|Heavyweight (Per 1/20)|
|6.||Mirko Cro Cop
|Light HW (per 1/20)|
|Middleweight (per 1/20)|
|Welterweight (per 1/20)|
|4.||Marc de Bonte|
|70kg (Per 1/20)|
|2.||Robin van Roosmalen|
|65kg (per 1/20)|
WBC Japan Lightweight champion Rashata was originally set to face Krush 63kg champion Ryuji Kajiwara for his Krush title at Krush.14 on December 9th, the same event holding the semi-finals and finals of the Krush Under-22 63kg Supernova Tournament. However, an injury has forced Rashata out of the fight and K-1 -63kg 2010 tournament champion Tetsuya Yamato has stepped in to replace him. Yamato has been up and down since winning the K-1 tournament last year. In his first fight after the GP, he was defeated soundly by Koya Urabe, then fought to a draw against MMA fighter "Wicky" Akiyo Nishiura at Dynamite!!! 2010. He picked up a win over Makoto Nishiyama in NJKF, then squeaked past HIROYA in the quarterfinals of the 2011 K-1 63kg Japan tournament before losing to Urabe again in the semifinals. He picked up a TKO win in August over Coke Chunhawat before losing a wide decision to Jomthong Chuwattana in his most recent outing. Though the opponent has changed, the challenge has not gotten easier for the champion Kajiwara. Rashata would likely have been the favorite, but Yamato is a tough style match-up for Kajiwara. Yamato possesses fight-ending power in his hands and, if he is given an opening, is able to land. His biggest weaknesses are his lack of speed and how he cracks under offensive pressure. Kajiwara does not possess the speed he needs to frustrate Yamato, however if he could keep Yamato on the end of his jab and kicks, he could be able to cruise to a decision win. However, this fight has the possibility of becoming a brawl reminiscent of Kajiwara's incredible fight with Hisanori Maeda back in AJKF as both men have the capability to give out and take a good amount of punishment.
Krush also revealed plans about their future in 2012, putting out a schedule of events as well as announcing an interesting Super Six-type round robin, titled the "Krush -63kg League 2012"(tentative name), to determine a challenger for the 63kg title at the end of next year. Though in some ways similar to Showtime's Super Six World Boxing Classic, the Krush "Super Six" takes six of the 63kg division's middling fighters and puts them in a round robin tournament, with each fighter facing one another over the course of 2012. Fights will be 3x3 and there will be no extension rounds, as the scoring system will be 3 points for a knockout, 2 points for a decision win, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for a loss. There will be no playoff system, as the person with the highest point total at the end of the round robin stage will be granted the title shot. Krush has announced five of the six participants for the tournament and they are Hideaki Yamazaki, Naoki Terasaki, TaCa, NOMAN and Hitoshi Tsukagoshi. One thing to be noted is that several of these fighters have faced each other in the past.
The first round of the tournament is set to take place at Krush.15 on January 9th, the first Krush event of 2012.Also tentatively scheduled for that event are the Krush 55kg and 60kg champions', Shota Takiya and Hirotaka Urabe, first scheduled defenses. Though no opponent has been named for either, candidates at 55kg for Shota Takiya are Ryuya Kusakabe, though Kusakabe has a fight just 2 and a half weeks before, or recently crowned ISKA champion Nobuchiko Terado. For Urabe, he could face RISE champion Kosuke Komiyama or Masaaki Noiri, should he be ready just a month after the Supernova tournament. Naoki Ishikawa is also an interesting opponent as he stated he wants to fight the winner of the Supernova tournament in his retirement fight, though Urabe holds a win over Ishikawa and he may see it fit to try and avenge that loss in his retirement fight.
After the break, Krush's 2012 schedule as well as a small breakdown of the five Krush -63kg League 2012 fighters.
Krush 2012 Event Schedule
January 9th - Korakuen Hall
February 17th - Korakuen Hall
March 17th - Korakuen Hall
April 22nd - Shinjuku FACE (day/night tournament scheduled)
May 3rd - Korakuen Hall
June 8th - Korakuen Hall
July 21st - Korakuen Hall
August 12th - Korakuen Hall
September 9th - Shinjuku FACE (day/night tournament scheduled)
October 8th - Korakuen Hall
November 10th - Korakuen Hall
December date TBD
No word on what tournament will be held on the April 22nd and September 9th events, though another 2012 Krush Youth tournament is likely should FIKA abandon the K-1 Youth league, which is possible considering their move out of Japan.
Each fighter announced so far for the Krush -63kg League 2012 seems to have a legitimate chance of winning as no fighter is head and shoulders better than the rest. If speculation were to be made about a winner, I would choose Hideaki Yamazaki as the tournament favorite with TaCa in a close second.
Hideaki Yamazaki(11-1, 6 KO): The reason I peg him as the favorite is his power, youth and training camp. With over a 50% KO ratio, five of Yamazaki's last six wins have come by way of KO. He trains at Team Dragon which is home to the Krush 63kg champion Ryuji Kajiwara, Krush 60kg champion Hirotaka Urabe and Krush and K-1 63kg tournament finalist Koya Urabe. Since 2010, Yamazaki has fought exclusively in Krush and has racked up a 9-1 record in that time. He is 1-1 against fellow tournament participants, losing to TaCa by 3rd round TKO in February of this year, marking his first professional loss, and defeating NOMAN by unanimous decision on July 16th. I believe Yamazaki has gotten better since his first fight with TaCa, and their second encounter could possibly be the deciding factor in this tournament.
TaCa(record N/A): TaCa is somewhat of a gatekeeper at the 60-63kg weight in Japan, as he has fought a number of top names in the Japanese scene. He lost his J-Network Lightweight title to Yusuke Sugawara last October and has since fought mostly in Krush. Under the Krush banner he holds KO wins over Junpei Aotsu and Hideaki Yamazaki, while he lost to Ryuji Kajiwara in the Krush 63kg tournament quarterfinals and lost to Naoki Terasaki as well as former NJKF Lightweight champion Kazuki back at Krush.12 in September. Like Yamazaki, he possess fight-ending power and with the extra point for knockout wins, TaCa has a good shot at winning this tournament.
Naoki Terasaki(8-3, 2 KO): Terasaki was also a participant in the Krush 63kg tournament, losing to Kizaemon Saiga in the quarterfinals. Terasaki is 4-1 in Krush and, like Yamazaki and TaCa, is 1-1 against fellow tournament participants, with a loss to NOMAN and a win against TaCa. Terasaki's lack of power is concerning, though he definitely has the chance to run the table with decision victories and still earn the title shot.
NOMAN(record N/A): NOMAN, like the three previously mentioned participants, is 1-1 against fellow participants with a win over Terasaki and a loss to Yamazaki back in July. I believe he is 2-1 in Krush, as he has picked up wins at Krush.12 and Krush.13 over Krush 63kg tournament semfinalist Takuya Shirahama and H. Fujisaka. Again, like everyone else, he has a chance to win this tournament.
Hitoshi Tsukagoshi(9-1, 5 KO): Tsukagoshi is the biggest unknown of the announced participants, coming out of Silver Wolf, Masato's gym, and I do not believe he has faced any of the announced participants. He is 3-0 in Krush, though he has not fought any great fighters.
Possible fighters for the sixth spot that would go with the current selection of fighters are Makoto Nishiyama, Yuta Dynamite, Takuya Shirahama and Shota Shimada.