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Happy Holidays From

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays from We thank you all for the tremendous year that you, the readers, fighters, promoters, managers and everyone else has helped give us here at We hope that no matter what holidays you celebrate that you are able to relax and spend some time with the people you actually can tolerate! Let's face it, that photo of Ubereem as Santa is still the most pertinent thing we've got going on in combat sports.


Joop Ubeda Possibly Leaving Kickboxing Behind

If you follow European Kickboxing there will always be one referee that stands out the most and that is Joop Ubeda. Even if you don't know him by name, you'll know who he is; the stout, muscular and bearded referee who officiates nearly every big match. To some extent, he is the Big John McCarthy of the Kickboxing scene, as he is extremely well known and respected for his craft. He is without a doubt the most popular and polarizing figure in refereeing in the world of European Kickboxing.

The familiar sight of Joop might be no more, though. Coming from a report from, Joop seems a bit hurt and dejected with It's Showtime not choosing to have him at their January 28th event in the Netherlands. It is set to be the biggest event scheduled for the year so far and is understandable why Ubeda would feel upset with that decision. He always seems to be involved in the big fights, as was demonstrated in May when he officiated the Badr Hari return fight, having to grab the microphone and shout for the fans to step back from the ring.

Hopefully this matter is sorted out soon and Joop decides to continue on, as Kickboxing without Joop might be a strange thing to watch.


Photo of the Day: Krush.15 Event Poster

Krush starts 2012 off with a bang with Krush.15 on January 9th at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. The card is headlined by two title fights which happen to be rematches where 60kg champion Hirotaka Urabe defends his title against Naoki "Naokick" Ishikawa and 55kg champion Shota Takiya defends his title against Nobuchika Terado. Krush also kicks off its -63kg WILDRUSH League with all 6 fighters competing. Matchups for the first leg of the WILDRUSH League are Yukimitsu Takahashi vs NOMAN, Hideaki Yamazaki vs Hitoshi Tsukagoshi and TaCa vs Naoki Terasaki. Also featured on the card is the flashy Keiji Ozaki taking on Hironori Hattori in a 64kg fight. Check back for previews of the two title fights and a preview of the -63kg WILDRUSH League as Krush.15 gets closer. {jcomments on}

Yuta Kubo vs Nils Widlund, Masaaki Noiri vs Kengo Sonoda Added to DREAM NYE Event

The first two kickboxing matches have been added to Antonio Inoki's Genki Desu Ka!! (How Are You?!) DREAM New Year's Eve event and unfortunately they appear to be more or less squash matches showcasing two of Japan's top talents.

In the first bout, 2011 K-1 -63kg Japan Tournament champion Yuta Kubo will look to extend his win-streak to 8 against Swedish Sanshou fighter Nils Widlund. Kubo is arguably the hottest fighter in Japan right now, going 14-2 over the past 3 years with his only losses coming in tournament finals to Masahiro Yamamoto and Tetsuya Yamato. His most recent victory was a one-sided beating over French fighter Tristan Benard at Krush.13. While it's hard to find much information about Widlund in kickboxing, he has represented Sweden in Sanshou at the World Wushu Championships in the past, losing in the quarterfinals in both 2007 and 2009. I could not find any information regarding the 2011 World Championships. He has taken a few fights under K-1 rules under the Rumble of the Kings banner, as well. While Widlund is an unknown and certainly has skill, I do not think his Sanshou skills will do much under K-1 rules against someone with the skill of Kubo.

The other fight announced is 2009 K-1 Koshien and 2011 Krush Supernova Tournament champion Masaaki Noiri taking on fellow Supernova Tournament participant Kengo Sonoda. Noiri is fresh off his Supernova Tournament win in which he defeated HIROYA by decision in the semis and KO'd Koya Urabe in the finals in the same night. He was bested in the semifinals of both the Krush 60kg Tournament and the K-1 -63kg Japan Tournament this year, but showed significant defensive improvements in the semifinals and finals of the Supernova Tournament. Sonoda has put together a pretty decent year for himself as well. A fellow product of the K-1 Koshien system, Sonoda never made it past the round of 16. However, when he was placed into the Supernova Tournament, he scored an upset over J-Network Flyweight champion Tsukasa Fuji, the favorite to win his block, but was knocked out by Yukimitsu Takahashi in the quarterfinals. He was given a reserve bout against Daizo Sasaki which he won by decision. While Sonoda proved this year that he's improved from his Koshien days, Masaaki Noiri has improved tenfold and with his improved defense, shouldn't have much trouble with Sonoda. {jcomments on}


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