capitalized on. Like the other fights, I expect a third fight between these two due to the nature of the stoppage, but it's a solid win for the previously unheralded Hiroto. Takeda reached a career high in 2012, going 4-0 including a big win over TOMOYUKI, but takes a step back to start 2013. That being said, I believe he is one of Japan's best 70kg fighters, if not the best, who has not fought on a bigger stage. 

Quick results after the break


Krush.26 Results: Kido Defends 70kg Title

After kicking off 2013 with their eight-man one-night 67kg tournament, Krush returned earlier today with Krush.26 featuring a 70kg title fight and the opening rounds of both the inaugural 58kg tournament and the 55kg WILDRUSH League, as well as a 70kg fight between top Japanese Middleweights Yoshihiro Sato and Kenta.

In the night's main event, Krush 70kg champion Yasuhiro Kido picked up his first title defense with a 2nd round knockout of Takuro Moriya. After a slow first round, Kido landed a flurry of punches that floored Moriya, who was unable to get up. There was a bit of trash talk from both fighters coming into this fight, with I believe Moriya trying to get Kido to bet that he'd retire if he lost, so it must've felt good for Kido to knock him out. This was Kido's first fight since being knocked out in the K-1 Word MAX Final in December, which snapped a 6 fight win streak, but Kido now improves to 2-0 with a pair of knockouts in Krush title fights. Next in line would probably be Kenta, but next for Kido is a fight in Big Bang in February. Moriya has a 4-fight win streak snapped including a pair of wins over Asami Zaurus, who he beat in a #1 contender bout to earn this fight. Next for him could possibly be a fight with Yoshihiro Sato and a win would definitely be a career best.

In the co-main event, former Krush 70kg champ Kenta pulled off an upset over Yoshihiro Sato, winning 29-28 on all 3 cards. Kenta seems to have used his high volume, presusre style while being able to get inside the taller Sato's reach. This is a huge win for Kenta who had a rough 2012 with losses to Yasuhiro Kido, TOMOYUKI and Soichiro Miyakosh and probably places him in line for a 3rd fight with Kido and the chance to get his title back. Big disappointment for Sato, who hadn't fought in Krush since February, as most people had him pegged as one of the top 2 Middleweights in Japan. He was coming in off of back to back losses in GLORY to Shemsi Beqiri and Sanny Dahlbeck.

In the opening round of the Krush 58kg tournament, Nobuchika Terado scored a 3rd round knockout of KO-ICHI, Takeru knocked out Kenta Yagami in the 1st round, Shota Kanbe won a unanimous decision over Koji and Yuzo Suzuki knocked out Tsuyoshi Nakajima. In the reserve bout, Yuta Otaki knocked out SATOI in the first round. Not a lot of surprises as tournament favorites Nobuchika Terado and Takeru moved through with stoppage wins while Suzuki proved that he had improved more than Nakajima since their first fight and Kanbe, the youngest fighter in the tournament, picked up a solid win. The semifinals take place at Krush.27 and will see Nobuchika Terado vs Shota Kanbe and Takeru vs Yuzo Suzuki. I fully expect Takeru and Terado to get by their opponents to set up a final between the two, though Suzuki has a lot of momentum going into this fight after two very strong performances in a row.

In the opening round of the 55kg WILDRUSH League, Takumi picked up a unanimous decision over Kazuki Okawa, Yuya Suzuki scored a 3rd round stoppage of Masanori Shimada and Yuki Masato and Kazyosi fought to a draw. Suzuki finds himself in first as the only person to score a knockout, earning 3 points, while Takumi gets 2 points for a decision win and Masato and Kazyosi each earn a point for a draw. The first round didn't teach us a whole lot, as Takumi won with ease and one of the other fights ended in a draw. However, 16 year old Masanori Shimada took a big hit in his stock as he was 2-1-1 as a pro and 36-2-2 as an amateur, and so did Kazyosi, who was 2-0-0 in his pro career coming in. Despite not getting 3 points for a stoppage, I'm still confident that Takumi will run through the tournament field, but he may need to score some stoppages to ensure that Suzuki doesn't outpoint him.

Full results after the break


Krush 67kg Tournament Results: Kubo Wins Tournament in Disputed Decision, Alamos Upsets Takiya

Krush started its 2013 year with one of the biggest events in the promotion's history, headlined by a 67kg tournament to crown a champion in one of Krush's two new weight classes with former K-1 stars Yuta Kubo, Yuji Nashiro, Yuya Yamamoto and Shintaro Matsukura, as well as Abdellah Ezbiri, TaCa, Hitoshi Tsukagoshi and Makihira Keita. Also on the card were Krush 55kg champ Shota Takiya taking on Mike Alamos, HIROYA taking on Keiji Ozaki, Masaaki Noiri against Makoto Nishiyama and other Krush standouts like Naoki Ishikawa, Yuji Takeuchi, Hisaki Higashimoto and Yukimitsu Takahashi.

