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Krush, RISE, Shootboxing, REBELS, NJKF, J-Network, SNKA Announce Matchups and Participants

  • Written by Dave Walsh

I haven’t been keeping up with a lot of fight announcements, so I have decided to do a condensed post that highlights all the major event participants and matchups that have been announced.

First, starting off with the January 21st It’s Showtime Japan/REBELS 10 card, It’s Showtime Japan has announced that it has become its own regional product and will create its own rankings, ultimately sending its champions and top contenders off to fight in It’s Showtime. The first step in this process has been set for REBELS.10 with two It’s Showtime Japan title fights; Hiroki Nakajima vs Danilo Zanolini at 70kg and Koichi Pettas vs Toshio Matsumoto at 95kg.

Hiroki Nakajima (14-5-0, 10 KO) was once one of the hotter prospects in Japan. At the end of 2009, Nakajima won fights over Yutaro Yamauchi and Yuki Hirono to earn himself a spot in the 2010 K-1 MAX Japan Tournament where he scored back to back knockouts over Tatsuji and Hinata before being KO’d himself in a wild brawl with Yuichiro “Jienotsu” Nagashima in the 3rd round of the tournament final. Since, Nakajima’s defensive flaws have been exposed as he is 1-4, though he’s had tough matchups against Albert Kraus, Buakaw Por. Pramuk, Kenta and Takafumi Morita. Zanolini (22-8-0, 14 KO), best known for his fight against Yoshihiro Sato in K-1, is coming off of a big KO win over K-1 veteran Su Hwan Lee and should he score a win here, he could see himself in an extremely favorable position.

Koichi “Pettas” Watanabe (23-6-1, 13 KO) trains under Nicholas Pettas, hence the namesake and is actually one of the better heavyweight fighters in Japan. He is currently on a 7-fight win-streak and 9-fight unbeaten streak with 6 of those coming by KO. Toshio Matsumoto (33-9-6, 27 KO) was once a 70kg fighter, but has found success at heavyweight since moving up in 2008, going 8-1 with all 8 of those wins coming by KO, though his loss was to Hiromi Amada who is decent for a Japanese heavyweight, but not a top fighter. Though this is a competitive fight, the goal is to face It’s Showtime 95MAX champ Danyo Ilungo who I doubt either man will stand much of a chance against.

Other fights announced for the card are a Bantamweight matchup between WBC Japan Bamtamweight champion TO-MA (8-3-1, 2 KO) and Taisuke Degai(record N/A), a Bantamweight matchup between former WBC Japan Bantamweight champion Arashi Fujiwara (35-9-9, 22 KO) and #9 ranked Lumpinee Stadium Super Flyweight Ponmongkon KT Gym (68-10-5, 15 KO) and a women’s Atom Grade(48kg) Title match between champion Little Tiger (10-6-2, 0 KO) and 19 year old prospect NAO IIDA (2-0-0, 0 KO).  Also participating are Yosuke Mizuochi and Akihiro Kuroda.

Krush couldn’t wait to announce matchups for Krush.16 on February 17th, as just 2 days after Krush.15 had ended, it was announced that Yuta Kubo (31-4-1, 14 KO) and Yoshihiro Sato (48-17-0, 20 KO) would be fighting for the ISKA World Light-Welterweight and Middleweight titles, respectively. Kubo’s opponent is French Muay Thai specialist Charles-Francois (33-9-1, 25 KO) while Sato is taking on Austrian Muay Thai fighter Fadi Merza (118-17-3, 43 KO). Unfortunately for fans, Charles-Francois is just 2-6 in his last 8 fights, so this will probably be the less competitive fight of the two. Merza was on The Challenger Muay Thai, but fell in the first round to Cedric Muller by close decision. Yuya Yamamoto has also been announced as a participant for Krush.16.

