After a strong end of the summer, Krush will be returning to its numbered cards with Krush.23 on October 8th. The event was already set to host the final leg of the -63kg WILDRUSH League and now has 3 additional 60kg fights which will likely have an impact in deciding 60kg champ Hirotaka Urabe's next challenger.
First, former 60kg title challenger Naoki Ishikawa will take on Sho Senchaigym. Ishikawa (34-18-5, 18 KO) is 1-0-1 this year with the draw coming in a title fight against Hirotaka Urabe and the win, a close decision win over former RISE champ Kan Itabashi. Sho had fought primarily in NJKF up until this year when he took 2 fights in Krush, also going 1-0-1, with a draw against Makihira Keita and a win over Takeshi Watanabe at Krush.21. Ishikawa is obviously favored here and with his win over Itabashi from Krush.19, stands out as the top contender for Urabe's belt. I assume the two fighters who win most impressively of the 3 announced matchups will be slotted into a title eliminator.
In the next bout, "Kyoken" Yuji Takeuchi will make his return to Krush against Hirotaka Urabe's most recent challenger, Fumiya Osawa. After back to back losses in K-1 against Yuki and Koya Urabe, Takeuchi (22-8-2, 12 KO) scored knockouts in the quarters and semis of the first Krush 60kg tournament over Yosuke Mizuochi and Masaaki Noiri, before being KO'd by Hirotaka Urabe in the finals. After that, he took a rematch with Naoki Ishikawa and the two put on an entertaining fight before a cut let to a technical decision in 2 rounds, with Ishikawa emerging victorious again. After almost a year out of action, Takeuchi returned on July 29th with an extension round win in MA Kick. Osawa (7-8-1, 2 KO) proved to be better than his record when he won the Krush 60kg tournament this year, defeating Katsuya Goto in the finals. However, he too was knocked out by Hirotaka Urabe in his challenge for the title by a spinning back kick to Osawa's body. Takeuchi is the favorite here as he shed some of his ring rust in MA Kick and likely still has the power and excitement that we are used to seeing. But don't count Osawa out, as he has been very impressive over the last 2 years despite his record.
Finally, former RISE 60kg champ Kan Itabashi will fight in Krush for the second time against 60kg tournament runner-up Katsuya Goto. Itabashi (19-6-2, 3 KO) first debuted in Krush at Krush.19 against Naoki Ishikawa, losing a close decision. Before that, he had lost a pair of fights to Masahiro Yamamoto and lost his RISE title to Kosuke Komiyama, while beating Anuwat, Kanongsuk and Genki Yamamoto. Goto followed up a close decision loss to Kizaemon Saiga with a run to the finals of the Krush 60kg tournament, where he lost a decision to Fumiya Osawa.