Souwer Super at World Max Champions’ Challenge

TOKYO, September 3, 2006

pics “Courtesy FEG”Andy Souwer, Albert Kraus and Buakaw Por Pramuk all won their bouts tonight at the at K-1 World Max Champions’ Challenge. Now in its second year, the Champions’ Challenge is a one-match format event featuring previous K-1 World Max champions and emerging talent. All bouts are contested under K-1 Rules — three three-minute rounds and a possible tiebreaker.

In the Main Event it was local favorite Takayuki Kohiruimaki taking on Max 2005 Champion Andy Souwer, a Dutch shoot boxer. Kohiruimaki lost to Souwer by decision last summer, so this was touted as a revenge match for the Japanese kickboxer.

Kohiruimaki took the initiative early, testing with the jab, stepping in with low kicks, looking smart with combinations, getting a kick up to Souwer’s head. But in the second it was Souwer who took the lead, unleashing a flurry of punches that sent Kohiruimaki reeling. Souwer boxed fast and hard here, chasing Kohiruimaki round the ring, and at the end of the round the desperate Japanese fighter was shown a yellow card for excessive clinching.

The third once again saw Souwer relentless with the fists, a bloodied Kohiruimaki finally succumbing to the beating by falling to his knees. To his credit Kohiruimaki held on to finish this one, which went to Souwer by a comfortable unanimous decision.

“I thought he’s be more aggressive,” said Souwer post-bout, “and so from the second I fought like a tiger. I wanted the KO but anyway I am happy to have the win. I wanted to show fans here the spirit of shoot boxing!”

Tatsuji of Japan met Mike Zambidis of Greece in the card’s first matchup. Zambidis showed good movement, coming in low with the right and knees, clocking his opponent soundly with a right midway through the first. Tatsuji was quick and creative, and in the second got a couple of punches in, but these didn’t have much on them. The bout ended in thrilling fashion, both men swinging away, Zambidis getting the better stuff through and picking up the win by unanimous decision.

Nigerian Andy Ologun, the younger brother of popular Japanese television performer Bobby Ologun, made his K-1 debut here against Kazuya Yasuhiro. Ologun got a couple of decent high kicks up and showed some skill with the jab and knees, but otherwise the more-experienced Yasuhiro had the upper hand in this one, out-maneuvering and out-striking his opponent to take the victory by majority decision.

Japanese kickboxer Hayato stepped in against 19 year-old Artur Kyshenko of the Ukraine in the next bout. Both men had some solid legwork, but Hayato was better with the fists, stepping in to score with quick combinations and the right straight punch. Kyshenko had the blocking working well, and kept pressuring with the kicks, but had trouble finding his distance and seemed frustrated, frequently clinching and throwing his opponent. A close one that judges sent to a tiebreaker round. The extra round was full of action, Hayato’s fists proving the difference as the Japanese fighter took the win.

Japanese karate stylist Yuya Yamamoto took on Farid Khider of France in the following fight. Some dandy spinning attacks, creative evasions and fancy footwork from the Frenchman, who also planted a couple of nice punches. Yamamoto seemed unsure how to answer, and in the third stepped inside more. There was some slugging, however more frequently the pair got deadlocked in the clinch. Another majority decision here, in favor of Khider.

Hiroki Shishido of Japan met the Defending World Max Champion Buakaw Por Pramuk of Thailand in the next fight. Shishido came out with fervor, his kicks flying. But in an instant, the cool Buakaw showed why he is the best — deking with the right then firing a fluent left to the side of his opponent’s head for the down. Shishido didn’t move, and Buakaw had the KO win in just 15 seconds.

Naoki Samukawa of Japan and Armenian muay thai fighter Drago did battle in the next contest. The spirited Drago was aggressive and had both the legs and fists working for him — connecting with a good high kick in the second. Samukawa weathered the attacks well, but in the third Drago dropped him with a right straight punch. An impressive performance from the Armenian, who picked up the unanimous decision by a comfortable margin.

Flashy Japanese fighter Genki Sudo tangoed with Aussie Ian Schaffa in the next bout. Sudo was characteristically entertaining here, after an elaborately choreographed ring entrance commenced to crab-walking and teasing. But Schaffa’s no-nonsense approach stood him in good stead as the Aussie got a couple of good straight punches through. In the second Schaffa showed he knew a trick or two himself, twisting a spinning back kick that caught Sudo on the jaw and put him down. Sudo beat the count but couldn’t get back into it, turning away when Schaffa came in again, prompting a referee stop.

Hiroyuki Maeda of Japan and Virgil Kalakoda of South Africa went at it in the next matchup. Maeda didn’t waste any time, coming in fast and furious, scoring a down with a left straight punch just seconds into the bout. Kalakoda blocked well and put in more counters as the fight progressed, and had bloodied Maeda’s left eye by midway through the second. This prompted a check by the ringside doctor, who stopped the fight, as Maeda’s ability to see was unacceptably compromised. The Japanese fighter was visibly disappointed, as were many in the crowd, but safety must come first.

Yoshihiro Sato of Japan met the very first K-1 World Max Champion, Albert Kraus of Holland, in the next fight. Kraus is a solid boxer and showed that here, leading well with the left and frequently bringing the right up and over. Sato got a good knee up in the first, and in the second was aggressive with the low kicks. Kraus meanwhile stayed with the fists, clocking his opponent with a couple of rights in the last half of the second. A Kraus uppercut was the best strike of the third, the Dutchman had couple of other punches connect here and simply was the better fighter, taking the win by majority decision.

In the undercard bouts, Jordan Tai of New Zealand beat Shinobu Tsogto Amara of Mongolia by unanimous decision; and Japanese fighter Satoruvashicoba made short work of countryman Taka Osamitsu, scoring three downs to win at 1:55 of the first round.

The event attracted a crowd of 9,950 to the Ariake Coliseum and was broadcast live on the TBS Network in Japan. For time-delay broadcast information elsewhere please contact local networks.

The official results are here:

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