Earlier today, Krush held Krush.25, the Team Dragon 10th anniversary card which featured all of Team Dragon's top talents and was headlined by a 60kg title fight between the only current Krush champion from Team Dragon, Hirotaka Urabe, and Naoki Ishikawa for the third time. Also on the card were Koya Urabe and Hideaki Yamazaki taking on French opponents Mickael Peynaud and Gagny Baradji, respectively.
In the night's main event, Hirotaka Urabe and Naoki Ishikawa proved that they are each other's equals, fighting to their second draw and once again leaving the title in Urabe's hands. This is their second draw in as many title fights, with the two drawing back in January at Krush.15, though this fight was a bit different as both fighters managed to score knockdowns. Urabe (19-5-3, 9 KO) improves his unbeaten streak to 13, with the only blemishes being the two draws to Ishikawa. Going forward, his 3 best options are a 4th fight with Ishikawa, a 2nd fight with Xavier Bastard or a fight with RISE champion Kosuke Komiyama. The loss has to be heartbreaking for Ishikawa (35-18-6, 18 KO) as he managed to win one card, but just couldn't get that elusive second card, falling just short once again. Nobody can question that he is #1a to Urabe's #1 in the division, but he lacks the all important title. Moving forward, he could take on the winner of one of the 60kg matchups set for Krush's January 14th card or Krush could give him an immediate rematch.
In the first Krush vs France fight, Savate World champion Gagny Baradji scored the upset of the night with a 2nd round KO of Krush 63kg WILDRUSH League winner Hideaki Yamazaki. I believe Baradji saw the mat himself in the first round, but came back strong in the 2nd and stopped Yamazaki with a right cross 58 seconds into the round. The win is huge for Baradji as little was known about him coming into this fight other than he was a Savate champion, while Yamazaki was set to take on Krush 63kg champion Thomas Adamandopoulos some time this year. Baradji likely earned himself another fight against a top-level guy in Krush and maybe even a future shot at Adamandopoulos. Big loss for Yamazaki who tastes defeat for only the second time in his career. He loses whatever momentum he would have taken into a fight with Adamandopoulos. He was already going to be a big underdog heading into that fight, but his chances now seem slim.
In the other Krush vs France fight, 2012 Youth GP champion Koya Urabe took a unanimous decision over Mickael Peynaud, with all 3 judges scoring the fight 30-27. Urabe (25-4-0, 4 KO) seems to have been a bit re-energized after a KO loss to Masaaki Noiri and a loss to Keijiro Miyakoshi back in February. This makes it 6 straight for him and puts him in a good position to possibly rematch Noiri, with the winner hopefully receiving a title shot. Peynaud was coming off of a loss to Javier Hernandez last month and although he's lost two straight, he doesn't have much to hang his head about, especially considering he was a late replacement for Karim Bennoui.
At 63kg, former Krush champion Ryuji Kajiwara defeated former NJKF champion Ikki by unanimous decision on scores of 30-29 and 30-28(x2). Kajiwara hadn't fought since being knocked out by Thomas Adamandopoulos back in August in a title defense. This is a solid bounce-back win over a solid fighter and keeps Kajiwara in the title picture. The only real place for him to go from here would be a fight with a foreign opponent or a rematch with Masaaki Noiri, a fight his teammmate Koya Urabe is also gunning for. Ikki had won two in a row by stoppage heading into this fight, most recently stopping Taito in the 1st round.
The card also featured a trio of Team Dragon 55kg standouts fighting, with Takumi decisioning Kazuki Tanaka, Takeru scoring a 1st round KO of Katsuki Sakaki and Namito Izawa winning a majority decision over Tatsuya Hibata. Takumi picks up a win in his first fight since losing to current champion Shota Takiya. Next for him is the 55kg WILDRUSH League, which I have him favored to win, with another chance at Takiya on the line. Takeru picks up his 3rd straight win and could have very well been in line for a title shot himself as Sakaki was the man Takumi beat to earn his shot. However, Takeru will be participating in the Krush 58kg tournament, likely to avoid fighting Izawa and Takumi. I have him as the second biggest favorite in that tournament behind Nobuchika Terado. Izawa takes his 3rd straight win as well after back to back losses to the aforementioned Terado and Yuya Suzuki. Izawa is sort of left in limbo as he is not in the WILDRUSH League nor is he really in a position to earn a title shot.
Krush returns on January 14th with Jawin Presents ~Krush 67kg Tournament First Round~ at Yoyogi National Stadium. The card features the opening round of the 67kg tournament which features names like Yuta Kubo, Yuji Nashiro, Houcine Bennoui and Yuya Yamamoto. First round matchups have not been announced yet, though there is a press conference scheduled for the 17th which will likely announce the quarterfinals as well as the remaining single fights for the card.
Quick results after the break