Kawamura Wins KOP After Battle with Yamamiya

Oct 1, 2008
TOKYO -- Ryo Kawamura won the King of Pancrase light heavyweight title Wednesday at Kourakuen Hall against the experienced Keiichiro Yamamiya.

With Kawamura coming off a close decision loss to Kevin Randleman in the second installment of Sengoku and the No. 1-ranked Yamamiya riding a three-fight winning streak, the pressure on Kawamura could be clearly seen as he stared down his opponent throughout his entrance.

Kawamura let out all that built-up tension in the first, and Yamamiya was only too happy to oblige. After a brief standoff, Kawamura took the center of the ring and threw a constant stream of power punches. Yamamiya, the more mobile, worked his punches from the outside and circled.

The second round at times resembled Frye-Takayama, with the pair gripping each other’s lead hand and delivering unblocked crosses over and over. The champion finally won the power battle and trapped Yamamiya in the corner. From there, Kawamura used dirty boxing to open a cut between Yamamiya's eyes and land powerful, unanswered knees.

The final round again saw Kawamura trap his opponent in the corner to land uppercuts and hooks from the clinch and also a powerful middle kick. After grabbing each other’s hands again, the fighters resumed trading power shots and tried to end the fight.

Somehow the bout went to the judges. Although it wasn't a particularly close one, Yamamiya certainly landed his fair share but still dropped the unanimous decision to Kawamura.

In a lightweight bout, two UFC veterans in Koji Oishi and Naoyuki Kotani faced off in what was somewhat of a stalemate.

The story of the bout was Oishi's takedowns versus Kotani's bottom game. Oishi was consistently able to score with takedowns and keep his opponent there, but Kotani kept his foe in the guard the majority of the time and landed clean punches and upkicks while not getting hurt.

For the short time the bout was on the feet, Kotani's kicks were not enough to sway the judges and Oishi was handed the popular unanimous decision based on his control and takedowns.

The rapidly aging Hiromitsu Kanehara got a few new scars Wednesday courtesy of Pancraseism's Ichiro Kanai.

Kanehara stood toe to toe with his younger opponent but was betrayed by his paper-thin skin as a large cut opened next to his eye during an exchange. A doctor cleared him to continue, but Kanehara was noticeably more cautious with his punches, working carefully chosen counters.

The counters were no match for Kanai's strikes, though. In the second Kanai landed a crisp straight that dropped Kanehara and opened a another cut under his eye and split his lip. Kanehara rallied with a flurry of punches and knees in the last minute, and with 10 seconds left he landed a clean knee to put his opponent down. Kanai looked to be out for a second but managed to recover and hang on to win the unanimous decision.

Again displaying his terrifying power but lack of control, Sengoku-sponsored Maximo Blanco predictably destroyed 0-1-0 Hiroki Aoki.

The Pan Ams freestyle bronze medalist opened with a stiff jab and then quickly clinched in the corner. Soon after, a pair of hard slams from Blanco followed by some hammerfists put Aoki out and the ref jumped in to call it. The ref had to act again, however, when Blanco attempted to jump back on Aoki and keep punching, and then Blanco jumped at the ref for the second consecutive fight before turning and sprinting around the ring in victory.

The referee was not harmed in the incident, and a quick conversation between officials led to them agreeing to let Blanco’s TKO victory stand despite his postfight actions.

Takenori Sato represented Kazushi Sakuraba's recently opened gym with takedowns and ground-and-pound that earned him a unanimous decision over Yuji Hisamatsu. Sato came close to stopping it in the first with hammerfists from mount, but Hisamatsu escaped when Sato missed with an armbar.

Ranki Kawana got one nod, but the other two judges ruled his match with Yuichiro Shirai a draw, resulting in a majority draw. The Rodeo Style representative easily scored takedowns and advanced positions but missed with submissions, giving Shirai the opportunity to ground and pound, which squared up the scorecards.

Neoblood tournament finalist Yasutomo Tanaka also got one judge on his side but failed to convince the other two that he was better than Hayato Shimizu in another majority draw. Tanaka scored easy takedowns and landed some good ground-and-pound but lost position when he became too aggressive.

In yet another draw, debuting SK Absolute fighter Kiyotaka Shimizu looked to be on the way to taking a decision against Takuma Ishii. Late in the final round, though, Ishii sunk in a rear-naked choke before Shimizu was saved by the bell.
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