On Saturday night, as the Iron Bowl was wrapping up, a glorious thing was just getting started in Japan. Shootboxing’s S-Cup tournament went down, and the entire 7-hour event was a magical experience.
Shootboxing, which was created in the 80s by Caesar Takeshi, is a striking-based sport, with a few differences from standard kickboxing. In addition to punches, kicks, and knees, throws and standing submissions are allowed. The S-Cup tournament is an 8-man one night tournament that is held every two years, so it’s a pretty big deal in the world of Shootboxing.
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The night got started with a lovely opera, because combat sports need an extra touch of class.
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The tournament itself got going with fireworks as Hiroaki Suzuki in the fight pants took care of Pornsaneh Sitmonchai. Of course, the knockout wasn’t the only thing he was upset at, since he was introduced to the world as Ponsaney Shitmonchai.
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Next up, for the heck of it, Shootbox decided to have a five-round title fight in the middle of the tournament. Kazuyuki Fushimi knocked out Taiki Naito to become the new SB Bantamweight champ. Congrats, Kazuyuki!
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Continuing on in the tournament, Zakaria Zouggari DESTROYED Houcine Bennoui to punch his ticket to the finals. Sadly, super shady judging against Zouggari kept forcing the finals match between him and Suzuki to extra rounds until Suzuki was able to land a decent combo to allow the referee to stop the fight.
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As with any good Japanese combat sports event, there was then an absolutely INSANE intermission, courtesy of the Tokyo Shock Boys. Dry ice was eaten, chopsticks were broken via butt-powers, scorpions were swallowed and retrieved, and milk was snorted then shot out of a dude’s tear ducts.
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Now, to the moment I had been waiting for, Kota Ibushi versus Michael Nakazawa in an exhibition match! The two pro wrestlers didn’t spend a lot of time making things look very convincing, as Ibushi started busting out backflips kicks pretty early on.
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Ibushi took the “shoot” part out and threw it in a volcano pretty quickly, and it was AMAZING.
The end of the “match” was tremendous, as it featured a lariat, a moonsault and a powerbomb from Ibushi to finish off Nakazawa. I liked the regular shoot box fights, but I’m not going to lie, I’d like to see some more DDT influence in upcoming cards.