After a star-studded March, the Japanese kickboxing scene offers up events from nearly every major promotion with big cards from MA Kick, Shootboxing and NJKF featuring Japan's #1 Flyweight, Bantamweight and Featherweight.
April 7th: SNKA - Super Kick
In an event that's flying under the radar, Hideki Soga defends his Oriental Super-Featherweight title against a Thai whose name I can't quite figure out. Also on the card is former SNKA Flyweight champion Hiroki Koshikawa taking on Daihachi Furuoka. Both men could desperately use a win as they have struggled as of late. NJKF #2 ranked Super Featherweight Shoya Suzuki looks to pick up a 3rd straight win against Thomas Nakamura.
Shootboxing - Young Caesar Cup Central #6
While this isn't the main Shootboxing card of the month, the main event features Kenji Kanai against Shinichiro Kuroki. It looks as though they're trying to get the struggling Kanai, who has lost 4 in a row and 6 of his last 7, a win against Kuroki, who is just 1-4 in his Shootboxing career.
April 14th: MA Kick - Dragon ~The One and Only~ JMC 10 Year Anniversary Card
The biggest weekend of the month is headlined by an MA Kick card that features my top ranked Featherweight and Bantamweight in Japan. The main event features top ranked Featherweight Hiroki Akimoto beginning his journey towards a Rajadamnern Stadium title against Rajadamnern Stadium 8th ranked Songkhom Sreesuriyanyothin. The co-main event pits top ranked Bantamweight Takashi Ohno against Jomphet Chuwattana, who makes his second trip to Japan after losing by cut against Mutsuki Ebata in his first trip. Also, former MA Kick Welterweight champ Kazuya Takeda fights Bettonkam Or Sithubon
REBELS holds its second event of the year with 70kg standout Hinata fighting REBELS RAIDERS tournament winner Takuma Konishi for the vacant REBELS 70kg title. At 68kg, WPMF Japan champion T-98 takes on SNKA champion Tsukuru Midorikawa in a battle for Welterweight supremacy. A win for T-98 could set up an anticipated showdown with Yuya Yamato. Former NKB Lightweight champion Yasuyuki looks to stay hot against Yuji Umehara. Former MA Kick Super Featherweight champion Hikaru Machida looks to end a 3-fight skid against Fukashi. In a pair of Welterweight fights, Hideya Tanaka looks to work his way back to a rematch with T-98 against the unheralded Yusuke Fukuda while MA Kick champion Jun Nakazawa takes on Krush and J-Network veteran Yuma Matsui.
M-Fight The Battle of Muay Thai
The main event features WMC Mini Flyweight world champion Little Tiger taking on Italy's Soisci Porchetta. Also expected to participate but still without opponents are Zen Fujita and Kousuman.
RISE ZERO (13.4.13)
The main event of this event pits 2012 RISING ROOKIES Super Featherweight champ Masanobu Goshu against Fumiya Sasaki, who splits time between kickboxing and MMA.
April 20th: Shootboxing 2013 act.2
As of now, there are only three fights scheduled. The main event features Shootboxing star Hiroki Shishido against DREAM Featherweight champion Hiroyuki Takaya. Shishido hasn't fought since losing in the semifinals of last year's S-Cup against Andy Souwer. Since winning his DREAM Title, Takaya has been pretty inactive with a loss in Strikeforce and a pair of title defenses in 2011 and just a single fight on the DREAM.18 NYE card, losing to Georgi Karakhanyan. This will be Takaya's first Shootboxing fight, but he is not completely foreign to stand-up fighting as he has a pair of kickboxing fights back in 2004, both losses to Satoru Kobayashi and Yuya Yamamoto. Shootboxing Super Lightweight champion and 2012 S-Cup participant Hiroaki Suzuki faces MA kick Super Lightweight champion Mohan Dragon. Both fighters like to brawl, and I expect Suzuki's power to overwhelm Mohan Dragon, who disregards defense with wide, looping shots. Shootboxing Super Welterweight champ Satoru Suzuki will defend his title against Yuki Sakamoto. Also expected to compete on the card is 3-time Girls S-Cup champion RENA.
April 21st: Krush IGNITION vol.3
Krush has been lacking with their Ignition series this year, but the main event features 67kg GP participant Hitoshi Tsukagoshi against Kazuki Yamagiwa. The card also has an interesting 55kg matchup between Ryuma Tobe and Namito Izawa.
April 27th: SNKA TITANS NEOS 13
The main event is a Featherweight title match between current champ Masayuki Uchida and Tadashi Kaneko. SNKA Bantamweight champion Rui Ebata faces Thai fighter Denisaw Sowisuto. SNKA Middleweight champion Makoto Kitamura takes on MA Kick #3 ranked Super Welterweight Masahito Arthur. And at Lightweight, SNKA champ Tatsuya Ishii battles King of Strikers Featherweight champion King Kohei.
April 28th: Muaylok 2013 -1st-
Muaylok's first event of 2013 is headlined by a pair of WPMF Japan title fights. At Super Flyweight, champion Kiminori Matsuzaki looks to end a 3-fight losing streak against up and coming Nagata Haryi. Matsuzaki was soundly beaten by another prospect, Eisaki Ogasawara, in his last outing while Haryi scored an upset over Sazanami Satsutama in his most recent bout. At Flyweight, former MA Kick champion Yuji Uwasawa faces Yasuto Furuta for the vacant WPMF Japan Flyweight title. The title was vacated by Uwasawa's rival, Ryuji Kato, and for some reason Furuta was slotted into this fight despite riding a 3-fight losing streak.
April 29th: NJKF 2013 3rd
New Japan Kickboxing Federation closes out the month with the best card of the month pitting some of their champions and top fighters against the champions and top fighters from other organizations. The main event is a showdown between Japan's top Taekwondo stylists as NJKF Super Lightweight champion Seiji Takahashi takes on the always entertaining Keiji Ozaki. At 62.5kg, Yosuke Mizuochi looks to keep his impressive streak going against Shota Saenchaigym. At 61.5kg, NJKF Lightweight champion Keijiro Miyakoshi takes on recently crowned MA Kick Super Featherweight champion Tadahiro Hashio. At 51.5kg, top ranked Flyweight, WBC Japan and MA Kick champion Ryuji Kato faces rising prospect and recently crowned NJKF Flyweight champion Takashi Saenchaigym, who just derailed fellow prospect Nemo to win his title. NJKF Super Featherweight champ Daichi Yamato faces J-Network Super Featherweight champ Hiroshi Fire. At 54kg, WBC Japan Bantamweight champion Takuma Ito faces former NJKF Bantamweight champ Hiroki Maeda. NJKF Bantamweight champion Kojiro battles #2 ranked J-Network Bantamweight Kenta. NJKF #1 ranked Super Welterweight Takenaka Shirakami fights MA Kick #2 Super Welterweight Masatoshi Abe. NJKF #2 Super Lightweight Marimo faces MA Kick #5 Lightweight Satoru Hashimoto. Finally, former NJKF Super Bantamweight champion Arato moves up to Featherweight to fight #1 Featherweight Ayumu Sasara with a shot at champion Heihachi Nakajima possibly on the line.