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Krush.23 Results: Urabe, Kido Defeat French Opposition, Yamazaki Wins WILDRUSH League

Krush.23 took place earlier today featuring two of the promotion's champions taking on French opponents, as well as a trio of important 60kg fights and the final leg of the -63kg WILDRUSH League.

In the night's main event, Krush 60kg champion Hirotaka Urabe needed an extension round, but was able to force a doctor stoppage of France's Xavier Bastard. Urabe and Bastard were both able to land on each other, but it seems as though Urabe was landing slightly more often and hurting Bastard's body throughout the fight. The fight was stopped due to a large amount of blood coming out of Bastard's left ear, which I believe was largely a result of the pictured spinning heel kick. Urabe (20-6-2, 10 KO) pushes his unbeaten streak to 12, going 11-0-1 over that stretch, and defending his Krush title twice. I expect Urabe to be back in Krush early next year to defend his title, possibly against Naoki Ishikawa. Good showing from Bastard, who was the closest to beating Urabe since Ishikawa fought him to a draw. It's a shame the fight didn't go to the scorecards.

In the co-main event, Krush 70kg champion Yasuhiro Kido had little trouble with Frenchman Ludovic Millet, winning a unanimous decision on scores of 30-26(x3). Kido was able to drop Millet twice, but wasn't able to put him away. Kido (30-13-1, 14 KO) has won six in a row, most recently defeating Yu Hirono in Big Bang. He is due for a title defense before the end of the year, but with the K-1 World MAX Finals on December 8th, I think Kido will be given an exemption by Krush and be able to defend his title next year. 

In a 60kg fight, Naoki Ishikawa edged out Shota Senchaigym with a unanimous decision on scores of 28-27(x3). Although the fight was close on the scorecards, Ishikawa largely controlled the fight outside of a knockdown in the first round. However, immediately on the restart, Ishikawa threw a flying knee that scored him a knockdown of his own and managed to control the rest of the fight with his unorthodox style. Ishikawa (35-18-5, 18 KO) is now on a two-fight win streak after a win over Kan Itabashi in June and could find himself fighting Hirotaka Urabe for the title next, though I'll talk about that situation in a little bit. Shota is now 1-1-1 in Krush, drawing Makahira Keita at Krush.18 and most recently beating Takeshi Watanabe at Krush.21. Good showing from him considering he was able to drop Ishikawa, but outside of that he had little answer for Ishikawa.

In another 60kg fight, "Kyoken" Yuji Takeuchi returned to Krush for the first time in over a year and scored a dramatic 3rd round KO Krush 60kg Tournament winner Fumiya Osawa. Osawa dropped Takeuchi once in the first round and twice in the second, but Takeuchi roared back with a knockdown of his own in the 2nd before the deciding third round saw Takeuchi drop Osawa twice en route to a stoppage when Osawa stumbled around the ring after the second knockdown. Takeuchi (22-8-2, 13 KO) didn't fail to entertain the fans in his return to Krush and has now won 2 in a row after returning with a win in MA Kick earlier in the year. Osawa (7-9-1, 2 KO) put forth a great effort, dropping Takeuchi 3 times, but was unable to close it out. After winning the Krush 60kg tournament, he has dropped two in a row, losing his title shot to Hirotaka Urabe and now losing to Takeuchi. I'd like to see him take on Shota Senchaigym next.

In the final 60kg fight, former RISE champion Kan Itabashi scored a first round KO of Katsuya Goto. Itabashi (20-6-2, 4 KO) picks up his first win since last July after dropping two straight to It's Showtime champ Masahiro Yamamoto and Naoki Ishikawa. This win keeps him in the upper echelon of the 60kg division in Krush. Goto is now on a 2-fight losing streak after losing in the Krush 60kg tournament finals to Fumiya Osawa. A third fight between them would be a good fight.

