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Krush.22 Results: Takiya Defends 55kg Title, Kubo KOs Yamato

Earlier today at the Nagoya Congress Center in Nagoya, Krush held Krush.22 ~ in Nagoya~, its first event in Nagoya, featuring a 55kg title fight and five Tokyo vs Nagoya fights featuring Yuta Kubo, Yuya Yamato, Masaaki Noiri and Keiji Ozaki, among others.

In the night’s main event, Krush 55kg champ Shota Takiya was given what turned out to be his toughest fight in some time against Takumi, but was able to win a unanimous decision on scores of 30-29(x3). Takiya (21-4-0, 13 KO) has now won 10 in a row and had won his last 5 by knockout heading into this fight. There’s no telling what’s next for Takiya, as Krush’s 55kg division isn’t that deep and unless they hold a 55kg tournament, they will have to go outside of the company to find legitimate opponents for Takiya. Takumi (12-3-0, 5 KO) did well in staying on his feet against the hard-hitting Takiya, but it wasn’t enough. His effort here should be noted as he was able to hang with a guy I felt was head and shoulders above the rest of the Krush 55kg division.

In the Krush vs Nagoya headlining fight, ISKA Light Welterweight champion Yuta Kubo moved up to 66kg and scored a 2nd round knockout of WBC Japan and NJKF Welterweight champion Yuya Yamato 51 seconds into the round. Kubo (34-4-1, 16 KO) pushes his win streak to 11 and has slowly been climbing his way up in weight, fighting at 64.5kg and 65kg in his last two fights and now at 66kg. While this was a good step up in weight against good competition, Yamato often fights between 63kg and 67kg, so he wasn’t the best test as far as bigger opponents go. Regardless, Kubo would be a welcome sight for Japan at 70kg as their division has looked pretty lackluster in the years since Masato’s retirement, with Yasuhiro Kido being the only big standout with the decline of Yoshihiro Sato and more notably Yuya Yamamoto. Yamato (13-7-0, 8 KO) had won two in a row coming into this fight, with a win over Kanongsuk in May and a KO of Pradesh Lookprabaht just a month ago. While his record may not look too great, he has fought a tough schedule since 2010, taking on Fabio Pinca twice, former NJKF Lightweight champ Kazuki twice, Seiji Takahashi, Soichiro Miyakoshi, Kanongsuk and now Kubo.

In the next Nagoya vs Tokyo fight, Nagoya’s Masaaki Noiri took an easy win over Tokyo’s Makihira Keita on scores of 30-27(x2) and 30-28. Noiri (13-3-0, 5 KO) picks up his first after his upset loss to Raz Sarkisjan back at the Hoost Cup in May which snapped a 6 fight win streak. As the reigning Youth Tournament champ, he awaits the winner of this year’s tournament for a fight that will likely take place early next year. Keita is now 1-1-1 on the year.

In the final three Nagoya vs Tokyo fights, Nagoya fighters went 2-1 with Taito upsetting Keiji Ozaki by majority decision, Yuya defeating Shota Hayashi and Masayuki Isabashi losing to Junpei Aotsu, giving Nagoya the overall victory with 3 wins (Noiri, Taito, Yuya) to Tokyo’s 2 (Kubo, Aotsu). The upset loss for Ozaki is huge as he’s been a borderline challenger despite not having any significant wins recently and Taito had lost his last 3 bouts heading into this fight. This loss should end Ozaki’s time as a legitimate title challenger.

Quick results after the break

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Shootboxing Girls S-Cup Results: Rena Wins 2012 Girls S-Cup, Inoue and Mio Claim Tournament Titles

Earlier today, Shootboxing held its fourth Girls S-Cup and third main Girls S-Cup tournament, as well as the finals of the 53.5kg Girls S-Cup and the JKS48 High School tournament at Yamano Hall in Tokyo.

In the main tournament, the quarterfinals started off with 2-time defending S-Cup champion Rena Kubota scoring a unanimous decision over Australia's Kim Townsend on scores of 30-25, 30-26 and 30-27. Rena scored shoot points in the first and second rounds while working her superior boxing, moving her into the semifinals. In the next semifinal, 2011 Girls S-Cup runner-up Seo Hee Ham took out late replacement Lisa Ellis by unanimous decision on scores of 30-26(x2) and 30-27. Ellis tried using the clinch to work her grappling, but Ham was just too much for her, scoring a knockdown in the second round and advancing to face Rena in the semis. In the other half of the bracket, 2009 S-Cup runner-up and 2010 semifinalist V.V Mei Yamaguchi needed an extension round, but was able to defeat Thai representative Namtarn Por Muangpetch by unanimous decision, winning the extension round 10-9 on all three cards. Namtarn wasn't able to keep V.V Mei away from her and resulted in Yamaguchi getting a shoot point in the second round and ultimately winning the extension round, despite not getting a shoot point. In the final quarterfinal, Holland's Lorena Klijn scored the night's biggest upset with an extension round win over 2011 S-Cup Preliminary tournament champ Erika Kamimura. Kamimura had a slight edge in the stand-up, but Klijn surprisingly used the clinch to her advantage and was able to score a shoot point in the extension round which was the difference.

