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Ray Sefo vs Makoto Uehara, Erika Kamimura vs Seo Hee Ham 2 Among Fights Added to RISE 88

  • Written by Dave Walsh

With a lot of top names in Japan returning to action in the coming months, RISE is looking to steal the spotlight by putting on what appears to be a super-card in RISE 88 on June 2nd, almost to the scale of RISE 85 this past November. So far, there is one title fight, one #1 contender fight, Ray Sefo vs promotional Heavyweight champ Makoto Uehara, a number of top contenders in various weight classes and two more champions expected to participate.

The first big fight announcement is that former K-1 star Ray Sefo (56-21-1, 38 KO) will be looking to bounce back from a loss to Mirko Crocop in Crocop’s return to kickboxing. Sefo’s task will not be an easy one, as he takes on RISE Heavyweight champ Makoto Uehara (11-4-0, 7 KO) in a non-title fight. Uehara had previously been known as a powerful fighter with a small gas tank, but a decision win over Stefan Leko in the quarterfinals of last year’s RISE Heavyweight Tournament and an extension round decision over Jan Soukup in the semifinals suggests that Uehara has a much improved gas tank and doesn’t blow himself out quite as fast. I’d have to give Uehara the edge in this fight. At 27, he seems to be hitting his prime and he’s found himself as a kickboxer more while at 41, Sefo could be vulnerable to a guy who has good, but not elite power.

The next major fight announced is a #1 contender’s bout for a shot at RISE 48kg champ RENA. The fight is a rematch from last year’s Shootboxing Girls’ S-Cup Preliminary Tournament final between South Korean MMA fighter/kickboxer Seo Hee Ham (6-1-0, 1 KO) and 19 year old phenom Erika Kamimura (24-2-0, 13 KO). The two put on an extremely entertaining first fight, with Kamimura taking a close decision. It will be interesting to see how this fight goes under RISE rules, as Kamimura got the better of the striking in their first bout. Personally, I’ve wanted to see Ham vs Rena for a while, but Kamimura should be the favorite here. However, Ham has shown superb standup in MMA and kickboxing, so she won’t be the punching bag that Kamimura has made many of her opponents look like.

The only current title fight set for the event is 60kg champ Kosuke Komiyama (17-2-0, 10 KO) taking on #1 contender Motochika Hanada. Komiyama has won 6 straight, most recently a quick KO of a Chinese fighter at RISE 87. Hanada’s riding a 3-fight winstreak, with his most recent win being a KO of Yutonaka Egawa at RISE 87. Komiyama should be the big favorite here as he’s been on fire and Hanada hasn’t really faced any top competition.

In a 65kg tilt, #1 ranked Middleweight Yukihiro Komiya (27-10-0, 6 KO) will be moving down from 70kg to take on #1 ranked Super Lightweight Yusuke Sugawara (22-14-2, 7 KO). Komiya has fought his entire career at 70kg, but moved down to 65kg once back in 2008 to fight Saenchai. He hasn’t been very active lately, with just 2 fights since the start of 2011 and both of those were losses, though they were to Takafumi Morita and Yuji Nashiro, two of the hottest fighters in the division. Sugawara has been up and down lately as he split a pair of J-Network title matches with Shunsuke Oishi in 2011, then dropped two straight with losses to WBC Japan Super Lightweight champ Seiji Takahashi and MMA fighter Shigeki Osawa, though that was in Shootboxing. A win at Shootboxing 2012 act.1 against Tappuron ForceGym was washed out by a loss at RISE 87 to MA Kick Super Lightweight champ Mohan Dragon in a close fight, which was his most recent bout. The winner may very well be next in line for Super Lightweight champ Koji Yoshimoto.

Rounding out the card as it currently stands is a 63kg bout between #1 ranked Hiroshi Mizumachi and Naoki. Mizumachi is ranked #1, but hasn’t won a fight since 2008, though he managed to do well against 65kg champ Koji Yoshimoto in a superfight. Naoki was a mid-level fighter until earlier this year when he scored an upset over HIROYA at Big Bang 8. Mizumachi was set to face Yuki before an injury and with Naoki’s recently elevated status, this may well be a #1 contender’s bout.

Also expected on the card are Lightweight champ Yuki, Super Bantamweight champ KENJI, #1 ranked Heavyweight Kengo Shimizu, #2 ranked Heavyweight Raoumaru, #2 ranked Super Bantamweight Dyki and the semifinals of the RISE Featherweight tournament. Yuki just defended his title at RISE 87 so I expect him to be in a superfight, but KENJI has yet to defend his title since winning it at RISE 85 in November, so he could be defending. The two candidates for a title shot are Ryuma Tobe, who he beat in the semifinals of the RISE Super Bantamweight tournament and Hiroki Maeda.{jcomments on}

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