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Battle for the Belts: Pinca, Kem, Sagetdao, Schilling Among Winners

Battle for the Belts took place in Bangkok yesterday. Although the card was nowhere near what it looked like on paper originally, there were still some good fights that went down with some of the best in the world.

Just two weeks after his loss to Giorgio Petrosyan, Fabio Pinca fought Big Ben Chor Praram for the WBC title at 67kg and walked away with a decision win. Pinca seemed to stun Big Ben in the second round and almost scored a knockdown with low kicks in the third, with Big Ben's leg visibly being hurt. Big Ben, however, controlled the fourth and fifth rounds while Pinca was still competitive.

For the lightweight WBC title, Jomthong Chuwattana took a comfortable decision over Yetkin Ozkul, dominating the fight. Ozkul was game but he got dominated by Jomthong, who used his height and technical skills to keep Ozkul at bay the whole fight. For the super lightweight WBC title, Sagetdao Phetphayathai disposed of Sofiane Derdaga via cut stoppage in the third round.

For the super welterweight WBC title at 70kg, Kem Sitsongpeenong scored a nasty elbow KO over Alejandro Asuma Osu. Kem, predictably, looked a lot more comfortable fighting Muay Thai than he did fighting kickboxing at Glory recently.

Since Artem Levin, Simon Marcus and Artem Vakhitov all pulled out of the fight at one time or another, Joe Schilling ended up facing a Golden Glory kickboxer, Karapet Karapetyan. Schilling won most of the fight, except the third round and turned it up in rounds four and five to get a decision victory, for the interim WBC light heavyweight world title.

At super cruiserweight, 95kg, Steve McKinnon stopped Frank Munoz very quickly into the first round with a right hand that sent Munoz down and unable to beat the count. Fabiano Aoki defeated Christian Bosch for the WBC's heavyweight world title via jumping knee KO.

Fabio Pinca def. Big Ben Chor Praram by decision.

Jomthong Chuwattana def. Yetkin Ozkul by decision.

Sagetdao Phetphayathai def. Sofiane Derdaga by TKO (Cut) in Round 3.

Kem Sitsongpeenong def. Alejandro Asumu Osa by KO (Elbow) in Round 2.

Joe Schilling def. Karapet Karapetyan by decision.

Steve McKinnon def. Frank Munoz by KO (Overhand Right) in Round 1.

Fabiano Aoki def. Christian Bosch by KO (Jumping Knee) in Round 2.

 

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Saenchai Outclasses Peneak in Vintage Performance at Lumpini Stadium

Saenchai put in a vintage performance to outclass the newly crowned fighter of the year Peneak in the main event of the biggest show of the year so far at Lumpini Stadium. He was fighting at 127.5 lbs, something which he has supposedly told promoters he will never do again, and the question was whether the weight cut would leave him drained and give the younger, taller Peneak an advantage.

The answer was an emphatic no. Saenchai controlled the action from start to finish, repeatedly making Peneak miss and seemingly sweeping him and throwing him to the ground at will. In his last outing Peneak was able to drop Sam A with an elbow but this time he was unable to mount any serious offense with Saenchai at his imperious best.

It is rare to see a Muay Thai fighter continuing to compete at an elite level in Thailand past the age of 30 but not only is Saenchai still a match for the very best, on his day he is still capable of outclassing just about anyone. After back to back losses to Saketdaw and, somewhat controversially, Fabio Pinca he has bounced back in spectacular style by putting on masterclasses against two of Thailand's best in Saketdaw and Penek.

In a star studded card the fight of the night was between Wanchai and Sarawut. Sarawut controlled the early action and swept Wanchai on multiple ocassions at the start of the fourth round to move ahead but Wanchai just kept coming and coming, walking his opponent down to take the decision on two of the three judges scorecards.

In the co main event experience prevailed over youth as Singdam's famous right body kick was the story of the fight against up and coming teenager Wanchalerm Udonmuang.  Old adversaries Nong O and Petbonchu locked horns again, this time Nong O was unable to score a stoppage as he has done repatedly in previous meetings although he did get the nod from the judges at the end of a close, competitive fight.

