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Krush Youth GP Opening Round Matchups Announced

  • Written by Dave Walsh

Krush has announced the matchups for the opening round of their 63kg and 70kg Youth tournaments on September 9th as well as some single fights, with the semifinal round of the 4-man 70kg tournament taking place during the day and the quarterfinals and semifinals of the 8-man 63kg tournament taking place during the night portion.

In the 70kg semifinals, tournament favorite Shintaro Matsukura will take on Silver Wolf's Kazuya Akimoto while JungleKoki takes on Taisei Kondo in the other semi. The Matsukura-Akimoto matchup has a bit of added drama as it is a K-1 Koshien champ taking on a RISE KAMINARIMON champ, but I would definitely have to favor Matsukura here. In the other semi, I'd give JungleKoki a slight edge and if he and Matsukura both win, it would set up a rematch of the 2009 K-1 Koshien 70kg tournament final.

In the 63kg quarterfinals, Hiroya takes on Hisaki Higashimoto while Daizo Sasaki takes on Yuya in one half of the bracket. In the other half, Koya Urabe takes on Kengo Sonoda while Hiroto Yamaguchi battles Minoru Kimura. It's not much of a surprise to see Hiroya and Urabe on opposite sides of the bracket as they are the favorites. In the upper half of the bracket, I like Hiroya to win easy over Higashimoto and Yuya to take out Sasaki. While Hiroya has been prone to upsets, his quarterfinal opponent Higashimoto is a karate practitioner, meaning he won't be able to expose Hiroya's biggest weakness, his boxing defense. I favor Yuya because he made it to the finals of the K-1 Koshien tournament in 2011, beating Keisuke Ishida and losing to Sho Ogawa, while Sasaki has lost 4 in a row and doesn't have any major wins on his record. In a presumed semifinal between Hiroya and Yuya, I favor Hiroya. However, Sho Ogawa had some success against Hiroya in last year's quarterfinal, so if Yuya has any of the boxing ability of Ogawa, he can cause problems for Hiroya and possibly even score a knockdown. In the lower half of the bracket, I like Urabe to cruise over Sonoda while the final quarterfinal between Hiroto Yamaguchi and Minoru Kimura is the hardest quarterfinal matchup to call. If I had to pick someone, it'd be Kimura, though this fight is a complete toss-up. Either way, I favor Urabe to win against either man, though whoever makes it out will have the best chance outside of Hiroya and Urabe to win the tournament.

In the main single fight of the day portion, NJKF Super Lightweight champ Seiji Takahashi will take on Krush regular Atsushi Ogata. Takahashi recently lost by TKO to Tetsuya Yamato in NJKF while Ogata is fresh off of an upset of Toshiki Taniyama at Krush-EX vol.4 in July. Other single fights include Team Dragon's Takeru taking on Yuki Masato at 55kg as well as Team Dragon's Keisuke Ishida taking on Ryusei at 55kg. For the night portion, only one single fight has been announced with Team Dragon's Namito Izawa looking to rebound from his first two pro losses against Koki Nakagawa.

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