With three good fights already slated for September 17th’s Shootboxing ~Road to S-Cup~ act.4 event, an S-Cup qualifier that is sure to bring fireworks has been announced, pitting former PRIDE and UFC fighter Akihiro Gono against former thaiboxer Bovy Sor. Udomson. Gono (5-3-0, 1 KO KB/SB), although famous for his MMA career, had a brief stint in kickboxing under the AJKF banner in 2005, going 2-1 and winning the promotion’s heavyweight title. He made his return to kickboxing in 2011, first losing to Yuya Yamamoto, then winning a 4-man tournament to represent
As for the 2012 S-Cup field, the winners of Hinata-Stevelmans and Gono-Bovy will get in, and I have to assume that the 2010 semifinalists, Souwer, Imada, van Opstal and Buakaw, will be invited back. This leaves two open spots and with Shishido vs Suzuki not being billed as an S-Cup qualifier, I would have to imagine both men will get in. While Shishido has had his struggles of late, he is still one of Shootboxing’s biggest stars and Suzuki has become pretty popular in Shootboxing, holds a win over Bovy and is the 70kg champion in Shootboxing.
This fight joins Hinata vs Warren Stevelmans as an S-Cup qualifier, as well as superfights that pit Satoru Suzuki against Hiroki Shishido and Kosuke Komiyama against Akifumi Utagawa.
Shootboxing has recently made announcements regarding their next two cards; the Girls S-Cup this Saturday and September 17th's Shootboxing Act.4.
Starting off with this week's Girls S-Cup, Shootboxing has announced the final competitor in the tournament as well as the brackets. Filling in the final spot is Australian Kim Townsend, a WKN World champion. She will have a very tough quarterfinal matchup as she takes on 2-time defending S-Cup champion RENA. In the other quarter of the upper half, South Korea's Seo Hee Ham takes on Ukraine's Olena Ovchynnikova. In the lower half of the bracket, V.V Mei battles Thai representative Namtam Por. Muangpet while Erika Kamimura takes on Holland's Lorena Klijn. RENA, Ham, Mei and Kamimura would have to be the favorites to reach the semis as they have fought under Shootboxing rules before with success.
Meanwhile, an S-Cup qualifier has been announced for Shootboxing Act.4 between Warren Stevelmans and Hinata. This will be both men's second fight in Shootboxing, with Stevelmans holding a win over Hiroki Shishido from earlier this year and Hinata losing to Andy Souwer back in 2010. Stevelmans (55-16-4, 16 KO) is 1-1 this year with the win over Shishido and most recently losing to Batu Khasikov by split decision. Hinata most recently picked up a win at It's Showtime Japan Countdown-2. Since upset wins over Mike Zambidis and Artur Kyshenko, Hinata is 0-4 against European competition (though Stevelmans is from South Africa, he trains in the Netherlands and has fought almost exclusively in Europe) being stopped by each of them except for Giorgio Petrosyan, who shut him out, so this does not bode too well for him.
Akihiro Gono is still expected to participate on the card in an S-Cup qualifier and considering the level of Hinata's opponent, it would be nice to see Gono challenged as well.
Krush has announced the matchups for the opening round of their 63kg and 70kg Youth tournaments on September 9th as well as some single fights, with the semifinal round of the 4-man 70kg tournament taking place during the day and the quarterfinals and semifinals of the 8-man 63kg tournament taking place during the night portion.
In the 70kg semifinals, tournament favorite Shintaro Matsukura will take on Silver Wolf's Kazuya Akimoto while JungleKoki takes on Taisei Kondo in the other semi. The Matsukura-Akimoto matchup has a bit of added drama as it is a K-1 Koshien champ taking on a RISE KAMINARIMON champ, but I would definitely have to favor Matsukura here. In the other semi, I'd give JungleKoki a slight edge and if he and Matsukura both win, it would set up a rematch of the 2009 K-1 Koshien 70kg tournament final.
In the 63kg quarterfinals, Hiroya takes on Hisaki Higashimoto while Daizo Sasaki takes on Yuya in one half of the bracket. In the other half, Koya Urabe takes on Kengo Sonoda while Hiroto Yamaguchi battles Minoru Kimura. It's not much of a surprise to see Hiroya and Urabe on opposite sides of the bracket as they are the favorites. In the upper half of the bracket, I like Hiroya to win easy over Higashimoto and Yuya to take out Sasaki. While Hiroya has been prone to upsets, his quarterfinal opponent Higashimoto is a karate practitioner, meaning he won't be able to expose Hiroya's biggest weakness, his boxing defense. I favor Yuya because he made it to the finals of the K-1 Koshien tournament in 2011, beating Keisuke Ishida and losing to Sho Ogawa, while Sasaki has lost 4 in a row and doesn't have any major wins on his record. In a presumed semifinal between Hiroya and Yuya, I favor Hiroya. However, Sho Ogawa had some success against Hiroya in last year's quarterfinal, so if Yuya has any of the boxing ability of Ogawa, he can cause problems for Hiroya and possibly even score a knockdown. In the lower half of the bracket, I like Urabe to cruise over Sonoda while the final quarterfinal between Hiroto Yamaguchi and Minoru Kimura is the hardest quarterfinal matchup to call. If I had to pick someone, it'd be Kimura, though this fight is a complete toss-up. Either way, I favor Urabe to win against either man, though whoever makes it out will have the best chance outside of Hiroya and Urabe to win the tournament.
In the main single fight of the day portion, NJKF Super Lightweight champ Seiji Takahashi will take on Krush regular Atsushi Ogata. Takahashi recently lost by TKO to Tetsuya Yamato in NJKF while Ogata is fresh off of an upset of Toshiki Taniyama at Krush-EX vol.4 in July. Other single fights include Team Dragon's Takeru taking on Yuki Masato at 55kg as well as Team Dragon's Keisuke Ishida taking on Ryusei at 55kg. For the night portion, only one single fight has been announced with Team Dragon's Namito Izawa looking to rebound from his first two pro losses against Koki Nakagawa.