Heading into his non-title bout against Yuji Sakuragi, current light-heavyweight King of Pancrase Ryo Kawamura was as confident as ever. Sakuragi, who entering the fight held an unimpressive 11-16-1-1 professional record and won only two of his last eight contests, wasn’t even expected to make it past the first round, much less offer the reigning champion any type of test he hadn’t seen before.
Yuji Sakuragi was confident too.
Although he was on the losing end of the stand-up exchange eating multiple jabs and hooks, Sakuragi fought back using well-timed kicks to both the body and head. With a little less than two minutes to go in the first, Kawamura, feeling he was taking control of the fight, did what he always does when his ego gets the best of him – he drops his hands.
A powerful right hook to the head from Sakuragi immediately dropped the champion. On the verge of the most monumental win in his career, Sakuragi lept in for a head-stomp to seal the deal, but missed, allowing Kawamura to stumble back to his feet. Sakuragi couldn’t let this victory slip away from him, and he once again threw the right hook to the head of his opponent, connecting flush and sending Kawamura to the canvas for the second time, completely done for. The TKO victory officially came at 3:55 of the first round, and broke Sakuragi’s 4-fight losing streak under the Pancrase banner.
With the win, Sakuragi improves to 12-16-1-1, and probably secured himself a title fight with Kawamura later on in the year. Kawamura drops to 12-6-2, and brings his two-fight win streak to an abrupt end. Although he didn’t lose his King of Pancrase title, this loss should be an big eye-opener for the 29-year old, and one he’ll certainly not want to repeat when his cherished belt is on the line.
Full results for Passion Tour 8 can be seen below.
- Yuji Sakuragi defeats Ryo Kawamura via TKO (right hook) at 3:55 of round one.
- Manabu Inoue defeats Tashiro Akai by majority decision to become the bantamweight King of Pancrase.
- Windy Tomomi defeats Monica Lovato via unanimous decision.
- Mitushisa Sunabe defeats Shinpei Tahara via knockout (slam) at 2:32 of round 3.
- Masahiro Toryu defeats Akihiro Yamazaki via knockout (head-kick) at :40 of round 3.
- Daisuke Hanazawa defeats Eriya Matsuda via submission (kimura) at 1:55 of round 2.
- Kenji Arai and Soyu Tanabe fight to a draw.
- Masaomi Saito defeats Hideo Matsui by submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:29 of round 1.
- Shigeaki Kasuyanagi and Kentaro Abe fight to a draw.