2004 and 2006 K-1 World MAX Champion Buakaw Por. Pramuk
could be slowly returning to the form that once saw him dominate the K-1 ranks as he captured the Shoot Boxing S-Cup at JCB Hall in Tokyo, Japan on Tuesday. Buakaw's possible return to form is noteworthy but what really raised eyebrows was the performance of two-time Bellator tournament finalist Toby Imada
Imada, best known for his 2009 submission of the year - an inverted triangle on Jorge Masvidal, is a grappling specialist with 17 submissions to his name but in his Shoot Boxing debut he took out the best Shoot Boxing has to offer - 2002, 2004 and 2008 S-Cup Champion and 2005, 2007 K-1 MAX Champion Andy Souwer
Imada first knocked out Japanese Super-Welterweight Champion Takaaki Umeno in the final second of their bout, then took a split decision over Souwer before finally falling to leg kicks of Buakaw in the S-Cup finals.
Toby Imada had an extraordinary run but by the time he met Buakaw Por. Pramuk in the S-Cup Finals, his luck had run out. Imada did his best to hide it but he carried an injured leg into his final bout, not an ideal situation to be in before a kickboxing bout, especially one against a former two-time K-1 MAX Champion.
The Thai had displayed cockiness all night as he outclassed his opponents in the quarter and semi-finals and it was to be the same again here. Imada had found success earlier in the tournament with his formidable clinch game but against a Muay Thai specialist he was outclassed and found himself dumped and kneed repeatedly. As he was unable to score in the clinch, Imada was forced to trade with Buakaw but the punches were of no threat as they were easily evaded and punished with leg kicks.
Imada went down five times in the first two rounds due to leg kicks and due to the three-knock down rule the bout was called in the second to award Buakaw the S-Cup in his Shoot Boxing debut.
K-1's rule changes over the past couple years have crippled Buakaw's game but the more liberal Shoot Boxing rule set which allows and awards throws, clinching and standing submissions, is tailor made for the him.
Andy Souwer stablemate Henri van Opstal displayed excellent hand speed in his quarter final decision over Luis Saraiva but it wasn't enough to get by Buakaw Por. Pramuk in the semis. As Buakaw did to his quarter final opponent Hiroki Shishido, he easily evaded offense from Opstal, making the WMC Europe Super-Welterweight Champion look amateur.
The sole criticism of Buakaw's S-Cup run is that he did not finish opposition that he was clearly capable of finishing and was instead content with making them look foolish.
Toby Imada's defeat of Shoot Boxing great Andy Souwer was nothing short of incredible. Imada, a late replacement for Charles "Crazy Horse" Bennett came in on only two weeks notice and was not considered to be a contender in the tournament. It took Imada a round or two to find a winning gameplan but once he did he was able to clinch, punch and throw his way to victories over Takaaki Umeno and Souwer.
Souwer has always been a specialist under Shoot Boxing rules as he is especially proficient in throws and submissions along with his superb kickbxoing but a criticism of the former two-time K-1 MAX Champ is that has has always been slow to start.
Imada capitalized upon this and in the opening round was aggressive with punches and scored a shoot point, equivalent to an "advantage" with a clean throw to give him the round. Souwer started to score towards the end of the bout with leg kicks and multiple clean punch combinations but Imada continued to be effective in the clinch and scored a second shoot point before the final bell.
A split decision saw Imada take one of the greatest upsets in Shoot Boxing history but put him into the final badly damaged.
In non-tournament action, MMA converts Daiki "DJ.taiki" Hata, Mitsuhiro Ishida and Shunsuke Inoue had mixed results but the one thing they had in common was that all their fights were finished inside the distance.
Hata came into the bout with Japanese Shoot Boxing Super-Featherweight Champion Tomohiro Oikawa noticeably cold and while he was the aggressor in the first round he was slow and lacked any snap to techniques. When the second round came around however, DJ.taiki was sufficiently warmed up and an endless barrage of hooks from the DREAM veteran dropped the Shoot Boxing Champ two minutes in. From there, a strange series of events unfolded as the time keeper accidentally signaled an end to the round one minute early. After approximately thirty seconds officials noticed the mistake and the two fighters were yanked of their stools and thrown back into the center of the ring. Almost immediately Oikawa was hit with another hook and this time was not able to rise. While the knockout was definitely legitimate, it is certainly plausible that Oikawa was not focused on the task at hand.
DREAM Featherweight wrestler Mitsuhiro Ishida had less success than his counterpart, getting knocked out in the second round by number one ranked super-featherweight Hiroaki Suzuki. Ishida has recently been wrestling his way to victories in the DREAM ring but in his Shoot Boxing debut he more than held his own and displayed a level of kickboxing that few would have thought him capable of. Ishida had success with his punches early but Suzuki found his mark with a head kick early in the second round and once that first strike hit, it was all down hill from there for Ishida.
Yoshida Dojo's Shunsuke Inoue displayed astounding toughness but was the least successful of all the MMA converts, getting knocked out by Kengo Shimuzu in the third round. Inoue held his own in the first but Shimizu punished the judoka badly with about fifteen unanswered power shots and two clean kicks to the head in the second and third rounds, prompting Kazuhiro Nakamura to throw in the towel to save his fighter.Shoot Boxing World Tournament S-cup 2010, Nov 23rd, 2010 - JCB Hall in Tokyo, JapanS-cup 2010 Final
Buakaw Por. Pramuk def. Toby Imada by TKO - Round 2, 2.29Single Fights
Daiki "DJ.taiki" Hata def. Tomohiro Oikawa by KO - Round 2, 2.18
Hiroaki Suzuki def. Mitsuhiro Ishida by KO - Round 2, 2.21S-cup 2010 Semi-finals
Buakaw Por. Pramuk def. Henri van Opstal by Unanimous Decision
Toby Imada def. Andy Souwer by Split DecisionSingle Fight
Ai Takahashi def. Karina Hallinan by Unimous DecisionS-cup 2010 Reserve Fight
Jun Hyuk Song vs. Kenji Kanai by KO (Kick) - Round 2, 1:59S-cup 2010 Quarter Finals
Henri van Opstal def. Luis Saraiva by Unanimous Decision
Buakaw Por. Pramuk def. Hiroki Shishido by Unamious Decision
Toby Imada def. Takaaki Umeno by KO (Punches) - Round 3, 3:00
Andy Souwer def. Bovy Sor. Udomson by KO (Punches) - Round 3, 0:47Single Fight
Kengo Shimizu def. Shunsuke Inoue by TKO (Corner Stoppage) - Round 3, 0.35Opening Fights
Kazuyuki Fushimi def. Hiroaki Okuwa by Unanmious Decision
Yuji Sugawara def. Masaya Matsuhana by KO (Body Shots) - Round 1, 2.32