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DEEP*KICK 10 Results: Undefeated Seiya Rokukawa Wins 55kg Tournament

Over the past year, Japan’s 55kg division has began to heat up with the emergence of Ryuya Kusakabe, Shota Takiya and KENJI, brother of Yuta Kubo and now it appears that there is another rising star in the Super Bantamweight division and it is 25 year old Seiya Rokukawa. At DEEP*KICK 10 earlier this week, Rokukawa asserted his dominance in the promotion’s first 55kg tournament, scoring consecutive knockout wins over Yuki Kyotani and Yukinobu Nakatsukasa in the semis and finals, respectively. The wins move Rokukawa to 8-0-0, 6 KO and is his second tournament win of his young career as he won the RISE Rising Rookies Cup last year at 55kg, scoring knockouts in the semifinals and finals of that tournament as well. Despite only having 8 pro fights, at 25, Rokukawa is older than the elite fighters in the division, but luckily RISE has one of the better 55kg divisions in Japan. If his power carries into the upper levels of the division, then potential matchups with Ryuya Kusakabe, Shota Takiya and Nobuchika Terado should be all the more entertaining.

Also on this card were a pair of retirement bouts. First, Yasushi Nobuhiro whose exhibition bout was against 2010 K-1 MAX Japan Tournament champion Yuichiro “Jienotsu” Nagashima. Nagashima still looked to be a bit heavy, but in shape so he may be on the path back to being a legitimate kickboxer. The other retirement exhibition was for the first NJKF Atomweight “BONITA BOXEO” champion taking on current WPMF Japan Women’s Atomweight champion Little Tiger. {jcomments on}

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Shootboxing 2012 act.1 Results: Stevelmans Outlasts Shishido, Suzuki Beats Bovy, Ai Takahashi Upset

Last night at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Shootboxing held its first big event of 2012. The emphasis on this card and in Shootboxing as of late seems to be on matching up fighters of different disciplines under Shootboxing rules as opposed to bouts between Shootboxing fighters. This could be seen as the card was headlined by Shootboxing star Hiroki Shishido vs K-1 veteran Warren Stevelmans as well as a 70kg bout between former boxer Satoru Suzuki and former thaiboxer Bovy Sor Udomson. Also in action were Shootboxing Women's Flyweight champion Ai Takahashi against 17 year old karate fighter Mizuki Inoue and Shooto legend Mamoru Yamaguchi taking on Shootboxing prospect Kazuyuki Fushimi.

In the night's main event, Shootboxing star Hiroki Shishido lost his third straight fight to South African Warren Stevelmans by unanimous decision on scores of 47-44, 46-44 and 47-46. It appears that the fight was a grueling affair with Shishido attempting to use throws and submissions to wear down Stevelmans while Stevelmans got the better of the striking exchanges. I believe Stevelmans scored two knockdowns while Shishido was able to get a shoot point. Stevelmans (55-15-4, 16 KO) first broke out in K-1 in 2008, winning the 2008 Netherlands qualifier tournament, defeating Chris Ngimbi and Marco Pique en route to his first shot at the Final 16. He made it to the quarterfinals before losing to Andy Souwer, which was part of a rough streak from 2008-2009 that saw Stevelmans go 3-6, however his losses were to Gago Drago, Souwer, Giorgio Petrosyan, Albert Kraus, Orono Wor Petchpun and Saiyok Pumpanmuang. Recently, he made it to the finals of the 2011 K-1 MAX Madrid tournament, losing to Rafi Zouheir in the finals and since has scored wins over Mohammed Medhar and Zeben Diaz, drew with Armen Petrosyan and lost to Buakaw Por Pramuk in his last fight. At 34, Shishido (48-12-0, 20 KO) is having his age catch up to him quite a bit. Since September of 2010, Shishido is just 1-5 and two of the losses in his current streak came to MMA fighters Toby Imada and "Lion" Takeshi Inoue.

In the co-main event, Shootboxing converts Satoru Suzuki and Bovy Sor Udomson fought in what appears to have been a thrilling affair which saw Bovy floored two or three times by Suzuki in the first round only to come back and go toe to toe with the former boxer. Despite Bovy's comeback, his first round deficit was too large and he lost a unanimous decision on scores of 28-26(x3). With the win, Suzuki improves his pro kickboxing record to 7-10-0, 5 KO and continues his up and down career as he was coming off of a loss to Christophe Pruvost at Shoot the Shooto back in November. The win also gets Suzuki's foot in the door for this year's S-Cup and if he is able to put together another win or two against top competition, expect him to be included in his first S-Cup. Bovy (84-44-2, 52 KO) was on a 2-fight win streak in Shootboxing with wins over Toby Imada and Gago Drago after a rough start to 2011 which saw him lose 3 straight fights. While the loss may jeopardize his spot in this year's S-Cup, it will not jeopardize his spot at the top of Shootboxing's cards as he has put on wildly entertaining bouts against Takaaki Umeno, Hiroki Shishido and Gago Drago and appears to have put on another great fight for Shootboxing.

