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Japan Gets Embarrassed By Shoot Boxing's S-Cup

  • Published in Kickboxing

There’s a belief in the fight community that when you go to Japan that you need to be prepared for anything. You could say that for any fighter going into another country where they are to fight local fighters they have their backs against the wall and fear the “hometown decision,” but in Japan it always seems amplified. A part of that is the marriage of professional wrestling and professional fighting that has existed for a very long time in the world of “kakutougi.”

In fact, if you were to look at Shoot Boxing’s S-Cup event there was a professional wrestling bout on the card featuring New Japan Pro Wrestling Junior Heavyweight sensation Kota Ibushi against former DDT Pro Wrestling colleague Michael Nakazawa. It was originally labeled as an “exhibition match” under Shoot Boxing rules and was scheduled to be against Kazushi Sakuraba, but that fell through thanks to Metamoris 5. 

That should set the tone for you.

This S-Cup was one of the few that I’ve seen more than the usual fans excited over, which was in part due to the card that they put together. Mosab Amrani, Pornasae, Hiroaki Suzuki, Michiko Omigawa, Hiroki Shishido and American Muay Thai fighter Kevin Ross were all a part of the tournament, while legend Andy Souwer and Shoot Boxing hero RENA were in Super Fights. 

It felt like one of the bigger shows that Shoot Boxing had put on in a very, very long time and then Shoot Boxing went and put on a shameful display for all of the world to see. 

The draw for American fans was muay thai standout Kevin Ross being in the tournament. Ross went into the tournament against his toughest test by the way of former Sengoku, DREAM and UFC alumnus Michihiro Omigawa. Omigawa was a champion Judoka who rose to prominence in the Japanese MMA scene and after his UFC stint gave a shot at Shoot Boxing. Much like Toby Imada in the past, his grappling skills were able to help him against seasoned kickboxers and 2014 was his second attempt at Shoot Boxing gold.

By all accounts Omigawa was winning the first round handily thanks to his throws, which score heavily under Shoot Boxing rules, but there was a clash of heads that led to a nasty cut on Omigawa's face. In the second round the cut was a major factor, leading the ref to stopping the bout. The referee awarded the fight in favor of Ross due to the stoppage, while backstage there was a different story and Shoot Boxing organizers informed Ross that the fight was being rendered a No Contest and that he would not continue on in the tournament. 

The rules are a bit unclear at a time like this, where it isn’t clear who was at fault, or if it was accidental. What the referee most likely saw and ruled was that the cut was due to Omigawa’s own “negligence” (section 10) and ruled it in favor of Ross. Shoot Boxing might have been arguing that it was due to both men, which would make things a lot muddier. The truth of the matter is, the referee awarded Ross the win in the ring and any time the decision is reversed backstage it will be a tough sell to anyone that it was on the up-and-up.

If that wasn’t frustrating enough, then there is the story of Zakaria Zouggari. Don’t know who Zakaria Zouggari is? Neither did we, but we sure as hell know now. Rob Emerson of MMA fame (fame?!) was scheduled to take part, but at the last minute was unable to secure a visa, which left Shoot Boxing in a bind and called up relative unknown Zakaria Zouggari to fill in for Emerson in a reserve bout. 

Zouggari defeated Shoot Boxing’s resident punching bag Bovy Sor. Udomson via cut stoppage in round two and, thanks to the Kevin Ross/Omigawa shenanigans, was called upon to fight in the tournament moving forward. 

That led to a fight with internationally-renowned Houcine Bennoui and for this amazing display.

Seriously. God damn.

So this unknown would move onto the finals. According to Andy Souwer after the event Zouggari literally got off of the plane, dropped his bag off in his hotel room then hopped on a bus and headed to the event without time to rest, eat or get acclimated. This was the man who went on to the finals against 2013 65kg S-Cup Champion Hiroaki Suzuki. This is where things went from bad to worse. Zouggari clearly had the fight won after three rounds, only for an extension round to be ordered. When that was too close a SECOND extension round happened where Suzuki was finally able to score a TKO over Zouggari and it looked like Shoot Boxing’s hand-picked champion had won again.

