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Japanese Scene Weekly Recap: May 27th -June 2nd


After about a month off, I'm bringing back the Japanese scene weekly updates to keep you updated on what is happening in Japan.

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This week saw a few upcoming cards take some hits due to injuries, but luckily the fighters who replaced them aren't much of a step down at all. Gagny Baradji, who was set to fight Naoki Ishikawa in one of the ISKA Lightweight Tournament semifinals at Krush.29 was forced out of his bout due to an arm injury. Replacing him is Xavier Bastard who pushed Krush 60kg champ Hirotaka Urabe to the limit the last time he was in Japan, but lost on a somewhat controversial cut stoppage in an extension round. He has just as good of a chance to win this tournament as Baradji did, if not even better, and his semifinal with Naoki Ishikawa should be a great fight.

The other fighter to be bit by the injury bug was Ayano Oishi, who was set to face Greece's Maria Pantazi at Hoost Cup Kings. Replacing her will be one of her recent opponents, Kimiko Sasaki, who put up  a valiant effort, but ultimately lost to Oishi in her last fight.

In what looks to be RISE's best card of the year so far, RISE has announced a huge champion vs champion matchup as 63kg champ Sun Hyun Lee faces 65kg champ Yasuomi Soda at 65kg on July 20th at RISE 94. This follows in the footsteps of RISE 93's big matchup between 60kg champ Kosuke Komiyama and Yuki, who Sun Hyun Lee won his 63kg title from earlier this year. Lee, who is the LiverKick #4 Lightweight, lost his last bout, though it was at 70kg to Yoshihiro Sato in GLORY, a man who stands over 6 inches taller than him. Soda won his most recent bout where he took the 65kg title from Koji Yoshimoto in a rematch. Also expected to participate on the card are the aforementioned Komiyama, 55kg champ Dyki, 57.5kg champ Ittao, LiverKick #2 ranked Lightweight Masahiro Yamamoto and Daiki Watabe.

NJKF announced a pair of big matchups to join the July 15th card that already features LiverKick #1 Lightweight Masaaki Noiri against NJKF Super Lightweight champ Seiji Takahashi in a fight for the vacant WBC Japan Super Lightweight title. In a fight to determine WBC Japan Welterweight champion Yuya Yamato's next challenger, NJKF Super Welterweight champion Kenta takes on J-Network Welterweight champ Masato Otake. In a fight to determine WBC Japan Lightweight champion Yosuke Mizuochi's next challenger, NJKF Lightweight champ Keijiro Miyakoshi takes on Shota Saenchaigym. Mizuochi won his title from Miyakoshi and Shota recently upset Mizuochi.

MA Kick announced a fight for their June 30th card between K-1 veteran Yuji Takeuchi and Kanongsuk Weerasakreck. Both fighters have struggled over the last couple of years, but have been looking more like themselves lately. A win here for either guy will be huge.

HEAT has announced a 70kg tournament for HEAT Korea vol.1, their first event in South Korea. In one semifinal MA Kick and WPMF Japan Super Welterweight champion Hiroto looks to continue his run against RISE veteran Cha Un Pyo. In the other semifinal, K-1 veteran Choi Woo Young takes on Ok Ton-ju. Hiroto and Choi would have to be the favorites here, but Cha is a good candidate to score an upset. HEAT also announced a big fight for HEAT 27 on July 28th as 70kg champ Danilo Zanolini puts his title on the line against Yuji Nashiro.

Results from this past week after the break.

 

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Japanese Kickboxing Scene: June Preview

After a bit of a hiatus, I'm back with a preview for June which features big events from Krush, RISE, the Hoost Cup and M-Fight.

