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Krush.27 Results: Yamazaki Upsets Adamandopoulos for 63kg Title

Earlier today at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Krush held Krush.27, headlined by a 63kg title bout between current champ Thomas Adamandopoulos and 2012 WILDRUSH League winner Hideaki Yamazaki. Also on the card were the semifinals of the 58kg tournament, the second leg of the 55kg WILDRUSH League and fights featuring Krush standouts Koya Urabe, Yutaro Yamauchi, Yuji Takeuchi, Hisaki Higashimoto and MA Kick champion Keisuke Miyamoto.

The main event saw Krush 63kg champ Thomas Adamandopoulos attempt to defend his title for the first time against Hideaki Yamazaki, who earned the fight by winning the 63kg WILDRUSH League with a perfect 5-0-0 record. In a big upset, the Liver Kick #6 ranked Lightweight Adamandopoulos was dropped by a spinning backfist in the 2nd round and seemed to have a bit of trouble finding offense against Yamazaki, losing a unanimous decision on scores of 30-28(x2) and 30-27. I had given Yamazaki little chance to beat Adamandopoulos as he was coming off of a stoppage loss to Gagny Baradji, who had very little kickboxing experience despite being a Savate champion. Some might remember that Adamandopoulos' first trip to Krush saw him get dropped by a spinning backfist when he won his ISKA title against Keiji Ozaki. The win continues the chaos in the Lightweight division and could earn Yamazaki a spot in the top 10. I'd like to see Yamazaki rematch Gagny Baradji for the title and possibly see Adamandopoulos back in Krush against Koya Urabe. The odds of Urabe fighting his teammate Yamazaki are pretty low, though he did fight his teammate Ryuji Kajiwara in the finals of the Krush tournament. 

The co-main event features were the semifinals of the 58kg tournament featuring Nobuchika Terado vs Shota Kobe and Takeru vs Yuzo Suzuki. Tournament favorite Terado struggled a bit, but was able to drop Kobe in the 2nd round and ride out a unanimous decision on scores of 30-28(x2) and 29-27. At this point is career it's clear that Terado has lost a step, but he's still one of Japan's best talents around this weight and his combination of power and heart makes him a difficult matchup for nearly everyone. The other semifinal saw the other favorite advance as Team Dragon's Takeru pushed his win streak to 5 with a unanimous decision over former Kyokushin world champion Yuzo Suzuki on scores of 30-28(x3). Takeru wasn't unhittable, but he controlled the action and landed the better shots, setting up a final against Terado. I have a feeling that Takeru will win, but the logical choice in the finals is Terado. Despite being 11 years older, Terado has shown the ability get hit and hit back harder. He gets knocked down more often at this point in his career, but he always seems to get back up. Takeru, on the other hand, has not been put in the same position, so it's impossible to know how he'll respond to being hit by Terado. I give Takeru the power advantage and it's very possible he could hurt Terado early and put him away, but he is also pretty wild and Terado can end a fight just as quickly. Regardless, the finals should be fireworks whether it lasts one round or three.

The main super fight saw 2012 63kg Youth GP champ Koya Urabe drop to 60kg to rematch 2012 60kg Tournament winner Fumiya Osawa. The two previously met very early in their respective careers, with Urabe winning by knockout with a flying knee. Urabe had grown into a star while Osawa meddled in mediocrity until surprising everyone by winning last year's 60kg tournament and a shot at Hirotaka Urabe's title. Despite that, he was coming off of two stoppage losses and most had him pegged as a big underdog in this rematch. That was until Koya Urabe tried the same flying knee that he stopped Osawa with in their first fight, which Osawa countered beautifully with a left cross, dropping Urabe. Unfortunately, however, I believe Urabe dropped Osawa with a right hook coming off of a break. Osawa was more or less knocked out and the referee had no other option but to disqualify Urabe. I can definitely see these two fighting for a 3rd time as the result here was inconclusive and I assume most people would want to see this fight again considering the underdog Osawa was able to drop Urabe early. Not to mention that Urabe is in no man's land when it comes to a title shot, as his brother holds the 60kg title and his teammate Yamazaki just won the 63kg title.