In another battle between a teenager and a veteran Petpanomrung was just too good for Ting Tong. Wanchalong beat Choknamchai, Petmorakot defeated Nattachai and Superlek's size advantage proved too great for Palongpon to overcome

Results:

Superlek Wor Sangprapai defeated Palongpon Watcharachai 

Wanchai Sor Kittichai defeated Sarawut Pikadpadang

Choknamchai Sitjaagung defeated Wanchalong Sitsonong to win Lumpinee Super Flyweight Title

Petmorakot Teedet99 defeated Nattachai Pran26  to win Lumpinee Bantamweight Title

Petpanomrung Wor Sangprapai defeated Tingtong Chor Koiyuhaisuzu

Nong-O Gaiyanghaadao gym defeated Petbonchu FA Group

Singdam Kiatmoo9 defeated Wanchalerm Udonmuang (Lumpinee Lightweight Title)

Saenchai PKMuaythaigym defeated Penek Sitnumnoi 

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Krush.19 Results: Kubo Cruises, Osawa Wins 60kg Tournament, Ishikawa Edges Out Itabashi

Krush.19 took place earlier today at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, headlined by top Lightweight Yuta Kubo and also featuring the 60kg tournament final and Japanese stars Naoki Ishikawa, Kan Itabashi and Keiji Ozaki.

In the main event, Yuta Kubo moved up to 65kg to take on WKN European Welterweight champ Abdellah Ezbiri, cruising to a unanimous decision on scores of 30-26 and 30-25(x2). Kubo dropped Ezbiri twice in the 2nd round, first with a left hook and again with a spinning back fist, but Ezbiri showed his toughness by gutting it out the entire 3 rounds. Kubo (33-4-1, 15 KO) continues his roll and pushes his win-streak to double digits with his 10th straight win. After the fight, he announced that, with this small jump in weight, he has the intention of moving up to 70kg in the future, which is exciting news for fans of the sport as Kubo has a case for being considered the top Lightweight in the world. At 5’9”, Kubo will lose his size advantage that he usually has over his competition, but he will by no means be small for 70kg, so the move makes a lot of sense, especially considering he’s entering into his prime with his 25th birthday on the horizon. Ezbiri (27-5-0, 11 KO) has no shame in losing here and could have even helped himself out a bit despite losing, as he showed heart and toughness by picking himself up off the canvas twice and managing to stay on his feet in the 3rd round, where Kubo usually smells blood and finishes off a hurt opponent.

In the co-main event, Naoki Ishikawa cemented his status as the #2 guy in Krush at 60kg, edging out former RISE champion Kan Itabashi on scores of 30-29(x3). Ishikawa (35-18-5, 18 KO) has once again clawed his way towards the top of the division after a 1-4 stretch, going 2-0-1 in his last 3 with wins over Yuji Takeuchi and now Itabashi, and drawing Krush champ Hirotaka Urabe in a title fight. Had Krush not held the 60kg tourney, Ishikawa would be the obvious next opponent for Urabe, as he is 0-1-1 against the champ and currently the only viable option inside Krush at the moment. As it stands, Urabe is defending his title against Fumiya Osawa in July, so Ishikawa will likely have to wait about 6 months. Possible matchups in the mean time are 60kg tournament participants Katsuya Goto, Takashi Nakajima or Yuya, or possible a foreign opponent. Itabashi (19-6-2, 3 KO) came close, but faltered once again against the division’s elite. Despite wins over Anuwat, Kanongsuk, Yuki and Keiji Ozaki, Itabashi has dropped a pair of fights to Masahiro Yamamoto, lost his RISE title to Kosuke Komiyama in a close fight and now lost to Ishikawa. I would like to see RISE take him back in and set him up for a rematch with Komiyama, though I do not think it will fare too well for him as Komiyama has improved with each fight since the two first met.

