With a little over a month to go until Krush's 2013 opener at Yoyogi National Stadium in Tokyo on January 14th, titled Jawin Presents Krush Grand Prix 2013 ~67kg Tournament First Round~, Krush has finalized the 67kg tournament field, as well as adding 4 other fights to the card, including a tournament reserve fight.
Rounding out the tournament are two fighters moving up from 63kg, Hitoshi Tsukagoshi and Makihira Keita. Keita earned his spot in the tournament with a win over RISE product Kotetsu at Krush-EX vol.6 in what was Krush's inaugural 67kg fight. Before that, he represented Nagoya at Krush.22, losing to Masaaki Noiri by decision. Tsukagoshi competed in this year's 63kg WILDRUSH League, going 3-2 and finishing 2nd, trailing winner Hideaki Yamazaki by only 2 points heading into the final leg, where he needed a knockout to win and fought like it, but left himself open and dropped a decision to TaCa. These two are solid fighters, but will likely be in over their heads, joining Yuta Kubo, Yuji Nashiro, Shintaro Matsukura, Yuya Yamamoto and foreigners Houcine Bennoui and Abdallah Ezbiri, all of whom would be favored to win a first round matchup with Tsukagoshi and Keita. An opening round win would be huge for either fighter, especially in a weight class that hasn't gotten much exposure and, quite frankly, is pretty shallow.
Along with the announcements of the last 2 participants came the announcement of a reserve fight, pitting the aforementioned TaCa against MA Kick Welterweight champion Jun Nakazawa. TaCa went 2-3 in the WILDRUSH League, picking up wins in his first and last fights, but losing 3 straight in between. Nakazawa went 4-0 in 2011, winning the MA Kick Welterweight title, but is just 1-2 this year with losses to Daiki Watabe and Hideya Tanaka with a win over Kousuman in between.
In a 64.5kg fight, former K-1 Koshien champ Hiroya returns to Krush to take on Keiji Ozaki. Hiroya's most recent outing in Krush was an upset loss to Hisaki Higashimoto in the opening round of this year's Youth GP. He returned to action just a few days ago at Big Bang 11, but at 65kg, picking up a 2nd round TKO of Chonden Chuwattana. Considering he fought at 65kg there and is facing a fellow 63kg fighter at 64.5kg, I would assume Hiroya is all but done at 63kg and is aiming to head to Krush's new 67kg weight class and maybe eventually end up at 70kg. Ozaki is no stranger to fighting larger opponents, competing at 70kg in K-1 before they adopted the 63kg weight class. He is 3-1 on the year with wins over Hironori Hattori, Ding Ning and Masanobu Gotu, with the loss coming to Taito.
At 60kg, "Kyoken" Yuji Takeuchi faces MMA fighter Hirotaka Miyakawa, who makes his kickboxing debut. Takeuchi returned this year after a 10-month layoff and is 2-1 since, picking up wins over Sendet Sasiprapa and Fumiya Osawa, but losing his most recent fight to rising prospect SHIGERU a few days ago at Big Bang 11. Miyakawa started his career 3-6-2 from 2002-2006, then took a 3 year break and since returning is 3-4. While his record isn't pretty, Miyakawa is an action fighter with only 4 of his 18 fights going the distance.
In the last announced fight, 60kg fighters Kan Itabashi and Junpei Aotsu face off. Former RISE champ Itabashi is 1-1 in Krush, with his loss being a close decision to Naoki Ishikawa and his win a 1st round KO of Katsuya Goto. Aotsu is 3-1 this year, losing in the opening round of this year's Krush 60kg tournament to Yuya and winning 3 straight since. The winner of this fight could face the winner of Takeuchi-Miyakawa, with the winner being well-positioned for a title shot.
Also expected to participate on the card are 2012 Youth GP Finalist Hisaki Higashimoto, 60kg Tournament Finalist Katsuya Goto and WILDRUSH League participants Yukimitsu Takahashi and NOMAN.