In the semifinals, Rena needed an extension round to defeat Seo Hee Ham and make it to her third straight S-Cup final. The two were even throughout the course of 3 rounds, but in the extension round, Rena was able to separate herself from Ham and won the round on all 3 judges' cards. In the other semifinal, V.V Mei also needed an extension round to advance to her second S-Cup final with a win over Lorena Klijn. Both fighters looked to use their clinch game to advance, but Yamaguchi proved to be superior in that department, scoring a shoot point in the second round and two shoot points in the extension round, as well as a yellow card to Klijn, which secured the lopsided extension round win.

In a rematch of the first Girls S-Cup final in 2009, Rena proved her dominance in Shootboxing once again with a unanimous decision over V.V Mei on scores of 30-29(x3). Yamaguchi was not able to capitalize with her grappling against the experienced Rena, who used her superior stand-up to win her third straight Girls S-Cup.

While she has lost single fights in Shootboxing, including a big upset to Jessica Penne, Rena excels in tournaments and showed great stamina, fighting 10 rounds on the night against tough competition. She has a rematch with Erika Kamimura to defend her RISE Queen title at a yet to be determined date and should she win, the only options seem to be either a third fight with Ai Takahashi or a fight with the girl who beat Takahashi twice, Mizuki Inoue. For V.V Mei, this is huge. In my opinion, she was more of an afterthought for the tournament, as she was originally scheduled for this event, but not in the tournament field and was upset in the 2011 S-Cup preliminary tournament by Mina in the first round. Huge showing from her and she likely cemented her place in future Girls S-Cups to come. If there ever were an "elite-level gatekeeper", it would have to be Seo Hee Ham. In MMA, she owns wins over the likes of Hisae Watanabe, Saori Ishioka and V.V Mei, while her only losses have come to WMMA legends Miku Matsumoto, Megumi Fujii and Yuka Tsuji, with a pair of losses against undefeated prodigy and student of Fujii, Ayaka Hamasaki. In kickboxing and Shootboxing, she has beaten everyone thrown her way except for Erika Kamimura and now Rena. Kamimura and Klijn are probably the biggest stories to come out of this event. Kamimura was an unstoppable force on her rise to the top, knocking out nearly everyone who got in her path, both domestically and internationally, and was favored to meet Rena in the tournament finals. However, a close loss to Rena and this loss here have shown a few holes in her game. She still has extremely good power, possibly the best in women's kickboxing, but if she can't land her hooks, while she is a very talented kickboxer, she has trouble winning rounds and in Shootboxing, her grappling base isn't very strong. Big congratulations to Klijn who shocked nearly everyone and will have to be invited to the next Girls S-Cup.

In the finals of the 53.5kg Girls S-Cup, Mizuki Inoue proved her first win over Ai Takahashi wasn't a fluke, defeating Takahashi for the second time, this time over the course of 6 rounds, winning the extension round on all three judges' cards. Inoue used superior speed and movement to land against Takahashi and take her second big win over the former Shootboxing champion, winning the 53.5kg tournament title as well. Inoue is one of the brightest prospects in both MMA and kickboxing and should find herself in another marquee matchup, possibly against Rena, some time in the near future. Takahashi wasn't able to exploit her length as well as she did against smaller opponents in the S-Cup, but was able to keep up with Inoue. Now 0-2 against Inoue, she'll have to work her way back up if she wants a second chance at redemption.

In the JKS48 High School tournament, Rena's younger sister Mio Kubota matched her sister's efforts and won the tournament with a unanimous decision over Yusa Tachi in the semis and a TKO of Akari Nakamura in the finals. It's hard to say what is in Mio's near future, but Shootboxing has a good number of former S-Cup participants with experience that could give her a good challenge and see if she has the same promise as her sister, who was fighting Miku Matsumoto and Su Jeong Lim when she was just 17. 

Finally, in a 53.5kg single fight, 53.5kg Girls S-Cup participant Rio Kamikaze scored an upset over prospect Seira Aragaki by majority decision on scores of 30-28, 29-28 and 28-28. Rio scored 2 shoot points in the third round with a hip toss that won her the fight. A rematch with Ai Takahashi could be a good next fight for her.

