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Masahiro Yamamoto vs Kan Itabashi Set for It's Showtime 61kg #1 Contender's Match

It's Showtime Japan has just announced the fight that will likely be the headlining bout of their fourth event on October 23rd, a #1 contender's bout for the It's Showtime 61kg championship, currently held by Javier Hernandez, between Krush 2009 Lightweight GP winner Masahiro Yamamoto and former RISE 60kg champion Kan Itabashi. Like all of the other It's Showtime Japan cards, this will be a co-promotion, and this event is with REBELS.

The two fought about a year and a half ago while both had been on a tear, with Yamamoto on a 5-fight winstreak that included his 4 wins in the Krush Lightweight GP and Itabashi on an 8-fight win streak that included wins over Yuki, Turbo and Keiji Ozaki. The two fought to a draw after 3 rounds and Yamamoto ended up taking a unanimous decision in the extension round. Since, however, it has been Itabashi who has had the better record, going 3-1 with his wins coming over Anuwat Kaewsamrit, Kanongsuk Weerasakreck and the recently retired Genki Yamamoto which put him in this match. His loss came in a RISE Super Featherweight Title Match against Kosuke Komiyama. Yamamoto, on the other hand, just picked up his first win since the Itabashi fight, besting Arito Tsukahara for the right to face Itabashi again. In that stretch between wins, Yamamoto had a shot at becoming the It's Showtime 61kg champion, but lost as a result of a cut to former champion Sergio Wielzen. {jcomments on}

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Krush Announces Hiroya for Supernova Tournament; Rena vs Jessica Penne at Shootboxing Act.4

Krush has announced four more competitors for the round of 16 of their Under-22 Supernova tournament. Former K-1 Koshien star HIROYA has been announced as a competitor, joining Koya Urabe and Masaaki Noiri as pre-tournament favorites. HIROYA would have to be viewed as the third most likely to win, as Urabe is second only to Yuta Kubo in Japan and he managed to fight Kubo with only one leg and Noiri beat HIROYA in their only fight two years ago.

The other three fighters announced were

Hiroki Hoshikawa who won a 60kg NJKF Amateur tournament.

Kazuma and Yuta Otaki who I really don't know anything about.

The final 4 competitors will be announced later.

Shootboxing also made a big announcement, making Bellator fighter Jessica Penne the opponent for Shootboxing queen Rena on 9/10. Penne was 7-0 in MMA entering the Bellator Women's tournament, but lost to eventual winner Zoila Frausto (now Zoila Gurgel) in the quarterfinals by decision. She won her last fight over Amy Davis by submission in November. Penne is the second Bellator fighter to compete in Shootboxing along with half of the main event, Toby Imada who made it to the finals of last year's S-Cup. Much like Imada was, Penne will be a huge underdog as Rena demolished Zaza Sor Aree last month and is likely training hard as she has a fight with Erika Kamimura in November.{jcomments on}

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Naoki Ishikawa vs "Kyoken" Yuji Takeuchi 2 Set for Krush.12

Krush and Yuji Takeuchi have finally come to a decision on his opponent for his September 24th bout and it will be none other than former AJKF Super Featherweight champion "Naokick" Naoki Ishikawa, a rematch from the 2009 Krush Lightweight GP semifinals. Their first fight ended with an amazing flying knee knockout from Ishikawa, but Takeuchi had started a cut over Ishikawa's eye, making him unable to compete in the finals. Since that fight, neither man has had the best of luck, with Ishikawa going 2-5 and Takeuchi going 2-4. However, Takeuchi did make it to the finals of the Krush 60kg tournament, knocking out Masaaki Noiri in a wild 3rd round before being knocked out himself by Hirotaka Urabe, the man that bested Ishikawa in the first round of that same tournament. As always with Takeuchi's fights, this one should deliver the fireworks that Krush fans have become accustomed to.

Also on the card is 3 members of Team Dragon, Krush 63kg champion Ryuji Kajiwara, Krush 60kg champion Hirotaka Urabe and Hideaki Yamazaki who are all taking on Chinese fighters. {jcomments on}

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Genki Yamamoto Announces Retirement

Coming just a week after Hisanori Maeda announced his retirement, AJKF legend Genki Yamamoto has announced that he is retiring from kickboxing. Genki Yamamoto made a name for himself in All Japan Kickboxing Federation where he became the promotion's 21st Featherweight champion, winning the title against Hisanori Maeda, defending it once against Masahiro Yamamoto by a draw until he lost it to Masahiro a year later. Throughout his career in AJKF, he fought 3+ times with Naoki Ishikawa, Masahiro Yamamoto and Hisanori Maeda, going 1-3-1 against Naokick, 0-2-1 against Yamamoto and 3-0 against Maeda. He also split a pair of fights with Kanongsuk Weerasakreck, went 0-1-1 against Wanlop Weerasakreck and beat Ryuji Kajiwara. He was a participant in the 2009 Krush Lightweight Tournament, beating Hisanori Maeda and Keiji Ozaki before being bested by rival Masahiro Yamamoto in the semifinals. After the loss to Masahiro in 2009, he lost his final 3 fights to NJKF Champion Rashata, Kanongsuk and finally in July at the first It's Showtime Japan in a #1 contender fight for the It's Showtime 61kg Title to Kan Itabashi.

Like I said when Maeda retired, this is seems to be the beginning of the end for the last AJKF legends. Maeda was 32 and Yamamoto is 34. Hiromasa Masuda and Haruaki Otsuki are 38 and 37, respectively, and both have struggled as of late. If Masuda loses his fight to Rashata, I'd say he'd be the next person to put on retirement watch. {jcomments on}

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