‘Shooto the Shoot 2011’ Gets 115-Pound Title Bout, Kojima-Shimizu


Newly minted Shooto 115-pound world champion Junji Ikoma will attempt to defend his belt for the first time against top contender Mikihito Yamagami on Nov. 5, officials from the Japanese promotion announced Saturday.

The matchup was one of five confirmed for “Shooto the Shoot 2011,” the first part of a two-day co-promotion between Shooto and standup organization Shootboxing which will take place at Tokyo Dome City Hall (formerly JCB Hall). The second half of the event, “Shoot the Shooto 2011,” will follow on Nov. 6 with a kickboxing-centric card.

Ikoma (Pictured), 41, captured the title vacated by Rambaa “M16” Somdet with a grueling, three-round decision win over Junji Ito at April’s “Shooto Tradition 2011.” Challenger Yamagami, 17 years Ikoma’s junior, seems likely to oblige Ikoma in a striking battle, as he did in a lopsided nod over Atsushi Takeuchi on the same April card.

Former 123-pound ruler Shinichi “BJ” Kojima will look to continue his comeback against reigning flyweight King of Pancrase Kiyotaka Shimizu in a scheduled three-round tilt. Kojima emerged from a two-year absence in August to outpoint Masaaki Sugawara, while Shimizu -- who currently stands at 1-1 in his Shooto excursions -- successfully defended his crown against rival Mitsuhisa Sunabe in June.

Another ex-Shooto champ, 31-year-old Akitoshi Tamura, will tangle with onetime Sengoku prospect Shigeki Osawa in a 143-pound affair. “Ironman” Tamura has dropped three of four starts since exiting World Extreme Cagefighting in January 2010, his only action of 2011 coming in a submission loss to grappling wiz Tetsu Suzuki. Osawa, 25, will make his Shooto debut against Tamura. The 2007 All-Japan freestyle wrestling champion recently split from his home base of Yoshida Dojo and has drawn in his last two bouts against the more experienced Tomonari Kanomata and Shunichi Shimizu.

Shooto will also launch a four-man tournament to determine its next Pacific Rim 143-pound titlist, the belt having been vacated in May by Taiki Tsuchiya. One semifinal pairing will pit Japan-based Hawaiian Guy Delumeau against powerful Krazy Bee wrestler Issei Tamura, while the other will feature Shooting Gym Yokohama’s Tenkei “Fujimiya” Oda against the always tough Wataru Miki.

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