In a 61kg fight, "Kyoken" Yuji Takeuchi made quick work of Team Dragon's Shota Hayashi, stopping him with his favored left hook at 1:48 in the 1st round. Admittedly, the fight was a squash match, much like Takeuchi's last fight in Krush which ended in a no contest due to an accidental low blow, and it seems like they're trying to give him wins just to keep him in the picture at the top of the division and open up possible rematches with SHIGERU and Naoki Ishikawa. If Hirotaka Urabe fights Naoki Ishikawa for a 4th time in the near future and SHIGERU doesn't come to Krush, I'd like to see him fight Kan Itabashi. Otherwise give him Ishikawa or SHIGERU in a #1 contender bout. 

Krush 70kg tournament finalist Yutaro Yamauchi knocked out fellow tournament participant Hiroki Nakajima with a right hook at 1:10 of the 2nd round. This fight was a rematch of a fight from 2009 which saw Nakajima win by decision. This time, however, Nakajima was coming off of a 14 month layoff and it really hurt him as Yamauchi constantly hurt and dropped Nakajima en route to a stoppage. Krush has a lack of fresh options at 70kg with Kenta beating Yoshihiro Sato and unless Krush rushes right into a third fight between Kenta and Yasuhiro Kido, I'd like to see Yamauchi get a rematch with Kenta with a shot at Kido on the line. If not, a fight with Takuro Moriya or Asami Zaurus would be a good indicator as to where the 35 year old Yamauchi stands in the division at this point in his career. 

At 55kg, MA Kick champion Keisuke Miyamoto and MAD MAX Gym's Masahiro faced off in a matchup of 20 year old prospects. Miyamoto showed he was the better fighter over 3 rounds, earning a unanimous decision on scores of 30-29(x3). After a 2012 that had me name him the #2 prospect in Japanese kickboxing, Miyamoto had a bumpy start to 2013, barely being able to retain his MA Kick title with a majority draw against Kunihiro. Conversely, Masahiro had a great start to his year as he picked up a big win over Shuichi Wentz. Masahiro was able to hang, but he was outgunned by Miyamoto, who snaps a 2-fight winless streak. 

At 63kg, Ikki was able to knock out 63kg Youth GP finalist Hisaki Higashimoto in the 3rd round with a right cross. This fight seemed to go much like Higashimoto's fight with Koya Urabe where he started strong in the first, even winning the round, began to lose a step in the 2nd and was ultimately finished in the 3rd. By upsetting Hiroya by knockout in his pro debut, Higashimoto made himself a hot commodity in Krush, and a strong performance against Koya Urabe solidified that, despite being finished. However, I think Krush and his management need to take a step back so they don't ruin his career before it has a chance to get started. I didn't have a problem with this fight because it was a real test to where Higashimoto stood, but it's clear he doesn't have the experience to be fighting a guy like Ikki. He's just 20 and clearly has a lot of potential, but he needs to learn how to pace himself over 3 rounds and needs more ring experience before he's ready for the upper echelon of the division. Nonetheless, solid win for Ikki.

Finally, this event also saw the 2nd leg of the 55kg WILDRUSH League take place with tournament favorite Takumi picking up a decision win over Yuki Masato and improving to 2-0, Yuya Suzuki and Kazyosi fighting to a majority draw and Kazuki Okawa knocking out Masanori Shimada in the 1st round. After 2 rounds of fights, the standings look like this:

1. Takumi, 4 pts (2-0-0, 0 KO)

2. Yuya Suzuki, 4 pts (1-0-1, 1 KO)

3. Kazuki Okawa, 3 pts (1-1-0, 1 KO)

4. Kazyosi, 2 pts (0-0-2, 0 KO)

5. Yuki Masato, 1 pt (0-1-1, 0 KO)

6. Masanori Shimada, 0 pts (0-0-2, 0 KO)

Quick results after the break

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RISE 92 Results: Yamamoto Edges Bennoui, Umeno Avenges Loss

A big RISE 92 card went down today in Japan and featured some pretty big fights in the lighter weight divisions with a number of RISE titles on the line.

The biggest fight on the card wasn't for a title but featured two of LiverKick's top ranked lightweights, Masahiro Yamamoto and Karim Bennoui. This fight had been a long time in the making and it seemingly lived up to expectations and went into an extra round. Yamamoto edged the fight out in the extra round to get the decision win, continuing on the roll that he's been on as of late. This win really does prove just how good Yamamoto is, even after a long career. 

