Imanari, Umemura to Vie for Vacant Deep Crown

By Jordan Breen Jul 25, 2008
Masakazu Imanari (Pictures) may become Deep champion again faster than he had imagined.

Deep has announced the bulk of its 37 Impact card on Aug. 17 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. The lineup now features another title fight, as former Deep featherweight champion Imanari and the quietly streaking Hiroshi Umemura (Pictures) will meet to crown the promotion’s first bantamweight king.

Imanari, who captured Deep’s inaugural featherweight crown in December 2005, reigned until this past May when he lost a majority decision to rival Dokonjonosuke Mishima (Pictures) in Mishima’s featherweight debut. The 36-year-old Umemura, once merely a mediocre B-level Shooto competitor, has not been beaten in nearly four years, as he has put together eight straight wins and stopped all of his opponents in the process.

Additionally, Deep representatives will take on Wajyutsu Keisyukai products in a Deep-versus-Wajyutsu three-on-three series. The matchups will see Riki Fukuda (Pictures) take on Hiroki Ozaki (Pictures), Luiz battle Shinobu Miura (Pictures), and Yasushi Kitazaki (Pictures) meet Yusaku Tsukamo, all at yet-to-be-determined weights.

Also, a featherweight bout between Pancrase mainstay Daiki Hata (Pictures) and South Korean brawler Jong Man Kim (Pictures) was announced, along with a middleweight contest between former Deep champion Ryuta Sakurai (Pictures) and upstart Sojiro Orui (Pictures).

The fights join the previously announced Deep women’s 106-pound title match between well-acquainted rivals Misaki Takimoto (Pictures) and reigning champion Miku Matsumoto (Pictures). Takimoto handed the novice Matsumoto the first two losses of her professional career in October 2004 and December 2005, both via first-round armbar submission. Meanwhile, Matsumoto dominated their June 2007 encounter with a first-round armbar submission victory of her own.
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