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Japanese Kickboxing Scene: February Preview

  • Written by Dave Walsh

Although this month lacks a Krush or RISE event, February looks like another solid month for Japanese kickboxing with the focus this month seeming to be Japan vs Thailand with NJKF, Fist Kick and the Hoost Cup putting on quality Japan vs Thailand matchups including a Rajadamnern Stadium Super Bantamweight title fight between champion Kaimookdam Aikbangzai and Kunitaka.

February 10th - MA Kick ~Break 34~

Although it isn't anywhere near the level of Break 33, this event is headlined by a Welterweight fight between MA Kick #1 ranked Welterweight Yasuyaki Murata and #4 Akira Makoto with the winner likely getting a shot at champion Jun Nakazawa. The co-main event pits Yukimaru against Pupanrek Esugym.


This is one of DEEP*KICK's biggest events as it features 2 title fights, first pitting 65kg champ and Krush Youth GP participant Hiroto Yamaguchi against 2011 K-1 Koshien runner-up Yuya Shibata. Yamaguchi went 5-2 last year, winning the DEEP*KICK 65kg Tournament, while suffering his first 2 pro defeats at the hands of SHIGERU and Koya Urabe. Shibata was very impressive in the Koshien system with wins over Minoru Kimura, Keisuke Ishida, Yosuke Komiyama and Riki Matsuoka, albeit in 1
 round fights. Last year he was 3-1, losing to Daizo Sasaki in the opening round of the Krush Youth GP. At 70kg, champion Ren Takeno defends his title against Yoji Fujimoto. In a pair of 55kg fights, Yukinobu Nakatsuka faces Koki Nakagawa while Krush vet Ikki Tanaka takes on Taiki. I would imagine the winner of these two fights will face each other with a shot at 55kg champ Seiya Rokukawa on the line. Nakatsuka and Tanaka would be the favorites and the two have fought before, with Nakatsuka coming out on top. Nakatsuka has fought Rokukawa twice already, losing convincingly in both cases. Also on the card is Hiroto Yamaguchi's brother, Yuma Yamaguchi, looking to make his way towards a title shot against 60kg champ Yuto Tsujide.

February 17th - New Japan Kickboxing Federation: 2013 1st

NJKF's first event of 2013 is headlined by a Rajadamnern Stadium Super Bantamweight fight between Kaimookdam Aikbangzai and Kunitaka. This is not Kaimookdam's first foray into NJKF, as he faced top 5 Featherweight Heihachi Nakajma last June, winning decisively. Kunitaka will be a big underdog here as he is just 2-5 against Thai competition since 2010, including a loss to Kaimookdam back in 2011. Tetsuya Yamato is featured on this card taking on Gansuwan Sasiprapa, who scored a knockout of Yuya Yamato last year. In a NJKF Welterweight title fight, aforementioned champion Yuya Yamato rematches Soichiro Miyakoshi in what should be a close, entertaining fight. Lightweight champion Keijiro Miyakoshi will look to rebound from back to back losses with a title defense against Ryota. At Super Lightweight, champion Seiji Takahashi will look for his 3rd straight stoppage as he defends his title against Kazushige Sugama. Super Bantamweight champion Arato looks to defend his title in a rematch with Hiroya Haga, who went 3-0 in 2012. In a fight to determine the vacant NJKF Flyweight title, super-prospects Nemo and Takashi Saenchaigym fight for a second time, with their first bout being a draw. Finally, WBC Japan Women's Featherweight champion Ayano Oishi defends her title against Team Dragon's Kimiko Sasaki. 

Fist Kick IX

This is a 2-part event, with the latter part featuring 6 big fights. First, Rajadamnern Stadium Featherweight champion Sirimongkon Ewagym (formerly PK Stereo/PK Muaythai) returns to Japan to face Daiki Nagashima. This will be Sirimongkon's 3rd trip to Japan as he defeated Shunta Ito in 2011 and fought to a surprising draw with Yusuke Shimizu at RISE/M-1 Infinity. Nagashima also ran into a bit of bad luck at that same event as he was knocked out by Chang Hyun Lee. At Super Lightweight, WPMF Japan champ Hidekazu Tanaka faces off against Kanongsuk WSR. Tanaka fought a tough schedule in 2012 and went 1-3 because of it while 2012 saw Kanongsuk go from top Lightweight to afterthought with a 1-4-1 record. Not sure if this is for Tanaka's WPMF Japan title, but both guys really need a win regardless. Joanna Jedrzejczyk returns to Japan after a win over Ayano Oishi in the Hoost Cup, this time facing NJKF Featherweight champion AZUMA. In fight to determine WPMF Japan Super Welterweight champion Takayuki WSR's next opponent, TOMOYUKI fights Takeshi Shimizu. In a WPMF Japan Bantamweight #1 contender bout, J-Network Super Flyweight champion Yuki looks to continue his run at Bantamweight against Noro Yuki. Finally, in a WPMF Japan Super Flyweight #1 contender bout, Sazanami Satsutama faces Nagata Haryi.

February 22nd - Shootboxing 2013 act.1

Shootboxing's 2013 opener only has 3 announced fights as of now, but already looks pretty promising as the top billed fight so far pits "Japanese Killer" Henri van Opstal against Yoshihiro Sato. van Opstal has compiled a 6-0 record against Japanese fighters, with wins over Hiroki Nakajima, Hinata, Yuichiro Nagashima, Satoru Suzuki and Akihiro Gono, but Sato will be his toughest test to date. While he is not the top Japanese Middleweight anymore, as evidenced by his loss to Kenta, Sato is still a top level talent in Japan and represents a much tougher challenge than any of the Japanese fighters van Opstal has faced to date. In what should be a fun fight, the always entertaining Bovy Sor Udomson fights Warren Stevelmans, who qualified for last year's S-Cup, but withdrew to fight as a late replacement in GLORY. At 61kg, the flashy Kizaemon Saiga returns to Shootboxing to face MMA fighter Masato Sannai, who had an impressive 2012 with wins over Shigeyuki Uchiyama and Seiya Kawahara.

February 24th - Hoost Cup Spirit 2

The Hoost Cup returns for its second installment of its Spirit series, this time a day-night double header, with the day portion headlined by a fight between NJKF Super Featherweight champion Daichi Yamato and M. Rachasakreck. The night portion is headlined by 2011 K-1 Koshien champ Sho Ogawa who takes on RISE veteran Shohei Asahara. Other featured fights are a 63kg bout between Yoshihiro Tomohita and Ryukei and a 58kg bout between Pinsiam Maki and Fukashi.

New Japan Kickboxing Federation: Muay Thai Open 23

This is one of the weakest Muay Thai Opens to date, but it still features some interesting matchups including Shota Saenchaigym vs Kongenchai Esugym, Shota Watabe vs Dejpanom Saenchaigym and Masahito Arthur vs Hiroki Yamamoto. 

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