Earlier today, NJKF held the 9th installment of its Kick to the Future series and it was, on paper, one of their best cards to date, featuring two title fights, three NEW JAPAN WARS 2012 finals and two of the promotion's champions in non-title action against Thai opponents.
In the main event, NJKF Super Welterweight champion Kenta defended his title for the first time against NEW JAPAN WARS Super Welterweight winner Takenaka Shirakami via unanimous decision on scores of 50-47 and 49-48(x2). Kenta picks up a much-needed win after 3 losses this year to Yasuhiro Kido, TOMOYUKI and Soichiro Miyakoshi. Going forward, we can probably expect to see Kenta back in Krush, possibly attempting to earn his way back to the title. Another possible option would be claiming the final position in the 67kg tournament as he isn't the biggest 70kg fighter. Shirakami had a 2-fight winning streak coming into this fight, but has that snapped.
In the co-main event, Daichi Yamato defeated KEI by 5th round KO to win the NEW JAPAN WARS Super Featherweight tournament and claim the vacant NJKF Super Featherweight title. Yamato has now won 5 in a row and 11 of his last 12, establishing himself as the top Super Featherweight in NJKF and possibly opening up some chances for himself in RISE or Krush at 60kg, should he want to fight under that ruleset. If not, he could make a run at the WPMF or WBC Japan titles currently held by SHIGERU and Yoshinori Nakasuka, respectively. KEI was just 1-1 on the year, defeating Nobuhiro Iwai at Kick to the Future 3, but losing his most recent fight.
In the NEW JAPAN WARS Welterweight finals, WBC Japan Super Welterweight champ Soichiro Miyakoshi defeated Tae-yeon by majority decision to earn a rematch with current NJKF Welterweight champion Yuya Yamato. Since losing their first fight and his WBC Japan Welterweight title to Yamato, Miyakoshi is 4-1 earning the WBC Japan Super Welterweight title and defending it once, handing Masato Otake his first loss and now earning a rematch with Yamato. Miyakoshi seems to be fighting much better since their first fight while Yamato has since had his world rocked by Yuta Kubo. The fight will be a tossup. Tae-yeon made it to the finals with a win over Baku Saenchaigym, but came up short here.
In the last NEW JAPAN WARS final at Super Lightweight, Kazushige Sugama scored a 1st round KO of Marimo to earn a shot at current champ Seiji Takahashi. This fight was a rematch of a 2011 fight which ended with Marimo scoring a TKO of his own. Sugama picks up his second straight win via KO and has some momentum heading into his title fight with Takahashi, which he will certainly need.
NJKF Super Lightweight champ Seiji Takahashi and Lightweight champ Keijiro Miyakoshi both took on Thai opposition, with different outcomes. Takahashi was scheduled to fight Naoki, but he pulled out and was replaced by Dejpanom Senchaigym, who Takahashi stopped via cut in the 3rd round. Takahashi improves to 3-1 on the year and has a date with Sugama set for the future. In the other Japan vs Thailand fight, Keijiro Miyakoshi took another hit to his bubble as he dropped a split decision to Mongkoldet Sithubon on scores of 30-29, 29-28 and 29-30. After winning the NJKF and WBC Japan Lightweight titles to end 2011, Miyakoshi fought fellow prospect Hikaru Machida to a draw before scoring the biggest win of his career, a majority decision over Koya Urabe. Now he has lost 2 in a row, losing his WBC Japan title to Yosuke Mizuochi and dropping the split decision here. He'll need some big wins in the future to climb back into the picture at 60-63kg.
Finally, in a NEW JAPAN WARS Flyweight semifinal, prospect Nemo picked up another big win with a unanimous decision win over former WBC Japan Flyweight champion Naoki Otsuki. Nemo is now 6-0-2 (2 KO) in his young career, but has two big wins at 51kg over Shuichi Wentz and Otsuki. While both of those fighters had been struggling of late at Flyweight and had fallen from the top of the division, they are still two good, experienced fighters and being able to put together back to back wins against them is very impressive at this stage in his career. It's impossible to know who he will fight for the vacant NJKF Flyweight title as these were the only two fighters ranked by NJKF at Flyweight, but matchups with top Flyweights Ryuji Kato, Kiminori Matsuzaki, Hiroyuki Yamano and Sazanami Satsutama are all possible and should do well in determining if Nemo is a fringe contender or the real deal.
Quick results after the break