K-1 Japan Doesn’t Just Replace Taiga, But Adds a Tournament to K’Festa.1

Over the weekend K-1 Japan made a major announcement that their main event — a much-anticipated rematch between Taiga and Takeru — had fallen apart. Not just that, but the TRY HARD Gym, where a number of their fighters came from, had pulled out of K-1 Japan completely. There’s a lot of background shuffling going on within K-1 Japan right now, a lot of which has to do with the exclusivity of their contracts, Sakkibara from RIZIN looking to break further into the kickboxing business and promotions like KNOCK OUT looking to expand further.

Essentially, if you are a fighter in Japan, you now have leverage against the K-1 Japan Group that consists of K-1 Japan, KRUSH and KHAOS, which are considered some of the biggest kickboxing promotions (or feeders) in the country. TRY HARD took their gamble and we’ll see where they land, but something tells me this wouldn’t have happened without an exit strategy. Regardless, the biggest main event that K-1 Japan could offer fell apart. So now what? Why, an 8-man tournament, of course.

Can you just make foundation problems go away by tossing out another stacked tournament? Probably not. Can it save a show like this? Absolutely.

Especially when the tournament looks like this:

Final 8: Koji vs Hirotaka Urabe
Final 8: Kosuke Komiyama vs Suarek Rukkamui
Final 8: Takeru vs Stauros Exakoustidis
Final 8: Masanobu Goshyu vs Timur Nadrov

Two additional superfights were also added to the card this weekend to make the show even more palatable to fans.

Yasuhiro Kido vs Chahid Issam
Minoru Kimura vs Jin Hirayama

Here’s a breakdown of the full card, courtesy of Kakutougi. It should be noted that Minoru Kimura hadn’t appeared in a while, but has joined Kenji Kubo’s Kings Gym, which is affiliated with K-1 Japan. He has also been campaigning on social media to be included on this card.

60kg Championship Tournament – QuarterFinals
– Goshyu Masanobu vs. Timur Nadrov
– TAKERU vs. Stauros Exakoustidis
– Komiyama Kosuke vs. Suarek Rukkukamui
– KOJI vs. Urabe Hirotaka

Kido Yasuhiro vs. Issam Chahid

Kimura Minoru vs. Hirayama Jin

62.5kg – Lightweight Championship
Wei Rui (c) vs. Urabe Koya

65kg – Super Lightweight Championship
Noiri Masaaki (c) vs. Tetsuya Yamato

67.5kg – Welterweight Championship
Kubo Yuta (c) vs. Melsik Baghdasarya

70kg – Super Welterweight Champion
Chingiz Allazov (c) vs. Hinata

55kg – Super Bantamweight Championship
Takei Yoshiki (c) vs. Kubo Kenji

95kg – Heavyweight Championship
Antonio Plazibat (c) vs. Roel Mannaart

65kg – Title Challenger Elimination
Kaew Weerasakreck vs. Hiramoto Ren

65kg SuperFight
Nakazawa Jun vs. Soda Yasuomi II

55kg SuperFight
Gunji Taito vs. Tosaka Takumi

50kg Women’s SuperFight
KANA vs. Polina Petukhova

Preliminary Fights
Yokoyama Takumi vs. Oiwa Tatsuya
Toushi vs. Hayato
Hara Shouta vs. Kondo Kaisei
Ruku vs. Kato Kona
Sano Junpei vs. Matsumura Hideaki