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Krush Announces Final 4 Competitors for Supernova Tournament and Round of 16 Matchups

After announcing 12 of the 16 competitors for the round of 16 of their Under-22 Supernova Tournament on October 10th, Krush has announced the final 4 participants. The first is Silver Wolf's Shota Fukuda. Next is K&K Boxing Club's Hiroshi Matsui who is an interesting choice considering he's a welterweight and won a J-NETWORK rookie tournament at the weight. Hopefully, he'll be on weight. The last two competitors are Yukimitsu Takahashi and a fighter that goes by the name Violence. Honestly, I know nothing about any of these four, but if any were to make a splash, I'd say Matsui has the best credentials.

Also announced were the round of 16 matchups. The event on October 10th will be split into two segments, with blocks A and B holding their round of 16 and quarterfinal matchups during the day while blocks C and D will hold their two rounds in the evening.

Starting off block A, K-1 golden boy HIROYA takes on NJKF amateur prospect Hiroki Hoshikawa. In the other half of block A, K-1 Koshien product Sho Ogawa takes on Tang Tang Fight Club's Fumiya Osawa. From what I know of the fighters, this might be the hardest quarter of the bracket so it'll be a good test for HIROYA who's one of the tournament favorites. Hoshikawa could give HIROYA problems and so could Ogawa if he makes it past Osawa, but with the way HIROYA looked at the K-1 63kg Japan GP, I don't see him having much trouble.

Block B consists of K-1 Koshien 2009 champ Masaaki Noiri taking on Violence while Team Dragon's Daizo Sasaki takes on Shota Fukuda. Much like HIROYA, Noiri should get through with little trouble. I'd take Sasaki winning his fight over Fukuda, but losing to Noiri in the quarters. If HIROYA and Noiri win thier brackets, it'll mean another semifinal matchup for the two and the first time they've met since the K-1 Koshien 2009 semifinals at Dynamite.

Block C contains tournament favorite Koya Urabe taking on Yuta Otaki while Shimpei Keita goes against Hiroshi Matsui. Urabe should undoubtedly be favored to win his quarter with ease. The winner of Keita-Matsui won't be a pushover, but Urabe's beaten much better kickboxers.

Finally in block D, J-NETWORK Flyweight champion Tsukasa Fuji takes on Kengo Sonoda while Yukimitsu Takahashi fights Kazuma. The winner of Fuji-Sonoda should win this quarter easily. I would be a lot more confident in Fuji's chances if he didn't fight at such a low weight. Despite size, I'd put my money with Fuji to go on and face Urabe in the semis.

The structure of the brackets heavily pushes the odds onto Urabe's side. He was already the favorite heading into the tournament, but with a possible HIROYA-Noiri rematch on the other half of the bracket in the semifinals, Urabe should be the fresher fighter should he make it to the semifinals and win. {jcomments on}

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WBC Japan Announces 2 Title Fights and 3 Playoff Fights

A couple weeks ago, WBC Muay Thai Japan announced an October 2nd card headlined by Tetsuya Yamato taking on WBC Muay Thai World Champion Jomthong Chuwattana, as well as Erika Kamimura vs Denise Mellor and a WBC Japan Lightweight Title fight between Rashata and Hiromasa Masuda. It seems as though WBC Japan is looking to set up a big event with as many title fights as possible in the near future, as this event has been subtitled "Path to the Championship" and will now feature 2 more WBC Japan Title fights and 3 "playoff" matches that could possibly be #1 contender bouts, all of which contain promising, young talent.

First, WBC Japan Flyweight champion Naoki Otsuki will defend his title against WPMF Japan Flyweight champion Ryuji Kato. Otsuki was recently on a 4 fight winning streak before being upset by J-NETWORK #6 flyweight Hiroyuki Yamamo by split decision in July.

The other title fight announced is a match between current Super Lightweight champion Seiji Takahashi and J-Network Super Lightweight champion Yusuke Sugawara.

The first of the playoff bouts is a Super Bantamweight fight between Shootboxing 55kg champion Ryuya Kusakabe and #1 ranked NJKF Super Bantamweight Rookie. Kusakabe was on a tear since leaving the K-1 Koshien system, racking up 7 straight wins before losing in the finals of the Krush 55kg Tournament to Shota Takiya. Rookie put himself in a match for the vacant NJKF Super Bantamweight title by defeating Shinya Haga and will face Hiroshi Senchaigym for that title. The winner will probably face current champion Genji Umeno who is set to take on Thai Utideto Rukupurabato at It's Showtime Japan 3 this Sunday.

The next playoff bout is a Bantamweight contest between WPMF Japan Super Flyweight champion TO-MA and NJKF #2 ranked Bantamweight Kojiro. TO-MA was riding a 5 fight win streak which included him picking up the M-1, J-NETWORK and WPMF Japan Super Flyweight titles until he lost to Arashi Fujiwara at It's Showtime Japan 1. Afterwards, he vacated his J-NETWORK title. Kojiro is currently on a 4-fight losing streak. If TO-MA wins, he will likely face current champion Arashi Fujiwara for the title. However, if Kojiro scores the upset another playoff bout would seem to be a good idea, possibly a rematch against Noboru Yamamoto who is ranked #1, Takuma Ito who is ranked #2 or Hiroyuki Yamano, all of which would be interesting rematches.

