[div class=”notice” class2=”icon”]The following is from an article on LiverKick.com, part of the MiddleEasy Network.[/div]
At Saturday’s K-1 MAX -63kg 2011 Japan GP, the biggest non-tournament news coming out of the event was the announcement of six of the eight competitors in this year’s MAX -70kg Japan Tournament. The Japan tournament is often the highest profile of the qualifying tournaments for the MAX Final 16 and has launched the K-1 careers of many Japanese kickboxers. Notable past winners include Masato, Taishin Kohiruimaki, Yoshihiro Sato, Yoshihiro Kido and last year’s tournament champion Yuichiro “Jienotsu” Nagashima.
Last year’s tournament rivaled the excitement of the 2010 K-1 -63kg Tournament, providing upsets, spectacular knockouts and a FOTY candidate finals in which Nagashima and Hiroki Nagashima slugged it out until Nagashima rattled Nakajima with a right hand that ultimately ended his night.
The announced participants of this year’s tournament are 2010 Japan GP Champion Yuichiro Nagashima, 2010 Runner-up Hiroki Nakajima, 2009 Japan GP Finalist and 2009 World MAX Final 4 competitor Yuya Yamamoto, 2008 Japan GP Champion Yasuhiro Kido and tournament newcomers Shintaro Matsukura and Go Yokoyama. The two open slots will likely go to tournament mainstays Tatsuji and Ryuji, though no word has been put out by K-1 regarding the final two slots.