With Krush.16 only a week away, Krush.17 on March 17th at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo is starting to take form.
First, Krush has announced 70kg champion Kenta's first title fight and it is a rematch with K-1 veteran Yasuhiro Kido. The two first met at last year's K-1 MAX 70kg Japan Tournament in the opening round of the tournament and Kido surprised a lot of people, hanging tough with the Krush 70kg through three rounds, but a second round knockdown sealed his fate and gave Kenta a majority decision. Kenta has not fought since the tournament while Kido's lone fight since was a big spinning backfist knockout of Shintaro Matsukura. Kenta (22-8-3, 8 KO) was arguably the hottest fighter entering that tournament as he had just come off of his Krush tournament win where he combined great offensive speed and combinations with great movement, picking apart Hiroki Nakajima and Yutaro Yamauchi on the same night. After a win against Kido, Kenta put on a fight of the year candidate against Yuya Yamamoto which ended in a controversial extension round decision win for Yamamoto. Kido (25-13-1, 11 KO) has had a very up and down career since 2008. He got his first real shot in K-1 in the 2008 Japan MAX Tournament after taking part in a few opening fights in the years prior. Kido went on to win the tournament against what was an admittedly mediocre field and was able to move his way into the Final 8 with a win over Chi Bin Lim. However, Kido was not ready for the next level, losing to Artur Kyshenko in the quarterfinals and getting KO'd by Albert Kraus in a reserve fight. Kido competed in the next year's Japan MAX Tournament, being upset by Hinata in a fight that went to an extension round. However, Hinata was unable to continue and Kido moved on to the semis against Taishin Kohiruimaki who handed Kido his 4th straight loss. A pair of bounceback wins led Kido straight into a 3-fight losing streak, again being upset in the first round of the 2009 Japan MAX Tournament. He scored 4 straight wins in Big Bang before his first fight with Kenta. To be honest, I give Kido a slight edge here. In their first fight he looked like a different fighter from the one who was upset in consecutive fights in 2010 and he seems to have his confidence about him again. Plus, Kenta will be going into this fight after a 6 month layoff.
The other matchup announced for the card is Krush Supernova Tournament champ Masaaki Noiri taking on WKA World Lightweight champ Cedric Peynaud. Much like Krush.12, 13 and 16 , Krush has brought over a foreign fighter to test one of its top fighters. Noiri (11-2-0, 5 KO) is arguably the #2 fighter in Japan at 60-63kg behind Yuta Kubo and is coming off of his Krush Youth Tournament win that saw him decision Hiroya and knock out Koya Urabe in the same night. Noiri's most recent fight was at Genki Desu Ka!!! 2011 where he took on Kengo Sonoda and although he won with ease, Noiri wasn't the dominating fighter that fans had come to expect. However, that fight was less than a month after his Supernova Tournament win, so it could be excused. Peynaud (71-8-2, 45 KO) is a 25 year old French kickboxer who won numerous French and European kickboxing titles before being named WKA World Lightweight champion in December of last year with a win over Artur Magadov. Peynaud also recently took up boxing, but has only amassed a 1-1-2 (0 KO) record. His brother, Mickael Peynaud, challenged Sergio Wielzen for the inaugural It's Showtime 61kg title, but lost a 2 round technical decision.
Also set to participate on the card are 2011 Runner-up of the year Koya Urabe, who made it to the finals of three separate tournaments, losing in each one, and Shintaro Matsukura.