Krush also let loose some news regarding plans for their champions. Each champion must defend his title every 9 months at least, so 60kg champ Hirotaka Urabe and 55kg champ Shota Takiya’s next title defenses, should they not vacate their titles, will come this year, as well as 63kg champ Ryuji Kajiwara’s, as he defended his title back in December. It was also announced that 70kg champ Kenta is planning to defend his title for the first time at Krush.17 on March 17th. Krush also announced that going forward, they want to put more effort into getting international competition, specifically Europe, something that their partnership with ISKA is helping with.

Shootboxing kicks off its 2012 with Shootboxing 2012 act.1 on February 5th and so far two matchups have been announced. First, Shootboxing converts Bovy Sor. Udomson and Satoru Suzuki will square off in a 70kg bout. Former Thai Boxer Bovy (84-43-2, 52 KO) entered Shootboxing in 2009, defeating Hiroki Shishido. After falling to Andy Souwer in the quarterfinals of the 2010 S-Cup, Bovy lost his first 3 fights of 2011 before scoring back-to-back wins over Toby Imada and Gago Drago. Former boxer Suzuki (6-10-0, 5 KO) had his first two professional kickboxing fights against Masato and Mike Zambidis, losing both via leg kicks. He, too, entered Shootboxing with a fight against Hiroki Shishido, but lost because of a front choke. Since, he’s gone 4-3 with losses to Takaaki Umeno, Henri Van Opstal and Christophe Pruvost and wins over Kenji Kanai, MMA fighter Kuniyoshi Hironaka and Masahiro Shimada.

Also announced is Shooto legend Mamoru Yamaguchi taking on 20 year old prospect Kazuyuki Fushimi. Yamaguchi (3-1-0, 0 KO SB; 25-5-3, 9 KO 4 SUB MMA) actually holds a win over current Shootboxing Featherweight champ Naguranchan Masa M16 in Shootboxing and has not been KO’d in Shootboxing or MMA. Fushimi (14-8-0, 4 KO) has had an interesting 2011, going 3-1 in Shootboxing, with a win over MMA fighter Junji Ito at Shooto the Shoot back in November, and 0-1 outside of Shootboxing, getting KO’d by Dyki in RISE. This is a toss up and pretty good matchmaking from Shootboxing who have managed to put together a number of competitive fights between fighters of different disciplines over the past few years.

Set for this card is MMA fighter Tenkei Oda (2-1-0, 1 KO SB; 10-5-3, 3 KO 2 SUB MMA) is taking on #2 ranked SB Lightweight Masaya Matsuhana. Oda’s last fight in SB was a loss to Hiroaki Suzuki in 2010. Matsuhana’s last fight was at Shoot the Shooto where he scored a KO win over Hiroshi Mizumachi.

SB Women’s Flyweight champ Ai Takahashi and SB star Hiroki Shishido were announced as participants for the card as well.

RISE, NJKF, NJKA and J-Network news after the break

The aforementioned Kenta (22-8-3, 8 KO) and Tetsuya Yamato (25-9-1, 20 KO) have been announced as participants for NJKF’s Kick To the Future event on February 18th at Korakuen Hall. Kenta had a great 2011, winning six straight and winning the Krush 70kg tournament before losing a questionable extension round decision to Yuya Yamamoto in the semifinals of the 2011 K-1 MAX Japan Tournament. He has not fought since that bout and with a probable Krush title defense in March, this will likely be a tune-up fight for Kenta as he hasn’t fought in nearly 4 months. Yamato has had a rocky couple of years, going 7-5-1 while reaching career peaks and embarrassing lows. He started 2010 with a one-sided KO loss to Saenchai Sinbimuaythai, then went on to upset Masahiro Yamamoto and win the 2010 K-1 -63kg Tournament with 3 straight knockouts, stopping Yuta Kubo in an exhilarating final. However, after that fight he was dominated by Koya Urabe and then was taken to a draw by MMA fighter “Wicky” Akiyo Nishiura. A couple of wins before a second loss to Urabe took Yamato to the US where he defeated Coke Chunhawat. Since then, he’s lost a WBC Muay Thai World title fight to Jomthong Chuwattana and was knocked down in the final seconds of his title shot against Krush champion Ryuji Kajiwara, losing by decision. With back to back losses, I wouldn’t be surprised if Yamato got a bounce-back fight.

