|Heavyweight (Per 10/13)|
|1.||Semmy Schilt (?)|
|7.||Mirko Cro Cop|
|Light HW (per 10/13)|
|Middleweight (per 11/25)|
|Welterweight (per 10/13)|
|70kg (Per 11/25)|
|2.||Robin van Roosmalen|
|65kg (per 10/6)|
With this weekend's K-1 -63kg Tournament, I thought it would be appropriate to rank the fighters in terms of their chances of winning the tournament. Tetsuya Yamato entered the tournament last year as a relative unknown and powered his way through the tournament, concluding with an all-action final against Yuta Kubo in one of 2010's FOTY candidates. This year's field is comprised of eight of the very best Lightweights in Japan, all of whom have the legitimate ability to take this year's throne. Who are this year's favorites? Who are this year's dark horses? Who will reign supreme? We'll find out on June 25th, but for now, here's my speculation as to who's who in the -63kg division.
1. Yuta Kubo - In the two major lightweight tournaments Kubo has been in, he made it to the finals of both. Unfortunately for him, he lost both as a result of a 3rd round knockdown and a 3rd round knockout in fights he was presumably winning, at the hands of Masahiro Yamamoto and Tetsuya Yamato, respectively. However, in the lead up to both of those finals and even in the finals themselves, Kubo displayed high level technique, accompanied with power, dispatching the likes of Naoki Ishikawa, leg kick wizard DJ Taiki, Keiji Ozaki and Yoshimichi Matsumoto, the last of which by spectacular KO. Kubo fell to Yamato in the exciting finals of last year's -63kg GP, seeming to have simply run out of steam in the third round of their fight. Despite his tournament finals shortcomings, Kubo brings to the table a variety of deceptive, powerful kicks and the hands to set them up, culminating in the ability to reach yet another tournament final. However this time, I feel it is his for the taking.
2. Koya Urabe - Just three months ago, it would seem ludicrous to not have Urabe as the tournament favorite. He was the king without a crown, being left out of last year's Final 8 despite winning his Final 22(16?) match quite handily. Then, in September of last year, after Tetsuya Yamato's tournament victory, Urabe dismantled the K-1 Champion over the course of three rounds, earning a decisive victory, leading many to call for his standing as the true K-1 Champion. After a close fight against rising sensation Sung Hyun Lee in the quarterfinals of the Krush 63kg Tournament and a relatively easy win over Takuya Shirahama in the semis, Urabe looked poised to stay atop the scene at 63kg before being upset by Ruyji Kajiwara in the finals. Urabe's strengths are his hands, which may be the best among the tournament field, and his defense, both of which make him a considerable favorite over his first round opponent Yuki. Revenge is on Urabe's mind, but will he be able to enact it? Only time will tell.
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I don't even know what to say about this. Watch it. Marvel.
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On July 16 in Malaga, Spain the Spanish promotion Real Fighters will put on a one night 4-man -70kg tournament along with many big names in super fights for their card at the Polideportivo Carrangue de Malaga. The four fighters in action will battle it out for the Real Fighters -70kg Title. Featured in the tournament are It's Showtime veteran Rachid Belaini, Fran Palenzuela, Jonay Risco and Javier Maiz. The quarter final match ups are set up as follows:
Quarter Final Match Up #1:
Rachid Belaini vs. Jonay Risco
Quarter Final Match Up #2:
Fran Palenzuela vs. Javier Maiz
Belaini has recently fought in Spain at the K-1 MAX Madrid 2011 tournament, losing in the first round to Nick Beljaards by TKO. Fran Palenzuela is coming off a KO loss to Yodsaenklai Fairtex on June 18 and Jonay Risco is coming off a decision loss to Naruepol Fairtex on the same card.
In the super fight portion of the card, many familiar names are on hand. Here's what fights we've got:
-70kg: Zeben Diaz vs. Warren Stevelmans
-72kg: Bruno Carvalho vs. Faldir Chahbari
-73kg: Khalid Chabrani vs. Emad Kadyear
If you saw It's Showtime Madrid this past weekend, you probably saw Zeben Diaz showcase his skills as he dominated Yavuz Kayabasi. Not many knew of Diaz before the bout and now he's taking on another name in the veteran Warren Stevelmans. Faldir Chahbari is coming off a win in April over Anthony Kane and face the man from Portugal, Bruno Carvalho. Khalid Chabrani recently defeated Errol Koning in May and faces Emad Kadyear who is coming off a stoppage win at It's Showtime Madrid this past weekend.
All in all, a solid card. Keep your eye out for more here on Liverkick.com
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The K-1 MAX Japan -63kg tournament is rapidly approaching, and luckily for all of us, we'll be able to watch it live streamed on the internet. As the talk about the top prospects starts to heat up online, the debate is to which fighter will come out victorious in the tournament. The Final 8 will meet each other and one man will be crowned the champion, and out of the field there is a lot of competition. KRUSH Champion Ryuji Kajiwara takes on youth sensation Masaaki Noiri, last year's finalist Yuta Kubo takes on Kizaemon Saiga, Koya Urabe takes on YUKI and HIROYA takes on last year's champion Tetsuya Yamato.
So the field in the Final 8 is stiff enough as it is, with all 8 men having their own impressive histories. But each fight will tell its own story, so we take a look at the possible outcomes of the Final 8 fights.
Ryuji Kajiawa vs. Masaaki Noiri: Noiri is young, like half as young as Kajiwara. Kajiwara's victory in the KRUSH -63kg tournament came as a shock to everyone, as he was able to usurp Koya Urabe to take the title. Noiri on the other hand is one of the brightest prospects to come out of the the K-1 Koshien system, who after his run in that tournament went on a rampage in the kickboxing world. Noiri is still lacking a little bit of polish that could make him the tournament champion, while Kajiwara has been around for years and has the skill and discipline to take the fight to Noiri.
Yuta Kubo vs. Kizaemon Saiga: Saiga is a frustrating fighter, as frustrating of a fighter as a pretty boy can be. Saiga has a few impressive wins to his credit, but after receiving a lot of attention his focus seemed to be shattered and a string of losses and disappointments ensued. Yuta Kubo on the other hand is young and has made it far in two major tournaments now. Kubo put on some of the most exciting kickboxing fights of 2010 and to his credit is powerful and pretty technical. I think it is clear that Kubo takes the wind out of Saiga's sails.
Koya Urabe vs. YUKI: YUKI is a solid fighter, with some really solid power and moderate skill, but in the realm of this fight against the fighter who has to be one of the absolute favorites, Koya Urabe should take this fight in his sleep.
HIROYA vs. Tetsuya Yamato: HIROYA is the first KOSHIEN Champion from 2008 and is known as K-1's golden boy for many reasons, he has taken a few decisions that many have credited as "gifts" in K-1 events and has put on some moderate displays of technique as well as look absolutely terrible. He was chosen to be the successor to Masato but it is clear that for him to live up to such high standards he would need years more of refinement or K-1 to pull as many strings as they could to raise him above the field. Yamato was the man who took the -63kg tournament last year in a surprise run, who has had little luck with Muay Thai fighters and can show flashes of brilliance as well as flashes of absolute disappointment. I think he wants to prove himself here and will be ready to fight with HIROYA and become the two-time champion.Add a comment