Yesterday's joint K-1 and RISE announcements are fulfilling all the cross-promotional expectations kickboxing fans have had since the historic THE MATCH took place almost two years ago, with the best of each organization facing off with their promotional counterpart.
K-1 Featherweight (-57.5 KG) champion Taito Gunji will take on RISE Featherweight champion Keisuke Monguchi in the first of five revealed bouts. Gunji is currently riding an 11-fight win streak, while Monguchi has been perfect in his last six outings. Between the two of them, they've beaten nine fighters who've at one point or another featured in our divisional rankings.
This fight will definitively determine who the king of the division is, a fact of which they're both perfectly aware. Gunji stated during the press conference: "As I said, the final chapter of the Featherweight unification is underway, so I'll win and then set my sights on the world", while Monguchi went on to state: "I've almost completed the unification".
Two pound-for-pound ranked women will face each other on the undercard as RISE Atomweight (-46 KG) champion Koyuki Miyazaki faces off against K-1 Atomweight champion Miyuu Sugawara. Much like the aforementioned Featherweight pair, they've differentiated themselves from the rest of the pack as the clear cream of the division, with the winner earning the right to call herself the best Japanese fighter and possibly the best fighter in the world. Miyazaki for her part promised fireworks, saying: "I'll make those who say 'it's women? Let's go to the convenience store' or 'let's go to the bathroom“ regret it, so please look forward to my fight'.
K-1 VS. RISE - K-1 WORLD MAX
Taito Gunji vs. Keisuke Monguchi – 57.5 KG
Miyuu Sugawara vs. Koyuki Miyazaki – 45.5 KG
Yuki Egawa vs. Hyuma Hitachi – 60 KG
Shoki Kaneda vs. Daiki Toita – 57.5 KG
Yuta Matsuyama vs. Andrei Haraguchi – 60 KG