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Genki Yamamoto Announces Retirement

Coming just a week after Hisanori Maeda announced his retirement, AJKF legend Genki Yamamoto has announced that he is retiring from kickboxing. Genki Yamamoto made a name for himself in All Japan Kickboxing Federation where he became the promotion's 21st Featherweight champion, winning the title against Hisanori Maeda, defending it once against Masahiro Yamamoto by a draw until he lost it to Masahiro a year later. Throughout his career in AJKF, he fought 3+ times with Naoki Ishikawa, Masahiro Yamamoto and Hisanori Maeda, going 1-3-1 against Naokick, 0-2-1 against Yamamoto and 3-0 against Maeda. He also split a pair of fights with Kanongsuk Weerasakreck, went 0-1-1 against Wanlop Weerasakreck and beat Ryuji Kajiwara. He was a participant in the 2009 Krush Lightweight Tournament, beating Hisanori Maeda and Keiji Ozaki before being bested by rival Masahiro Yamamoto in the semifinals. After the loss to Masahiro in 2009, he lost his final 3 fights to NJKF Champion Rashata, Kanongsuk and finally in July at the first It's Showtime Japan in a #1 contender fight for the It's Showtime 61kg Title to Kan Itabashi.

Like I said when Maeda retired, this is seems to be the beginning of the end for the last AJKF legends. Maeda was 32 and Yamamoto is 34. Hiromasa Masuda and Haruaki Otsuki are 38 and 37, respectively, and both have struggled as of late. If Masuda loses his fight to Rashata, I'd say he'd be the next person to put on retirement watch. {jcomments on}

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Koya Urabe, Masaaki Noiri Announced for Krush Supernova Tournament

Krush has revealed the first 8 participants of the Krush -63kg Under-22 Supernova Tournament and while it may not have all of the big names that we expected, it does contain two of the best fighters that could participate in the tournament. K-1 -63kg 2011 Japan Tournament Runner-up Koya Urabe and K-1 Koshien 2009 Champion Masaaki Noiri were announced as participants and, among the 8 that have been announced, are by far the favorites in the field. Urabe has already made it to the finals of two tournaments this year, losing to Ryuji Kajiwara in the finals of the Krush tournament and to Yuta Kubo in the finals of the K-1 tournament. He just picked up a decision win over Marimo at Krush.11, as well. Noiri made it to the semifinals of his two tournaments, losing to "Kyoken" Yuji Takeuchi in the Krush tournament and Yuta Kubo in K-1.

Also announced for the tournament are:

J-Network Flyweight Champion and K-1 Koshien vet Tsukasa Fuji. An interesting choice considering he fights at 53kg, but he holds a win over Ryuya Kusakabe. Also interesting because it means Ryuya Kusakabe and Shota Takiya may compete as well.

K-1 Koshien vet and member of Team Dragon Daizo Sasaki. He went 1-3 in Koshien with losses to Ryuya Kusakabe and Ryuma Tobe.

K-1 Koshien 2010 Final 8 Sho Ogawa. Ogawa won a pair of decisions before losing to eventual finalist Hiroki Akimoto by extension round decision.

Tang Tang Fight Club's Fumiya Osawa.

RISE #6 Ranked Super Lightweight Shimpei Keita.

K-1 Koshien vet Kengo Sonoda. He went 0-2 in Koshien, losing to HIROYA and Katsuki Ishida.

The final 8 participants should be announced soon. {jcomments on}

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Tetsuya Yamato, Erika Kamimura Have October Fights Announced

A WBC Muay Thai Japan event has been announced for October 2nd at Korakuen Hall and will be headlined by a super fight between K-1 MAX -63kg 2010 Champion Tetsuya Yamato and WBC Muay Thai World Featherweight Champion and Rajadamnern Stadium Super Featherweight Champion Jomthong Chuwattana. Yamato is coming off of a TKO victory over Coke Chunhawat at the M-1 Grand Muay Thai Championship event in California a couple weeks ago. He also lost to Koya Urabe in the semifinals of the 2011 K-1 Japan tournament after beating HIROYA in the quarters. Jomthong is undefeated in 2011 and on a 8 fight win streak which includes a defense of his Rajadamnern Stadium title and a pair of wins over Nong-O Sit Or, as well as a TKO win in a boxing match.

