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LiverKick.com Podcast - Week of Dec. 18

  • Published in LK Podcast

Rian Scalia (@rianscalia) and myself (@LiverKickdotcom / @LocustStar) go ahead and sit down to discuss what our hopes are for the year 2012 in the Kickboxing world. After a rather slow week we decided to slow things down and take a look at what we want, formatting-wise and for each division in FIKA's K-1 World Grand Prix season. With the three divisions being -63kg, -70kg and +100kg, we look at how certain countries are over-populated with elite talent while others will be lacking. We look at the format of the 32 best in the world and ask the question of will there really only be one fighter per country, or will they be making acceptions?

We wish you a happy holiday and will be back with another episode after the holidays.

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Krush Results: Urabe, Sato Victorious

  • Published in Asia

Urabe LeeResults are in from this weekend's Krush First Champion Tournament Round 2 show, and while the favorites did win in the big fights, things didn't go as smoothly as some may have expected.

In the main event, Yoshihiro Sato squeaked by Shemsi Beqiri via split decision victory.  Scores were 30-28, 29-28, 28-29.  I have to consider that a moral victory for Beqiri, who was making his Japanese debut here.  Going to a split decision with the top 5 ranked Sato in front of a Japanese crowd should be a great boost for the 24 year old Beqiri, and will hopefully open the doors for him to return to Japan this year.  Beqiri had an excellent and very busy 2010, going a whopping 10-2 including a tournament win in Klash and a 2nd trip to a Klash tournament final.  He definitely has earned a shot at K-1 MAX - let's hope he gets it in 2011.

In the semi-main event, Koya Urabe (pictured) edged out Son Hyun Lee, though it took an extension round for Urabe to claim the unanimous decision win.  Urabe is on a great win streak and is clearly establishing himself as the man to beat in Japan at the 63kg ranks.  With this win he moves onto the tournament semi-finals, where he will be the heavy favorite.  Good performance from Lee as well, who was coming in off his K-1 MAX win over Kizaemon Saiga.  Expect to see him on K-1 shows coming out of Korea this year.

Speaking of Kizaemon Saiga, the brash youngster also advanced in the tournament, defeating Naoki Terazaki by unanimous decision.  In the other tournament fights, Takuya Shirahama defeated Yuki Yamamoto by unanimous decision after an extension round, and Ryuji Kajiwara scored a unanimous decision win over TaCa.  Saiga, Urabe, Shirahama, and Kajiwara will now meet in the semi-final and final rounds, both to be held on March 19, with the winner becoming the first ever Krush 63kg champion.

In non-tournament action, former K-1 MAX Final 4 competitor Yuya Yamamoto added another KO win to his belt.  This one came at the expense of Masahiro Watanabe, who Yamamoto KO'd in the 2nd.  While Yuya had some struggles in K-1 MAX through 2010, he still puts on very entertaining fights and remains a threat at 70kg.

Also in the 70kg division, Yuji Nashiro decisioned Daisuke Tsutsumi.  Both Yamamoto and Nashiro will likely be involved in the Krush 70kg tournament beginning April 30, and both could be early favorites depending on the field.

Filing out the results: Kenta KO'd Hidetora in the 2nd, Yu Hirono defeated Takuma Konishi via unanimous decision, Yoshi KO'd Asamisaurus in the 2nd, and Yuzo Suzuki took a unanimous decision win over Minato Kato.

Next show for Krush is the March 19 event featuring the 55kg, 60kg, and 63kg semi-finals and finals in what should be a superb night of action.

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Krush Announces -63kg Under-22 "Supernova" Tournament

  • Published in Kickboxing

After successful tournaments at 55kg, 60kg, 63kg and 70kg, K-1 affiliate Krush has announced yet another tournament for the end of 2011 which could end up featuring some of the top fighters at 63kg. Similar to the K-1 Youth tournaments, Krush is presenting an under-22 "Supernova" tournament, as opposed to K-1's under-18 Koshien tournaments, a 16-man tournament with the round of 16 and quarterfinals taking place in October (possibly the 10th) and the semis and finals taking place some time thereafter(all articles say Friday September 12th, but that is obviously before the qualifying rounds, as well as September 12th not being a Friday. My best guess would be Saturday November 12th).

This tournament presents some interesting possible match-ups as there are quite a few of the top Japanese fighters at 63kg who are products of the Koshien system and are eligible for this tournament. From what I've seen, there is no indication if Krush will be looking for lesser-known fighters or if they will allow more established fighters into the tournament, so after the break, I'll look at some of the notable fighters who are eligible for the tournament.

