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Krush-EX 2012 vol.4 Results: Urabe Cruises, Ogata Upsets Taniyama

With Krush.20 just a week away, Krush held the 4th installment of its 2012 Krush-EX series, headlined by Koya Urabe and also featuring Krush regulars Toshiki Taniyama and Yu Hirono, among others.

In the night's main event, Koya Urabe took a commanding unanimous decision over the heavy-handed Ryukei on scores of 30-25(x3). Urabe dominated the entirety of the fight, scoring downs in the 1st and 3rd rounds on a head kick and spinning back fist, respectively. The win is the second straight for Urabe (20-4-0, 2 KO) after dropping a decision to Keijiro Miyakoshi in NJKF back in April. His most recent win came at Big Bang 9 where he dominated the fight and remained aggressive throughout the entire fight and it seems to be a repeated effort here. I believe Urabe is still eligible for this year's Krush Youth tournament, and if he is I'd imagine he wants to participate and avenge his loss to Masaaki Noiri if he can. If not, I'd expect him to be first in line should Thomas Adamandopoulos take the Krush 63kg belt from Ryuji Kajiwara in August. Ryukei (7-3-0, 7 KO) only had a puncher's chance, which seemed pretty good considering Urabe's lack of defense, but wasn't able to come through. Aside from this loss to Urabe, he has a pair of losses to DEEP*KICK 60kg champ Hiroto Yamaguchi. He isn't a bad fighter by any means, but he won't be making any waves at 60-63kg. Still, it'd be nice for Krush to keep him around as he can always provide a good knockout.

In the co-main event, Atsushi Ogata pulled off an upset, knocking out Toshiki Taniyama in the 2nd round at 3:00. Ogata came out aggressively and was able to use pressure to fold Taniyama with a left hook in the closing seconds of the 2nd round. This was Ogata's third fight in Krush, going 1-1 with a knockout loss to Ryukei and most recently a decision win over Daizo Sasaki back at Krush.19. From here he could possibly rematch Ryukei, though he could also leverage himself for a shot at Urabe as Krush was likely trying to set up a fight between Urabe and Taniyama. Taniyama (13-2-0, 5 KO) takes a big step back here as he was on a probable collision course with Koya Urabe and a possible title shot. This loss snaps a 5-fight winning streak which included 3 straight knockouts, most recently at Big Bang 9. A rematch with Keiji Ozaki would be fun, but I'd like to see him against Ryukei to see if he folds from the pressure of a heavy-handed striker.

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RISE 89 Results: Sun Hyun Lee Stops Yuto Watanabe

RISE held RISE 89 at Differ Ariake in Tokyo yesterday and although the card did not feature a slew of top names as previous RISE cards have, it did feature a battle between top 63kg fighters, as well as 55kg prospect Seiya Rokukawa and a few other RISE regulars.

In the main event, RISE Korea Welterweight champ Sun Hyun Lee was able to knock out recent title challenger Yuto Watanabe at 1:29 of the extension round to put himself in a very good position at 63kg. Lee was dropped in the second round on a spinning back kick, but controlled the rest of the bout, earning an extension round where he dropped Watanabe twice, forcing the ref to call off the bout. After the bout Takashi Ito, former kickboxer and a RISE representative, stated that Lee would need one more win before a rematch against current 63kg champ Yuki, who Lee edged out by majority decision at RISE 88, though the fight was at 64kg. There are two options for RISE here, with Yusuke Sugawara and Hiroshi Mizumachi, though it is unclear if Mizumachi will be fighting Yuki for the title or if he still needs one more fight. Despite losing his last two, Watanabe has elevated his status, as he was a middle of the road fighter, but has impressed in his last two fights, taking a huge lead over Yuki in the early rounds before an incredible comeback and managing to drop Lee and take him to an extension round despite being outclassed. A good next fight with him would be a rematch against Shohei Asahara, though he may get an easier fight after his last two.

In the co-main event, MA Kick Bantamweight champ Takashi Ohno gave DEEP KICK 55kg tournament champ Seiya Rokukawa his first career loss with a unanimous decision win on scores of 30-26 and 29-26(x2). Ohno dropped Rokukawa towards the end of the first round and cruised for the rest of the fight, dominating his younger opponent. Ohno has now won 7 straight and may have earned himself another fight in RISE and maybe one with some title implications as 55kg champ KENJI is more or less out of interesting opponents already. Rokukawa takes a step back, but then again, this was his first good opponent, really. At 25, he has time to mature, but it's worth noting that most of the elite fighters in the division are younger than him, so he may find it tough reaching the top of the division.
Finally, in a 63kg fight, #1 ranked Super Lightweight Yusuke Sugawara was able to earn a unanimous decision against #3 ranked Lightweight Shohei Asahara on scores of 29-28(x2) and 29-27. Sugawara dropped an extension round decision to Yukihiro Komiya at 65kg in Komiya's 65kg debut, moving Sugawara out of a title shot, though he may find himself in a #1 contender's bout at Lightweight with this win over Asahara, who had just lost a #1 contender's bout to Yuto Watanabe. He could find himself facing Sun Hyun Lee if he is chosen for the #1 contender's bout over Hiroshi Mizumachi. 
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NJKF Kick to the Future 3 Results: Yamato Stops Takahashi in Strange Ending


