Earlier today, Krush made two big announcements regarding Krush.26 on January 26th.
First, Krush added the final 4 competitors to their 8-man 58kg tournament field which kicks off at Krush.26. As I did not do a post for the first 4 fighters, here are the 8 fighters competing in the tournament:
Nobuchika Terado - 32 years old // 29-8-1, 13 KO
Takeru - 21 years old // 7-1-0, 5 KO
Yuzo Suzuki - 28 years old // 5-2-1, 2 KO
Tsuyoshi Nakajima - 29 years old // 8-5-0, 0 KO
Koji - 23 years old // 12-5-0, 6 KO
KO-ICHI - 28 years old // 11-10-1, 1 KO
Shota Kanbe - 19 years old // 3-1-0, 1 KO
Kenta Yagami - 26 years old // 13-5-0, 6 KO
My rankings for the tournament would have to be Terado > Takeru > Kanbe > Koji > Nakajima > Yagami > Suzuki > KO-ICHI. Despite being the oldest, and likely most battered, of the tournament field, Terado should be a big favorite as he is really the only one who has fought any sort of elite competition, and he has been doing so for the last 5 years. I believe his biggest competition will be Takeru, who may have been on his way to a 55kg title shot with a recent win over Yuya Suzuki. Terado, Takeru and KO-ICHI are moving up from 55kg while Suzuki, Nakajima, Koji and Kanbe move down from 60kg. Yagami is the only one who has not fought in Krush, spending his entire career in J-Network where he fights at 57kg. Suzuki and Nakajima were both participants in last year's 60kg tournament, facing each other in the first round. Nakajima won that fight, but also has a loss to tournament participant Koji, while Suzuki has a loss to Shota Kanbe. Outside of that, none of the other participants have faced each other in the past. Krush also announced a reserve fight between Yuta Otaki and SATOI. The first leg of the tournament is January 26th at Krush.26, with the semifinals on March 20th and the finals on May 12th.
The other big announcement was the return of the WILDRUSH League, although this time at 55kg. Last year's 63kg WILDRUSH League was an overwhelming success, turning prospect Hideaki Yamazaki into a star while producing some of Krush's most exciting fights of the year, mostly thanks to Yukimitsu Takahashi's wild, flashy style. This year's tournament will be exactly like last year's, with 6 fighters in a round robin format, with 3 points being awarded for a knockout win, 2 points for a decision win, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for a loss. The winner will receive a shot at the 55kg title, likely in early 2014. The opening leg will start at Krush.26 with the subsequent 12 fights taking place over the course of 6 or 7 other events and is scheduled to conclude on November 10th. So far, Krush has announced 5 of the 6 participants and they are:
Takumi - 23 years old // 12-3-0, 5 KO
Yuya Suzuki - 24 years old // 5-6-0, 0 KO
Yuki Masato - 25 years old // 2-2-1, 1 KO
Masanori Shimada - 15 years old // 2-1-1, 1 KO
Kazyosi - 20 years old // 2-0-0, 2 KO
The big favorite here has to be Takumi, who already fought his way to a title shot, where he gave champion Shota Takiya one of his hardest fights in recent memory. Suzuki, while owning a win over Namito Izawa, has looked extraordinarily average, especially in his most recent outing, a TKO loss to Takeru where he seemed entirely apathetic to checking leg kicks. Masato and Shimada also have recent losses to Takeru, but I give the 15 year old Shimada, who turns 16 a week from today, a better shot than Masato, as he compiled a 36-2-2 record as an amateur. Kazyosi is the biggest unknown as he has just 2 pro fights. While I don't think he will be able to defeat Takumi, his KO power could possibly help him overtake Takumi in points.