In the finals of the 60kg tournament, Fumiya Osawa earned the right to challenge current champ Hirotaka Urabe by squeaking by Katsuya Goto via extension round split decision on scores of 10-9(x2) and 9-10. This is a rematch from last December which saw the two fight to a majority draw, so it is pretty obvious that these two are more or less equals. This is huge for Osawa, who was 0-3-1 in his 4 fights previous to entering the tournament, but he has now scored 3 quality wins and is set to face Krush champ Hirotaka Urabe in July. While his chances aren’t that good, it’s not as if Urabe is unhittable and the 20 year old Osawa was a tough out for Kizaemon Saiga last year and only seems to have gotten better. Goto misses out on his opportunity to fight for the title, but with a close loss here and a close loss to the aforementioned Saiga, Goto is by no means out of the title picture. His head movement and strong boxing give him preferential style matchups against Naoki Ishikawa and Hirotaka Urabe. A good next fight for him would be against Junpei Aotsu.

In a 64kg bout, the exciting Keiji Ozaki returned to action with an easy win over China’s Ding Ning on scores of 30-28 and 30-27(x2). After a loss to Thomas Adamandopoulos for the ISKA 62.3kg title and a loss in Russia, Ozaki is 2-0 in 2012, though he was hardly challenged in either fight. Ozaki (25-15-1, 9 KO) is not an elite fighter, but he will always be fun to watch and his flashy taekwondo style, which features a plethora of spinning attacks, presents a difficult challenge for most fighters.

Finally, in the last fight of the 3rd leg of the Krush 63kg WILDRUSH League, Yukimitsu Takahashi picked up his first win of the tournament, earning a unanimous decision over TaCa on scores of 29-28, 30-28 and 30-29. Takahashi had been involved in two exciting fights before this one, but only managed to get a draw and a single point from each fight. This is a big win over one of the top fighters in this round robin and puts him at 3rd place with 4 points and in striking distance of league leader Hideaki Yamazaki. However, Takahashi has his two hardest matchups for his final two bouts, against #1 Yamazaki and #2 Hitoshi Tsukagoshi and being more of a decision fighter, the odds are stacked against him. TaCa sits at 1-2-0 (1 KO) in the tournament and gets jumped by Takahashi in the standings. To win the league, he would likely have to score back to back knockouts.

After 3 fights, the current standings of the WILDRUSH League are

1. Hideaki Yamazaki, 6 points (3-0-0, 0 KO)

2. Hitoshi Tsukagoshi, 5 points (2-1-0, 1 KO)

3. Yukimitsu Takahashi, 4 points (1-0-2, 0 KO)

4. TaCa, 3 points (1-2-0, 1 KO)

5. Naoki Terasaki, 1 point (0-2-1, 0 KO)

5. NOMAN, 1 point (0-2-1, 0 KO)

Quick results after the break

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RISE 88 Results: Komiyama, Kamimura, Uehara, KENJI, Lee, Van Opstal Score Wins at RISE Supercard

The RISE 88 supercard took place yesterday at the Tokyo Dome City Hall, with 4 current RISE champions competing and a host of other top talents within the company.

The night’s main event saw promotional 60kg champ Kosuke Komiyama defend his title for the first time with a 4th round knockout of Motochika Hanada at 2:53. Hanada gave Komiyama a good challenge in the early stages of the fight, but as it progressed into the second round Komiyama took control, ultimately dropping Hanada in the 4th and causing his corner to throw in the towel. Komiyama (18-2-0, 11 KO) is now on a 7 fight winstreak and can probably lay claim to being the best fighter around the weight in Japan not fighting in Krush. With wins over Kan Itabashi and Sergio Wielzen, it’s hard to argue against Komiyama’s standing simply because he doesn’t fight in Krush. However, I would like to see him make the jump over and fight whoever holds the Krush 60kg title at the time, or possibly take a fight against Naoki Ishikawa or a top foreigner, as RISE has not been shy about looking for talent outside of the promotion. The loss isn’t that bad for Hanada (12-2-1, 4 KO) who is still pretty good.