New Japan Kickboxing Federation held the third installment of its Kick to the Future series, headlined by Tetsuya Yamato challenging for Seiji Takahashi's WBC Japan Super Lightweight title and a chance to face WBC International Super Lightweight champion Kevin Ross. Also on the card were former Krush 70kg champ Kenta and the continuation of the New Japan Wars 2012 series.
In the main event, Tetsuya Yamato stopped Seiji Takahashi at 1:29 in the 2nd round to win the WBC Japan Super Lightweight title and earn a shot at Kevin Ross, but not without some controversy. Yamato was controlling the fight and hurt Takahashi, sending him back into the corner where Yamato dropped him with elbows and punches, causing Takahashi to lean down against the ring post and before the referee was able to come in, Yamato landed a kick to his downed opponent, somewhat like Badr Hari's incident against Remy Bonjasky at the 2008 K-1 WGP Finals, but not as blatant. When the referee separated them, Takahashi was given time to recover, but was unable to do so and Yamato was handed the win on the grounds that his initial knockdown was legitimate. It's a bizarre ending, but Yamato (28-9-1, 22 KO) now moves on to face Kevin Ross for the WBC International Super Lightweight title on September 22nd in Tokyo. Yamato has put together a very solid 2012 with wins over Densiam Lookprabaht, Sergio Wielzen and now Takahashi, though he has been unable to finish out his past two years strong, with losses to Ryuji Kajiwara and Jomthong at the end of last year and a loss to Koya Urabe and a disappointing draw against MMA fighter "Wicky" Akiyo Nishiura in 2010. A win over Ross would keep Yamato's momentum strong and give some consistency to an inconsistent career. Takahashi (11-7-0, 6 KO) was game in the first round, but was unable to do much against the tough Yamato. Since he won the NJKF Super Lightweight title, I'd imagine his next fight would be whoever comes out on top of the New Japan Wars at Super Lightweight.
In the co-main event, former Krush 70kg champ Kenta returned to the win column with a 2nd round knockout of Shu Kiire at 1:48. Kenta controlled the entirety of the fight, causing Kiire's corner to throw in the towel in the 2nd round after a down. Kenta (24-10-3, 9 KO) came into the fight on a 3-fight losing streak, with a questionable loss to Yuya Yamamoto at last year's K-1 MAX Japan Tournament, an upset against TOMOYUKI at Kick to the Future 1 and then being KO'd by Yasuhiro Kido in the first defense of his Krush title. This is a much needed win for the exciting, talented fighter who was on fire last year. It does not seem like there was a moment in the fight he didn't control.
NJKF also held 5 fights in its New Japan Wars 2012 series, a tournament stretched across 2012 at each weight class to determine challengers for their current champions. In the first Super Featherweight semifinal, #1 ranked KEI took a majority decision over #4 ranked Nobuhiro Iwai who, after going 0-6-1 in his last 7, made it seem as though he was headed for retirement. In the other semifinal, #2 ranked Shoya Suzuki took a unanimous decision over #5 ranked Takeshi Tsuruya. In a Super Lightweight fight, #4 ranked Kazushige Sugama upset #1 ranked and former NJKF Lightweight champ Ikki by unanimous decision and denying Ikki a rematch against current champ Seiji Takahashi. In a Featherweight semifinal, #3 ranked Ayumu Sasara stopped #6 ranked Daiki in the 3rd round. And finally, in a 1st round Welterweight fight, #8 ranked Tae-yong stopped #9 ranked Masashi Aseishi in the 2nd round.
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Krush-EX 2012 vol. 3 Results: Takumi Earns 55kg Title Shot with KO

Krush held the 3rd edition of its Krush-EX series this year, headlined by a 55kg #1 contender’s bout between Team Dragon’s Takumi and Katsuki Sasaki.

In the main event, Takumi and Katsuki Sasaki faced off in a rematch of a fight from 2010 with Takumi scoring a first round knockout at 2:31, earning a shot at current 55kg champion Shota Takiya and a chance to avenge his most recent loss on August 26th at Krush.22. Takumi (12-2-0, 5 KO) is on fire right now, winning 6 in a row and scoring 4 of his 5 career knockouts in the process. The 22 year old throws crisp combinations, is prolific with knees and is a decent counter puncher. However, for everything he’s gotten offensively out of Team Dragon, he’s also inherited their lack of defense and his open offensive style leaves him open to get hit, which will definitely be a problem against the heavy-handed Takiya. The last time the two fought was in the opening round of the Krush 55kg tournament and Takiya stopped Takumi with a front kick. I think Takumi has somewhat of a shot, as he has power, can put strikes together and isn’t slow by any means and Takiya isn’t the hardest person to hit, but it’s going to take everything falling in place for him to come out the new Krush champion. Sasaki (4-5-1, 4 KO) isn’t that great of a fighter at 55kg, but has the power to stop pretty much anyone at the weight and was put into this fight because of his 1st round KO of Ryuma Tobe. A fun fight for him would be against Nobuchika Terado, KO-ICHI or Namito Izawa.

Speaking of Terado, he took place in an exhibition bout against J-Network Super Flyweight champ Yuki after Yuki’s original opponent, SATOI, pulled out with an injury earlier in the week, leaving Krush no time to find a suitable replacement.

In a 55kg bout, Team Dragon prospect Namito Izawa was handed his second pro loss by Shibuya Scramble’s Yuya Suzuki, with Suzuki winning a unanimous decision on scores of 30-28 (x3). Suzuki dropped Izawa in the 2nd round with a right cross, which ended up being the deciding factor in the fight. This win throws his name in the hat at 55kg and could see him taking on Nobuchika Terado, Katsuki Sasaki, SATOI or Ryuma Tobe. Izawa has now dropped two in a row, the first two losses of his career, after losing to Nobuchika Terado in the main event of Krush-EX vol.1 earlier this year.

Finally, exciting 60kg fighter Yuji “Kyoken” Takeuchi announced that he would be returning to fight soon after being sidelined since his exciting rematch against Naoki Ishikawa back in September at Krush.12.

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