 

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Krush Fan Fest This Weekend

  • Published in Kickboxing

KrushJapan's Krush organization has been planning a big 2011, with the culmination of four separate tournaments to crown the company's first ever champions.  Like everyone based out of Japan, their plans were greatly delayed by the tragedy there, but now, one month later, Krush is getting ready for their return.

The next Krush show will be the April 30 event, featuring the 55, 60, and 63kg finals.  That show was originally scheduled for March, but pushed back for obvious reasons.  Now, they've announced a fan fest to be held this Saturday in anticipation of the show.  These kind of fan fests are pretty common in Japan, and typically not much to take not of, but this one stands out for a few reasons.

At the fan fest, Krush will announce the first 6 fighters to compete in the 70kg tournament, which will begin on May 29.  Originally I had pegged this to be the weakest of the 4 Krush tournaments, with Yuya Yamamoto likely being the lone big name.  But considering K-1 MAX's lack of shows, it's entirely possible we'll see more ranked names taking part here.  I anticipate Yamamoto and Nashiro are locks, and would love to see Jienotsu and Sato in there as well.

Also taking place at the event will be quite a weird exhibition fight - in some form of tag team competition, it will be Kyotaro and Keiji Ozaki vs. Fire Harada and an opponent who will be announced that day.  Will this be kickboxing?  MMA?  Pro-wrestling?  Who knows, but with Fire Harada in there, it should be fun.  Bizarre, but fun.  And, if you ask me, these are the kind of things you have to love about the Japan combat sports scene - you're just not going to get that sort of thing anywhere else.

Finally, one more exhibition fight was announced between Naoki Ishikawa and Kensaku Maeda.  While Maeda's name may be unfamiliar, anyone who has watched much Japanese kickboxing in the last year will surely recognize him.  Maeda is the head of Team Dragon, and is the man always in the corner of Kyotaro, the Urabes, and the rest of the Dragon fighters.  Maeda has been retired from competition since 2002, but was a decorated fighter back in his day.  The exhibition will be just one 3 minute round.  Cool to hear that Maeda is getting back in there, although I wouldn't bet on getting to see any footage of the fight.

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The 2011 LiverKick.com Awards

  • Published in K-1

2011 has yet to end, yet in the grand internet tradition, LiverKick.com is bringing you our year-end awards. Due to the fact that 2011 is quickly winding down and that there are no big Kickboxing bouts scheduled for the rest of the year, it is safe to say that we have seen the best and the worst of 2011, and the time has come to choose the big winners as we all see fit. In a year without a lot going on from K-1 it meant that the smaller weight classes and promotions of the world were given a chance to step up to the big leagues and make an impression, and impress they did.

We saw a lot of great action from promotions like It's Showtime, SuperKombat, Ultimate Glory, KRUSH, Fight Code and many more, when usually in years past anything that happened inside of K-1 took precedence and stole the attention away from the smaller leagues. In 2012 we will be seeing more from FIKA, the "rebirth" of K-1, so it will be interesting to see how the dynamics of this year blend in with a World Cup of Kickboxing. We have narrowed everything down to two categories with five of the absolute best choices in each. Due to a lack of overlap on a global scale as we usually see, it is incredibly difficult to choose a "Fighter of the Year," so we have decided to go with Fight of the Year and KO of the Year. If you look to your left (on the site), you will see the two polls laid out for your discretion. Choose wisely (Note: Late-Dec. 2010 included in "2011").

LiverKick.com 2011 Fight of the Year: LiverKick.com 2011 KO of the Year:
Yodsaenklai vs. Artur Kyshenko (Rumble of the Kings)
Masaaki Noiri vs. Koya Urabe (KRUSH.14)
Karim Bennoui vs. Javier Hernandez (It's Showtime Madrid) Mark Miller vs. Nikolaj Falin (Glory WS Finals)
Yuya Yamamoto vs. Kenta (K-1 MAX Japan 70kg Finals) Errol Zimmerman vs. Roman Kleibl (SuperKombat Fight Club)
Hesdy Gerges vs. Daniel Ghita (It's Showtime Sporthallen Zuid) Anderson Braddock Silva vs. Freddy Kemayo (Fightclub: It's Showtime 2010)
Andy Souwer vs. Harut Grigorian (It's Showtime Fast & Furious)  . Robin Van Roosmalen vs. Kyshenko (It's Showtime: Fast & Furious)
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Vote Now for 2010 Fight of the Year

  • Published in Video

Masato Souwer 2009Voting is now open for the 2010 LiverKick.com Fight of the Year.  Cast your vote in the Weekly Poles section in the left hand column.  As a reminder, here are links to videos and write-ups on the 10 nominees:

Tyrone Spong v. Jerome Le Banner

Bovy Sor. Udomson v. Takaaki Umeno

Yuya Yamamoto v. Scott Shaffer

Tetsuya Yamato v. Yuta Kubo

Peter Aerts v. Ewerton Teixeira

Mike Zambidis v. Chahid Oulad El Hadj

Gokhan Saki v. Daniel Ghita

Peter Aerts v.  Semmy Schilt

Mosab Amrani v. Mohamed Khamal

Pornsaneh v. Pakon

Vote now!