It was almost like they weren't trying to hide the favoritism and that they really, really wanted Suzuki vs. Omigawa in a rematch of last year's finals. 

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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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Shootboxing 2011 Act 1 Results and Updates

  • Published in Asia

(C) GBRShootboxing kicked off its 2011 season last night with "Act 1." The main event was a rematch between two Shootboxing legends in the way of Hiroki Shishido and Bovy Sor. Udomson. Bovy took a KO win over Shishido in 2009, so on the 19th Shishido was looking for some revenge. Shishido was coming off of two losses and a win here was a big deal for him, as he took all five rounds against Bovy to seal the victory and kick off 2011 the right way. After the bout, Bovy claimed that 2011 would be his last year competing, and that he wants to finish out his career in Shootboxing.

The semi-main event saw more MMA crossover for Shootboxing, as Kuniyoshi Hironaka tried his hand at Shootboxing against Satoru Suzuki. Suzuki made short work of Hironaka, knocking him out with a big right hook in the first round to end it. Hironaka fights for Cage Force and was able to at least score a takedown during the bout, but there is no ground work in Shootboxing, so when it was time to get back up to their feet it was curtains for the grappler against the former boxing champion. This win was important for the former boxer, whose kickboxing career was not exactly on the right track before.

There was more MMA crossover for the show, as SRC fighter Shigeki Osawa made his way to the Shootboxing ring to take on Hiroaki Suzuki. You might remember Suzuki from his previous Shootboxing bout against Mitsuhiro Ishida, and this fight saw more of the same as Osawa is a wrestler and was able to score some points with his grappling, but the hands and feet of Suzuki were too much for him to compete with. Osawa proved he was tough, though, and held on for the full five rounds to drop the decision.

So now we look forward to April 23, where Shootboxing has announced that the next card will be a big one. There are three fighters announced for the card, including Shootboxing Japan Super Bantamweight Champion Ryuya Kusakabe, Girl's S-Cup Champion RENA and 3-time S-Cup Champion Andy Souwer will all be in action. The inclusion of Souwer and RENA on one card is huge, showing that Shootboxing doesn't plan on winding down any time soon. [source]

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Buakaw Por Pramuk vs. Dzabar Askerov Set for Sept. 2 in Los Angeles

  • Published in K-1

BuakawOriginally, Buakaw Por. Pramuk was supposed to fight over the summer in the United States for Stand Up Promotions, something that excited U.S. fans, giving them a possible opportunity to see one of the world's top kickboxers and most popular thai fighters live in person. Sadly that fell through due to Buakaw's links to the Thai Fight series at the time. It looks like the foundation of the new Muay Thai Premier League has secured Buakaw Por. Pramuk to fight for them as well though, and the kicker? They announced yesterday that their first show in their new series will take place in Los Angeles, California.

That really doesn't come as a shock, though, as California plays host to a lot of modern Muay Thai shows over the past few years, being one of the hot spots for United States Muay Thai next to New York City and Las Vegas.

Buakaw Por. Pramuk is set to square off with Dzabar Askerov on September 2nd. On top of that, there will be a rematch between Baxter Humby and John Wayne Parr as a part of JWP's impressive world tour that he is doing in 2011 for his retirement. [source]

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Shootboxing: Souwer Overcomes Sato, RENA Gets Knocked Down

  • Published in Kickboxing

Masato Delivers Flowers to Andy SouwerAfter a bit of a lull for high end kickboxing Shootboxing returns with a bang this weekend in an event featuing Andy Souwer, Yoshihiro Sato and female superstar RENA. Andy Souwer had a rematch with Yoshihiro Sato, but this time under Shootboxing rules where Souwer is much more comfortable than Sato. Sato was coming off a rather dirty loss to Armen Petrosyan but was still unable to overcome an environment where he could possibly be taken down.

A side note to the main event, retired K-1 MAX superstar Masato was in attendance and presented both Sato and Souwer with flowers before the bout (pictured, right). Whenever Masato makes his presence felt in the kickboxing world in Japan it should be noted, as there are persisting rumors that there are multiple forces trying to pull him back into active competition.