June 2nd - Krush Ignition 2013 vol.4

Krush's 4th smaller event of the year is actually one of their better IGNITION cards, headlined by a 70kg bout between Hiroki Nakajima and NJKF's KEN. Both are in a bit of a slump right now and lost their most recent fight to Yutaro Yamauchi. Co-headlining are 67kg GP participant Makihira Keita and NJKF's Taeyeon. Keita lost his most recent bout in the GP to Shintaro Matsukura while Taeyeon was upset in his last bout, losing by 1st round KO to Shota Otsuki. Also on the card is the final bout of the 3rd leg of the 55kg WILDRUSH League as Kazyosi takes on Masanori Shimada.

Big Bang 13

The main event features top Japanese Middleweight Yasuhiro Kido taking on Iranian Minai Massoud. In the most intriguing bout of the night, Big Bang staple Shunta Ito takes on surging prospect Yasuyuki at Super Featherweight. Ito is just 2-2 in his last 4, but the losses came to Rajadamnern Stadium champ Kaimookaw Wacharachai and top Japanese Featherweight Hiroki Akimoto. This will be Yasuyuki's third straight matchup against a top fighter as he stopped Kanongsuk and took a decision off of Yuji Umehara in his past two fights. In a 64kg bout, slugger Mohan Dragon takes on the more technical Toshiki Taniyama. Taniyama has been susceptible to big punchers in the past, so we'll see if he's progressed at all lately.

June 9th - RISE 93

The main event features one of RISE's biggest fights of the year, pitting 60kg champ Kosuke Komiyama against former 63kg champ Yuki. Komiyama has won 11 in a row, most recently going 3-0 in Shootboxing and picking up wins over SB Feathweight champ Naguranchun Masa M16 and SB Super Featherweight champ Akifumi Utagawa. After a pair of losses to Sun Hyun Lee with a win over Javier Hernandez in between, Yuki fought in the Road to GLORY Japan 65kg Slam where he made it to the finals with wins over Mohan Dragon and Zen Fujita before being dominated by Masaaki Noiri in the finals. He'll be looking to make a statement after that loss, but Komiyama's style will make it very difficult for the powerful striker to pick up a win here. At 63kg, top contender Yuto Watanabe takes on Krush's Yukimitsu Takahashi. Watanabe has won two straight by knockout since an extension round loss to Sun Hyun Lee while Takahashi lost a split decision against Shunsuke Oishi in a bout for the vacant J-Network Super Lightweight title.

TNK1 feat. REBELS

The headlining bout pits NJKF Super Welterweight champion Kenta against Yuma Matsui  in a 67kg bout. Kenta has won 2 in a row after losing 4 straight, most recently beating Yoshihiro Sato and taking his spot as the #2 Middleweight in Japan behind Yasuhiro Kido. After failing to find success at 63kg and 70kg, Matsui has come back to his best weight at 67kg where he knocked out MA Kick champion Jun Nakazawa in his most recent bout. Kenta is the better fighter, but Matsui has pulled out some magic in the past at this weight with wins over T-98 and Nakazawa who are two of the best at Welterweight. The co-main event pits #1 Flyweight Ryuji Kato against rising star Eisaki Ogasawara under a yet to be determined ruleset. After avenging a loss to Yuji Uwasawa, Kato has wins over almost every significant Flyweight in Japan, but has only started to test himself against the new crop of young Flyweights, beating Takashi Saenchaigym in his most recent bout. The 17 year old Ogasawara has burst onto the scene in the last 6 months with dominant wins over Kiminori Matsuzaki and Hiroyuki Yamano. A win for Ogasawara could mean the beginning of a long reign at the top of the Flyweight and Super Flyweight divisions.

K-Spirit 6

The main event pits Kunihiro against Tomo Arimatsu for the vacant RKA Super Bantamweight title. This is a rematch of a fight that Arimatsu won. However, Kunihiro has seemed to improve greatly since then, pushing MA Kick champion Keisuke Miyamoto to the limit and forcing a draw in their title fight. Conversely, Arimatsu lost his last fight to Yuta Sashikubi.

Chakuriki Gold Rush Double Blade 2

In the main event, K-1 veteran Takehero Murahama looks to pick up just his 2nd win in 8 years in a rematch against Yamato. Their first fight ended in a draw.

