K'FESTA took place on Sunday, March 12, from the National Yoyogi Stadium in Tokyo, Japan. The 30-year anniversary event of K-1 delivered wars and spectacular knockouts in this 10-hour marathon event, featuring seven K-1 title fights.
Tetsuya Yamato def. Kenta Hayashi – One of the greatest career comebacks in kickboxing continued, as Tetsuya Yamato extended his winning streak to four against former champion Kenta Hayashi. The fight picked up the pace quickly with Yamato circling the challenger with jabs, before landing punches that appeared to briefly stun Hayashi. Hayashi came back with punches of his own and chased the champion to the corner. Suddenly with a right cross counter, