Kenichiro Togashi (right) used his slick boxing to best Shin Kochiwa Saturday. | Taro Irei/Sherdog.com
TOKYO -- A tactics-minded Kenichiro Togashi dominated Shin Kochiwa on the feet for the full 15 minutes of Shooto Gig Tokyo 6's main event, Saturday evening at Shinjuku Face.
Togashi and Kochiwa spent the duration of the first stanza tensely trading jabs. While the southpaw Togashi landed a few decent combinations, Kochiwa was always just out of range and thus unable to connect with counter punches--so much so that his striking coach, former boxer Takeshi Yamada of Team Kurofune fame, yelled from the sidelines, “it's okay to kick too, Kochiwa!”
By the second and third frames, Togashi appeared to have developed a system for dispatching Kochiwa. As his jab continued to frustrate and bloody up Kochiwa's nose, the Wajutsu Keishukai fighter grew more and more frustrated, eventually trading his straight punches for lunging baseball pitch-like overhands. This of course putt him just in range for a barrage of hooks from Togashi, which only further bloodied him up.
In a last ditch effort, Kochiwa barked at Togashi in the final 30 seconds, challenging him to stand toe-to-toe. Togashi momentarily took the bait and got battered up a bit, but clinch up to hold onto Kochiwa until the final bell. Having bullied Kochiwa in the striking department for three rounds, judges Hiroyuki Kanno and Tadashi Yokoyama naturally saw the bout 30-27 for Togashi, while referee and in-ring judge Toshiharu Suzuki scored it 30-28 for Togashi.
“Yuichi Nakanishi helped me gameplan for Kochiwa, and I fought as planned. Even Kochiwa didn't stray from the plan,” said Togashi after the bout. “Thus, I didn't take any damage today.”
Hawaiian transplant Guy Delumeau neutralized 2009 143-pound rookie champion Yusuke Yachi with stifling wrestling and top control, taking a unanimous decision (20-18, 20-18, 20-18). Delumeau hit the takedown in the opening moments and parked himself in half guard where he ground the bleached blond fighter for most of the first period. Yachi momentarily escaped to land a solid headkick on Delumeau, but the American took Yachi back down before he could add any further punishment.
“Yachi has a long reach, but so do I. I knew he was going to try and keep me at a distance to keep from getting the takedown, so I tried to give him the space and when the time was right, I just squashed him,” commented Delumeau.
“He's got a lot of talent and stuff. They call him the super rookie, but he hadn't fought [anyone like] me yet, though. That's all there was too it.”
Tiring in the second frame, Delumeau ate a bit more punishment as his slower low kicks were met by Yachi's snapping southpaw jabs. Nonetheless, he eventually took the fight back to the floor whereupon he triangled Yachi's head from side-control, dropping hammer fists on the Krazy Bee fighter's crown to close out the round.
Elsewhere, 2010 123-pound rookie tournament champ Kosuke “Rambo” Suzuki was the aggressor in his bout with Haruo Ochi, battering him with flying kicks and wild combinations. “Rambo” opened up Ochi's left ear with a grazing kick, which he soon followed up with a brain-rattling right hook that had Ochi stumbling.
Luckily for Ochi, Suzuki couldn't finish but he still took the round by locking him down with the reverse triangle to drop punches to the body. Clearly behind coming into the second, Ochi shocked the crowd in attendance as well as Suzuki when he proved that he was anything but wounded prey. With a jump knee, right hook, then a huge lunging left hook, the battered and bloody-eared Ochi suddenly had Suzuki dead on the canvas at the 2:10 mark for the surprising turnabout win.
Kenji Yamamoto showed an array of promising tools in the evening's sole 132-pound rookie tournament bout, chief amongst which were crisp combination punches and brutal rib-roasting hooks. Yamamoto had Takeuchi constantly backpedaling as he shellacked him with punches throughout the first frame.
Though he clearly slowed, it was evident that it was only a matter of time until one of his killshots got through. That time was 2:12 of the second stanza with a short right hook to the face that sent a rubbery Takeuchi backwards through the ropes, arms splayed to his side.
After a competitive first round, Chuji Kato threw it into high gear for the second frame, blitzing Yoshinori Suzuki in the clinch with dirty boxing as well as hard punches from above in mount. As such, Judges Kanno, Yokoyama, and Suzuki unanimously ruled the 143-pound rookie tourney bout in his favor (20-18, 20-17, 20-17).
Yusuke Kasuya put on a perfect performance against Yoshikazu Fujiishi in their 154-pound rookie tournament bout as Kasuya first bombarded Fujiishi with heavy right hands from guard before transitioning to the back for the rear-naked choke finish at 4:47 of the first.
In the other 143-pound rookie tourney bout that evening, Shoki Omichi defeated Hiroaki Fujita with a second round armbar at 4:20, after softening him up with an early anaconda choke attempt.
The evening's planned opener between Yuki Baba and Kenjiro Inagaki was canceled due to Baba suffering from dehydration during his weight cut, prompting medical intervention and a trip to the hospital.