In what has to be seen as probably the biggest upset of 2012 so far, 17 year old karateka and JEWELS MMA -56kg Rough Stone GP winner Mizuki Inoue was able to sneak by Shootboxing Women's Flyweight champion Ai Takahashi in an extension round, winning on scores of 10-9(x3) after a majority draw on scores of 30-29, 30-30 and 29-29. Inoue appeared to have utilized good head movement to avoid Takahashi's offense while counter-striking and scoring with her own. The win for the 17 year old Inoue (4-1-0, 0 KO) shakes the women's Flyweight division as Inoue only had 4 prior kickboxing bouts, two of which were under Shootboxing rules, and because she is splitting time between kickboxing and MMA. Inoue will likely receive an invite to this year's Girls S-Cup. The loss for Takahashi (11-3-0, 5 KO) is devastating as she had become divisional kingpin by default with RENA's victory over Erika Kamimura at RISE 85 in November. Likely a factor in the loss was Takahashi's 7 month layoff due to an orbital bone injury. This year's Girls S-Cup should be essential in determining who the top of the crop is as it will likely include Takahashi, Inoue, RENA and Erika Kamimura.

In another MMA vs Shootboxing bout, Shootboxing prospect Kazuyuki Fushimi took on former Shooto Bantamweight and Featherweight champion Mamoru Yamaguchi, but Fushimi was unable to pick up his second straight win against an MMA fighter as Yamaguchi won a close majority decision on scores of 29-29 and 30-29(x2). Yamaguchi (4-1-0, 0 KO) gets a win in his first fight in Shootboxing in over 2 years and although he was not one of the four men selected to participate in the first UFC Flyweight tournament, Yamaguchi is still a top contender and as he has proven in Shootboxing, has the striking to challenge anybody in the division. Fushimi (14-9-0, 4 KO) has had trouble staying consistent and has faltered against all of his name opponents save MMA fighter Junji Ito, but at just 20 years old he still has time to sharpen his tools and possibly become a threat to the top 55kg fighters in Japan.

Finally, Shootboxing prospect Masaya Matsuhana took a unanimous decision over MMA fighter Tenkei Oda on scores of 30-28, 30-26 and 29-26.

Quick Results after the break

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Krush.15 Results: Takiya KOs Terado in 1st, Urabe and Ishikawa Draw, TaCa Leads WILDRUSH League

Krush held its first event of 2012, Krush.15 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo earlier yesterday. In the headlining bouts, 55kg champ Shota Takiya and 60kg champ Hirotaka Urabe defended their titles against Nobuchika Terado and Naoki Ishikawa, respectively. Krush.15 also kicked off the -63kg WILDRUSH League which is a 6-man round-robin to determine the next 63kg title challenger.

In the main event, 55kg champ Shota Takiya continued his reign of terror, stopping Nobuchika Terado just 71 seconds into the first round, scoring 3 downs with a pair of left hooks and a flying knee. The win is Takiya’s (18-4, 12 KO) first defense and moves his win-streak to 9. With possible opponents KENJI and Ryuya Kusakabe busy with prior engagements, expect Takiya to take a super fight before taking a trilogy fight with either man. The quick loss is disappointing for Terado (27-8-1, 12 KO), who had a good shot at being the man to stop Takiya’s current streak, but he never got into his rhythm and was stopped right away. Should Kusakabe be Takiya’s next opponent, Krush would be well-served in organizing a fight between Terado and KENJI in Krush or RISE to see if KENJI is ready to take a step up in the division and challenge the top fighters in Japan.