In the first tournament quarterfinal, Abdellah Ezbiri was able to get a unanimous decision victory over 2011 K-1 MAX Japan Tournament champion Yuji Nashiro on scores of 30-27 and 30-28(x2). Nashiro entered the fight down a point as he failed to make weight on his first two attempts. However, that did not seem to make much of a difference as Ezbiri outboxed Nashiro over the course of 3 rounds. In the second quarterfinal, Yuya Yamamoto knocked out Hitoshi Tsukagoshi at 1:59 of the 3rd round on a left hook. Tsukagoshi apparently had the speed advantage, as he was moving up from 63kg while Yamamoto came down from 70kg, but Yuya had a clear power advantage and the hook that put Tsukagoshi down seems to have been pretty brutal. In the 3rd quarterfinal, tournament favorite Yuta Kubo used his signature body work to wear down TaCa en route to a 2nd round stoppage at 1:43. In the last quarterfinal, Shintaro Matsukura cruised to a unanimous decision over Makihira Keita on scores of 30-27 and 30-28(x2).

In the semifinals, Yuya Yamamoto showed he still had some fight in him, but lost an extension round split decision to Abdellah Ezbiri in what appears to have been the best fight of the tournament. After Ezbiri took the first round and the two drew the second, Yamamoto stormed back in the 3rd with his boxing to force an extra round. It seems the two both went for broke, but it was Ezbiri who came out on top, winning the round on 2 of the judges' cards. In the other semifinal, Yuta Kubo cruised to a unanimous decision over Shintaro Matsukura on scores of 30-27 and 30-26(x2). Kubo scored a knockdown in the first on a body shot and was able to outpoint Matsukura for the rest of the fight, however the inability to finish hurt Kubo, as Matsukura chopped away at his lead leg throughout the fight.

The finals saw a rematch between Yuta Kubo and Abdellah Ezbiri. Although Kubo had dominated their first fight, the two needed 5 rounds to determine a winner this time and it was Kubo who came out on top, winning a unanimous decision in the 2nd extension round to win the tournament title, but not without some controversy. It appears Kubo won the 1st round, but the tide started to turn in the 2nd and in the 3rd Ezbiri was able to take advantage of Kubo's lead leg to the point where Kubo was having trouble standing. In the first extension round, Ezbiri seems to have outlanded Kubo and further injured his leg, but was only able to win over one of the judges, as the other two scored it a draw, much to the distaste of the crowd who apparently booed the decision. However, Kubo somehow found it in himself to take over the 5th round, as Ezbiri was reportedly a bit sluggish in the final round and Kubo captured the tournament and inaugural Krush 67kg title. Despite this, Ezbiri was awarded MVP of the event and fight of the night and I wouldn't be surprised at all if he was brought back to Krush for a 3rd time to be Kubo's first title defense. Although Kubo won, there was a bit of an ironic twist, as he had won his K-1 Tournament title with a finals win over Koya Urabe, who had his lead leg decimated by Yuki in the quarterfinals, leaving Urabe as a one-legged fighter.

As far as impressions go for the tournament, we didn't learn much about Kubo. He was expected to win, as he did, albeit with some controversy, and a third fight with Ezbiri would likely look more like the first than this encounter, as he wouldn't have to battle through a damaged leg. However we did learn a lot about Ezbiri and Yuya Yamamoto. Ezbiri sees his stock shoot up a lot here as before this, he was just another in the list of foreign Kubo victims, but wins over Yuji Nashiro and Yuya Yamamoto, as well as the disputed finals decision, make him one of world's top kickboxers in the 65-67kg range, which isn't the deepest division. Yamamoto saw his stock shoot up after seeing his career sent into a downward spiral in 2012 with losses to Xu Yan and Asami Zaurus. As I said in my tournament preview, I could see Yamamoto beating Tsukagoshi and giving whoever he faced in the semifinals trouble, which he did, and for that he has to be commended. His brawling style works well in the tournament format, but I highly doubt he will ever be regarded as an elite fighter, even in Japan, as he lacks consistency and has shown he can both beat or lose to anyone on any given night. He is a wildly entertaining, but limited fighter.

Recap of the non-tournament fights and quick results below


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