On Monday, Sept. 19, the once world leader in kickboxing returned to Tokyo, Japan for the K-1 World GP 2016 in Japan: 60-kilogram World Tournament.
The event featured the 60-kilogram world championship tournament. The inaugural 60-kilogram championship tournament winner Koya Urabe returned to the tournament field after losing his title to his brother Hirotaka Urabe in one of the best fights of 2015 on the best night of kickboxing in 2015. The elder brother faced Johannes Wolf, a man who has already defeated Hirotaka in a non-title bout this year. Koya faced former It’s Showtime 61-kilogram champion Karim Bennoui in his own chance for revenge on the other side of the bracket. In the other tournament quarterfinals, WGP Kickboxing lightweight champion Paulo Tebar took on RISE 60-kilogram champion Kosuke Komiyama and 2016 60-kilogram Japan tournament champion Taiga met 2015 tournament semifinalist Javier Hernandez.
In the co-main event of the evening, one of the world’s best pound-for-pound fighters, Kaew Weerasakreck, was supposed to meet top-ranked challenger Hideaki Yamazaki. However, Kaew was unable to compete and was replaced by his teammate, Gonnapar. Yamazaki soared to the top of the featherweight division by defeating three top-10 featherweights in one night at the 2016 K-1 World GP 65-kilogram Japan Tournament.
The event aired live at 1:30 a.m. ET on AmebaTV and Gaora Sports in Japan.