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Krush Announces 4-Man Tournament for ISKA Lightweight Title

  • Written by Dave Walsh

Earlier today, Krush held a press conference to announce some upcoming fights for Krush.28 on May 12th and Krush.29 on June 16th and they did not fail to deliver some big fights.

The biggest announcement was that Krush.29 would be hosting a one night, 4-man tournament to crown the next ISKA World Lightweight Champion. One semifinal sees the rubber match between Koya Urabe and Fumiya Osawa while the other pits top 60kg fighter Naoki Ishikawa against France's Gagny Baradji. Urabe and Osawa fought at Krush.27 with Osawa winning by disqualification. After dropping Urabe as he came in for a flying knee, a clearly dazed Urabe dropped Osawa with a left hook after a clinch, resulting in Osawa being unable to continue and winning via disqualification. Their first fight ended with Urabe winning via flying knee. Despite what transpired in the opening minutes of their most recent encounter, Urabe has to be a big favorite. Osawa has proven that he's better than his record, but his defense isn't the sharpest and someone with the offensive arsenal of Urabe should have no trouble putting him away, provided he doesn't leave himself open to a big shot like he did previously. The second semifinal is extremely hard to pick due to Baradji's lack of fights against top competition. Ishikawa has been on a tear lately, with a 4-0-2 record dating back to 2011, with the two draws coming in Krush title fights against Hirotaka Urabe. He did struggle in his most recent outing, needing an extension round to beat Junpei Aotsu, but there is little doubt that he is one of the best 60kg fighters in Japan. Baradji's lone Krush appearance saw him knock out recently crowned 63kg champion Hideaki Yamazaki, despite being knocked down in the first round himself. Both have shown defensive vulnerability, but I think it will be Baradji's power that wins out. I'd say Urabe is a safe pick to win it all, but each man has a good shot to win this tournament and I expect all three fights to produce fireworks regardless of who wins.

The other fight announcements were all fights for Krush.28, which will be headlined by the 58kg Tournament finals between Nobuchika Terado and Takeru. Former 63kg champion Ryuji Kajiwara had an intense staredown with previously announced opponent and rising star Minoru Kimura. Kajiwara is just 1-2 in his last 3 fights, losing his title to Thomas Adamandopoulos and dropping his opening round fight to Yukihiro Komiya in the Road to GLORY Japan 65kg Slam. Kimura has won three in a row after being handed his first two professional losses in back to back fights. Kimura definitely has the power to hang with Kajiwara, but he's hit the canvas pretty frequently as of late, both in victory and defeat, and I think Kajiwara's counter punching will be Kimura's downfall.

Krush 60kg champ Hirotaka Urabe will make an apperance at the event, taking on his 5th foreign opponent since the beginning of his title reign in Antonio Campagna. Urabe is on as an impressive a streak as anyone, with a 12-0-2 run dating back to 2010. He has struggled in his last 3 bouts, taking a slightly controversial stoppage win over Xavier Bastard, drawing Naoki Ishikawa for a second time in a fight of the year contender and needing another extension round cut stoppage to beat rising star SHIGERU. Campagna is the older brother of GLORY 70kg fighter Alessandro Campagna and is currently the WAKO Italy champion. I don't know much about him, but I would be surprised if he was the person to put an end to Urabe's streak.

At 67kg, 2013 Grand Prix participants Yuya Yamamoto and TaCa are set to square off in what is sure to be a brawl. Yamamoto impressed many by making it to the semifinals of the 67kg GP and giving Abdellah Ezbiri one hell of a fight after his career had basically bottomed out with three straight losses. TaCa was stopped by tournament favorite Yuta Kubo in the quarterfinals, bout bounced back with a knockout of Kazuki Hamasaki in the reserve fight of the Road to GLORY Japan 65kg tournament. The last fight announced was a 70kg matchup between Shintaro Matsukura and Yoichi Yamazaki. Matsukura has had mixed success throughout his pro career, but the young fighter has shown he can hang with some of the top Middleweights in Japan, with a win over Yuya Yamamoto and close losses to Yutaro Yamauchi and TOMOYUKI. While he won his opening fight in the 67kg tournament, he was outclassed in the semifinals by Yuta Kubo. Yamazaki has quietly been riding a 7-fight unbeaten streak with wins over Masakazu Watanabe, Shingo Garyu and Hareruya. A win over Matsukura is just what he needs to gain some recognition. 

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