K-1 World Grand Prix Japan was looking to return K-1 to its roots with a heavyweight tournament at year’s end this year. That is exactly what happened, although the question is if they were successful or not in recreating the magic of past K-1’s. The short answer is no, the long answer is that they are essentially starting over and it’ll take time. The pool of talent that they had to choose from wasn’t as robust as it was prior, due to exclusive contracts elsewhere, leading to a few recognizable names in the tournament, but not as many as fans would like to see.
This tournament was not lacking in action, though, as the first round of the tournament saw nothing but round one knock outs. In fact, so did the next round, with the only tournament fight going to a decision being the final between Antonio Palizbat and Ibrahim El Bouni. Palizbat was able to walk away with the decision and K-1 Japan now has a heavyweight champion.
Also in action was Yoshiki Takei, who knocked out Victor Saravia in round one, Minoru Kimura, who edged out Yasuhiro Kido and Koya Ruabe who defeated Cristian Spetcu.
Heavyweight Tournament Final: Antonio Palizbat (R3 – Dec) Ibrahim El Bouni
Yoshiki Takei (R1 – KO) Victor Saravia
Minoru Kimura (R3 – Dec) Yasuhiro Kido
Koya Urabe (R3 – Dec) Cristian Spetcu
Heavyweight Tournament Semifinal: Ibrahim El Bouni (R1 – KO) Roel Mannaart
Heavyweight Tournament Semifinal: Antonio Palizbat (R1 – KO) Makoto Uehara
Ren Hiramoto (R3 – Dec) Daizo Sasaki
Kosuke Komiyama (R3 – Majority Dec) Stauros Exakoustidis
Tetsuya Yamato (R1 – KO) Jun Nakazawa
Heavyweight Tournament Quarterfinal: Ibrahim El Bouni (R1 – KO) Koichi
Heavyweight Tournament Quarterfinal: Roel Mannaart (R1 – KO) Masahiro Iwashita
Heavyweight Tournament Quarterfinal: Antonio Palizbat (R1 – KO) K-Jee
Heavyweight Tournament Quarterfinal: Makoto Uehara (R1 – KO) Pacome Assi
Heavyweight Tournament Reserve: Ryo Aitaka (R1 – KO) Taichi
Naoki Yamamoto (R3 – Dec) Hayato
Shota Hara (R3 – Dec) Yuto Maeda