Toby Imada file photo: Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com
Imada made yet another unexpected tournament run in Tokyo on
The two-time Bellator Fighting Championship lightweight finalist
shocked a pair of highly-regarded opponents on his way to the
finals of the 2010 S-Cup, Shoot Boxing’s biennial one-night,
eight-man tournament. The rules of shoot boxing allow for
traditional kickboxing strikes (punches, kicks) as well as standing
submission attempts and point-earning throws.
Imada was announced as a participant just four days prior to the
tournament, a late replacement for fellow MMA vet Charles
Bennett after the fighter formerly known as “Krazy Horse” was
unable to leave the United States due to a revoked visa.
Slotted against Takaaki Umeno in the opening round, most observers
viewed Imada as they had Bennett: a sacrificial lamb for Shoot
Boxing’s super welterweight champion. Things did not go as
expected, however, and after weathering untold leg kicks from
Umeno, Imada scored a stunning upset knockout at the last possible
second. The official time was 3:00 of the third and final
Advancing to the semifinals, Imada faced another tall task in
three-time S-Cup and two-time K-1 Max champion Andy Souwer.
There, Imada’s black belt in judo would come into play, as a pair
of throws scored him crucial points and earned him another massive
upset. Imada took a three-round split decision over the tournament
favorite with scores of 29-28, 29-28 and 27-28.
In the evening’s last match, Imada met two-time K-1 Max champ and
fellow shoot boxing neophyte Buakaw Por. Pramuk. The muay Thai
stylist won a pair of unanimous decisions over Hiroki Shishido and
Henri van Opstal to advance to the finals, but needed less than two
rounds to end Imada’s Cinderella story. Pramuk battered Imada with
right hands and leg kicks, dropping him five times en route to a
technical knockout victory at 2:29 of the second round.
Imada was not the only notable mixed martial artist to make his
shoot boxing debut on the evening. In a 143-pound non-tournament
match, Dream and Strikeforce veteran Mitsuhiro
Ishida went up against Shoot Boxing’s top-ranked featherweight,
Hiroaki Suzuki. The “Endless Fighter” did not find the success of
his American counterpart, winding up on the wrong end of a
second-round head kick knockout.
Another Dream vet, Daiki Hata
(a.k.a. “DJ.taiki”), took out super featherweight ace Tomohiro
Oikawa in a bizarre bout which saw the second round ended a full
minute early. When the error was noticed and corrected, Hata
floored Oikawa with a left hook, scoring a knockout at the 2:18
Deep veteran Shunsuke
Inoue used his judo base to score a throw against karateka
Kengo Shimizu in the early going of their match, but that was the
extent of the Yoshida Dojo light heavyweight’s success. Inoue ate
kicks, knees and punches for two rounds before corner Kazuhiro
Nakamura threw in the towel 34 seconds into the third.
Elsewhere, the Greg Jackson- and Team Quest-trained Karina
Hallinan dropped a unanimous decision (30-26, 30-24, 30-25) to
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