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Kunitaka, Genji Umeno and Yosuke Morii Fall Short in Thailand

Last weekend, Japanese standouts Kunitaka, Genji Umeno and Yosuke Morii took to Thailand to test their skills under full muay thai rules. Kunitaka took on Singdam Wor. Rungniran at Rajadamnern Stadium on the 24th while Umeno and Morii fought at Lumpini Stadium on the 25th against Kongnapha Srimongkol and Farmeechai Sitbhota, respectively.

At Rajadamnern Stadium, #6 ranked Rajadamnern Stadium Bantamweight Singdam Wor. Rungniran was able to stop WBC Intercontinental Super Bantamweight champ Kunitaka in the 3rd round with a series of clinch knees to the body and legs. The two were going blow for blow throughout a majority of the first two rounds, though Singdam's leg strikes seemed to be carrying a lot more power and causing more damage. Towards the end of the second round, Kunitaka found success in cutting off the ring and trapping Singdam in a neutral corner, something he found even more success with in the 3rd, however it appears that Singdam landed a strong, short elbow in the corner that deterred Kunitaka's further efforts. After a leg kick that appeared to buckle Kunitaka's leg, Singdam began coming forward and initiated a clinch that led to about 8 unanswered knees to Kunitaka's midsection followed by another clinch that saw Singdam abuse Kunitaka's left leg en route to the stoppage. The stoppage was a bit strange to me, though I don't watch a lot of muay thai, as Kunitaka may have been fading greatly from the leg strikes, but he was certainly capable of continuing. Nonetheless, it's a good win for Singdam who showed dominance with his leg kicks. For Kunitaka (36-22-3, 26 KO) it's a 3rd straight loss to a Thai as he was stopped by Rungravee Sasiprapa in Las Vegas and then dropped a decision to Kaimookdam Chuwattana in a fight for the WBC World Super Bantamweight title.

At Lumpini Stadium, Genji Umeno took his first fight as a Lumpini ranker, dropping a decision to #8 ranked Super Featherweight Kongnapha Srimongkol. Apparently it was a close fight and Umeno argued the decision, but Kongnapha was the victor nonetheless. The loss is a disappointment for Umeno (19-2-1, 9 KO) who was on fire with a 10-fight win-streak, with 5 of those fights coming against Thais and all 5 of those wins were by TKO or KO. At just 23, Umeno still has time to capture a Lumpini or Rajadamnern Stadium title.

Also fighting that night at Lumpini Stadium was Umeno's rival Yosuke Morii who had his fight stopped in the 3rd round due to a cut. Reports say that Morii was dropped before the fight was stopped, so he seemed to be on the way out before the cut. Morii's most recent fight was a loss to Umeno back in December. 

Video of Kunitaka-Singdam after the break

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Big Bang 8 Results: Kido, Nashiro Score Wins, HIROYA Upset by Naoki

Taniyama Gym held the 8th event in its Big Bang series yesterday at Differ Ariake in Tokyo. On the card were top Japanese Middleweights Yasuhiro Kido and Yuji Nashiro taking on Baek Man-sun and Yukihiko Komiya, respectively. Also featured on the card were K-1 Koshien participants HIROYA and Hiroki Akimoto taking on Naoki and Ikuya Sasaki, respectively.

In the main event, Yasuhiro Kido scored another KO win, this time of Korean fighter Baek Man-Sun at 2:02 in the 2nd round. Kido (26-13-1, 12 KO) landed repeatedly with high kicks and strong combinations, knocking Baek down 4 times before the fight was stopped. As most know, Kido has had his struggles in the past, but he is now 6-1 (3 KO) in his last 7 and his sole loss was a close decision to Kenta, the man he is set to face next month at Krush.17 for the Krush 70kg title. The relatively easy win bodes well for Kido, who is coming in extremely hot while Kenta suffered a loss in his first fight since last September's K-1 MAX Japan Tournament.

In the co-main event, 2011 K-1 MAX Japan Tournament winner Yuji Nashiro took a close, but clear decision win over former RISE Middleweight champion Yukihiko Komiya on scores of 30-29, 29-28 and 29-29. Komiya (27-10-0, 6 KO) made it a fight, but Nashiro's (10-3-0, 5 KO) offense was too much for him. Until last year's K-1 MAX Tournament, Nashiro was a bit of an overlooked commodity because of his 1st round KO loss to Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima in the 2010 K-1 MAX Japan Tournament. He scored a pair of wins over Yutaro Yamauchi and Kenta right after that, but a loss to Yoshihiro Sato and a close extension round loss to Yutaro Yamauchi in the Krush 70kg Tournament really dropped him off the radar. That is, until he upset former K-1 MAX champion Albert Kraus in the opening round of last year's Japan MAX Tournament. Nashiro followed that up with a decision win over prospect Takafumi Morita in the semis and a 1st round KO of Yuya Yamamoto in the finals. Nashiro could be in line for a Krush title shot against the winner of Kido-Kenta, but in the meantime, I'd like to see a fight with either TOMOYUKI, who just upset Kenta, or Hinata. Komiya is now on a 2-fight losing streak as this was his first fight back since losing his RISE Middleweight title to Takafumi Morita last July.