Quick results after the break

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Krush.21 Results: Adamandopoulos Wins 63kg Title, Terato Defends ISKA Title

Yesterday, Krush held Krush.21 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, headlined by a Krush 63kg title fight and an ISKA 55kg World title fight, with both featuring European challengers, as well as the last 2 fights of the 4th leg of the 63kg WILDRUSH League.

In the main event, Krush 63kg champ Ryuji Kajiwara was knocked out by former ISKA 62.5kg champ Thomas Adamandopoulos by headkick at 1:42 in the 2nd round. Adamandopoulos dominated the fight leading up to the stoppage and scored with a left high kick that knocked Kajiwara out cold. Adamandopoulos (41-8-1, 24 KO) is now 2-0 in Krush and the first foreign Krush champion. This was a big win for him as he had lost 2 in a row, a close split decision to Karim Bennoui and a 4th round TKO to Yetkin Ozkul, and is set to fight in Krush again in the future, presumably facing the winner of the Krush WILDRUSH League, or even someone like Masaaki Noiri or Tetsuya Yamato should the winner of the WILDRUSH League be injured. Kajiwara (22-11-1, 6 KO) finally had his age catch up to him a bit after going 7-1 in his last 8, mostly against much younger competition. A good next fight for him would be a rematch with Noiri to set up a title challenger after the WILDRUSH League winner gets his shot.

In the co-main event, Nobuchika Terado defended his ISKA World Bantamweight title against former ISKA World titleholder Andy Howson in an exciting fight with a 2nd round TKO at 2:07. Howson had Terado in a lot of trouble in the 2nd round, dropping the champion twice, but as Howson tried to find the finish, Terato managed to land a big left hook that dropped Howson before dropping two more times with a pair of right hooks to end the fight. Terado (29-8-1, 13 KO) is no stranger to slugfests, putting on one of the best fights that nobody saw back in 2010 against Ryuya Kusakabe, another fight where both men were hurt and suffered a knockdown. This is the first defense of his ISKA title that he won at Krush.11 over Kirean McAskill and moves him 4-1 in his last 5, most recently beating Namito Izawa at Krush-EX 2012 vol.1. A good next fight for him would be a rematch with Kusakabe to set up a third fight for either man with current champ Shota Takiya. Howson (53-10-1, 29 KO) recently lost his ISKA Bantamweight Muay Thai title to Dean James in May and lost a chance to win Terado’s Oriental Rules title here. The two were initially supposed to meet at Krush.5 in January of 2010, but Howson was forced out of the bout with an injury.

In a WILDRUSH League 4th leg bout, 2nd placed Hitoshi Tsukagoshi kept his hopes of winning the league alive with a majority decision over 3rd placed Yukimitsu Takahashi on scores of 30-28, 30-29 and 29-29, ending Takahashi’s chances of winning. Tsukagoshi now has 7 points and is 2 points shy of league leader Hideaki Yamazaki heading into the final leg. Tsukagoshi’s final fight is against the hard-hitting TaCa while he will need some help from Takahashi, who faces Yamazaki in the final leg. Tsukagoshi will need Takahashi to win against Yamazaki, as a draw would mean Tsukagoshi would need a knockout just to tie and I believe that since Yamazaki beat Tsukagoshi, he would hold the tiebreak. Takahashi remains with 4 points despite putting on some of the most entertaining performances throughout his fights in the league. He still has something to prove against Yamazaki in the final and although he can’t win the league, expect him to put on a good performance and solidify himself as an entertaining draw in Krush.

In the final 4th leg WILDRUSH League bout, 4th placed TaCa was upset by last placed NOMAN, who won a majority decision on scores of 30-28, 30-29 and 29-29. This is a bit of an upset as NOMAN was winless in the league before this while TaCa had knocked out Naoki Terasaki, while dropping decisions to Yukimitsu Takahashi and Hideaki Yamazaki. TaCa remains with 3 points while NOMAN has 3 points as well and moves up to 4th with TaCa.

The current WILDRUSH League standings after 4 legs is

1. Hideaki Yamazaki, 9 points (4-0-0, 1 KO)

2. Hitoshi Tsukagoshi, 7 points (3-1-0, 1 KO)

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

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

5. TaCa, 3 points (1-3-0, 1 KO)

6. Naoki Terasaki, 1 point, (0-3-1, 0 KO)

The WILDRUSH League concludes on October 8th at Krush.23, an event which is set to feature Yasuhiro Kido, Naoki Ishikawa, “Kyoken” Yuji Takeuchi and Kan Itabashi.

Quick results after the break

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It's Showtime Japan countdown-2/REBELS.12 Results: van Opstal, Hinata Win

With It's Showtime prepared to make their first full venture into Japan in little over a month and a half, It's Showtime Japan countdown-2 and REBELS.12 took place earlier today at Differ Ariake in Tokyo.