NJKF later announced that WMC Intercontinental Super Flyweight champion TOMONORI (Sato) (30-12-3, 15 KO) would be facing WBC USA Bantamweight champion Romie Adanza(record N/A) for the WBC International Super Flyweight title on that same card. Also on that card is WBC Japan Super Lightweight champion Seiji Takahashi taking on former NJKF Lightweight champion Kazuki (Ikki, too).

Now on to RISE, earlier I announced that RISE 86 would feature a Super Lightweight title match between champion Koji Yoshimoto and Yasumoi Soda and would feature Takafumi Morita and KENJI in superfights. Since, RISE has announced opponents for both men, a Lightweight #1 contender’s bout and a 4-man tournament for the vacant Featherweight championship.

First, Middleweight champ Takafumi Morita (11-1-1, 5 KO) will return to RISE for the first time since winning his title and he will take on Korean Cha Jun-pyo(?). Recently crowned Bantamweight champion KENJI (18-5-0, 13 KO) will also be participating against Thai Pajonsuk Por. Pramuk (110-20-1). While Morita’s fight is more of a walkover, KENJI should find a tough opponent in the Thai fighter and if he gets past him, he should find his stock continuing to go up.

In a #1 contender’s bout for Yuki’s Lightweight title, K-1 veterans Yuto Watanabe and Shohei Asahara will square off. Watanabe (9-5-0, 2 KO) is more or less a gatekeeper at 60-63kg as he has lost to every notable opponent of his except for TaCa. He’s lost his only two K-1 fights to Naoki Ishikawa and Toshiki Taniyama. He is 5-2 in RISE with losses to Koji Yoshimoto and Hiroshi Mizumachi. Shohei Asahara is a fellow RISE product whose career path matches that of Watanabe fairly closely. Like Watanabe, he has lost to most of the top competition he’s fought and is 1-2 in K-1 with losses to Koji Yoshimoto and Toshiki Taniyama.

A superfight between Bantamweight tournament finalist Dyki and semifinalist Ryuma Tobe has been announced. Both fighters lost to KENJI in the tournament, so this fight makes a lot of sense.

Finally, The 4-man Featherweight tournament features #3 ranked Takayauki Nagayama takes on #6 ranked Masaki Ishibashi while #5 ranked Ryoma Hasumi takes on #8 ranked Yuta Nogawa.

J-Network announced an event on February 24th that would feature a Bantamweight tournament and undefeated Welterweight champion Masato Otake, most likely in a super fight. Otake (9-0-0, 3 KO) won the title against Atsushi Sasatani back in 2011.

Fighters announced for the tournament are #1 ranked Bantamweight Kiyokazu Ohara, #3 ranked Bantamweight Tatsuya Hibata, #2 ranked Super Flyweight Chiharu Manda, #5 ranked Super Flyweight Kenta, #6 ranked Super Bantamweight Kentaro Kimura, NJKF #3 ranked Bantamweight Jun Miyoshi, WPMF Japan #7 ranked Bantamweight Ren Takemura and WPMF Japan #8 ranked Bantamweight Gi-hoon Kim. Good to see they’re getting fighters from different promotions and different weight classes.

And last, but not least, Shin Nihon Kickoboxing Association (SNKA/NJKA) has announced the matchups for their January 15th card. First, Shunta Ito rematches Hideki Soga in a 59kg bout. The first time these two fought Ito (23-9-4, 8 KO) won a split decision despite Soga (31-7-3, 9 KO) scoring a knockdown in the 2nd round. Also on the card is 21 year old prospect Rui Ebata (14-0-2, 6 KO) who is set to take on Kim Sun Jae. {jcomments on}

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