Marlon Sandro (left) and Masanori Kanehara -- Photo: Taro Irei/Sherdog.com
TOKYO -- Going into his first title defense Sunday against Nova Uniao slugger Marlon Sandro, Sengoku Raiden Championship featherweight champion Masanori Kanehara sees himself as the challenger fighting for the title, not as the champion defending it.
“Actually, I'm coming into this fight as if this will be my first time fighting in SRC,” Kanehara said of the SRC 13 main event. “As for my participation in Sengoku and all the other tournaments I've been in, they are in my past. I'd like to think of myself as the challenger, not as a defending champion. So I want to enter the ring tomorrow to take the belt from Sandro.”
Besides aiming to take/keep his title, Kanehara also mentioned a desire to win a third “best bout” fight of the night bonus. However, he was not particularly clear on how he planned to do so.
“Sandro is a strong fighter, and one that doesn't have any holes in his game,” Kanehara said. “I'm not really sure what specifically I'll do tomorrow, so maybe I'll just go in there and figure it out during the bout. I'll be ready to do everything, and see during the course of the fight what will work best.”
The somewhat cavalier response extended to Kanehara's meager concerns over the bout, primarily focusing on its length rather than the title implications or the KO power that the challenger has proven to possess.
“Because it's going to be five rounds, I won't really change what I want to do in the ring,” he said. “I'm concerned with my stamina and endurance more than anything. I'm not particularly worried that it's a title fight or that I'm facing Sandro.”
Sandro was respectful in his prefight comments, acknowledging Kanehara's strengths both on the feet and on the ground.
“I've trained very hard,” Sandro said. “I've studied Kanehara's style and I'm sure we'll have a good fight. As far as jiu-jitsu and muay Thai are concerned, he's very experienced. His weaknesses would be quite small, but maybe it's in the wrestling department.”
However, the featherweight King of Pancrase later said he believed his best chances would still be in the standup and that he hopes to deliver another quick stoppage. The Nova Uniao slugger's three previous wins in Sengoku were all first-round knockouts over the likes of Tomonari Kanomata, Yuji Hoshino and Nick Denis.
“Whether it's three or five rounds, I'm very much prepared,” Sandro said. “While I do prefer a shorter fight, if it goes longer, I'm still ready for it.”
All fighters made weight for Sunday's event. Chang Seob Lee, who will face 2004 Athens Games judo silver medalist Hiroshi Izumi, had some trouble. According to SRC officials, Lee weighed in at 94.4 kilograms (208.1 pounds) on his first attempt, but he later made 92.2 kilograms (203.3 pounds), passing on his third attempt.
Lee will be Izumi’s second opponent in the promotion after dropping a TKO loss to New Zealand kickboxer Antz Nansen in Sengoku 10th Battle last September. Like the Nansen bout, Izumi vowed once again to stand and strike with Lee.
Sengoku Raiden Championship 13
June 20, 2010
SRC Featherweight Championship Bout:
Masanori Kanehara (65.7 kg / 144.8 lbs) vs. Marlon Sandro (65.7 kg / 144.8 lbs)
Hiroshi Izumi (92.5 kg / 203.9 lbs) vs. Chang Seob Lee (92.2 kg / 203.3 lbs)
Sanae Kikuta (77.1 kg / 170 lbs) vs. Yasubey Enomoto (76.8 kg / 169.3 lbs)
Maximo Blanco (70.2 kg / 154.8 lbs) vs. Rodrigo Damm (70.2 kg / 154.8 lbs)
SRC Welterweight Grand Prix 2010 A-Block:
Keita “K-Taro” Nakamura (76.7 kg / 169.1 lbs) vs. Omar de la Cruz (76.9 kg / 169.5 lbs)
Takuya Wada (77 kg / 169.8 kg) vs. Jae Sun Lee (77.1 kg / 170 lbs)
Shigeki Osawa (65.7 kg / 144.8 lbs) vs. Katsuya Toida (65.8 kg / 145.1 lbs)
Ikuo Usuda (65.7 kg / 144.8 lbs) vs. Doo Ho Choi (65.8 kg / 145.1 lbs)
Ryo Kawamura (92.3 kg / 203.5 lbs) vs. Hidetada Irie (92.7 kg / 204.4 lbs)
Opening Fight Preliminaries:
Kazuki Tokutome (69.8 kg / 153.4 lbs) vs. Yuma Ishizuka (69.6 kg / 153.1 lbs)
Ikkei Nagamura (83.5 kg / 183.7 lbs) vs. Ye Won Nam (82.6 kg / 181.7 lbs)
SRC Asia Vol. 1 Bantamweight Tournament Bouts Decided
World Victory Road officials held a lottery Friday to determine the matchups for their Asia-focused bantamweight tournament, set to take place July 4 at Differ Ariake. The card will be the latter half of a double-header with Pancrase's Passion Tour 6.
The first round of the tournament is comprised of 16 fighters facing off in eight bouts, with the additions of a heavyweight and welterweight superfight to round out a 10-fight card. Though only four of the 16 participants were able to attend Friday's lottery, the four in attendance and representatives for the absent 12 drew numbers to determine their picking order. Once determined, the fighters and their representatives drew once again to finalize their placement in the tournament brackets.
SRC officials said subsequent rounds of the tournament would occur on future SRC events with the quarterfinalists facing four seeded fighters to be determined by representatives of Japan's grassroots promotions. Shooto, Pancrase, and Cage Force were mentioned toward that end.
SRC Asia Vol. 1
July 4, 2010
Joo Hyon Seo vs. Ichiro Sugita
Hirokazu Nishimura vs. Wataru Inatsu
Wataru Takahashi vs. Shohei Kondo
Tatsuya So (Toshin) vs. Ming Jong Song
Kyu Jin Choi vs. Hiryu Okamoto
Takuya Eizumi vs. Taro Shimazaki
Nobuhiro Yamauchi vs. Shintaro Ishiwatari
Ayato Taneichi vs. Nam Jin Cho
Koji “Takauji” Kanechika vs. San Seo Lee
Masahiro Toryu vs. Noah Villanueva