Hiroaki Suzuki was able to keep his winning streak alive in Shootboxing, besting the Korean Wu Hu Kim by decision. Japanese boxer-turned-kickoxer Satoru Suzuki continued to look strong with a first round knockout over Masahiro Shimada.

One of the most noteworthy moments of the show was an exhibition bout between Shootboxing's female ace RENA and a high school student, Erika Kamimura. Kamimura was a late replacement for Sun Young Kim, who didn't want to risk any type of exposure in Japan, but put on a quite impressive performance. They were given one three minute round to work in, and in that round Kamimura actually dropped the women's S-Cup Champion with a hook! By all reports Kamimura outclassed RENA, which leaves fans and pundits alike scratching their heads.

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UFC's Kenny Florian Works with Cosmo Alexandre for UFC 131, a Paradigm Shift

  • Published in Kickboxing

CosmoThis weekend former UFC Lightweight contender Kenny Florian will officially make the move to Featherweight. Florian’s move to Featherweight is the first of its kind since WEC’s Featherweight division was folded into the UFC, Jose Aldo being crowned as the first UFC Featherweight Champion. For fans, Florian almost immediately becomes a top contender for the Featherweight title, with Diego Nunes his first opponent.

If you are a kickboxing fan, the possibility of a Florian and Aldo clash is a bit different, as both fighters are known for their striking prowess. Aldo is known for his explosive power in his striking, while Florian is known for adding a solid in-tight Muay Thai game to his outstanding jiu-jitsu. What is truly interesting is that both men have incorporated some of the finest kickboxers in the world to their training camps.

Jose Aldo while preparing for his UFC debut went to the Netherlands to train with one of the finest competitors that 70kg has ever seen in Andy Souwer. Andy Souwer can bring an interesting perspective to Aldo’s striking, as Souwer not only has experience in Muay Thai and Kickboxing, but he is also one of the best to ever compete in Japan’s strange hybrid sport of Shoot Boxing. Shoot Boxing incorporates the standard Kickboxing rules along with Judo elements of throws and standing submissions. To excel at Shoot Boxing, you not only need a solid stand up game, but you need to have a strong clinch game and grappling defense as well. Aldo went to war with Mark Hominick at UFC 129 to defend his title, with a possible title fight against Chad Mendes on the horizon once his injuries are healed. Aldo has expressed that he will work with Andy Souwer again, and Andy Souwer has also expressed that he’d love to train MMA with Aldo.

In the same vein, Kenny Florian has brought Cosmo Alexandre into his training camp for his Featherweight debut. Cosmo has made it clear that he is very much wanting to get into the world of MMA sometime soon, and aligning himself with Kenny Florian is a great place to start. Cosmo Alexandre is the former It’s Showtime 77MAX Champion, who only lost his title via politics when It’s Showtime was unhappy with him taking another fight close to his next title defense without their consent and he was unhappy with their contract situation. Cosmo has held multiple world Muay Thai titles and fought all over the world, generally considered one of the best Muay Thai fighters who Kickboxes in his weight class, he can provide Florian with a different approach to his Muay Thai. Florian, known for being a Mark DellaGrote Muay Thai student has learned a lot from Mark, but truth be told, training with fighters who not only currently compete, but are seen as some of the best in the world is vastly different.

What these two UFC fighters looking to some of the elite kickboxers of the world shows is that international kickboxing is gaining more respect in the United States, and elite fighters are realizing that not all stand up training is the same, to train and work with some of the most elite strikers in the world is a vastly different and rewarding experience from the same, cookie-cutter “Stand Up” training that you’ll see at your local MMA gyms across the country. I look forward to the days where more UFC fighters are talking about how incredible these fighters are that we already know are incredible.

