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Hiroki Akimoto vs Yosuke Morii Headlines MA Kick/WBC Japan Card on 10/7

  • Written by Dave Walsh

MA Kick has announced a co-sponsored event with WBC Muay Thai set to take place on October 7th at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo and featuring 3 WBC Japan champions defending their titles, as well as a battle for the vacant Bantamweight title. 

The main event will feature one of, if not the biggest fight to take place in the Japanese scene outside of Krush, RISE and Shootboxing this year, pitting current WBC Japan and WPMF Japan Featherweight champion Yosuke Morii against MA Kick Featherweight champion Hiroki Akimoto for Morii's WBC Japan title. Morii (20-3-2, 9 KO) had a very strong 2011 which culminated in a much-hyped fight against Genji Umeno, which Umeno won quite handily. This year, Morii is 2-1, taking a loss in Thailand to begin his year, but bouncing back with a win over Heihachi Nakajima to win the vacant WBC Japan title and defending his WPMF Japan title against Hiroki Nagashima. After a successful career in K-1 Koshien, which saw his only two losses coming in 2009 to eventual finalist Shota Shimada and in the 2010 finals against Shohei Hareyama, Akimoto is 15-0-0 (8 KO) in his professional career and has won his last 8 fights by knockout, most recently stopping Hiroki Fujisawa to claim the vacant MA Kick Featherweight title. While Akimoto hasn't exactly fought elite competition in the division, it is hard to argue against him being #3 behind Morii and Umeno considering how his career has gone so far. With Morii just 24 and Akimoto very recently turning 20, this is a key battle between two young stars in the Featherweight division and with K-1's weight class expansion, the winner of this fight will likely have a better chance of getting chosen by K-1, especially with Genji Umeno attending the most recent K-1 press conference. I give a slight edge to Morii here as he has more experience and will probably be able to handle what Akimoto throws at him more than Akimoto can handle Morii's offense.

At Flyweight, WBC Japan and WPMF Japan Flyweight champion Ryuji Kato will look to make the first defense of his WBC title against Hiroyuki Yamano. Kato (18-3-1, 9 KO) is coming off of a defense of his WPMF Japan title against Shuichi Wentz which snapped a 2-fight losing streak. He won his WBC Japan title about a year ago, defeating then-champion Naoki Otsuki. Yamano snapped a 2-fight losing streak of his own with an upset TKO of MA Kick Flyweight champ Yuuji Uwasawa via cut. The two have two common opponents in recent times in Yuuji Uwasawa and Naoki Otsuki, with Yamano going 2-0 and Kato going 1-1. Despite that, I give an edge to Kato as I feel he is the better fighter and Yamano's win over Uwasawa was a product of circumstance seeing as he won by cut while Kato took him 5 rounds and only lost by a point on two cards.

WBC Japan and NJKF Welterweight champion Yuya Yamato will look to defend his WBC title against former WPMF Japan Welterweight champ Daiki Watabe. Yamato (14-7-0, 9 KO) most recently took a tough fight against Yuta Kubo in Krush, losing by 2nd round KO and snapping a 2-fight winning streak where he took wins off of Kanongsuk Weerasakreck and Pradesh Lookprabaht. Yamato won his WBC title from Soichiro Miyakoshi last July and will look to make his first defense here. While Watabe (13-8-1, 9 KO) is just 3-3 in his last 6 fights, he is a deserving challenger, as those 3 losses came to Chi Bin Lim and twice to T-98, who is proving to be one of the top Welterweights in Japan. He has won two in a row, most recently stopping Yukimaru to earn this fight. Yamato should be a good favorite here, but being rattled by Yuta Kubo may have some negative effects on him and could open a window of opportunity for Watabe, who has the power to stop Yamato, who was stopped in 3 of his last 4 losses.

In the final WBC Japan title fight, Takuma Ito and J-Network Bantamweight champion Kentaro Kimura will face off for the vacant WBC Japan Bantamweight title. Ito (13-3-1, 6 KO) started his career 12-0-1, but suffered three straight losses, losing in battles for the vacant WPMF Japan Super Flyweight and Bantamweight titles to Kiminori Matsuzaki and TO-MA, respectively, and losing his MA Kick Bantamweight title to Takashi Ohno. He recently bounced back with a stoppage of Banzen Esugym in June. Kimura has won 5 in a row since a loss to Namito Izawa at Krush.11, winning the J-Network Bantamweight tournament and most recently defeating Yuya Suzuki at Krush.21. Though I like Ito a lot as he trains out of Hashimoto Dojo, he has been shaky in title fights and Kimura has a more impressive resume, especially across his last 5 wins. 

Finally, MA Kick Flyweight champion Yuuji Uwasawa will take a non-title bout against Nagata Haryi. While Haryi isn't a big opponent, Uwasawa has already lost a non-title fight to an unheralded opponent this year and will need to come ready to fight if he doesn't want to fall to 0-2 in non-title fights.

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