At the Krush Fan Festival held at Shinjuku FACE on August 29th, K-1 Event Producer Sadaharu Tanikawa was called onto to the stage and this showdown between two kick boxing promotions was officially announced
Krush basically used to be an All Japan Kick Boxing (AJK). Krush originally was the name of the GP tournament but after chairman Toshio Kaneda was arrested for a fake marriage with a Korean hostess, Krush became an event name, which was an effort to separate themselves from AJK.
Eventually, AJK, the federation founded in 1987, was officially dissolved on August 20th of this year, and appointed acting leader in the twilight days of AJK, Mitsuru Miyata, formed a corporation called Good Loser, Inc. and is now a promoter for Krush shows. Its a new show but the backbone of the organization is an long-established kick boxing promotion.
RISE, on the other side, is a rather new independent kick boxing promotion founded by former WMAF Super Welterweight champion Takashi Ito. Their first show was co-promoted with another popular kick boxer Genki Yamaguchi held at at Gold’s Gym back in February 23rd of 2003. Since then R.I.S.E. insisted on tournament formats and established champions in three weight classes.
The rules are the same as K-1 except one thing which is actually a big difference. In a R.I.S.E. bout, fighters are not allowed to knee strike in the clinch. This way R.I.S.E. felt it would make fights more high-paced, and also makes fighters aggressive. In addition though, it prevents from audience with no combat sports experience to not understand what has happened in the ring.
In the past six years or so R.I.S.E. has produced top fighters like TATSUJI who now fights in K-1 MAX and Junichi Sawayashiki who upset Jerome LeBanner in the K-1 World GP 2007, and at the same time, the promotion itself made steady progress and now has become a regular at Korakuen Hall, a sacred place for Japan’s fight sports.
AJK and Krush have never done anything together in the past but since Krush is a new promotion, according to Tanikawa, “I thought then why not a head-to-head battle, so I set up a dinner party between executives of two promotions, and felt both sides were very interested. The battle between two promotions would gather steam. I want to see fighters stepping into the enemy territory and yet score a knock down.”
Therefore this is not going to be a one time thing. Although, on this day, the announcement was that fighters from two promotions would fight in the Krush.4 show on September 22nd (Korakuen Hall) and RISE 59 on October 4th (Differ Ariake), it seems like this is going to continue for a while.
This is beneficial for everyone. Krush needed a boost after the scandal, R.I.S.E. always wanted an opportunity to challenge established kick boxing promotion, and K-1 can see this whole thing as sort of like a tryout or even a minor league so these may be good shows to discover the next star that might add popularity to K-1 MAX.
Since K-1 MAX is losing their biggest start Masato at the end of this year, Tanikawa has to find a successor or something or someone that would fill the hole when Masato leaves the ring.
PIC: K-1 Event Producer Sadaharu Tanikawa (center) arranged a dinner party with R.I.S.E. founder Takashi Ito (third from right) and Krush promoter Mitsuru Miyata (third from the left) and that made this head-to-head battle possible.