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Shootboxing: Hiroki Shishido vs. Bovy Sor. Udomson Rematch on Feb. 19

  • Published in Kickboxing

One of the best fights of 2009 was the initial meeting between Hiroki Shishido and Bovy Sor. Udomson. Both men were participants in the 2010 Shootboxing S-Cup and look to have their second match this year in Shootboxing. The good news is that the bout will take place sooner rather than later, on Shootboxing's February 19th event. This is just the first of many bouts announced for the Shootboxing Feb. 19 event, so keep visiting LiverKick.com for the latest updates on this event.

Watch the first bout between the two and marvel at the awesome Shootboxing action. If you agree, Tweet @AndrewHDnet and tell him that you want HDnet to start airing Shootboxing events. I mean, c'mon, imagine Schiavello calling a fight like this. [source]



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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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Weekend Results: Andy Souwer Wins at ShootBoxing, Plus K-1 MAX Brazil Results

  • Published in Asia

Souwer

This was a pretty good weekend for Kickboxing fans across the world as there were events in all corners of the world for fans to get excited about. I feel as thought we've shown that GLORY 9 New York was the big event this weekend, but there were two other events of note this weekend, one being ShootBoxing in Japan and the other being K-1's World Qualifying Tour in Brazil event, which held a K-1 MAX Selection Brazil tournament to find a fighter to move on to the K-1 World MAX Final 16 later this year.

Shoot Boxing 2013 Act.3 - Tokyo, Japan - June 23, 2013

Andy Souwer (R1 - KO) Okazawa Hirota

Shisido Hiroki (R3 - Decision) Hayashi Genta

Suzuki Hiroaki (R3 - Decision) Simizu Shyunichi

Utagawa Akifumi (R2 - TKO) Kizaemon Saiga

Makino Tomoaki (R3 - Decision) Sakamoto Yuki

Hinata (R2 - KO) Kanai Kenji

Masaya (R1 - TKO) Syau Kraun

Lorena Klijn (R3 - Decision) V.V Mei

K-1 MAX Brazil results after the jump.

 

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Hiroaki Suzuki Wins 2013 65kg Shoot Boxing S-Cup

  • Published in Asia

Shoot Boxing

Shoot Boxing Battle Summit Ground Zero Tokyo 2013 went down in Japan today, crowning a 2013 65kg S-Cup Champion while also pitting Andy Souwer against Australian Steve Moxon. There were a number of bigger fights on the card, including Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima against Shoot Boxing legend Hirooki Shishido, Hiroyuki Takaya vs. Toby Imada in a special attraction MMA rules bout, a retirement ceremony for Satoru Suzuki, Ai Takahashi and RENA were also in action.

(Note: if you see a name mistranslated please email or leave a comment, thanks.)

 

  • Shinsuke Hirai (R1 - TKO) Kazuki Tamagawa
  • 65kg S-Cup Reserve: UMA (R1 - TKO) Rood
  • Ai Takahashi (R3 - Dec.) Miyo Yoshida
  • 65kg S-Cup R1: Hiroaki Suzuki (R2 - TKO) Mohan Dragon
  • 65kg S-Cup R1: YUKI (R1 - TKO)  Seiji Takahashi
  • 65kg S-Cup R1: Michihiro Omigawa (R3 - Dec.) Yuki Hiroshi Kimaya
  • 65kg S-Cup R1: Akiyo "Wicky" Nishiura (R3 - Dec.) MASAYA
  • HINATA (R3 - Dec.) Josh Jauncey
  • Kuniyoshi Hironaka (R2 - TKO) Bovy Sor. Udomson
  • RENA (R3 - Dec.) Wei-Ting Chen
  • 65kg S-Cup R2: Hiroaki Suzuki (R3 - Dec.) Yuki
  • 65kg S-Cup R2: Michihiro Omigawa (R3 - Dec.) Akiyo "Wicky" Nishiura
  • MMA: Hiroyuki Takaya (R3 - Draw) Toby Imada
  • Yuichiro Nagashima (R3 - Dec.) Hirooki Shishido
  • Andy Souwer (R3 - Dec.) Steve Moxon
  • 65kg S-Cup Finals: Hiroaki Suzuki (R2 - TKO) Michihiro Omigawa

 

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