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Andy Souwer vs. Yoshihiro Sato Set for Shootboxing

  • Published in Kickboxing

Souwer SatoK-1 may be quiet these days, but that doesn't mean the rest of the kickboxing world is just sitting back.  Shootboxing has their 2nd big show of 2011 coming up later this month, and they have just announced quite the main event.  Headlining Shootboxing 2011 act.2 on April 23 will be former multi-time Shootboxing S-Cup and K-1 MAX Grand Prix champion Andy Souwer vs. Yoshihiro Sato.  According to our rankings, that's a clash between the #3 and #5 fighters in the world at 70kg, and no matter how you see it, this is undoubtedly a great fight.

Souwer will come into the fight with a considerably edge in Shootboxing rules; an edge he has used to his advantage before, including his quick submission victory over Hinata last year.  He also has the advantage of already holding a win over Sato - the two men met once before in K-1 MAX in 2007 with Souwer scoring the decision win (video below).  But Sato is an incredibly skilled fighter, and an opponent you can never underestimate.  After a rocky 2008, the Japanese star has regained his footing somewhat, going 9-3 in the last two years.  He will be coming in off an upset loss to Armen Petrosyan, while Souwer has two recent upset loses of his own, to Abraham Roqueni under K-1 rules, and to Toby Imada at Shootboxing's 2010 S-Cup.

I see this being a highly technical affair, with both men using superior skill.  The trouble for Sato is that Souwer may just have a few more skills in his arsenal.  In addition to the experience in Shootboxing's unique rules, Souwer also is skilled at fighting in the clinch - and area that has shown to be a weakness for Sato, as seen most recently in the Armen Petrosyan fight.  As he typically does, Sato will have a reach advantage here, and as always, he'll know how to use it.  I expect he will try to keep on the outside and pick Souwer apart, but Souwer should be able to break through that range, get inside, and cause Sato enough damage to take the win.  This is definitely one of those fights where the old adage of a human chess match will come to life.

This show will serve as a benefit for disaster relief in Japan, with many of the fighters already promising to donate their purses to relief efforts.  Also announced for this card are some of Shootboxing's biggest homegrown names: Girls S-Cup champion RENA, Shootboxing 55kg champion Ryuya Kusakabe (who is also scheduled for Krush on April 30, so may end up dropping out of one or the other), and the popular Hiroaki Suzuki.

Andy Souwer vs. Yoshihiro Sato, K-1 MAX, 2007:

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Could Shootboxer RENA's Popularity Help FEG?

  • Published in Kickboxing

RENAI'm not sure if what I'm posing at this point is a rhetorical at this point or if it actually has value. Recently SHOOTBOXING Girls S-Cup 2009 and 2010 champ Rena Kubota (simply called RENA) made a television appearance on the Female Athletes TV show on TBS, and the ratings she scored for her segment were quite positive. The overall rating for the show was 11.8%, with RENA's segment where she embarrassed three male comedians in the ring received a staggering 16.8%.

RENA, to say the least, has proven that she has the attention of Japan's fickle audiences, and once again on a show featuring female athletes from different sports, was able to prove that combat sports can be seen as "cool." This is immensely important for combat sports. Recently, @DanHerbertson, @Kuri_Kinton and myself (@LiverKickdotcom) had a discussion about the future of combat sports in Japan. Stuart Tonkin (Kuri Kinton), of course, for the uninitiated has been in Japan for ages and does work for K-1, while Herbertson is MMAFighting.com's Japan reporter.

The talk came on the heels of Herbertson and myself discussing TBS and FEG's future, which at this point is a big unknown. TBS had a two year deal with FEG that expired at Dynamite!!, which means as of right now the future of K-1 MAX and DREAM are uncertain on television. This of course could all be idle talk and TBS picks FEG programming back up and simply alters the contract a bit, but if they opt out it is incredibly uncertain for the future. K-1 MAX was the brainchild of FEG and TBS, used mainly to capitalize on the popularity of Japanese Middleweight kickboxer Masato. Masato scaled back his participation and soon retired, leaving MAX in a bad spot.

Then there is DREAM. DREAM is essentially a venture between FEG and what we all knew as DSE. If you don't remember DSE, think back to PRIDE. K-1 currently resides on Fuji TV, who killed off PRIDE's programming after the yakuza scandal DSE had and refuse to associate with that again. This means even if Fuji TV, who have a great relationship with Kazuyoshi Ishii, pick up K-1 MAX, DREAM might be without a home.

Are you following where RENA comes into play yet? Satoshi Ishii's popularity is in the balance right now, and if he disappears again for a prolonged period of time or says something ridiculously stupid in interviews, well, that is it for Ishii. Ishii really needs better handlers, but then again, that won't change anything now. With proper management from the beginning we wouldn't have these issues with Ishii. K-1 has used RENA before, in 2009 she participated in their Korean MAX show where she had a tough extra round decision loss to Su Jeong Lim after being promoted as one of the show's headliners.