Now to look at the 60kg division after tonight's fights. In my eyes, the logical move would be to set up Urabe vs Ishikawa 3 for the title and Takeuchi vs Itabashi with the winner being next in line, considering that Ishikawa has recent wins over both Takeuchi and Itabashi and fought Urabe to a draw in his title shot. However, Ishikawa vs Takeuchi 3 is another very real possibility that is hard to say no to as they have produced fireworks in their two previous bouts, with their first fight in the AJKF Lightweight Tournament Semifinals in 2009 becoming an instant classic and their last fight also seeing them both hit the canvas.

Finally, in the conclusion of the WILDRUSH League, 4th placed NOMAN scored a 1st round knockout of last placed Naoki Terasaki which propelled him to a third place finish in the league. In the first deciding fight of the WILDRUSH League, second placed Hitoshi Tsukagoshi needed a knockout and a Hideaki Yamazaki loss to win the League and the title shot, but was dropped 3 times by 5th placed TaCa en route to a one-sided unanimous decision win, winning the WILDRUSH League for Yamazaki. However in his own fight, Yamazaki went out and closed out the League with a unanimous decision of Yukimitsu Takahashi, finishing the WILDRUSH League with a perfect 5-0-0 (1 KO) record and earning himself a title shot against current 63kg champion Thomas Adamandopoulos. I'm not entirely sold on Yamazaki as an elite contender in the 63kg division, but he beat everyone they put in front of him in the WILDRUSH League, including avenging his sole loss to TaCa. I don't like his chances against Adamandopoulos, but he has two teammates at Team Dragon who recently fought him, so he could develop a gameplan to shock everyone.

Also at the event, Krush announced their first two shows of 2013, first a show taking place on January 14th (presumably Krush-EX 2013 vol.1) at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium, though I believe it will be held at the smaller venue there as opposed to the 14,000+ seat arena. The other show announced was Krush.26 on January 26th.

Quick results after the break

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MA Kick - BREAK-30 Results: Hiroki Akimoto Captures Featherweight Throne

MA Kick and WBC Japan held a big card earlier today headlined by the huge featherweight showdown between current WBC Japan champ Yosuke Morii and MA Kick champion and undefeated Hiroki Akimoto, as well as three other WBC Japan title fights and a superfight for MA Kick Flyweight champ Yuuji Uwasawa. 

In the night's main event, Hiroki Akimoto remained undefeated in his pro career with a unanimous decision over Yosuke Morii on scores of 49-48, 49-47 and 50-47 to capture Morii's WBC Japan Featherweight title. Akimoto got the better of Morii throughout the first three rounds, landing more often, harder and cleaner than his opponent. However, in the 4th, Morii had Akimoto in trouble with a big left hook, but in the final round Akimoto came back strong and sealed his victory. Akimoto (16-0-0, 8 KO) has his consecutive (T)KO win streak snapped, but I'm sure he doesn't mind as he now has a claim as the #1 Featherweight in Japan with Genji Umeno effectively gone, fighting in Thailand and K-1. As a former K-1 Koshien finalist and now with this win over Morii, Akimoto could find himself a player in K-1 next year with the planned division expansion, but until then I'd like to see him fight Heihachi Nakajima or somebody of a similar caliber. Morii (20-4-2, 9 KO) once again fails in his quest for divisional supremacy, losing a one-sided decision to Genji Umeno in their fight last year. However, Morii is still a clear #2 behind Akimoto, holding wins this year over Heihachi Nakajima and Hiroki Nagashima. I expect Morii to continue to run through the division until a rematch with Akimoto or Umeno presents itself.

