After a successful youth tournament in 2011, Krush has expanded their 2012 youth tournament to two weight classes, 63kg and 70kg, and have announced the participants for both tournaments. The tournament will begin on September 9th with a day-night setup like last year's opening round, with the day portion featuring the 70kg tournament and the night portion featuring the 63kg tournament. The 70kg tournament only features four fighters, so it is likely that both the semifinals and finals will take place on the 9th, and with just an 8-man field at 63kg, as opposed to 16 last year, it is possible that the 63kg tournament could take place in one night as well, as opposed to a two-event tournament like last year. Either way, here are the fields for the two weight classes
Koya Urabe: 2011 Runner-up (20-4-0, 2 KO) // 22 years old
Hiroya: 2011 Semifinalist (11-5-0, 6 KO) // 20 years old
Daizo Sasaki: 2011 Quarterfinalist (6-7-1, 2 KO) // 21 years old
Kengo Sonoda: 2011 Quarterfinalist (3-3-1, 0 KO) // 20 years old
Hiroto Yamaguchi: DEEP*KICK 65kg Champion (8-1-0, 4 KO) // 20 years old
Minoru Kimura: MA Kick #2 Super Lightweight (8-1-1, 6 KO) // 18 years old
Yuya: 2011 K-1 Koshien Runner-up (6-1-0, 6 KO) // 18 years old
Hisaki Higashimoto: 2-time Shin Karate Champion (Pro debut) // 20 years old
For those wondering why Masaaki Noiri is not in the tournament, as the reigning champion, he will face the winner of the tournament to defend that title, unlike the K-1 style of a fresh tournament with a new champion each year. A notable fighter left out is 2011 quarterfinalist and 2011 K-1 Koshien champ Sho Ogawa, who holds a pro win over Minoru Kimura, a win in the finals of the Koshien tournament over Yuya and gave Hiroya all he could handle in the quarterfinals last year. Urabe and Hiroya have to be the favorites to earn a rematch with Noiri, but don't count out Yamaguchi and Kimura. Both just recently suffered their first pro losses and will be hungrier than ever coming into this tournament, while Urabe and Hiroya have been upset-prone as of late. If this is a one-night tournament, I would slightly favor Hiroya over Urabe. While both have major defensive deficiencies, Urabe tends to take more damage, especially from leg kicks, which could slow him down towards the finals.
Shintaro Matsukura: 2009 K-1 Koshien 70kg Champion (5-6-0, 4 KO) // 20 years old
JungleKoki: 2009 K-1 Koshien 70kg Runner-up (5-2-0, 2KO) // 20 years old
Taisei Kondo: DEEP*KICK 70kg Tournament Semifinalist (4-2-2, 2 KO) // 20 years old
Kazuya Akimoto: RISE 2011 KAMINARIMON 70kg Champion (2-0-0, 1 KO) // 22 years old
Matsukura has to be the heavy favorite here as he is the only person to face top competition on more than one occasion and holds a win over Yuya Yamamoto. Each man has recently fought in Krush at Krush-EX vol.4 or Krush.20, with Matsukura losing a close extension round decision to TOMOYUKI, Akimoto taking a decision win, JungleKoki losing by cut stoppage to Yu Hirono and Kondo scoring a KO of Fred Matos.