Ironheart Crown XI Recap:Sweden’s Jani Lax defeats top American ShootoContenderBy Dom GuzmanCHICAGO, IL, USA – On November 18, 2006, for the firsttime in history, two European fighters were invited tocross the Atlantic to compete in the United States inan American Shooto competition. Sweden’s Jani Lax andFinland’s Tom Niinimaki were accompanied by SauliHeilmo who would coach them through their matches inthe Ironheart Crown, North America’s largest and mostprestigious venue for professional Shooto. Lax wasfeatured in the main event and Niinimaki was one offour featured Class-A international bouts.
In the main event, Jani Lax, European WelterweightChampion, faced off against John Mahlow, a topcontender for the North American title. Both fightersdemonstrated incredible agression, trading powerfulblows while standing and exchanging multiplesubmission attempts on the ground. Despite the closebattle, Lax was able to land more accurate anddamaging blows up top, while outmaneuvering Mahlow onthe ground. He also displayed excellent takedowndefense, frustrating Mahlow throughout all threerounds. By the end of the fight, Lax had taken overand was sure to win when Mahlow scored points in thefinal seconds with an ankle lock. A “catch” wasawarded and Jani appeared to be in danger, butMahlow’s last hope was stifled when the final bellrang out through the arena. Lax would win by a splitdecision, representing all of Europe well with anincredible victory over a highly respected Americanadversary.
Tom Niinimaki did not fare as well against thepowerful young American by the name of Tristan Yunker. He fought hard throughout the fight and appeared tobe in control until Yunker was able to slip out andget to Tom’s back where he applied a rear naked chokeand stole the match by submission. Despite his loss,Niinimaki still demonstrated excellent skills,impressing the promoters enough that he has alreadybeen invited back to compete in the Ironheart Crownagain.
The show featured other international competitors aswell. Brazilian representatives included Pedro Viannaand Rafael Rebello. Two other Brazilians, Joao Herdyand Lucas Lopes were unable to compete as theiropponents fell off the card due to injury and illness. Canada’s Shah Franco Team was also there with theirnewest fighter, Bill Boland who was victorious overBrazil’s Rebello. Boland was cornered by twoworld-ranked Shooto competitors, Antonio Carvalho andJustin Bruckmann.
From top to bottom, the show featured excellentmatches and incredible talent. With fighters inattendance from across the United States and aroundthe world, the Ironheart Crown demonstrated its widereach and its commitment to finding quality athletes.Lax’s victory over the local hero by a split decisionalso proved the Ironheart Crown’s integrity.
When asked about their experience here in Chicago, theEuropean fighters commented that they have never beentreated better; not even in Japan. The fighters werepicked up at the airport in a limousine and taken totheir hotel room where they were met by a liason whowas assigned to accommodate all of their needsthroughout their five day stay. In the days precedingthe event, the fighters were given a tour of Chicagoand treated to an American steak dinner in one ofChicago’s finest restaurants. They were also givenspending money and taken on a shopping excursion. Andafter the fights, the Europeans were exposed to theChicago nightclub scene, transported again bylimousine. Promoters Eric Moon and Braulio Corralremarked that they were honored to have Lax andNiinimaki featured in the Ironheart Crown, and theywanted to do everything possible to express theirappreciation and gratitude.
Full Results of the fight are listed below.For more information on the Ironheart Crown, visit theevent website at www.ironheart.com
Ironheart Crown XI: ApocalypseSaturday, November 18th, 2006Hammond, IN
Class-B Professional Fights (2×5 minute rounds)Dan Hornbuckle def Wane Bogard by Submission (ArmTriangle) 0:36 Rd 1Jared McMahan draw Mike Bogner (19-19, 19-19)Kris Kanaley draw Johnny Bedford (19-19, 19-19)Pedro Vianna def Brad Fonck by Submission (TriangleChoke) 2:13 Rd 1Bill Boland def Rafael Rebello by Majority Decision(19-19, 19-18, 19-18)Aaron Kreke def Scott McGhee by TKO (strikes) 3:40 Rd1Dave Kleczkowski def Thomas Russell by Submission(Rear Naked Choke) 3:37 Rd 1Don Richard def Allan Weichert by Submission (Kimura)1:56 Rd 2Luke Tesch def Wyatt Hickey by Submission (GuillotineChoke) 3:54 Rd 1
Class-A Professional Fights (3×5 minute rounds)Kyle Watson def Dan Spychalski by Submission (RearNaked Choke) 3:33 Rd 2Tristan Yunker def Tom Niinmaki by Submission (RearNaked Choke) 1:34 Rd 1Michah Miller def Josh Lee by Submission (TriangleChoke) 1:29 Rd 1Jani Lax def Jon Mahlow by Majority Decision (29-27,29-27, 28-29)