In the main event, Team Souwer's Henri van Opstal improved to 5-0 against Japanese competition with a majority decision over It's Showtime Japan 70kg champ Hiroki Nakajima on scores of 30-29(x3), 29-29 and 30-28. Nakajima scored early to the body, but his lack of defense allowed van Opstal to find openings throughout the fight and pick apart his opponent. van Opstal (18-3-0) has now won two in a row after a loss at It's Showtime 55, most recently stopping Hinata in the 3rd round at RISE 88. He could find himself fighting on the main It's Showtime Japan card, but with a Shootboxing event the same day, it is hard to know if he will compete on either card. Nakajima (15-6-0, 10 KO) recently ended a 1-5 run with a win over Danilo Zanolini to win the It's Showtime Japan 70kg title, but it's the same story for him; until he develops some sort of defense, he is extremely limited. While he has power and a dynamic offense, he just gets hit too much and guys at van Opstal's level will be able to expose him with ease. He is set to fight on the It's Showtime Japan card in September, but let's hope he's put in a rematch with Yuichiro Nagashima and not in a fight with Andy Ristie or Robin van Roosmalen.

In the co-main event, Hinata bounced back with a quick 1st round knockout of Korean Kang Jung-woo at 1:24 with a high kick. Hinata (23-12-1, 8 KO) is just 3-3 in his last 6 bouts, with two of those three wins against mediocre competition and the third against a guy fighting 10 pounds above his natural weight. While his losses did come to Giorgio Petrosyan, Andy Ristie and van Opstal, his only quality wins since 2010 are over Yuya Yamamoto, who looks worse with every outing, and Artur Kyshenko. If he wants to be considered a competitor at 70kg, he needs to start fighting top competition more regularly and get some wins, rather than lose to a top fighter and bounce back with an easy win. 

In a fight to determine the first It's Showtime Japan 65kg champion, MA Kick Super Lightweight champ Mohan Dragon and Zen Fujita fought to a majority draw after 5 rounds on scores of 48-47 and 48-48(x4). In what seems to have been an exciting fight, as most of Mohan Dragon's fights are, Mohan Dragon started very strong, hurting Fujita in the first and carrying that momentum into the second round before tiring in the bout's closing stages and allowing Fujita to come back and secure a draw. Fujita is now 1-1-1 in 2012, with a loss at 70kg to Hinata back in April and a win over Junichi Maruyama back in June at 65kg. Mohan Dragon is now 2-0-1 on the year, defending his MA Kick title with a knockout of Hidekazu Tanaka and edging out J-Network champ Yusuke Sugawara at RISE 87. This fight likely could have been to determine Lim Chi-bin's opponent in the It's Showtime 65kg World title fight, but the draw likely cost both men that opportunity.

In a fight to decide the inaugural It's Showtime Japan 55kg champion, J-Network Super Bantamweight champ Hiroaki Mizuhara took a unanimous decision over Taisuke Degai on scores of 49-48(x3), 48-47 and 49-47. Mizuhara is now 2-1-1 on the year and could potentially rematch Yuki Noro, the man he defeated to get this fight, in his first title defense as Noro recently upset TO-MA in a bout billed under the It's Showtime banner. This loss snaps a 4 fight win streak for Degai.

Finally at 61kg, Kizaemon Saiga scored a unanimous decision over Tatsuya Inaishi on scores of 30-29, 30-28(x2), 30-27 and 29-28. Saiga (10-5-1, 2 KO) is now 3-1 on the year with a close win over Katsuya Goto, a close loss to Koya Urabe and most recently a KO of Arita Tsukahara back in May. Saiga was expected to fight for the It's Showtime Japan 61kg title at this event, but with Masahiro Yamamoto winning the It's Showtime 61kg World title and a 61kg title fight scheduled for the September event, I wouldn't be surprised to see Saiga slotted in against Yamamoto for the first all-Japanese It's Showtime title fight.

It's Showtime's main branch makes its first official venture into Japan on September 17th at Pacifico Yokohama in Yokohama. Only one fight is announced for the card, with It's Showtime 85kg champ Sahak Parparyan taking on It's Showtime Japan 95kg champ Toshio Matsumoto, but a 61kg title showdown between current champ Masahiro Yamamoto and Kizaemon Saiga is possible with both men slated for the event and Lim Chi Bin will be participating in an It's Showtime 65kg World title fight against a yet to be named opponent. Also expected to compete are Daniel Ghita, Robin van Roosmalen, Andy Ristie, Hiroki Nakajima and Yuichiro Nagashima.

REBELS.12 results and quick results after the break

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