In the co-main event, the "Strongest Female High School Student" Erika Kamimura will take on WBC Muay Thai International Mini-Flyweight Champion Denise Mellor. Kamimura was last seen storming through the Shootboxing Girls S-Cup Japan Preliminary Tournament, taking out Kanako Oka and Miyo Yosihda by TKO and Seo Hee Ham in the finals by decision. Mellor won the WBC International title in the UK over Annie Errikson in July. Hopefully Kamimura comes out of the fight with little to no injuries as she has a scheduled fight with RENA at the RISE event on 11/23.

Also announced for the card is an interesting matchup between WBC Japan and NJKF Super Featherweight Champion Rashata and former AJKF and J-Network Featherweight Champion Hiromasa Masuda. Rashata had a great 2010, surprising many with wins over former AJKF Featherweight Champions Hisanori Maeda, Genki Yamamoto and Masahiro Yamamoto, so that could be a bit of foreshadowing for this fight. More recently, he lost to Kanongsuk Weerasakreck by decision. Masuda also lost to Kanongsuk last June and is winless in his last 3 fights, taking a draw at the first It's Showtime Japan event. {jcomments on}

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Rise, It's Showtime Japan Announce September Matchups

In the main event of September 23rd's RISE 83, NJKF Super Flyweight Champion KENJI, brother of Yuta Kubo, will take on #3 ranked Ryuma Tobe in a fight that will have large implications for the RISE Bantamweight title that Nobuchiko Terado has vacated. KENJI made it to the semifinals of the Krush 55kg tournament, but lost to eventual champion Shota Takiya. In his last 10, KENJI has only lost to Takiya and the aforementioned Terado. Tobe is currently on a 2-fight winning streak. Also announced for RISE 83 is a bout between TURBO and Hirotaka Egawa(?).

On September 11th at It's Showtime Japan 3, former It's Showtime -61kg Champion Sergio Wielzen will take on Kanongsuk Weerasakreck in yet another bout that will likely have implications at the It's Showtime title. Wielzen defeated Frenchman Mikael Peynaud for the inaugural It's Showtime 61kg title and defeated Masahiro Yamamoto in his first defense, but lost the title to Karim Bennoui. Kanongsuk has been on a tear as of late, going 8-1 in his last 9 with wins over Hiromasa Masuda, Genki Yamamoto and Rashata while his only loss is to current IS 61kg #1 contender Kan Itabashi. Already announced for the card are matchups between WBC Japan Super Bantamweight Champion Genji Umeno will take on Techakarin Chuwattana(?) while WPMF Japan Featherweight Champion Yosuke Morii will take on kickboxing convert and former WBO Bantamweight Champion Ratanchai Sor Vorapin. {jcomments on}

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Hisanori Maeda to Retire at Fujiwara Festival on August 28th

August 28th will mark the second It's Showtime Japan event, this time a co-promotion with the Fujiwara Festival. However, its biggest impact on the kickboxing world will be Hisanori Maeda's retirement ceremony. Maeda was the 20th AJKF Featherweight Champion and has faced nearly every notable name at 60-63kg in Japan. During his time in AJKF, he faced Naoki Ishikawa, Masahiro Yamamoto, Genki Yamamoto, Hiromasa Masuda, Haruaki Otsuki, Kanongsuk and Ryuji Kajiwara. Though he was unsuccessful against many of them, he managed to go 2-1-1 against Naoki Ishikawa, with their final encounter being a draw for the AJKF Super Featherweight Championship at the last AJKF show.

After AJKF disbanded, he entered the 2009 Krush Lightweight tournament, defeating Fire Harada by knockout in the opening round of the tournament, but losing to Genki Yamamoto in the quarterfinals. He went on to defeat Daisuke Uematsu in a super fight at the finals of the Krush tournament. However, he finished out his career going 1-4 in 2010, losing to TURBΦ and Rashata in that stretch.

