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Only in Japan: Jerome Le Banner vs. Josh Barnett Set for August

  • Published in Kickboxing

I'm not joking, Josh Barnett and Jerome Le Banner will square off on August 27th at the Ryogoku Kokugikan -- Japan's Sumo Hall, and this bout between the titans will be for a world championship. Who is promoting this bout? None other than Antonio Inoki, the grandfather of MMA in Japan and a pro wrestling celebrity. It is hard to believe that the MMA world and the Kickboxing world will be colliding like this, until you realize that it is under Inoki's IGF banner, which is professional wrestling.

Yes, Josh Barnett of Strikeforce fame will take on Jerome Le Banner of K-1 fame to declare the first IGF World Champion in August. IGF ran a tournament on the 10th in Japan that involved some pretty big names, including Ray Sefo, Eric Hammer, Josh Barnett, Jerome Le Banner and Bobby Lashley. Eric Hammer tapped Ray Sefo out in the qualifying round with an armbar, Josh Barnett tapped Bobby Lashley out with an armbar as well in the semi-finals. Hammer met Jerome Le Banner in the semi-finals by knocking him down five times, which sets up Barnett vs. Le Banner in the finals.

Something about this just reeks of awesomeness.

Barnett, Inoki, JLB

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Photos of the Day: K-1 Keeps it Real in IGF

  • Published in Kickboxing

Inoki Genome Federation, Antonio Inoki's professional wrestling promotion that is co-promoting the upcoming Real Entertainment New Year's Eve event, Genki Desuka! As par for the course with IGF, there are a lot of MMA and K-1 fighters involved in these cards, including a main event between Jerome Le Banner and Josh Barnett. JLB defended his IGF Championship against Barnett by doing what he does best; rearranging faces.

The event also featured a few other K-1 alumni, including Yuichiro Jienotsu Nagashima against Bob Sapp, with Jienotsu using a school boy on Sapp.

Then of course, everyone's favorite, Peter Aerts was in a tag team bout, partnering with former WWE wrestler and Strikeforce fighter Bobby Lashley, where Aerts was able to make mince meat of their opponents, former PRIDE FC fighters and NJPW wrestlers Kendo KaShin and Kaz Fujita. [Photos (C) SportsNavi]

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Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima's Pro Wrestling Opponent Set

  • Published in K-1

NagashimaYuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima is, as we all know, a very colorful fighter. Outside of his power and skill he comes to the ring in cosplaying costumes, much to the derision to some in the West and some at home, but it is hard to argue with his successes in the ring, especially over the past year. He announced earlier in the year his intention to step into the pro wrestling ring, namely of Zero-One MAX. Zero-One MAX for the uninitiated was the brain child of former New Japan Pro Wrestling owner, and one of the true god father's of MMA, Antonio Inoki's grand scheme to meld Mixed Martial Arts and Professioal Wrestling together, blurring the lines even further.

It started when it's chosen leader, Shin'ya Hashimoto was "shamed" into retirement by defeats from a MMA invasion of sorts by way of Olympic Judoka and MMA fighter Naoya Ogawa. At the time, due to Inoki and NJPW blurring the lines between wrestling and MMA, Hashimoto was "defending" his "sport" against MMA and was booked to lose, quickly. This pushed for the formation of a new promotion specifically for the two men and has since continued on after the death of Hashimoto.

Nagashima's opponent on 5/5/2011 will be none other than one of Hashimoto's former students and former Shooto fighter Kohei Sato. Sato started off in Shooto's amateur program, becoming a champion in their amateur ranks before moving up and having a few professional fights before entering professional wrestling.

All of this is a primer so you'll understand that Sato has a legitimate martial arts background and that his professional wrestling matches tend to look more like worked MMA bouts than anything else. His matches look more like submission grappling exhibitions than what you'll see on a standard WWE program. Video after the break, with Sato being the one in the kickpads.

 

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