Pictured: 2009 Fight of the Year Masato v. Andy Souwer

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You Need More Japanese Kickboxing in Your Life: No Kick No Life IV

  • Published in Kickboxing

Part of what makes being a fight fan so much fun is that there are a lot of talented fans out there who put together some great video montages, one of which is LiverKick.com's friend Jill, who has made a ton of great videos and continues the trend with No Kick No Life IV, focusing on Japanese kickfighting. So check it out already.

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Krush Tournament Finals Postponed

  • Published in Kickboxing

Krush Mar 19A quick piece of news that should come as no surprise - the Krush show scheduled for this weekend has been postponed due to the tragedy in Japan.

This weekend's Krush show was going to feature the semi-finals and finals of the 55, 60, and 63kg tournaments.  Those fights will now be moved back to April 30.  No word yet on what this means for the 70kg tournament, which was originally slated to begin on that April 30 date - I imagine they will just bump that entire tournament back one show as well.  One other note regarding this - 55kg tournament participant Ryuya Kusakabe is currently scheduled to compete at the Shootboxing event on April 23, so we'll have to see how those two dates play together.  Kusakabe is the Shootboxing champion.

In similar news, last weekend's Shootboxing Young Cesar's Cup was cancelled.  It will be rescheduled, but no date has yet been mentioned.

While this Krush event is one I am really looking forward to, I'm very glad to see it delayed.  These fighters don't need to be worrying about entertaining us in the face of such a horrible tragedy at home, and even thinking about them fighting this weekend seems so small and petty.  It's been said before, but it can never be said enough - all our thoughts and best wishes to everyone in Japan during this extremely difficult time.

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2010 Fight of the Year: Part 3

  • Published in Video

Fight #3 in our series keeps us focused on the smaller Japanese scene:

Yuya Yamamoto v. Scott Shaffer (Krush.6, April 29)

Once again, a very fun fight.  Here, 2009 K-1 MAX Final 4 fighter Yamamoto main events Krush against the largely unknown Shaffer.  But Shaffer gives it a real go, pushing Yuya into the kind of fight where the Japanese fighter thrives, resulting in one of the best finishes of 2010.

 

 

 

I like this one as a sort of more technical version of yesterday's Bovy v. Umeno fight.  At first it looks like Yuya might easily take this, but once Shaffer drops him in the first, then almost finishes him as time runs down, you know this is closer than it appeared.  From there, you get great swings in the momentum, with Yamamoto dropping Shaffer, only to have the American come back strong to end round 2.  At the start of the 3rd it's a very close fight, when Yamamoto just pours it on, absolutely wrecking Shaffer with a brutal finish.

Previously featured:

Tyrone Spong v. Jerome Le Banner

Bovy Sor. Udomson v. Takaaki Umeno

A note on this series - we'll be posting 1 or 2 of the top fights of the year on a daily basis over the coming week.  Fights will be featured in chronological order moving through the year.

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Krush and NJKF Weekend Results: Kenta Wins Krush 70kg GP; Naokick Falls Short Again

  • Published in Asia

This is a big weekend for kickboxing with the Thai Fight Extreme Event in Hong Kong as well as the REBELSxIt's Showtime Japan event taking place tonight. However, there were two less promoted cards that took place in Japan this weekend, with Krush wrapping up its 2011 Tournament Series with the semifinals and finals of their 70kg Tournament as well as a New Japan Kickboxing Federation event which saw two WBC Muay Thai Japan titles and two NJKF titles on the line.

Keeping in line with how this year's Krush tournaments have gone, favorite Hiroki Nakajima was upset in the semifinals by NJKF Super Welterweight Champion Kenta by majority decision on scores of 30-28, 30-29 and 30-30. This is yet another setback for the fighter who was handpicked by Masato to win the 2010 Japan MAX Tournament only to fall to Yuichiro Nagashima in the finals and later get dominated by Albert Kraus and Buakaw Por. Pramuk.