In the big surprise of the night, 2008 K-1 Koshien champ HIROYA dropped a close split decision to former NKB Featherweight and Lightweight champ Naoki on scores of 29-28, 30-29 and 28-29. Naoki (19-5-2, 5 KO) was able to pressure HIROYA (10-5-0, 5 KO) offensively and land enough to pick up a win on the scorecards. For Naoki, this win puts him on a 4-fight win-streak, which is a great recovery from the 4-fight losing streak he had prior to that. He would make an interesting matchup for the winner of the RISE Lightweight title match between Yuki and Yuto Watanabe. HIROYA is now on a 2-fight losing streak after losing to Masaaki Noiri in the semis of the Krush Supernova Tournament. This was a close fight, but if HIROYA wants to be considered on the same level as the division's elite, this isn't a fight he should lose. It appears as though his defense has become his biggest liability, as he was outpointed by Noiri and even in his Supernova Tournament wins, he was getting hit a lot. For all of his offensive gifts, he will never break through if his defense isn't adjusted.

Finally, in a 60kg bout, 2010 K-1 Koshien runner-up Hiroki Akimoto kept his undefeated pro record with a 1st round TKO due to a cut over Ikuya Sasaki. Akimoto (13-0-0, 6 KO) landed with a high kick that opened up a cut on Sasaki (0-3-0, 0 KO) that caused the ringside doctor to end the fight. Akimoto made it to the semifinals of the 2009 Koshien Tournament where he ended up losing to Shota Shimada and made it to the finals of the 2010 Tournament, defeating the likes of Sho Ogawa and Keigo Ishida before he succumbed to low kicks against Shohei Hareyama. Akimoto followed that up with a huge 2011 in which he went 4-0 with knockouts in each of those wins, including a knockout of Turbo, his highest-profile opponent yet. Though he's only 19, it is time for Akimoto to start taking steps forward to higher-level opposition as he was likely only fighting someone like Sasaki to get his legs back under him after a 6-month layoff. The next step for Akimoto could be a shot at current MA Kick Featherweight champ Minoru Junibayashi. Sasaki is an MMA fighter as well, but has had just as little success in that as he has in kickboxing, as he is a paltry 1-6-0 fighting for Shooto and GCM Cage Force after starting 3-1 as an amateur.

Quick results after the break{jcomments on}

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J-Network - Next J-Generation Results: Soichiro Miyakoshi Defeats Undefeated Masato Otake

Earlier today, J-Network held Next J-Generation, an event headlined by a 67kg fight between Welterweight champ Masato Otake and WBC Japan Super Welterweight champ Soichiro Miyakoshi and a 70kg bout between Super Welterweight champ Tomoaki Makino and WPMF Japan Super Welterweight champ Takeru Shimizu, as well as the opening round of an 8-man Bantamweight tournament.

Undefeated J-Network Welterweight champion Masato Otake tasted defeat for the first time against WBC Japan Super Welterweight champ Soichiro Miyakoshi. Miyakoshi was able to keep pressure on Otake (9-1-0, 3 KO) throughout the course of the 3 rounds to earn a unanimous decision on scores of 30-27(x3). Miyakoshi had a rough 2011, dropping back to back fights to Yuya Yamato and Takafumi Morita, seemingly solidifying his place as a gatekeeper, but he bounced back with a win over WBC Japan Super Welterweight champ and Krush 70kg tournament finalist Yutaro Yamauchi to net him that title. Adding onto that today puts Miyakoshi back into contention with Japan's top 70kg fighters. A good next step for Otake may be a defending his title in J-Network as it seems Miyakoshi exposed him a bit.

In a 70kg fight, WPMF Japan Super Welterweight champion Takeru Shimizu fell behind early, but scored a knockdown of J-Network Super Welterweight champ Tomoaki Makino in the 3rd round to complete a comeback and earn a majority decision win on scores of 29-28, 29-27 and 28-28. Shimizu was coming into this fight off of a loss in MA Kick to Kazuya Takeda while Makino hadn't fought since an August loss to Buakaw Por. Pramuk in Thai Fight.