In the co-main event, WBC and WPMF Japan Flyweight champion Ryuji Kato made the first defense of his WBC Japan title with a majority decision over WPMF Japan Super Flyweight champion Kiminori Matsuzaki on scores of 49-49 and 49-48(x2). Kato was originally set to face Hiroyuki Yamano, though for a reason unknown to me, he was replaced by Matsuzaki, who Kato had recently called out because of Matsuzaki's recent win over Kato's teammate, Takuma Ito. Kato (19-3-1, 9 KO) has won two in a row after losing two in a row for the first time in his career, most recently defeating K-1 competitor Shuichi Wentz for the WPMF Japan Flyweight title. With wins over Yuki, Naoki Otsuki, Wentz, Sazanami Satsuma and now Matsuzaki, Kato has arguably the best resume at Flyweight and if it weren't for a majority decision loss to Yuuji Uwasawa, Kato would hands down be the top guy at the weight. A rematch with Uwasawa would be a great next fight for Kato, however after the fight Kato stated he wanted to fight internationally, naming Romie Adanza specifically. Matsuzaki came into this fight 14 years older than his opponent and with a 4-1 record in his last 5 fights, including wins over Hiroyuki Yamano and Takuma Ito, but has now lost two in a row. At 37, Matsuzaki didn't really show any signs of slowing down and has actually seemed to hit the best stride in his career despite back to back losses, both of which were close majority decisions. A fight with J-Network champion Kentaro Kimura could be in his near future.

At Welterweight, WBC Japan champ Yuya Yamato dominated Daiki Watabe en route to a 5th round TKO via cut to defend his WBC Japan title for the first time. Yamato (15-7-0, 10 KO) had a bit of speculation around his performance coming into this fight as he was obliterated by a Yuta Kubo headkick in his last fight, but he had little trouble with Watabe here, dropping him in the second round and offensively smothering him. With his natural fighting weight around 66kg, Yamato is somewhat stuck between two divisions and, because of this, doesn't have a lot of top tier competition to fight at his weight. That being said, WPMF Japan Welterweight champion T-98, should he successfully defend his title at the end of the month, would be a great, competitive matchup for Yamato at a weight he is comfortable fighting at. Watabe (13-9-1, 9 KO) came into this fight on a 2 fight winstreak, but just wasn't on the same level as Yamato. 

In the final WBC Japan title fight, Takuma Ito was just too much for J-Network champ Kentaro Kimura and scored a 4th round TKO via corner stoppage to win the vacant WBC Japan Bantamweight title. Ito (14-3-1, 7 KO) had been struggling greatly as of late, losing three in a row to Kiminori Matsuzaki, TO-MA and Takashi Ohno, all of which were title fights, after starting his career 12-0-1. However, he bounced back with a win in June and now scores a big win here. I'd like to see him rematch Takashi Ohno for the MA Kick title in his next fight. Kimura was riding a 5-fight win streak into this fight which included winning the J-Network Bantamweight tournament, but came up short here. As previously stated, I'd like to see him defend his J-Network title against Kiminori Matsuzaki should Matsuzaki want to move up to Bantamweight.

Finally, MA Kick Flyweight champ Yuji Uwasawa took an easy win over Nagata Haryi on scores of 30-26 and 30-28(x2). Uwasawa would have liked to have been fighting Ryuji Kato on this card, but a loss to Hiroyuki Yamano in a #1 contender's bout earlier this year denied him of that chance. This win snaps a 2-fight losing streak for Uwasawa which included that loss to Yamano and a loss to Shuichi Wentz. 

Quick results after the break

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NJKF Kick to the Future 6 Results: Yamato Claims WBC International Title

The other day, NJKF held the sixth installment of its Kick to the Future series at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo headlined by Tetsuya Yamato in a fight for the WBC International Super Lightweight Title, as well as 4 other WBC Japan titles on the line.

In the main event, Tetsuya Yamato took a unanimous decision over late replacement Paul Karpowicz on scores of 50-48 and 49-48(x2) to win the vacant WBC International Super Lightweight title. Yamato was originally set to face Leo Monteiro, who was replaced a few weeks back by Karpowicz. Yamato (29-9-1, 22 KO) seemed to have a little bit of trouble with Karpowicz, needing a knockdown in the final round to secure the win. He improves to 4-0 in 2012, with wins over Densiam Lookprabaht, Seiji Takahashi, Sergio Wielzen and now Karpowicz. Next for him could be another foreigner, perhaps even Liam Harrison, or he could toss his hat back in the ring at 63kg in Japan, but he seems pretty focused on international muay thai competition.