RISE's 65kg title was on the line in a match-up that was built up for a long time between champion Koji Yoshimoto and challenger Yasuomi Soda. The bout went all five rounds and Soda got a majority decision. With that, he becomes the new RISE 65kg champion.

Chang Hyun Lee and Genji Umeno put on one of the fights of the year in 2012 and today they rematched on this card. The fight seems to have gone in a much different direction than last time, as Genji Umeno won a unanimous decision on scores of 30-27 across the board. With that, he avenges the loss to Lee from last year.

RISE's 55kg title was also on the line in a fight between Dyki and Seiya Rokukawa. This seems to have been a pretty close fight, going to a split decision in Dyki's favor after all five rounds.

Last but not least for the title fights, the RISE 90kg title was on the line between two heavyweights dropping down, in Kengo Shimizu and Makoto Uehara. This fight was the main event and like the 55kg title fight, also went to split decision. Uehara got the decision, with a point deduction from Shimizu in the second round seemingly being the deciding factor.

RISE 90kg title: Makoto Uehara def. Kengo Shimizu by split decision.
RISE 65kg title: Yasuomi Soda def. Koji Yoshimoto by majority decision.
RISE 55kg title: Dyki def. Seiya Rokukawa by split decision.
61kg: Masahiro Yamamoto def. Karim Bennoui by unanimous decision in an extra round.
60kg: Genji Umeno def. Chang Hyun Lee by unanimous decision.
60kg: Motochika Hinada def. Taison Maeguchi by unanimous decision.
63kg: Yuya Fujita def. Yuto Nakaegawa by TKO in Round 3.
57.5kg: Masato Sato and Yuta Sashikubi draw after an extra round.
57.5kg: Tomoaki Iemoto def. Ryoma Hasumi by unanimous decision.
63kg: Keisuke Niwa def. Tomohiro Sato by majority decision.

 

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Masaaki Noiri Wins Road to Glory JAPAN 65kg SLAM Tournament

Earlier today in Shinjuku, Tokyo, GLORY held its first Road to GLORY Japan event, a 65kg tournament with Masaaki Noiri, Yuki, Ryuji Kajiwara and Hiroya, among others. Also on the card was a big 60kg fight between Hirotaka Urabe and Shigeru.

Zen Fujita and Riki Matsuoka opened up the tournament with the REBELS champ Fujita stopping the Koshien semifinalist with a pair of knockdowns in the 3rd after getting knocked down once himself in the previous round. The second fight was my most anticipated opening round matchup as brawlers Yuki and Mohan Dragon faced off, but it was the former RISE champ Yuki winning a decision on scores of 29-27, 28-27 and 30-27 over the MA Kick champion due to Mohan Dragon having points being taken away for low blows. The third quarterfinal saw a 3rd matchup between former Koshien champs Masaaki Noiri and Hiroya. This fight was much closer than their first two affairs as Noiri was only able to pick up a majority decision due to a point deduction for low blows to Hiroya, resulting in scores of 30-29(x2) and 29-29. The last quarterfinal featured an upset as Yukihiro Komiya defeated former Krush champion Ryuji Kajiwara in an extension round after a split draw. Kajiwara was deducted a point for shots to the back of the head in the extension round, but lost the round on each judge's scorecard, as well.

The semifinals saw Zen Fujita go down again, but this time he was sent right back to the canvas after suffering some of Yuki's brutal leg kicks. Yuki won by TKO at 2:42 of the 2nd round and advanced to the finals. In the other semi, Noiri struggled once again, but again came out with a majority decision over Yukihiro Komiya on scores of 30-30, 30-29 and 30-28. However in the finals Noiri made sure he didn't win a close decision and knocked Yuki down twice in the 1st round and twice in the 2nd en route to a 2nd round stoppage at 1:35 to win the tournament and a spot in GLORY's World Tournament in May. 