This event also marked the opening round of the J-Network Bantamweight tournament for the vacant Bantamweight title. #6 ranked Super Bantamweight Kentaro Kimura scored a TKO due to a cut over #2 ranked Super Flyweight and former boxer Chiharu Manda at 2:14 in the first round. #8 ranked Super Bantamweight Ki-Hoon Kim was able to pull off the upset over #1 ranked Bantamweight Kiyokazu Ohara, taking a unanimous decision on scores of 30-29 and 30-28(x2). #5 ranked Super Flyweight Kenta defeated #4 ranked WPMF Japan Bantamweight Jun Miyoshi by unanimous decision in an extension round on scores of 10-9(x3). And finally, #3 ranked Bantamweight Tatsuya Hibata defeated #7 ranked WPMF Japan Bantamweight Ken Takehara by unanimous decision on scores of 29-28(x3).{jcomments on}

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NJKF Kick to the Future 1 Results: Yamato, Adanza Score Stoppage Wins, Kenta Upset by TOMOYUKI

Yesterday at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, NJKF held its first major card of 2012, a new series entitled Kick to the Future. The card was headlined by a rematch between Tetsuya Yamato and Densiam Lookprabaht, a WBC Muay Thai International Super Flyweight title fight between TOMONORI (Sato) and Romie Adanza, and a 70kg super fight between Kenta and TOMOYUKI. There were also a pair of title fights, with Seiji Takahashi and Ikki fighting for the vacant Super Lightweight title and Hiroshi Saenchaigym and Rookie fighting for the vacant Super Bantamweight title.

In the main event, 2010 K-1 -63kg Tournament champion Tetsuya Yamato took swift revenge, knocking out former Lumpinee Stadium champion Densiam Lookprabaht in the 1st round at 2:28. Yamato (26-9-1, 21 KO) apparently dropped Densiam with a huge left hook that Densiam got up from, but didn't recover from, as Yamato rushed him and knocked him down again, prompting the ref to stop the fight. The win snaps a 2-fight losing streak for Yamato who dropped decisions to Jomthong Chuwattana and Ryuji Kajiwara in WBC and Krush title fights, respectively. After the fight, Yamato claimed that a WBC World title was his current goal, so I expect his next fight to take place in NJKF.

In the co-main event for the WBC International Super Flyweight title, WBC U.S. Bantamweight champion Romie Adanza and WMC Intercontinental Super Flyweight champion TOMONORI fought an abbreviated fight that was stopped at 0:19 into the 2nd round because of a cut that was a result of an elbow that Adanza threw. Neither fighter seemed to take much of a lead after the first round, but shortly into the second, Adanza landed an elbow that opened up a deep cut on TOMONORI's head that caused the ref to immediately call in the ringside doctor, who took little time to determine that the cut was too deep, an assessment that TOMONORI was not happy with at all. The win gives Adanza the WBC International Super Flyweight title, but with the way the fight ended, I wouldn't be surprised if a rematch was in the works. TOMONORI (30-13-3, 15 KO) was coming into the fight on a 3-fight winning streak.

In the big upset of the night, TOMOYUKI was able to squeak by Krush 70kg champion Kenta and take a majority decision on scores of 29-29, 30-29 and 29-28. It appears as though in rounds 2 and 3, TOMOYUKI constantly came forward and outworked Kenta to get the nod from the judges. TOMOYUKI is best known for his fight at Thai Fight Japan where he lost a decision to Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee. With this win, he gets his name out in what is the currently muddled 70kg division in Japan which has been controlled by a variety of inconsistent fighters since Masato's retirement. This fight was Kenta's (23-9-3, 8 KO) first fight since September's K-1 MAX Japan Tournament where he lost a razor-thin extension round decision to Yuya Yamamoto in the semifinals. Despite the loss, this may be a positive for Kenta who gets some action ahead of his higher profile March 17th title defense against Yasuhiro Kido in Krush.

In a bit of a surprise, NJKF Lightweight champion Keijiro Miyakoshi and MA Kick Super Featherweight champion Hikaru Machida fought to a majority draw on scores of 30-30, 30-29 and 29-29. Miyakoshi (10-3-1, 4 KO) was riding a 3-fight win streak coming into the bout and most recently had defeated J-Network Lightweight champ Akihiro Kuroda to earn a WBC Japan title shot. Machida (14-4-1, 4 KO) was fighting for the first time since September when he defended his MA Kick title against Nobuhiro Iwai. I would imagine Miyakoshi still has his title shot lined up and Machida is now likely in consideration as well.

In a bout for the vacant NJKF Super Lightweight title, WBC Japan Super Lightweight champion Seiji Takahashi was able to outpoint former NJKF Lightweight champ Ikki to earn a unanimous decision on scores 50-47 and 49-47(x2). Takahashi was coming in off of a successful defense of his WBC Japan title against Yusuke Sugawara back in October while Ikki had lost his most recent fight at Krush.14 to Yosuke Mizuochi.

Finally, #1 ranked NJKF Super Bantamweight Hiroshi Saenchaigym took a close split decision over #2 ranked Rookie on scores of 49-48(x2) and 48-49.

Quick Results after the break

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