The final bout announced will feature one of Japan's most promising prospects and recently crowned NJKF Lightweight champion Keijiro Miyakoshi taking on J-NETWORK Lightweight champion Akihiro Kuroda. Miyakoshi beat former NJKF champion Ikki in a rematch in July, winning by a wide decision. Kuroda was riding a 2-fight losing streak with losses to HIROYA and WBC Japan Super Lightweight champion Seiji Takahashi but just defended his title against Fire Harada in Harada's retirement match. The winner will likely face the winner of the Lightweight title match between Rashata and Hiromasa Masuda. {jcomments on}

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Masahiro Yamamoto vs Kan Itabashi Set for It's Showtime 61kg #1 Contender's Match

It's Showtime Japan has just announced the fight that will likely be the headlining bout of their fourth event on October 23rd, a #1 contender's bout for the It's Showtime 61kg championship, currently held by Javier Hernandez, between Krush 2009 Lightweight GP winner Masahiro Yamamoto and former RISE 60kg champion Kan Itabashi. Like all of the other It's Showtime Japan cards, this will be a co-promotion, and this event is with REBELS.

The two fought about a year and a half ago while both had been on a tear, with Yamamoto on a 5-fight winstreak that included his 4 wins in the Krush Lightweight GP and Itabashi on an 8-fight win streak that included wins over Yuki, Turbo and Keiji Ozaki. The two fought to a draw after 3 rounds and Yamamoto ended up taking a unanimous decision in the extension round. Since, however, it has been Itabashi who has had the better record, going 3-1 with his wins coming over Anuwat Kaewsamrit, Kanongsuk Weerasakreck and the recently retired Genki Yamamoto which put him in this match. His loss came in a RISE Super Featherweight Title Match against Kosuke Komiyama. Yamamoto, on the other hand, just picked up his first win since the Itabashi fight, besting Arito Tsukahara for the right to face Itabashi again. In that stretch between wins, Yamamoto had a shot at becoming the It's Showtime 61kg champion, but lost as a result of a cut to former champion Sergio Wielzen. {jcomments on}

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Krush Announces Hiroya for Supernova Tournament; Rena vs Jessica Penne at Shootboxing Act.4

Krush has announced four more competitors for the round of 16 of their Under-22 Supernova tournament. Former K-1 Koshien star HIROYA has been announced as a competitor, joining Koya Urabe and Masaaki Noiri as pre-tournament favorites. HIROYA would have to be viewed as the third most likely to win, as Urabe is second only to Yuta Kubo in Japan and he managed to fight Kubo with only one leg and Noiri beat HIROYA in their only fight two years ago.

The other three fighters announced were

Hiroki Hoshikawa who won a 60kg NJKF Amateur tournament.

Kazuma and Yuta Otaki who I really don't know anything about.

The final 4 competitors will be announced later.

Shootboxing also made a big announcement, making Bellator fighter Jessica Penne the opponent for Shootboxing queen Rena on 9/10. Penne was 7-0 in MMA entering the Bellator Women's tournament, but lost to eventual winner Zoila Frausto (now Zoila Gurgel) in the quarterfinals by decision. She won her last fight over Amy Davis by submission in November. Penne is the second Bellator fighter to compete in Shootboxing along with half of the main event, Toby Imada who made it to the finals of last year's S-Cup. Much like Imada was, Penne will be a huge underdog as Rena demolished Zaza Sor Aree last month and is likely training hard as she has a fight with Erika Kamimura in November.{jcomments on}

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Naoki Ishikawa vs "Kyoken" Yuji Takeuchi 2 Set for Krush.12

Krush and Yuji Takeuchi have finally come to a decision on his opponent for his September 24th bout and it will be none other than former AJKF Super Featherweight champion "Naokick" Naoki Ishikawa, a rematch from the 2009 Krush Lightweight GP semifinals. Their first fight ended with an amazing flying knee knockout from Ishikawa, but Takeuchi had started a cut over Ishikawa's eye, making him unable to compete in the finals. Since that fight, neither man has had the best of luck, with Ishikawa going 2-5 and Takeuchi going 2-4. However, Takeuchi did make it to the finals of the Krush 60kg tournament, knocking out Masaaki Noiri in a wild 3rd round before being knocked out himself by Hirotaka Urabe, the man that bested Ishikawa in the first round of that same tournament. As always with Takeuchi's fights, this one should deliver the fireworks that Krush fans have become accustomed to.

Also on the card is 3 members of Team Dragon, Krush 63kg champion Ryuji Kajiwara, Krush 60kg champion Hirotaka Urabe and Hideaki Yamazaki who are all taking on Chinese fighters. {jcomments on}

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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 TURBĪ¦ 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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