In the co-main event, WBC Japan Super Welterweight champ Soichiro Miyakoshi made the first defense of his title with a 3rd round TKO via cut of former Krush 70kg champ Kenta at 2:22. Miyakoshi (19-9-1, 10 KO) has had a pretty good year since dropping back to back fights to Yuya Yamato and Takafumi Morita last year, going 3-1 since with wins over then-undefeated J-Network champ Masato Otake, WBC Super Welterweight champ Yutaro Yamauchi to win this title and now Kenta to defend it, with the loss coming to Danilo Zanolini at the Hoost Cup. Despite the loss, these are three big wins for Miyakoshi and have helped in changing his role of gatekeeper to one of the top 70kg fighters in Japan. After a strong 2011, Kenta (24-11-3, 9 KO) seemed to be a strong candidate to rule the 70kg division in Japan in a post-Masato world, but a 1-3 record in 2012 has him on the outside looking in. He was upset by TOMOYUKI at Kick to the Future 1 in his first fight of the year, then lost his Krush title to Yasuhiro Kido at the hands of a spectacular knockout. A win in June over Shu Kiire helped him get his bearings back, but this loss makes it 1-4 in his last 5 and he is in need of a big win to turn his career around. With Yutaro Yamauchi making his return to Krush next month, Kenta could be a good opponent for a rematch should Yamauchi win his fight.

In the next WBC Japan title fight, Super Featherweight champ Yoshinori Nakasuka made his second defense with a unanimous decision over MA Kick Super Featherweight champ Hikaru Machida on scores of 50-46, 49-46 and 48-46. Nakasuka had yet to fight this year, most recently losing to Australian Joe Concha last November. This is a huge win for Nakasuka as Machida had been one of the hotter prospects of late. Machida takes his first loss of the year after he had a pair of draws against Kanongsuk and Keijiro Miyakoshi and a win over Takaaki Kimura.

In a fight for the WBC Japan Super Bantamweight title, MA Kick champion Keisuke Miyamoto beat reigning champion Ryuya Kusakabe on scores of 48-47 and 49-48(x2) to become the new WBC Japan Super Bantamweight champion. Miyamoto (14-1-1, 6 KO) is now undefeated in his last 6 and with recent wins over NJKF champ Arato and now Kusakabe, as well as Kenji's departure from kickboxing, is now arguably the #2 guy at 55kg behind Krush champ Shota Takiya. As big of a fan of Kusakabe as I am, this is exactly what the division needed as the top three guys had been fighting everyone but each other since the end of the Krush tournament and it seemed as though they were near untouchable. This win shakes up the division and presents a new, legitimate challenge to Takiya's throne. Kusakabe (13-2-0, 5 KO) is handed just his second pro loss, the first coming to Takiya in the Krush 55kg tourney finals, and has a three-fight winning streak snapped. I would like to see him fight a few guys in Krush to build a third fight with Shota Takiya, but who knows what he wants to do next. Either way, both of these fighters were born in 1992 and Takiya in 1989, so the three of them have plenty of years left to entertain fans and fight each other.

In the final WBC Japan title fight, WPMF Lightweight champ Yosuke Mizuochi was all over reigning champ Keijiro Miyakoshi en route to a unanimous decision win on scores of 50-45, 50-47 and 49-48. Mizuochi recently had his 6 fight winstreak snapped by Chonden Chuwattana in August, but bounces back with arguably a career best win here. Miyakoshi tastes defeat for the first time in 2 years, as he had gone 4-0-1 since 2011, winning the NJKF and WBC Japan Lightweight titles and most recently scoring a career best win over Koya Urabe. After a huge rise in stock, Miyakoshi takes a hit and will need some big wins to break into the upper echelon of the division. 