June 16th - Hoost Cup Kings

The biggest weekend of the month features possibly the best striker on the planet in Saenchai PK Saenchaimuaythaigym facing off against Yosuke Mizuochi. Saenchai is coming off of a loss to 17 year old wunderkind Yodwicha, but gets a rematch with him just 9 days before this fight. While it is unlikely, it could leave him open to be upset by Yosuke Mizuochi who is one of Japan's top Lightweights and holds wins over Yoshinori Nakasuka, Keijiro Miyakoshi, Yoshito Kajita and Nong'an Sasiprapa. Mizuochi was also upset in his most recent bout, having his impressive streak snapped by Shota Saenchaigym. The main event is a 70kg matchup between Yoshihiro Sato and Yuichiro Nagashima. Sato was recently upset by Kenta in Krush, but bounced back with a win over the much smaller Sun Hyun Lee in GLORY. Nagashima hasn't been the same fighter since taking time off to be a pro wrestler and has lost two in a row to Henri van Opstal and Robin van Roosmalen. At 55kg, Ryuya Kusakabe defends his WPMF Japan title against Ichinohe Sota in a rematch and at 59kg NJKF Super Featherweight champ Daichi Yamato takes on Pinsiam Maki.

Krush.29

The headliner here is the 4-man tournament for the vacant ISKA Lightweight title with Gagny Baradji facing Naoki Ishikawa in one semifinal and Koya Urabe facing Fumiya Osawa in the other. Krush 63kg champ Hideaki Yamazaki fights for the first time since winning his title against Ikki. At 55kg MA Kick champ Keisuke Miyamoto looks to pick up another high profile win over the hard hitting Ryuma Tobe. At 70kg TOMOYUKI faces Asami Zaurus and at 65kg HIROYA takes on NOMAN.

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Final Fight 06: Gerges vs. Zhuravlev on June 14th

FFC6Orsat and his crew in Croatia have really been hitting the ground running this year as they have been running a steady stream of events, most of which we don't even have time to prepare for. The next one is in, get this, two weeks, on June 14th in Croatia featuring some pretty cool fights. The big feature fights of the evening are Hesdy Gerges vs. Pavel Zhuravlev and Igor Jurkovic vs. Dzevad Poturak, which for a card like this is a pretty big deal.

We don't have much else by the way of details on this one, but we do have a card! Shout out to bero at Kakutougi.

June 14th, Poreč, Croatia.

Igor Jurković (CRO) vs. Dževad Poturak (BiH), KB HW
Hesdy Gerges (EGP) vs. Pavel Zhuravlev (UKR), KB HW
Ivica Trušček (CRO) vs. Laszlo Senyei (HUN), MMA -77kg
Emil Poljak (CRO) vs. Dorijan Ilić (CRO), MMA HW
Miran Fabjan (SLO) vs. Ivan Bilić (CRO), KB -81kg

Mladen Kujundžić (CRO) vs. Nikola Dimkovski (SER), KB HW
Samo Petje (SLO) vs. Teo Mikelić (CRO), KB -71kg
Tonči Peruško (CRO) vs. Nenad Šančić (CRO), MMA -81kg
Ivan Vitasović (CRO) vs. TBA, MMA HW

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Rick Roufus Calls out Evander Holyfield Again

RoufusMaybe it has just been a slow few days for news, maybe it was just destiny, maybe it was a press release, but what we do know is that Rick Roufus has once again laid out a challenge for former Heavyweight Boxing Champion Evander Holyfield to meet in a Boxing ring in October. Holyfield had a fight set up in Poland which fell through, which has given Roufus and his team new hope of seeing Roufus vs. Holyfield possibly happening this year.

They have once again thrown down the gauntlet and it isn't clear if Holyfield is going to bite or not, but he does have an opening, right?

Rick Roufus is a multi-time Kickboxing and Muay Thai Champion who was last seen fighting for K-1 in October where he fought James Wilson to a Draw.

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