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K-1 WORLD MAX 2007 *Fight report*



Direkci Shocks Kraus; Sato Wins K-1 World Max Japan

Written by Monty DiPietro.

Kohiruimaki is among Japan's best World Max fighters, having won the Max Japan Tournament in both 2004 and 2005. "Kohi" was cool as always with his low kicks, but throughout the fight seemed hesitant to step in and mix it up with Ologun. For his part, Ologun blocked the low kicks well, and was active and effective with his fists. Kohiruimaki appeared to have underestimated his opponent's arsenal, Ologun working a wide variety of attacks -- jabbing of course but also frequently leading with the quick right, getting in solidly with a left uppercut in the second and bloodying Kohiruimaki's nose. Judges weren't convinced after three, but in the tiebreaker round Ologun was the far more aggressive fighter, firing in five straight punches from the bell and scoring a down with a right midway through to pick up enough points for the upset victory.

The next fight featured 25 year-old boxer Tatsuji and kickboxer Hayato. It was Tatsuji by decision the last time these two tangoed, and so Hayato was looking for a little payback here. But Tatsuji didn't give him much of a chance, swinging away early in the first, connecting with a left hook for a down. Tatsuji worked the body with gusto in a slugfest of a second round, but Hayato weathered the blows and came back with a hard left hook and a couple of nice straight punches. The boys brawled through the third, careening across the ring in a riot of punches, kicks and knees. They did everything but knock each other out, which didn't bode well for Hayato, and when it was over Tatsuji advanced on points.

In the third tournament matchup, shoot boxer Hiroki Shishido took on Keiji Ozaki, a kickboxer appearing in his first K-1 bout. The pair worked the legs through the early going, but it was a right hook on a counter that earned Ozaki a down midway through the first. Ozaki was in the zone again in the second, blocking and evading well and connecting with creative attacks including a flying knee and a spinning back punch. Both fighters opened up in the third, generating numerous chances, Shishido getting in with a spinning back punch. A tough one to call, judges giving it to Ozaki on the basis of his first-round down.

Yoshihiro Sato, who stands 185cm/6'1", started his march to glory in the fourth quarterfinal. The kickboxer turned 26 scarcely a week ago, but had already built something of a reputation for himself over his nine K-1 World Max bouts -- winning the Max Japan tournament last year, upsetting slugger Mike Zambidis and only losing to elite opponents such as Kraus and Buakaw. Sato's opponent here was Yasuhito Shirasu, and from the start the lanky Sato endeavored to use his 15cm/6" height advantage to effect by stepping forward and bringing up the knees. But Shirasu, not surprisingly, had anticipated this tactic and wisely kept a V-shaped guard pressed tightly against his chest. Shirasu powered his way inside in the second, catching Sato on the jaw with a left. The third was both spirited and sloppy, and overall Sato got the better stuff in to take a unanimous decision and moved to the semis.

It was announced prior to the first semifinal that due an injury to his left leg, Ologun was unable to clear the doctor's check and so could not continue in the tournament. Under K-1 Rules, Kazuya Yasuhiro, who had beaten Satoruvashicoba by decision in the reserve bout, took the Nigerian fighter's place against Tatsuji.

The first was fast, Yasuhiro firing in low kicks, both fighters making partial contact with punches but neither putting a great deal of punishment in. Tatsuji was on the sore side of several kicks to the groin in the second, these prompting several time stoppages. Tatsuji got a combination through here but overall the targeting was poor and the blocking was good and, apart from the repeated rattling of Tatsuji's package, neither fighter suffered significant damage. The third was more of the same, Tatsuji delivering a flurry of punches at the clapper to take the win by decision and earn a spot in the final.

The second semi, between Sato and Ozaki, began with Sato again bringing in the knees, Ozaki meanwhile countering with the fists, scoring with a right straight punch early on and later with a hook and a nice spinning back punch. Once more in the second, Ozaki braved the low kicks and knees to close the distance and work the fists, but Sato got a timely hard knee up, and surprised Ozaki with a high kick late in the round to maintain the pressure. The third found Ozaki apparently fatigued, Sato looking the fresher of the pair, still pumping away with the knees and low kicks. Stamina was the difference here, Sato's earning him a unanimous decision and a trip to the final.

And so it was Sato vs Tatsuji. The bell rang and Tatsuji circled, looking for a way in. Sato remained cool, tentative with the jab, putting in merely perfunctory low kicks when Tatsuji approached. Soon Tatsuji took the initiative, coming in with a right straight punch. But Sato was ready -- and burst a knee up to his opponent's jaw, dropping him soundly. Tatsuji beat the count, but 30 seconds after resumption Sato shifted gears and went on the attack, jumping forward with a knee that caught Tatsuji hard on the nose and sent him back to the mat. This time Tatsuji, now bleeding somewhat, went stumbling awkwardly into the ropes as he tried in vain to find his feet. The referee quickly called the fight, and Sato had the honor of the first K-1 tournament victory of 2007.

"I'm very satisfied with the three fights tonight," said a smiling Sato in his post-event interview. "What I want to do now is get my skills up so I can compete at a world-class level."

With his tournament victory, Sato collects 5 million yen in prize money, plus a bonus of 300,000 yen for the KO he scored in the final. He also qualifies for this year's World Max Final Elimination.

There were three undercard bouts on the card: Hiroya TKO'd Akihira Takahashi; Kozo Mitsuyama beat Ash-Ra by unanimous decision; and Yasuhiro Kido scored a KO win over Kenji Kawabata.

Building on expanding interest in World Max, K-1 Event Producer Sadaharu Tanikawa announced that 2007 will see some 20 events featuring World Max contests, both in Japan and in licensed K-1 Fighting Network productions scheduled for Croatia, Sweden, Korea and other countries around the world.

The K-1 World Max 2007 Japan Tournament attracted a crowd of 8,961 to the Ariake Coliseum and was broadcast live across Japan on the TBS Network. Official results for this and all K-1 events can be found on the K-1 Official Website at www.k-1.co.jp/k-1gp.

/ Information from the OFFICIAL K-1  WEB

http://www.k-1.co.jp/k-1gp/dtop.htm

 

Sato
Sato


Direkci vs Kraus
Direkci vs Kraus


Amara vs Buakaw
Amara vs Buakaw


Ologun vs Kohiruimaki
Ologun vs Kohiruimaki


Tatsuji vs Hayato
Tatsuji vs Hayato


Shishido vs Ozaki
Shishido vs Ozaki


Shirasu vs Sato
Shirasu vs Sato


Yasuhiro vs Satoruvashicoba
Yasuhiro vs Satoruvashicoba


Tatsuji vs Yasuhiro
Tatsuji vs Yasuhiro


Sato vs Ozaki
Sato vs Ozaki


Tatsuji vs Sato
Tatsuji vs Sato


post event
post event


World Max Ring Girls
World Max Ring Girls



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