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Photo of the Day: Jerome Le Banner Wrestling for IGF in Japan

  • Published in Kickboxing

K-1 is still on hiatus, with a possible update from K-1 this coming week, but that doesn't mean that K-1 fighters aren't still making waves in Japan. Jerome Le Banner headed to Japan this week and was a part of Antonio Inoki's pro wrestling show, Inoki Genome Federation. Le Banner wrestled under "Special K-1 Rules" against Shinnichi Suzukawa, an ex-sumo who has had some interesting bouts in IGF over the past few months. There was a well-publicized bout with Mark Coleman where Suzukawa legitimately brutalized Coleman and then a match with Bob Sapp that was by-the-books pro wrestling. Le Banner came into this wearing his K-1 gloves and did a number on Suzukawa, KO'ing him in 5:39 with a hard punch. There is also some rough video available, so decide for yourself, real or fake punch. [source]

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Inoki Genome Federation Videos; Jienotsu vs. Sapp, Aerts/Lashley vs. KaShin/Fujita and Barnett vs. JLB

  • Published in Video

The internet is a marvelous place where international borders mean little like they used to. If something happened in Japan ten years ago, eagerly reading the results online and waiting for a few weeks before you could have someone send you a DVD (or even -- GASP -- VHS tape) of the event to check out for yourself was commonplace. Now there are ways to stream events live as they happen, and if they aren't available to be streamed, they are shared around the internet at the blink of an eye. That is magic, folks. As someone who has been ordering K-1 and Japanese MMA tapes since the mid-90's, it is mind-boggling how much better we have it now and how easy it is to follow your favorite athletes.

All of this is a lead-in to this; Inoki Genome Federation is Antonio Inoki's pro wrestling promotion in Japan. The catch is, Inoki has a good relationship with many professional fighters and he fancies himself one of the true pioneers of Mixed Martial Arts. This means his brand of pro wrestling is a lot different from when he promoted New Japan Pro Wrestling and more resembles the style that he attempted to introduce to New Japan that nearly ran the company into the ground; Shoot Style. It is the kind of action that blurs reality from fiction and is entertaining. Sit back and watch as your favorite K-1 and MMA fighters go toe-to-toe in pre-scripted drama that is pro wrestling. Also note that wow, Nagashima is big, one source has claimed he is as high as 90kg. That is 198 pounds. [source]

Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima vs. Bob Sapp

Atsushi Sawada vs. Minowaman

Peter Aerts/Bobby Lashley vs. Kazuyuki Fujita/Kendo KaShin

Jerome Le Banner vs. Josh Barnett

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K-1 Confirms October Date in Japan

  • Published in K-1

K-1After rumors began circulating about K-1 running October 14th in Japan, Doug Kaplan went on our friend Steven Wright's podcast show and more or less confirmed it, and now K-1 has released an official press release stating that they will, indeed, be running an event on October 14th in Japan. They will be booking the legendary Ryogoku Kokugikan -- lovingly known to the rest of the world simply as "Sumo Hall" because of its main purpose of hosting Sumo events.

Sumo Hall seats around 13,000 fans, and is probably a very good selection for a venue in Japan, as Japan is an incredibly tough market for the kakutougi world right now. It should not be lost on the reader that both K-1 and GLORY announced on the same day their intent to run events in Japan. For GLORY it will be difficult as a new, unestablished brand, even with big name fighters, and for K-1 it will be difficult following newspapers a few months ago boldly proclaiming "K-1 Bankrupt!"

The event for K-1 will be the Heavyweight World Grand Prix Final 16, which has traditionally over the last few years taken place in Korea, with the finals in Japan, but with the finals happening in the USA, the Final 16 in Japan makes perfect sense.

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