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Revenge is Sweet: Masaaki Noiri Defeats Yuta Kubo at Krush .32

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Although the Netherlands certainly holds the choice cuts of fighters at 70kg and above, Japan has dominated the lighter weights of kickboxing for years and without much credit. Last weekend, the two best fighters from the 65-67kg divisions- former K-1 Youth champion, Masaaki Noiri, and current GLORY and Krush 67kg champion, Yuta Kubo- met in Nagoya for 3rd time.

While Kubo had come away with two big wins in their previous meetings (once in the K-1 63kg tournament semi-finals and once in the GLORY 65kg finals) it was Noiri, the 20 year old prodigy, who finally earned his revenge and the Krush 67kg title. 

By all reports, the fight was relatively one-sided. After sustaining an eye injury from a knee in the second round, Kubo desperately tried to employ clinching tactics against Noiri, which failed when the ref took measures to seperate them frequently, even going so far as to give Kubo a warning. Noiri picked apart Kubo from the outside using his length, taking extra care to aim for the older fighter's injured eye. 

In the final round Kubo again tried his hand at clinching but this time was given a deduction from the referee for doing so. Free to engage, Noiri began landing hard knees, kicks, punches, and swarming Kubo at the end of the round with hooks to the body and head. 

At the end of three, Noiri was awarded the unanimous decision victory, snapping Kubo's impressive 17 fight winning streak and taking his 67kg Krush title in the process. 

This win, in my opinion, has created the most dynamic and interesting rivalry in kickboxing. With the exception of perhaps Peter Aerts and Semmy Schilt (Recently retired), no other pair of fighters in the sport have such a series of high level back and forth battles. They have only lost to each other on the world's biggest stages, and only after defeating everyone else in their weight brackets (which now span three seperate divisions). They are far and away some of the most technically skilled athletes in the world, they have distinctly opposing personalities, and they're both from the same country.

As GLORY Kickboxing continues its push into Japan, Noiri and Kubo are without a doubt the keys to getting Japanese fans back in seats. The Japanese favor exciting narratives over rankings and title fights, and right now there is no better narrative than a fourth, and potentially fifth match between the two best 65kg kickboxers in the world. 

Also on the Krush .32 card, Yoshihiro Sato continued his impressive rebound from a disasterous 2012, winning his fourth straight fight and defeating Shintaro Matsukara by unanimous decision. Sato will be riding a hefty amount of momentum into his Full Thai rules fight against Buakaw on October 6, which will undoubtedly be his most significant battle since the 2010 K-1 MAX Finals against Giorgio Petrosyan. 

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Badr Hari Returns to the Ring on November 9th Against Alexey Ignashov

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The rumor over the past week or so was that Badr Hari would be back in the ring for the LEGEND promotion, based out of Russia, but let's be honest with ourselves here, it felt like a longshot at best. Badr Hari is due in court in October for his trial which will decide his fate for the brutal beating of Koen Everink at the Amsterdam ArenA last year. So when rumors of him participating in the next LEGEND event, which was scheduled for October 31st, started sprouting it up it seemed that they were overly confident in his court case.

That confidence has not wavered, though, as it looks like these rumors were true. According to De Telegraaf in the Netherlands, Badr Hari is set to fight for LEGEND on November 9th against none other than Alexey Ignashov. One would have to think that this could fall through if Badr is found guilty, but maybe not, who knows? Golden Glory founder Ron Nyqvist escaped from prison in July when he was given a "break" from prison (yes, a break from prison!) and was apprehended this last week, so it feels like anything is possible with how international judicial systems work.

The last time that Badr Hari was in the ring was in May at LEGEND against Zabit Samedov, with Samedov stopping Hari and shocking the world.

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Full Card for August 30th's SUPERKOMBAT New Heroes

SK

SUPERKOMBAT have a huge double-header coming up next weekend in Romania, kicking off on the 30th with SUPERKOMBAT New Heroes in Targoviste, followed the next night by SUPERKOMBAT VIP in Bucharest, Romania. We finally have the full card for SUPERKOMBAT New Heroes and there are definitely some worth additions to the card on here, including fights from Bogdan and Andrei Stoica!

Main card SUPERKOMBAT New Heroes Targoviste:

Super-fight – 91 kg
Marsan Yohan (France) vs Bogdan Stoica (Romania)

Super-fight – 95 kg
Zinedine Hameur-Lain (Algeria) vs Andrei Stoica (Romania)

Super-fight -65 kg
Kostas Papedelis (Greece) vs Ionut Atodiresei (Romania)

Super-fight -95 de kg
Kay Bult (Holland) vs Dănuţ Hurduc (Romania)

Super-fight -71 kg
Claudiu Badoi (Romania) vs Cristian Milea (Romania)

Super-fight -85 kg
Ibrahim El Bouni (Marocco) vs Ciprian Schiopu (Romania)

Super-fight -91 kg
Stefan Szomoru (Romania) vs Cristian Ristea (Romania)

Super-fight -81 kg
Daniel Lazar (Romania) vs Flavius Boiciuc (Romania)

Superfight +95 kg
Catalin Sacagiu (Romania) vs Florin Niculae (Romania)

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Mike Zambidis to Headline SUPERKOMBAT VIP Edition

SuperkombatSUPERKOMBAT is going to have a busy end of the month, as they will hold their SUPERKOMBAT Heroes event in Dracula's hometown on the 30th and then on the 31st will hold another, bigger event in Bucharest, Romania. The event, SUPERKOMBAT VIP Edition, will be headlined by a SUPERKOMBAT Middleweight World title bout between Mike Zambidis and Turkey's Harun Kina. This provides a bigger kick off for SK's WGP series that will be ongoing this fall.

Here is the line-up for SUPERKOMBAT VIP Edition.

SUPERKOMBAT® VIP Edition (Saturday, August 31, 2013) Main Card:

SUPERKOMBAT® Middleweight World Title -71kg
Mike Zambidis (Greece) vs. Harun Kina (Turkey)

Superfight -71kg
Alexandru Popescu (Romania) vs. Cedric Manhoef (Suriname)

Superfight -75kg
Bogdan Stanciu (Romania) vs. Kevin Heselink (Netherlands)

Superfight -81kg
Miodrag Olar (Romania) vs. Alexandros Chatzichronoglou (Greece)

Superfight -63kg
Florin Abrudan (Romania) vs. Cristian Spetcu (Romania)

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