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Yuta Kubo, Yuji Nashiro to Compete in Krush 67kg GP

  • Written by Dave Walsh

A few weeks ago, Krush announced the expansion of their weight classes, adding 67kg and 58kg. With that announcement came the announcement of an 8-man 67kg tournament set to start on Krush's January 14th event, which is set to be titled Jawin Presents Krush Grand Prix 2013 ~67kg First Class Tournament~. Krush just announced the first two participants in that tournament and although there are 6 more fighters to be announced, the tournament may already have its two biggest favorites in Yuta Kubo and Yuji Nashiro.

Former 63kg kingpin Yuta Kubo has slowly been moving up in weight over the past year, most recently fighting Yuya Yamato at 67kg at Krush.22. He was scheduled to make his 70kg debut at Glory 4 Tokyo on December 2nd, but with rumors about that card's postponement flying around, Kubo's 70kg debut may be postponed. Arguably the #1 fighter in Japan right now, Kubo (34-4-1, 16 KO) has won 11 straight fights. During that stretch, he won the 2011 K-1 -63kg Japan tournament, taking out Koshien products Kizaemon Saiga, Masaaki Noiri and Koya Urabe, then won 5 straight fights against European opposition, earning the ISKA Light Welterweight title in the process. His most recent bout was a head kick KO of top 67kg fighter Yuya Yamato. Kubo definitely has to be the favorite in this tournament, regardless of who is announced.

Nashiro has had an interesting career, to say the least. After a 39 second KO loss to Yuichiro Nagashima in the 2010 K-1 MAX Japan Tournament, Nashiro scored back to back wins over eventual Krush 70kg tournament finalists Yutaro Yamauchi and Kenta before losing to Yoshihiro Sato. A rematch with Yamauchi in the opening round of the Krush tournament saw Nashiro lose an extension round decision and seemingly fall off the map, as fighters like Yamauchi, Kenta, Shintaro Matsukura and others began to flood a chaotic 70kg division in Japan. Despite this, Nashiro was chosen as a participant in the 2011 K-1 MAX Japan Tournament, but drew Albert Kraus in the quarterfinals. With most expecting him to roll over, Nashiro brought the fight to Kraus, hurting him in the first and dropping him in the 3rd. He then went on to hand Takafumi Morita his first loss and knock out Yuya Yamamoto to win the tournament, effectively earning him a spot in the new K-1's Final 16 this May. However, that didn't go so well for him as he dropped a decision to Reece McCallister, failing to advance. The drop to 67kg is a great move for Nashiro, who stands at just over 5'6" and will still probably be a bit undersized at 67kg. 

Also announced to compete on the card are Krush 55kg champ Shota Takiya, 2011 Youth GP champion Masaaki Noiri, Yuji Takeuchi and Kan Itabashi. Takiya could be defending his title for the 3rd time. Noiri will likely face the winner of this year's -63kg Youth GP, which will be decided at Krush.24 this weekend when Koya Urabe faces Hisaki Higashimoto, as he won last year's Youth GP. With Naoki Ishikawa getting another title shot against Hirotaka Urabe, common logic says that Takeuchi and Itabashi, who are both coming off of wins at Krush.23 over 60kg tournament finalists Fumiya Osawa and Katsuya Goto, respectively, will face each other.

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