Shoujou Climbs Ranks at Shooting Disco

By Jason Nowe and Stephen Martinez Oct 20, 2007
TOKYO, Oct. 20 -- Shooting Disco, the Gutsman dojo produced and International Shooto Commission sanctioned show, returned Saturday with a main event featuring a 123-pound battle between Yuki Shoujou (Pictures) and Junji Ikoma (Pictures).

This year has been a good one for Shoujou, who trains at X-One Gym Shonan. He claimed the No. 10 spot in the bantamweight world Shooto rankings after his victory over Ayumu Shioda in March, then scored a huge upset over No. 1-ranked Masatoshi Abe (Pictures) in July, which rocketed him up to No. 3.

After losing two in a row to Masatoshi Abe (Pictures) and Yasuhiro Urushitani (Pictures) in 2006, the Chokushin Kai-trained Ikoma came back with a victory against Toshimichi Akagi (Pictures) in Shooto's Battle Mix Tokyo 2 event in March.

Shoujou-Ikoma played out pretty much entirely on the feet, with Shoujou backing off and signaling for his opponent to stand after takedowns. The long-limbed Ikoma used his reach well early on, tagging Shoujou with crisp left hook counters after the X-One fighter had come forward. But as the fight wore on, Shoujou managed to avoid the leather that Ikoma threw at him.

By the end of the second round, Ikoma's left leg was badly welted by the well-timed low kicks that his opponent had landed. Shoujou kept up the pressure in the third, putting together some excellent hand combinations, usually punctuated by a stinging low kick.

In the last minute, Shoujou kept Ikoma pressed in the corner, and the last 10 seconds was an absolute slugfest as both fighters gave everything they had left.

Once the scorecards were in, Shoujou's hand was raised with a unanimous victory (29-28, 30-28 twice).

With this win Shoujou inches ever closer to a showdown with current bantamweight champion Shinichi "BJ" Kojima, which could possibly take place early next year.

Eiji Murayama (Pictures) moved well on the mat in his bout against Makoto "Chomolangma ½" Maeda, passing the guard and twice applying strong armbar attempts that Maeda only narrowly escaped. The end finally came when Murayama transitioned to an omoplata and pinned his foe face down to the mat.

From there the Gutsman Shooto Dojo fighter pounded away at his hapless opponent with his right hand until the referee stopped the bout at the 3:57 mark of the first round.

Cobra Kai MMA Dojo's Toshimichi Akagi (Pictures) and Gutsman Shooto Dojo's Ryuichi Miki definitely took fight of the night honors with their fast-paced, nonstop war. Miki threw combinations and landed the better shots on the feet, but Akagi scored some excellent takedowns. On the mat, both took good positions and scored well-timed reversals. Akagi also had a good kimura attempt in the first, and Miki narrowly missed an armbar in the second.

The last 20 seconds of this very entertaining fight saw the two fighters engage in a slugfest, throwing caution to the wind and taunting each other to hit harder. In the end, Miki's striking impressed the judges more and earned him the unanimous decision (20-18 three times).

Purebred Omiya's resident judo expert Koumei Okada (Pictures) made pretty quick work of Kunio Nakajima (Pictures) in their welterweight bout. Nakajima started out well, scoring the takedown and raining down punches on his opponent. However, Okada scored a textbook kimura-reversal, reefing on the technique after he reached top position and forcing Nakajima to tap 2:26 into the first.

Hiroshi Nakamura (Pictures) (Hiroshi Nakamura (Pictures)' class='LinkSilver'>Pictures) displayed some nice wrestling in his bout against Gutsman Shooto Dojo's Yuji Inoue (Pictures), but on the mat the Tokyo Yellow Man's fighter had a devil of a time getting his hands free to throw punches.

Nakamura spent the whole second round in top position. Yet he couldn't pass Inoue's strong guard or unleash much damage with ground punches. The fight went to the judges, and Nakamura, the more active of the two fighters, took the unanimous decision (20-18 three times).

Paraestra Tokyo's Kenichi Sawada (Pictures) was trapped in Takehiro "Tiger" Ishii's guard until about the last two minutes of the fight, at which point he escaped and took his opponent's back. Sawada then figure-foured his legs around Ishii and worked on a rear-naked choke for the remainder of the fight.

Several times it looked as if the end was near, but Ishii hung on to hear the final bell. Still, Sawada took the unanimous victory (20-18 three times).

After a takedown in the second round, Paraestra Matsudo's Takahiro Hosoi (Pictures) took side control on Yuta Nedu (Pictures), only to see his advantage disappear as Nedu scored an excellent reversal. Hosoi scored another takedown before the last 10 seconds of the fight, which saw Nedu throwing leather while Hosoi covered. The judges were more impressed with Nedu's striking than Hosoi's takedowns, awarding him the split decision (20-19, 20-18, 19-20).

K'z Factory's Hiroyuki Abe (Hiroyuki Abe' class='LinkSilver'>Pictures) was in the driver's seat for his entire bout against Tomohiko Yoshida (Tomohiko Yoshida' class='LinkSilver'>Pictures). He was getting takedowns, passing the guard and scoring mount. In the second round Abe took his opponent's back and eventually sunk in the rear-naked choke at 4:11.

Shinobu Miura (Pictures) outclassed Guy Delameau (Pictures) on the feet. He connected with some hard punches as his American opponent came in for the clinch. Delameau finished out the second round strong, but it wasn't enough. The judges awarded Miura the majority decision victory (20-19, 20-18, 19-19).

While Junji Ito (Pictures) displayed some solid standup, his adversary Noboru "Shinpei" Tahara showed some equally impressive takedowns. In the second, Tahara passed the guard and worked all the way to the mount, where he rained down punches.

The last 10 seconds saw Ito throwing leather until the final bell. In the end, though, Tahara picked up the unanimous decision (20-19, 20-18 twice).

Also, Hiroki Sato knocked out Atsushi Matsuki with a big right hand at 2:05 of the first round.
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