File Photo by Daniel Herbertson/Sherdog.com
Mixed martial arts fighters continued to have success in the Shoot Boxing ring Saturday, as UFC and Dream veteran Kuniyoshi Hironaka made a successful stand-up fighting debut and knocked out Shinichiro Kuroki in the second round at the first edition of Shoot Boxing’s 25th Anniversary Series at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.
An offshoot from the same combat sports family tree as Shooto, Shoot Boxing promotes “standing vale tudo” events that feature the full complement of punches, kicks, elbows and knees, in addition to throws and standing submissions.
Hironaka used his grappling skills in the clinch, as well as his boxing, to keep Kuroki off balance early on. In the second stanza, the Cage Force lightweight champion turned up the heat, dropping him three times with punches to force a stoppage at 2:24 of the round.
Hironaka, a career welterweight and one of Japan’s first Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts, went 4-0 in 2009 after cutting down to the lightweight division. To start 2010, he followed in the footsteps of flyweight star Mamoru Yamaguchi, who posted a sterling 3-1 mark in the Shoot Boxing ring last year.
Hironaka’s top student, Koji Matsumoto, was also on the card. Last year’s 154-pound Shooto rookie champion held his own in his first stand-up fighting experience against Masatomi Kawachi. A draw after the two scheduled rounds, Kawachi took a split decision (10-9, 10-9, 9-10) in the third extension round to win the bout.
Also, though seldom seen, the card did put the “standing vale tudo” motif to more prominent use. Shoot Boxing star and K-1 Max veteran Hiroki Shishido took a fifth-round stoppage victory over Australia’s Greg Foley, making him tap out to a standing rear-naked choke.