RENA has rebound, though, having an incredible 10-fight win streak after that loss and taking two SHOOTBOXING tournaments, which is nothing short of spectacular. For TBS to feel comfortable with further FEG programming, they need some sort of star to push, a Japanese star, and there have not been any outside of Ishii that have presented themselves. If you think back, since the fall of PRIDE there have been no stars created, everything has been left over from PRIDE and earlier K-1 success. Using a female fighter like RENA might not attract the crowd that Japanese broadcasters and sponsors are looking for, but it will bring in viewers. At least until they finally find that "next Masato" they are grasping at straws for. There is a very, very good chance that K-1's KOSHIEN division, which we all laughed at years ago, can provide that next big star for them. There have already been a few fighters not named HIROYA who have come from the KOSHIEN program who have gone on to have success and could be huge stars. [source]

Video of RENA's appearance after the break.

 

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Photo of the Day: RENA and Ai Takahashi Rematch in ShootBoxing

  • Published in Kickboxing

While there are debates ongoing in the United States MMA world about the state of female fighters now that Zuffa owns Strikeforce, in Japan ShootBoxing is committed to bringing women's fights to the masses. In just a few days, ShootBoxing's third card of the year will take place and one of the feature fights is a rematch from last year between RENA and Ai Takahashi. The photo below if from that bout, as there is recent talk in the press about the two women getting into a war of words, with Takahashi bringing up RENA's recent loss to a high school student.

(C) SportsNavi

If you are wondering who supports RENA, look no further as a group of Junior High students have shown their love for RENA, from RENA's official blog.

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Fight Video: RENA vs Ai Takahashi from Shootboxing 2011 Act.3

  • Published in Video


If you follow kickboxing in Japan, it's been hard to avoid the female scene over the last couple years. With Shootboxing debuting its Girls S-Cup in 2009 and the popularity of Rena as a result, women's kickboxing, mainly in Shootboxing, has drawn a lot of attention towards itself. This fight was for the Shootboxing Women's Mini-flyweight Championship and was a rematch of the 2010 Girls S-Cup Finals in which Rena defeated Takahashi by split decision in an extension round. This fight was pretty even for 2 and a half rounds until Rena began to tire and Takahashi took over the fight completely. {jcomments on}
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Toby Imada Successful in Shoot Boxing, RENA Falls Again

  • Published in Asia

Shishido kicks Imada / (C) Dan HerbertsonLast night's Shoot Boxing event in Japan is looking to be one of the better shows coming from Japan recently, and it featured Toby Imada's return to the Shoot Boxing ring. Many will remember that Imada made his way into the S-Cup last year and surprised the world by making it to the Finals against Buakaw Por. Pramuk, with Buakaw able to overcome him. Imada squared off with two-time champion Hiroki Shishido last night, with the first round being Shishido's superior standup giving Imada trouble. In the second round Imada was able to execute a great slam, and continued to use his Judo to pull of the decision victory.

The other big upset of the night was for the Shoot Boxing Ladies Championship, a vacant title that was brought about by the recent rush in popularity for Shootboxing at the hands of RENA. RENA had a rematch with Ai Takahashi, who was able to best RENA this time in the Shootboxing ring. It was Takahashi's jabs and throws that were enough to exhaust RENA and lead to a decision victory.

The rest of the results are courtesy of Dan Herbertson.

Shoot Boxing 169: 2011 Act 3 - June 5, 2011 at Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan

Toby Imada def. Hiroki Shishido by Unanimous Decision
Henri Opstal def. Satoru Suzuki by TKO (Hook and Low Kick) – Round 2

Shoot Boxing Ladies Title Match
Ai Takahashi def. Rena Kubota by Unanimous Decision

Kenji Kanai def. Masatoshi Hyakutake by Unanimous Decision
Tatsuya Tsuda def Hiroaki Okuwa by Unanimous Decision (Extra Round)
Kazuyuki Fushimi def. Masanori Minato by Unanimous Decision
Yuji Sugawara def. Norifumi Yamamura By KO (Knee), Round 1
Yuki Sakamoto def. Tatsuya Shiozaki by KO (Punch) - Round 1
Masaya Matsuhana def. Kazutaka Takahashi By TKO (Corner Stoppage) – Round 2
Miyo Yoshida def. Natsuka by Unanimous Decision
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More Shootboxing 2011 Details

  • Published in Kickboxing

More news today from Japan’s Shootboxing organization.  The normally quiet company has been making a lot of noise in the past few weeks as they get things in place for their upcoming 2011 season.  We already heard the news that their 5 main shows were scheduled (for Feb. 19, Apr. 23, Jun. 5, Sep. 10, and Nov. 11), that we could expect to see both 2010 S-Cup finalists Buakaw Por. Pramuk and Toby Imada return this year, and that the Feb. 19 show would feature an exciting rematch between one of the top Shootboxing Japanese stars Hiroki Shishido and the fun Thai brawler Bovy Sor. Udomson.  Now we have confirmation on some of their other 2011 plans.

