On Thursday, Nov. 3, K-1 World GP in Japan introduced a new weight category with a one-night, eight-man tournament from the Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Tokyo. The K-1 World GP in Japan Featherweight Championship Tournament featured one of the world’s top pound-for-pound kickboxers, Takeru, testing his skills in one of the three newly introduced weight categories.
The eight-man championship tournament featured some of the world’s best kickboxers under 130 pounds. Japanese combat sports superstar Takeru returned to the K-1 ring after going toe-to-toe with super featherweight champion Kaew Weerasakreck in an exhibition bout at KRUSH.68 in August. Takeru returns to his newly found weight class of 57.5-kilograms, after defeating KRUSH 58-kilogram champion Kaito Ozawa at the 2016 K-1 World GP Super Featherweight World Championship Tournament in his first fight in the division. Takeru fought ISKA 59-kilogram world champion Jamie Whelan. One of the United Kingdom’s top prospects, the 22-year-old Whelan had won 26 of his 27 career fights.
In the tournament’s quarterfinal action, one of China’s top 60-kilogram prospects, Yun Qi, took on 23-year-old Japanese prospect Shota Kanbe. Eighteen-year-old French Muay Thai phenom Elias Mahmoudi went to war with Japan’s Ryuma Tobe. KRUSH champion Kaito Ozawa stopped ISKA featherweight world champion Josh Tunna. Japanese featherweights Yuta Otaki and Yuki Asahisa fought in the tournament reserve bout.
In the evening’s main card action, two former top-10 65-kilogram kickboxers, Yuta Kubo and Yasuomi Soda, vied for positioning in the competitive division. GLORY and Krush eight-man tournament winner Kubo took on K-1 veteran Keita Makihira. The 2014 K-1 World GP 65-kilogram Championship Tournament runner-up, Soda, met the Netherland’s Fawad Seddiqi. Sweden’s Sanny Dahlbeck returned to Japan in a match-up with Japan’s Yasuhiro Kido.
The event aired live at 1:30 a.m. ET on AmebaTV.