Souwer Triumphs at Shootboxing

By Jason Nowe and Stephen Martinez Oct 28, 2007
TOKYO, Oct. 28 -- The giants of sumo were replaced by fists and feet on Sunday as Japan's Shootboxing promotion held its biggest show of the year at Tokyo's famous sumo hall, Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Somewhat different than K-1 style kickboxing, Shootboxing allows clinch work and standing submissions. Fighters are also awarded points for clean trips, throws and takedowns.

The main event pitted Dutch ace Andy Souwer (Pictures) against Nigerian fighter Andy Ologon. Souwer was coming off his recent victory at the K-1 MAX finals, where he went through Drago, Albert Kraus and Masato to claim the title.

Outside of getting knocked down in the first round, Souwer was basically in control throughout the bout. Traditionally a slow starter, he covered up for the opening moments of the fight but eventually began to chop away at his opponent's legs.

By the second round, Souwer was pushing Ologon into the corners, unleashing vicious combinations to the head and body. The Dutch fighter also scored several takedowns, and by the third round Ologon's legs began to fail from the damage they had received.

The last 10 seconds saw Souwer pounding away as Ologon covered to avoid the punches. The fight went to the judges, and Souwer walked away with the unanimous victory.

Kenichi Ogata, 2006 S-Cup Champion, was supposed to square off against K-1 MAX veteran Albert Krauss, who broke his hand in training and was forced off the card. Instead, Shootboxing brought in Brian Lo-A-Njoe (Pictures) to take Krauss' place.

Ogata did a great job in the first round, tagging Lo-A-Njoe with punches and connecting with quick low kicks. But the wheels came off for the Japanese fighter in the second, when Lo-A-Njoe caught him with a big series of knees that sent him to the mat early. Ogata beat the count, but Lo-A-Njoe could sense that the end was near.

The Dutch fighter came rushing in with punches off the restart, catching Ogata with a big hook that dropped him to the mat for good. With this big upset win, Lo-A-Njoe's stock will no doubt rise in the division.

In a bout that looked like a Shooto matchup, Shooto Europe champion Jani Lax (Pictures) took on former Shooto champion Hayato "Mach" Sakurai. This was Sakurai's first bout since the death of PRIDE earlier this year.

Sakurai adeptly avoided the punches Lax threw at him. He also landed low kicks and scored takedowns.

Then in the second round, the PRIDE veteran caught Lax with a left hand that sent him down for a five count. Sakurai kept up the pressure in the third, landing kicks and punches en route to a unanimous decision.

Shootboxing welterweight champion Hiroki Shishido faced Rajadamnern Stadium champion Big Ben Ke.Sa.Gym.

Big Ben looked relaxed throughout this one, almost as if he were sparring instead of fighting. Shishido couldn't really get anything going against him in the first round, but he managed to hit his targets in the second, connecting with some well-timed punches that sent the Thai champion's head rocking back.

Shishido turned it up in the third round, especially in the last 30 seconds, pushing forward with punch combinations. This was a very close fight, and a strong case could be made for a draw. However, when the decision was rendered, Shishido walked away with the victory, 30-29 three times.

MMA Bad Guy Gilbert Yvel (Pictures) squared off against Pancrase veteran Yuji Sakuragi (Pictures) in the card's only heavyweight bout. Yvel looked much bigger than his Japanese opponent and manhandled him.

Just a few seconds into the match, Yvel got a knockdown. Aside from a one-two punch combination that caught Yvel on the chin, Sakuragi just could not mount much offense, as he was overwhelmed by the Dutchman's power.

Yvel soon followed up with two more knockdowns, forcing a referee stoppage at the 1:48 mark of the first round.

DEEP lightweight champion Kazunori Yokota (Pictures) focused on takedowns in his match against Team Souwer product Fadil Chahbari. Early he executed an MMA-style shooting takedown and then continued to score judo hip tosses throughout.

Chahbari scored some knees in the clinch, but he really couldn't hurt the wily MMA veteran. The bout went to the judges, and Yokota took the unanimous decision.

Team Souwer fighter Marco Pique controlled his bout against Takashi Ono. The Dutch fighter pushed forward, grabbing his opponent's kicks and landing vicious leg kicks of his own. Pique was aggressive until the end, when he landed a big left hand in the last 10 seconds of the fight that punctuated a unanimous decision in his favor.

AACC fighter Hiroyuki Abe used the same bizarre strategy against Shootboxing super flyweight champion Tomohiro Oikawa that he had used in his recent DEEP bout against Masakazu Imanari (Pictures).

He kept his feet planted and his hands low, and just like before, it didn't work. Oikawa pounded the tough MMA fighter's legs and opened up with combinations in the corners.

By the third round it was obvious that Abe's legs were giving up on him. Oikawa finished him off with a well-placed low kick that sent Abe to the mat for good at 1:40.

In other action, Takeshi Ishikawa won a unanimous decision over Takahiro Murahama.
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