To start, this year will feature the 3rd annual Girls S-Cup, scheduled for some time in August.  No other details yet, but you can bet two time S-Cup champion RENA will be back to defend her crown.  RENA is one of the hottest stars in the Japanese fight game right now, and her recent appearance on TV drew huge ratings.  She’s a great asset for Shootboxing, and it’s a smart move for them to continue putting the spotlight on her at the Girls S-Cup.  Hopefully this year we will also see more development of other women in this division, such as Japanese fighter Hisae Watanabe, V Hajime, and Ai Takahashi.  I’m also hoping to see American Kate Martinez back, as she had a strong performance at last year’s event.

Also announced is the return of the Young Caesar’s Cup.  The Cup is Shootboxing’s version of K-1 Koshien, giving young fighters a chance to gain valuable experience and make their way into the main Shootboxing ranks.  And just like Koshien, last year saw the Young Caesar’s Cup pay great dividends.  2010 Cup champion Ryuya Kusakabe is one of Japan’s top young prospects at 55kg.  Since winning the Cup, he has claimed the Shootboxing 55kg title, and is the front runner to win Krush’s 55kg championship tournament.  With kickboxing in Japan looking for the next wave of talent, events like K-1 Koshien and the Young Caesar’s Cup are vital to ensure the sport’s future.  Young Caesar’s Cup events will take place on January 30, March 13, and a July date TBD.

One event that will not take place this year is their big S-Cup tournament.  That show happens every other year, so will be back in 2012.

Finally, Shootboxing is involved with an event called the MACS Amateur Championship taking place in February, and will be staging a small event in May.

This is all great news for fans of the unique action only Shootboxing can bring.  I’m thrilled we have so much to say about this promotion, and look forward to their 2011.

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Photo of the Day: RENA Returns in August

  • Published in Kickboxing

RENA, the Girls S-Cup 2009 and 2010 Champion returns to the ring in August after a string of bad luck, including a poor performance to a high school student, Erika Kamimura in an exhibition bout and a loss to Ai Takahashi. It turns out that RENA was heavily considering retirement after he loss to Takahashi, where many who had supported her were suddenly declaring her career finished. Luckily her trainers and the officials at Shoot Boxing were able to convince her to continue her fighting career, as she did hold two consecutive S-Cup Championships and would be foolish not to try again.

RENA is set to fight on the August 19th Shootboxing event, the Girls S-Cup Qualifying Event, where the only match set currently is Ai Takahashi vs. Erika Kamimura, with RENA and V.V. Mei set to participate in the event as well. [source]

RENA

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Shootboxing Girls S-Cup 2012 Fight Highlights Video

  • Published in Video

Shootboxing has released a video featuring highlights of some of the fights from August 25th's Girls S-Cup. The fights shown, in order, are Mio Tsumura vs Akari Nakamura in the JKS48 Tournament Final, Mizuki Inoue vs Ai Takahashi in the 53.5kg Girls S-Cup Final, Erika Kamimura vs Lorena Klijn in the S-Cup Quarterfinals, Rena Kubota vs Seo Hee Ham in the semifinals, V.V Mei vs Lorena Klijn in the semifinals and the finals between Rena and V.V Mei.

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Watch, and Find Out the Hype Around RENA

  • Published in Kickboxing

We've been talking about RENA a bit the past few days, the 2009 and 2010 SHOOTBOXING Girls S-Cup Champion, but for a lot of people out there, they might not be as familiar with SHOOTBOXING, never mind Girls SHOOTBOXING. Leave it to one of our favorite readers, Jill, to toss together an awesome highlight video where you can see RENA's awesome use of push kicks, mid kicks and great judo throws that put her on top of the SHOOTBOXING mountain. [source]

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Weekly Poll Results

  • Published in K-1

Results from last week's poll:"Would you be interested in a K-1 women's division?"

36% - Yes, absolutely!

29% - Yes, if they get RENA

22% - No, not interested

11% - Not yet, there aren't enough fighters

2% - Not sure

This week: K-1 veteran Pat Barry was in action this weekend, defeating Joey Beltran at the UFC Fight for the Troops event.  Opinions on Barry are split, with some reports saying he used great striking to take the win, and others saying he lacked something in the victory.  What was your take?

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