In the co-main event, Hirotaka Urabe and Naoki Ishikawa proved to be evenly matched after the two fought to a unanimous draw after 3 rounds on scores of 29-29 and 28-28(x2). Urabe seems to have gotten the better of rounds 1 and 2, but a cut above Urabe’s eye caused by a flying knee allowed Ishikawa to win the 3rd and bring the fight to a draw. Despite the draw, Urabe (13-5-2, 5 KO) defends his title and is now on a 7-fight unbeaten streak. It’s hard to guess what is next for Urabe, should it be FIKA at 63kg or fighting in Krush. If he stays in Krush, matchups with Masaaki Noiri, Kosuke Komiyama or Kejiro Miyakoshi could provide a good test for any of the fighters involved. After his last bout, Ishikawa (33-18-5, 18 KO) talked about retirement, but I do not believe he mentioned it after this bout and according to Boutreview, he seemed pleased with his performance against Urabe. Ishikawa has his ups and downs, but with a win over Yuji Takeuchi followed by this draw against Urabe, Ishikawa is proving to still be a top fighter as he ages and could find success over the next couple of years should he continue to fight.

In a super-fight, flashy K-1 veteran Keiji Ozaki scored a 2nd round KO at 37 seconds into the round over Hironori Hattori. The win is a good bounce-back for Ozaki (24-15-1, 10 KO) who was coming off back to back losses to foreign fighters Thomas Adamandopoulous and Romain Mailov.

Krush.15 also marked the beginning of the -63kg WILDRUSH League which features 6 fighters in a round robin where the fighter with the most points after 5 fights will earn the right to challenge for the Krush -63kg title. Fighters receive 3 points for a KO win, 2 points for a decision win and 1 point for a draw.

Tournament favorite and member of Team Dragon Hideaki Yamazaki(12-1, 6 KO) started off strong with a clear unanimous decision victory over Silver Wolf’s Hitoshi Tsukagoshi (9-2, 5 KO) on scores of 30-29 and 30-28(x2). The win gives Yamazaki two points, however Triple-Y’s TaCa(record N/A) earned himself a 1st round lead with a quick knockout of Naoki Terasaki(8-4, 2 KO) at 1:34 into the 1st round, giving TaCa 3 points. In the final WILDRUSH League fight, Supernova tournament semifinalist Yukimitsu Takahashi(11-4-2, 4 KO) and Krush regular NOMAN(record N/A) fought to a split draw on scores of 30-30, 29-30 and 30-29, giving each man a point and 3rd place in the standings. The lead is nice for TaCa, but it is just the first round and Hideaki Yamazaki has only gotten better as his career as progressed. The draw is tough for Takahashi who will likely need to defeat both TaCa and Yamazaki if he wants to win this tournament.

Finally, in a clash between J-Girls champions, Featherweight champion and Team Dragon’s Kimiko Sasaki defeated Bantamweight champion Shiho Mizuno by unanimous decision on scores of 30-29, 30-28 and 30-27.

Quick results after the break:

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NYE Kickboxing Fix: Kubo, Noiri Win + Aerts, JLB in Pro Wresling

Fight For Japan: Genki Desu Ka Omisoka 2011 took place today in Tokyo, Japan and featured a few notable kickboxers on the card. Yuta Kubo and Masaaki Noiri, arguably the top two fighters that K-1 has at 63kg, fought in separate bouts. Long time K-1 legends Peter Aerts and Jerome Le Banner both took part in pro wrestling matches.

Yuta Kubo fought Nils Widlund, a Swedish San Shou stylist. The first round saw Widlund treating the fight like a San Shou match, consistently catching Kubo's kicks and sending him to the ground. Kubo was landing all the notable shots though and began to really take over in the second round. By the third round, Widlund was there to be finished and Kubo turned up the pace, going for the finish. A right high kick followed by a knee to the body dropped Widlund and the Swede didn't get up. Kubo won all six of his fights in 2011.

Masaaki Noiri took on Kengo Sonoda and took a unanimous decision. Sonoda was able to land a bit, but Noiri's arms and gloves absorbed most of the shots. Noiri's offense was just much more dynamic than Sonoda's and ultimately lead to the win.  This win is Noiri's second of December, coming three weeks after his spectacular KO of Koya Urabe at Krush.14.

Peter Aerts faced long time MMA veteran Kazuyuki Fujita. Aerts hit Fujita with a lot of punches and at one point even hit him with a high kick that seemed to actually hurt Fujita. Fujita got Aerts in a Boston crab and Aerts tapped out. It looked like Aerts may have legitimately hurt his back. Jerome Le Banner was up against former UFC heavyweight champ Tim Sylvia. Sylvia took down Le Banner a few times before Jerome figured just to actually hurt Tim. Le Banner hit Sylvia with a liver kick, just like the one he hit Andrei Kirsanov with yesterday and Tim went down. A few knockdowns later and some ground and pound and Jerome Le Banner was declared the winner.

Overall, obviously some more kickboxing would've been nice, but we got what we could in terms of fights. Let's hope good things are in store for kickboxing in 2012.

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