Despite going up in weight, the tournament win further solidifies Noiri as the world's top Lightweight. It's interesting to see how he'll fare against bigger fighters in the main GLORY tournament, but I don't see any reason to not consider him the early favorite. Sure, scores indicate that he struggled with a bigger Hiroya and Komiya, but until footage of the fights comes out it'll be hard to know. It is very possible he chose to work at range and save his energy, an approach he's taken to tournaments before. Yuki lived up to my expectations by getting past Mohan Dragon, albeit in an unconventional way, and then stopping Zen Fujita. And as I expected, Yuki had the flaws in his game exploited by the technically superior Noiri. Still a good showing from Yuki and a good way to bounce back from the loss to Sung-hyun Lee. Yukihiro Komiya made the biggest impression in the tournament. The former RISE Middleweight champion had looked very good since dropping to 65kg, but his loss to Yasuomi Soda made it seem like it was a bit too late for him to break through. However, he was able to pull off the upset against Kajiwara and gave Noiri a good run for his money. Zen Fujita made it to the semis, but didn't give me any reason to think he's close to a world level. He got dropped by Matsuoka in his quarterfinal and although he showed great heart by coming back and getting a stoppage, he wasn't ready for Yuki's low kicks. Kajiwara had a disappointing night, but it's not as if he wasn't competitive. His run at 63kg was far from a fluke, but his style relies heavily on his opponent coming at him. I would assume the more experienced Komiya didn't fall into that trap and that's why he was able to win, but according to GLORY's Martijn De Jong on Twitter, the fight was action packed, so I guess that's another good way to throw a counter fighter off of his game. Despite losing, Hiroya fighting Noiri close and not getting dropped says, to me at least, that he's made some improvements and that the move to 65kg is bigger than I thought it would be. Mohan Dragon mostly gave me what I expected and I'm not surprised his wild, looping shots resulted in low blows against a fighter who loves to be on the inside. I guess I could say Matsuoka surprised me by dropping Fujita, but his lack of defense cost him.

The event also featured a few super fights, the most significant of which featured Krush 60kg champion Hirotaka Urabe taking on WPMF Japan Super Featherweight champion Shigeru. After 3 rounds of what GLORY's Martijn de Jong called the fight of the night, the two went to an extension round. Less than 30 seconds into the extension round, Urabe opened up a nasty cut with a flying knee and forced a doctor stoppage. Urabe pushes his undefeated streak to 14 and picks up another win over a top 60kg fighter. Although he lost, Shigeru proves he's one of the best 60kg fighters in Japan after defeating Yuji Takeuchi and fighting Urabe even for 3 rounds. Clearly he has some defensive holes, but he's shown he can fight against all different types of fighters and under different rulesets. I'd like to see him fight Naoki Ishikawa in Krush with the winner getting another shot at Urabe. 

Quick results after the break

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Japanese Kickboxing Scene: February Recap

February was kind of a slow month at the top of the ladder, especially when compared to January and March, but it still had a plethora of events and was not devoid of high level competition. Big cards in February included Shootboxing, NJKF and Fist Kick's first events of 2013, all of which featured top Japanese fighters taking on foreign competition, with two facing Rajadamnern Stadium champions.

February 3rd - J-Network: J-Fight in Shinjuku ~vol.29~/J-Girls 2013 ~Victorious Goddess 1st~

In the J-Network main event, Bantamweight champ Kentaro Kimura stopped MA Kick's Hiroshi Watanabe via cut in the 2nd round, bouncing back from a loss to Takuma Ito that snapped a 5-fight winning streak. In a fight that may have determined Kimura's next challenger, 7th ranked Yojiro upset #1 Kenta by split decision. For Yojiro it's his 3rd straight and Kenta is now winless in his last 4. As part of a 4-man mini-tournament to determine WPMF Japan Super Flyweight champion Kiminori Matsuzaki's next challenger (or for the vacant title if he vacated it), Ryuji Wakayama upset Hiroyuki Yamano by unanimous decision. This was quite the upset as Yamano was coming off of a win over Yuji Uwasawa. In the J-Girls main event, Yuichiro Nagashima student Chihiro Kira took a unanimous decision over Shootboxing JKS48 tournament runner-up Akari Eneos, avenging her sister, Yuki Kira, who lost to Akari last year. 