Maeda is just one of the many AJKF fighters who has struggled to find success in the post-AJKF Japanese scene and his retirement signifies another step in this changing of the guard in the Japanese scene which has seen many K-1 Koshien fighters find success in both K-1 and Krush. AJKF fighters may have a resurgence in the near future, but Hisanori Maeda will not be one of them.

{jcomments on}

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Ai Takahashi Injured, Erika Kamimura Enters Girls S-Cup Japan Tournament

Ai Takahashi was supposed to meet Erika Kamimura in a super fight at next week's Shootboxing Girls S-Cup Japan Preliminary Tournament. Unfortunately, Takahashi suffered a fractured left orbital bone in training and won't be able to participate. However, Kamimura has not withdrawn from the event and instead has chosen to participate in the tournament. Shootboxing chairman Ceasar Takeshi said that he would like to reschedule the match under RISE rules on November 23rd's RISE event, but nothing official is in the works as of now. He also announced the other participants for the tournament, as well as the tournament draw. In the first round, Erika Kamimura will face off against Kanaka Oka, MMA fighters "WINDY" Tomomi Sunaba and Miyo Yoshida will face each other, 2009 Girls S-Cup Finalist and Valkyrie Featherweight Champion V.V Mei will face J-Girls 3rd ranked MINA and MMA fighters Seo Hee Ham and Emi Fujino round out the tournament.

The most likely outcome of the tournament would be a Kamimura vs Ham finals, however V.V Mei could pull off an upset, as she has done in the past, though I see it rather unlikely against Ham, who absolutely dominated V.V Mei in an MMA fight back at Jewels 15. Rena is still set to participate at the event, but has no opponent as of now.{jcomments on}

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Weekly Poll Results

Last week's question: How much do you watch current MMA?

52% - I watch everything I can get my hands on

25% - All the big shows

14% - Sometimes, if a shows interests me

8% - Very rarel

1% - Absolutely never

This week - we're starting to hear rumblings of K-1 coming back.  Of course, we've heard these rumblings before in 2011, and so far nothing has come of it.  What's your take on the situation?

Will there be a 2011 K-1 Heavyweight Grand Prix?

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Training Diary: April 16

Second time sparring this week, and I’ve quickly become obsessed with this side of training. Working on technique is enjoyable, vital, and very helpful, but obviously not quite as satisfying as giving a test to what you’ve learned against an opponent – even if it is just sparring.

For my 2nd time through, I’ve noticed a few things about my burgeoning “style,” if you can even call it that. For one, I’m much more reliant on kicks than on punches. I think this comes from two things. For one, I just like fighters who kick more, and so that’s what I am more used to seeing. And two, for these light sparring sessions we don’t wear headgear. As a result, I’m not entirely comfortable throwing a punch at my partner just yet. Because my punching technique is still developing, I am not yet confident at both executing the punch properly, but at the same time pulling it a bit so that I don’t hit my partner fully. Seems like that’s a tricky line that I’m still trying to find. No worries though, as in the meantime, I’m improving my kicking speed, technique, and defense, and managed to land a number of clean leg kicks and push kicks this time, while also blocking kicks much more effectively.

Speaking of defense, this continues to be an area in need of work, especially where punches are concerned. When punches start coming in, I find it tough to keep my composure and cover up, and instead end up trying to block each individual punch – which only leaves my head exposed and gets me tagged. Been watching a lot of Remy Bonjasky, which helps. He’s very skilled at dropping his head, bringing his gloves in, and tucking in his elbows when the punches come in, while still firing back with kicks when there’s an opening. That’s what I’m aiming for. I also used this little Rob Kamen combo I found online, which worked for me as well.