Quick results after the break

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Shootboxing 2012 Act.4 Results: Shishido, Stevelmans, Bovy Qualify for S-Cup

Earlier today at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Shootboxing held its final event before this year's S-Cup, featuring 3 S-Cup qualifying bouts featuring Shootboxing standouts Hiroki Shishido, Satoru Suzuki and Bovy Sor. Udomson, as well as newcomers Warren Stevelmans, Hinata and Akihiro Gono.

In the night's main event, Hiroki Shishido secured his spot in his 5th straight S-Cup with a 1st round KO of Satoru Suzuki. Shishido (49-17-0, 21 KO) scored a spinning backfist that dropped Suzuki and kept him down, snapping a 4-fight losing streak for Shishido. He had been struggling as of late, losing 6 of his last 7 with uncharacteristic losses to MMA fighters Toby Imada and "Lion" Takeshi Inoue, but picks up a big win here and should give him some momentum for the S-Cup. In the 2010 S-Cup, he dropped a decision to eventual champion Buakaw Por. Pramuk. Suzuki (8-12-0, 5 KO) had a chance to avenge a loss from his first fight in Shootboxing, but fell in the first round once again. Despite becoming one of Shootboxing's most popular fighters, it looks like Suzuki will miss out on this year's S-Cup.

In the co-main event, Shootboxing newcomers and K-1 veterans Warren Stevelmans and Hinata fought for a spot in this year's S-Cup, with Stevelmans winning a unanimous decision on scores of 30-28, 28-27 and 29-28. Stevelmans (56-16-4, 16 KO) dropped Hinata in the second round and it was enough to get him into this year's S-Cup. This was his second fight in Shootboxing, previously defeating Hiroki Shishido in the main event of Shootboxing Act.1 earlier this year. Hinata (23-13-1, 8 KO) was also making his second appearance in Shootboxing after a 48 second loss to Andy Souwer in 2010. 

In the final S-Cup qualifier, Bovy Sor Udomson made quick work of former PRIDE and UFC star Akihiro Gono with a 1st round TKO at 2:15. Bovy (85-46-2, 53 KO) will make his 2nd S-Cup appearance with this win, losing to Andy Souwer in the quarterfinals of his first S-Cup in 2010. Bovy had most recently lost to Satoru Suzuki, but that is irrelevant as Bovy is in the S-Cup while Suzuki is not. Gono (5-4-0, 1 KO) initially weighed in over weight and had to re-weigh this morning before the event. After retiring from MMA earlier this year and returning to kickboxing in 2011, Gono had stated that he wanted to qualify for the S-Cup. A win in DEEP got him this fight, but he was unable to capitalize and this loss could possibly be the last fight in an entertaining career. If it is, hopefully the Magic Man can continue to find ways to entertain fans outside of fighting.

Assuming Shootboxing will be able to bring back their 4 semifinalists from 2010 (Buakaw Por. Pramuk, Toby Imada, Andy Souwer and Henri van Opstal), there is only 1 open spot remaining. It is possible that the spot could be given to one of today's losers, presumably Satoru Suzuki, or it could go to Shootboxing Super Lightweight champ Hiroaki Suzuki. With Shishido being the only Japanese fighter to qualify for the tournament, I expect either Suzuki to be a more viable option than a 7th foreigner.

In a 60kg bout, RISE 60kg champ Kosuke Komiyama continued his winning ways with a unanimous decision over Shootboxing Super Featherweight champ Akifumi Utagawa on scores of 30-28 and 30-29(x2). Komiyama (19-2-0, 11 KO) has looked extremely impressive since a questionable split decision loss to Keiji Ozaki in K-1 and is looking for divisional supremacy at 60kg, though that will be hard to claim until he fights against the best that Krush has to offer. To his credit, he has called out Hirotaka Urabe in the past, but nothing has come of it. Utagawa (32-13-1, 1 NC, 15 KO) had his 4-fight winning streak snapped here.

Quick results after the break

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