In the co-main event, promotional Heavyweight champ Makoto Uehara knocked out UFC veteran Crafton “Blaze” Wallace at 2:27 into the 2nd round. Uehara was able to hurt Wallace to the body in the second round and use his heavy hands to drop him twice, both times with right hooks, prompting the referee to stop the fight. Uehara (13-4-0, 9 KO) was originally supposed to take on Ray Sefo, but Sefo pulled out, citing a lingering eye injury that had not recovered from his previous fight against Mirko CroCop. Uehara was coming off of a quick KO of Won Jingan back at RISE 87 and this likely sets him up for a title fight with Kengo Shimizu for either Uehara’s Heavyweight title or an inaugural 90kg title. Wallace was a journeyman MMA fighter at Middleweight with no big wins, while his losses came to the likes of Nate Marquardt, Martin Kampmann and Patrick Cote.

In a 64kg superfight, 63kg champion Yuki was unable to defeat surging prospect and RISE Korea Welterweight champ Sun Hyun Lee, though the fight was close with Lee taking a majority decision on scores of 28-28, 29-28 and 28-27. Lee first got his name out with a one-sided beatdown of Kizaemon Saiga, then lost a razor-thin extension round decision to Koya Urabe in the opening round of the Krush 63kg tourney. He won the RISE Korea title last year in a 4-man one-night tournament and lost a close decision to RISE 65kg champ Koji Yoshimoto at RISE 85, though the fight would have been a draw had Lee made weight. A good fight to make would be between Lee and K-1 veteran Lim Chi Bin, who recently dropped down to 65kg. Yuki (31-14-1, 23 KO) may not be in the division’s elite, but he is certainly in the upper tier and is a damn tough out for any of the top guys at the weight. He was coming off of an incredible comeback win that saw him score two downs in the 5th over title challenger Yuto Watanabe back at RISE 87. He could find himself defending his title again against Hiroshi Mizumachi in the near future.

In the last superfight featuring a current RISE champion, 55kg champ KENJI continued his mean streak with a 3rd round KO of WAKO European Bantamweight champ Franck Gross. KENJI landed a huge left head kick in the 3rd round that put Gross out and forced the referee to stop the bout before starting a count. KENJI (21-4-0, 13 KO) has won 11 of his last 12 and without a deep talent pool, RISE has exhausted all options for him outside of bringing over foreign competition. They could potentially go out and get Ryuya Kusakabe to challenge for the title, but an ideal world would see him in Krush against Nobuchika Terado, Kusakabe or current Krush champ Shota Takiya. Gross now drops to 21-5-1 (3 KO).

In a bit of an upset, Team Souwer’s Henri van Opstal scored a KO of Hinata at 19 seconds into the 3rd round. The two seemed to have been even for the first two rounds, but van Opstal scored a huge right high kick that sent Hinata down and while he tried to get back up, he was unable to do so. This is a big win for van Opstal and is a good bounce back from a loss to Hafid el Boustati at It’s Showtime 55 in January. Hinata (22-12-1, 7 KO) is now 0-2 against Team Souwer and has not fared so well against non-Asian competition since his upsets of Mike Zambidis and Artur Kyshenko, being choked out in under a minute by Souwer, shut out by Giorgio Petrosyan, blown out of the water by Andy Ristie and now KO’d by van Opstal.

In the last “big” fight of the event, Erika Kamimura earned a second shot at RISE -48kg Queen RENA, defeating Seo Hee Ham for the second time by unanimous decision on scores of 30-28 and 29-27(x2). The fight does not appear to have been as action-packed as their first, but it seems like Kamimura stung Ham a couple times. Kamimura (25-2-0, 13 KO) earns a rematch with RENA for the RISE belt, though it is hard to say when that fight would take place as Shootboxing is currently holding first round fights for a 53.5kg Girls S-Cup and, according to their schedule, is planning on holding the tournament in August. Ham (6-2-0, 1 KO) wasn’t as successful as she was in their first fight, likely due to difference of rulesets, but she has nothing to hang her head about. She is one of the top female fighters in women’s kickboxing and MMA, but never quite broke through into the division’s elite, with her MMA losses coming to legends Miku Matsumoto, Yuka Tsuji and Megumi Fujii and a pair of losses to Fujii student and prodigy Ayaka Hamasaki and now her only two kickboxing losses against Kamimura.

More analysis and quick results after the break

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