In the night's other semifinal, WBC Muay Thai Japan Super Welterweight Champion Yutaro Yamauchi bested Shintaro Matsukura over 4 rounds, taking a split decision in the extension round after scores of 29-29 and 30-30(x2) through 3. Matsukura was thought to be the other tournament favorite after an upset over Yuya Yamamoto in a thrilling quarterfinal affair which saw Matsukura drop Yamamoto in the 3rd round and ultimately secure his place in the semifinals.

In the night's tournament finals, Kenta was able to complete his run in the tournament, taking a close majority decision over Yamauchi on scores of 30-28, 29-29 and 30-29. This wraps up Krush's first round of tournaments which were seemingly a large success despite the failure of all the tournament favorites. The results of the 70kg tournament will have an interesting result on the upcoming K-1 Japan MAX Tournament, as neither Yamauchi nor Kenta were selected to participate while Nakajima and Matsukura were. However, there were only six initial fighters announced for the event and after they were announced K-1 President Sadaharu Tanikawa said that the fighters he selected were temporary and the results of the Krush tournament would play a part in selecting who would compete in the tournament. One would assume that Kenta would be selected and that Yamauchi could be selected for the tournament. Yamauchi recently fought to a draw with current tournament selection Go Yokoyama on the Sengoku: Soul of Fight card.

In non-tournament action Krush's 60kg Tournament Champion Hirotaka Urabe secured a 3rd round stoppage victory while four other Team Dragon members were able to pick up wins.

At Korakuen Hall on the 17th, New Japan Kickboxing Federation held installment 7 of its New Japan Blood series which featured two WBC Muay Thai Japan titles and two NJKF titles up for grabs. In the main event, Naoki "Naokick" Ishikawa opened up Super Feathweight Champion Yoshinori Nakasuka's eye with a right elbow in the 5th round only to be dropped with a left hook with only 16 seconds left to go in the fight, securing a unanimous decision for the champion on scores of 50-46(x3). This fight may finally put the nail in the coffin of Ishikawa's run at the top of the sport. After finding success in AJKF as the promotion's Super Featherweight Champion, but at the beginning of 2010 he was knocked out by John Dennis at Krush 5. Ishikawa picked up a win over Yuto Watanabe in the qualifying round of the 2010 K-1 -63kg GP, but was upset in the quarterfinals by the flashy Kizaemon Saiga. Since that fight, Ishikawa has gone 1-3 with losses to Hirotaka Urabe, Ryuji Kajiwara and now Nakasuka.

In the co-feature, WBC Muay Thai Japan Welterweight Champion Soichiro Miyakoshi set out to defend his title against Yuya Yamato, but failed to do so over the course of 5 rounds, losing on scores of 50-48(x2) and 49-48. This puts the 20 year old on a two fight win streak after his upset over Fabio Pinca at Thai Fight Extreme France.

Soichiro Miyakoshi's brother Keijiro Miyakoshi dominated NJKF Lightweight Champion Ikki over five rounds to take a unanimous decision and the NJKF Lightweight crown on scores of 50-45(x2) and 50-43. With his brother losing his WBC title and Ikki formerly being ranked #2 at Welterweight by WBC Muay Thai Japan, a match between Keijiro and Yamato could be in the works for the future, which would be a sensational fight between two young, promising fighters as Keijiro is only 21 years of age.

In the final title bout of the night, #1 ranked Yung Hawk defeated #2 ranked KEI in a battle for the vacant NJKF Super Featherweight title, winning a unanimous decision after five rounds on scores of  50-49 and 49-48(x2).

In a non-title fight WBC Muay Thai Japan Flyweight Champion and #1 ranked NJKF Flyweight Naoki Otsuki was upset by #7 ranked J-Network Super Flyweight Hiroyuki Yamano of Team Dragon. The fight ended with a close split decision in favor of Yamano on scores of 30-29(x2) and 29-30.

In a women's bout, NJKF Women's Featherweight Champion AZUMA beat WBC Muay Thai Japan Women's Featherweight Champion beat Ayano Oishi in a rematch of their WBC title fight in January which Oishi won. Scores were 30-27 and 30-28(x2).

The event also saw the semifinals of a 4-man tournament for the vacant NJKF Super Bantamweight Championship in which #1 NJKF and WBC Muay Thai Japan ranked Hiroki Maeda fell to #3 ranked Hiroshi Senchaigym while #2 ranked Rookie defeated #4 ranked Shinya Haga(Hiroya Haga?) to set up the finals and championship fight between Hiroshi and Rookie.

Results via boutreview: NJKF and Krush

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