February 10th - DEEP*KICK 14

In the night's main event, 65kg champ and Krush regular Hiroto Yamaguchi took a close unanimous decision over 2011 K-1 Koshien runner-up Yuya Shibata. Yamaguchi has now won 2 straight since losing to Koya Urabe in the semifinals of the 2012 Krush Youth GP. Shibata also participated in that tournament, but lost his quarterfinal fight to Daizo Sasaki. The event was also supposed to have a 70kg title fight between champion Ren Takeno and Yoji Fujimoto, but Takeno weighed in 6.2kg over the limit and his title was forfeited to Fujimoto. In a pair of 55kg fights, Yokinobu Nakatsuka stopped Koki Nakamu in the 3rd round while Krush veteran Kazuki Tanaka defeated Ikki by decision. This likely sets up a fight between Tanaka and Nakatsuka and if Tanaka wins he could get a shot at 55kg champ Seiya Rokukawa. Nakatsuka has faced Rokukawa twice and lost convincingly both times.

MA Kick - Break 34

The main event saw #5 Welterweight Akira Makoto keep his undefeated record with a win over #1 Yasuyki Murata. Makoto will likely face off with champion Jun Nakazawa next and will need to bring it if he wants to stay undefeated. In the co-main event, Thai Pupanrek Esugym stopped Yukimaru in the 1st round.

February 17th - NJKF 2013 1st

In the month's biggest event, Rajadamnern Stadium champ Kaimookdham Aikbangzai dominated title challenger Kunitaka en route to a 2nd round stoppage, retaining his Raja Stadium title. The fight was a bit of a mismatch, as Kunitaka had a weak record against Thai competition. The main event saw Gansuwan Sasiprapa score a bit of an upset over Tetsuya Yamato. Gansuwan has had strong outings in his last two fights in Japan, taking out Tetsuya Yamato and Yuya Yamato. This loss stopped a 3-fight win streak for Yamato. In a NJKF Welterweight title fight, Yuya Yamato picked up a second close win over Soichiro Miyakoshi on scores of 49-48(x3) to earn his first title defense. Miyakoshi had looked very good since their first fight, but was unable to use his momentum to overcome Yamato despite a strong performance. His brother Keijiro Miyakoshi also fought, defending his NJKF Lightweight title against Ryota, snapping a 2-fight losing streak. NJKF Super Lightweight champion Seiji Takahashi defended his title as well with a one sided decision over Kazushige Sugama. NJKF Super Bantamweight champion Arato was unable to keep his title, losing a decision to challenger Hiroya Haga. WBC Japan Women's Featherweight champ Ayano Oishi defended her title with a 5th round TKO via cut in the 5th round over Team Dragon's Kimiko Sasaki. Finally, Flyweight prospects Nemo and Takashi Saenchaigym fought for a 2nd time, their first encounter ending in a draw, with Takashi picking up the unanimous decision win and vacant NJKF Flyweight title, ending Nemo's impressive run.

Fist Kick IX

The main event saw Rajadamnern Stadium Featherweight champion Sirimongkol Eiwaigym make his third trip to Japan, this time defeating Daiki Nagashima by unanimous decision, although the fight was pretty close. Sirimongkol improves to 2-0-1 on Japanese soil, having previously defeated Shunta Ito and surprisingly drawing with Yusuke Shimizu. The co-main event saw Kanongsuk WSR pick up a win over WPMF Japan Super Lightweight champion Hidekazu Tanaka. Kanongsuk had just been knocked out by undefeated prospect Yasuyuki while Tanaka was coming off of a loss to Minoru Kimura. Polish fighter Joanna Jedrzejczyk returned to Japan after a win over Ayano Oishi in the Hoost Cup and picked up another win over NJKF Featherweight champ AZUMA. In a bit of an upset, Takeshi Shimizu defeated TOMOYUKI to win the vacant WPMF Japan Super Welterweight title. TOMOYUKI had recently had a 3-fight win streak snapped by Buakaw in Thai Fight while Shimizu was knocked out by Takayuki WSR in his last outing. In another upset, Noro Yuki stopped J-Network Super-Flyweight champ Yuki via cuts in the 2nd round to win the vacant WPMF Japan Bantamweight title. Noro Yuki now has two big wins over guys moving up in weight recently, previously picking up a win over TO-MA. Yuki had won three straight including a win at Bantamweight over Kenta. In the other semifinal of the aforementioned WPMF Japan Super Flyweight tournament, Nagata Haryi upset Sazanami Satsutama in an extension round and will now face Ryuji Wakayama. This is a much more shocking upset than Wakayama's win over Yamano as Satsutama had looked very strong over the past few years, only losing to the top 3 fighters in the division. Also in action was Madoka Jinnai, also known as Erika Kamimura's amateur rival and the first girl to beat her, albeit in amateur competition, defeated J-Girls Bantamweight champion Yukino Oishi, winning the vacant WPMF Japan Bantamweight title.