Last thought for the day is a sort of philosophical training question I’ve been contemplating – what constitutes being a good training partner, particularly when drilling techniques? Is it helpful to just keep quiet and let your partner throw the combo? To give words of encouragement? If there’s something they could improve, do you speak up? How about movement, should I circle, so that they are working different angles? Of course, different people respond to different things, but it’s a good question to ask – not only in how you can best help your partner, but how they can best help you.

Any thoughts?

Training Diary is a weekly series documenting my journey starting Muay Thai training. For more on this series, read the first entry here. I train at Conviction Fitness & Martial Arts, 4430 N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL www.convictionfitness.com.

 

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Weekly Poll Results

Last week's question: What was the March Fight of the Month?

43% - Hesdy Gerges vs. Daniel Ghita

30% - Andy Souwer vs. L'houcine Ouzgni

14% - Other

9% - Khem vs. Kongjak

5% - Sergio Wielzen vs. Karim Bennoui

This week we offer a pretty straight-forward question, but one I am definitely interested in seeing the response to.

How much do you watch current MMA?

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LiverKick.com Picks Paul "Semtex" Daley to Explode Nick Diaz's Head, Overcoming DSTRYRsg's BJJ

Let's face facts here, going into tonight's Strikeforce main event, there isn't much left to say about it. You have a clash between two of the MMA world's baddest ass welterweights imaginable. Nick Diaz is a true force to be reckoned with, a BJJ black belt, and no, when I say that I don't mean cookie-cutter. I mean Cesar Gracie gave him that belt and he earned it and knows how to use that belt, that is the kind of jiu-jitsu Nick Diaz knows. On top of that, his boxing is great; Nick has super fast hands, puts together some mean combinations, protects his head and always stays moving. On top of that, he owns a serious trademark on the "mean mug" and has one of the most prolific histories of mouthing off, causing riots and general bad boy behavior in the entire MMA world. In a world where it feels like there are no John Waynes left, Nick Diaz is a John Wayne.

His opponent is Paul "Semtex" Daley, one of the few guys to get cut from the UFC for being a badass (and a poor sport), right up there with one of my favorite fighters, Renato "Babalu" Sobral. Babalu held a choke too long to teach a lesson, and Daley, well, suckerpunched Josh Koscheck after the bell. Sure, Daley's sportsmanship is terrible and he hasn't made weight a total of 5 times in his professional career, but his skills are his skills. Other than mocking any sort of rules and standards of conduct, Daley sports some of the most destructive stand up in MMA. How much so? Daley has 27 wins and 20 of them are via a form of knockout. That is pretty serious power.

If it came down to which fighter I think is cooler, Nick Diaz wins against everybody in MMA, but when it comes down to who will win, I'm torn and have to go with the stand up guy in this. Our mild-mannered grappling friends who just seem to want to have a good time, roll on the mat and chill at DSTRYRsg decided to throw down the gauntlet and bet some serious BetDSI money that Nick Diaz will triumph over Paul Daley. They bet $200 on our favorite betting site, BetDSI, that Nick Diaz will win this fight. After BetDSI refilled the LiverKick.com coffers after we went all-in on Shogun Rua over Jon Jones (sigh, what were we thinking?!), we have decided to gamely bet $200 of our freshest BetDSI money on Paul Daley to defeat Nick Diaz.

The odds are in our favor if this happens, with the live odds on BetDSI (you can bet live during a fight, the odds update) being at +180. This means for our $200 bet, we would win $360. Sure, DSTRYRsg might have a fancy chart set up for this wager, but the truth is, Paul Daley seeks out other badasses and has trained with the legendary Mike's Gym in the Netherlands, home of Badr Hari, Melvin Manhoef and a bunch of other destroyers. That is where you go when you are serious about your stand up, and Daley is serious. Nick Diaz has good hands and scary jiu-jitsu, but he loves to stand and bang, and against a guy like Daley it could mean curtains for him, or at least a nasty cut that could finish the fight. Diaz's jiu-jitsu is what it is, but he has no takedowns to get the fight to the ground and I sincerely doubt Daley pulls a Cyborg and takes Diaz down foolishly.

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