February 22nd - Shootboxing 2013 act.1

The main event saw the struggling Yoshihiro Sato take on "Japanese Killer" and 2012 S-Cup runner-up Henri van Opstal. Sato became the first Japanese fighter to defeat van Opstal, winning a close majority decision. Sato was coming off of a disappointing loss to Kenta which dethroned him as Japan's top Middleweight, a distinction he had held since Masato's retirement. The co-main event saw Warren Stevelmans pick up a win over the entertaining Bovy Sor Udomson. Stevelmans was supposed to compete in last year's S-Cup, but opted to fight as a late replacement in GLORY. Bovy did compete in the S-Cup, but lost in the opening round to Henri van Opstal. Shootboxing Featherweight champion Akira Utagawa took a one-sided decision over Kazuki Tamagawa, scoring shoot point after shoot point. MMA fighter Joachim Hansen returned to Shootboxing after a surprisingly close fight with Hiroaki Suzuki in last year's S-Cup in his Shootboxing debut, this time picking up a win over Kenji Kanai on extremely impressive scores of 30-21(x2) and 30-20. Hinata competed on the card, picking up an easy win over Masatoshi Hyakutake. K-1 veteran Kizaemon Saiga returned to Shootboxing as well, picking up his second win in the promotion with a win over Makoto Yamauchi. Ai Takahashi returned with a win, defeating Korean Mi-jeon Jang. Finally, Rena's protégé and JKS48 winner MIO suffered her first pro loss at the hands of J-GIRLS MiniFlyweight champion Momi. 

February 24th - Big Bang 12

The main event saw Krush 70kg champ Yasuhiro Kido take on Asami Zaurus, who lost a close fight to Takuro Moriya which would have given him a shot at Kido's Krush title. Asami put up a good fight, but came up short as Kido picked up yet another win. Shunta Ito bounced back from a close loss to Hiroki Akimoto with a 4th round KO of Korean fighter Seong-bum Woo. At Heavyweight, Hiromi Amada had his first real competition in a while and picked up a win over Tsutomu Takahagi. Toshiki Taniyama picked up his 2nd straight win with a close majority decision over Korean fighter Son-cheol Oh. At 71kg, Yoichi Yamazaki stopped K-1 veteran Shingo Garyu while 55kg Krush prospect Namito Izawa dropped a decision to Ariaki Okada. 

Hoost Cup Spirit 2

The main event saw prospect Sho Ogawa struggle with RISE Lightweight Shohei Asahara, but ultimately pull out a split decision victory. After a strong run that saw him win the 2011 K-1 Koshien tournament and also pick up wins over Makihira Keita and Minoru Kimura, Ogawa is 1-1 in his last two and hasn't looked great in either fight. Asahara may not be the best Lightweight, but he is much better than his 0-5 record over his last 5 fights would indicate. He took RISE 65kg champ Koji Yoshimoto and top ranked RISE Lightweight Yuto Watanabe to extension rounds, lost close, competitive decisions to Yusuke Sugawara and current RISE Lightweight champ Sung-hyun Lee and now loses a split decision to Ogawa. 

NJKF Muay Thai Open 23

The main event pitted Kongenchai Esugym against Shota Saenchaigym and started well for Shota, who scored knockdowns in the 1st and 2nd rounds. However, Kongenchai stormed back and was eventually able to cut Shota with an elbow, causing the doctor to stop the fight in the 4th. Though he likely would have lost a decision, Kongenchai showed a lot of heart and was able to get the stoppage, even if it was kind of anti-climactic. This is a tough loss for Shota who was winning and had won 2 straight, including a win over Shohei Hareyama. The co-main event saw Dejpanom Saenchaigym bounce back from a loss to Seiji Takahashi with a win over Team Dragon's Shota Watanabe. 

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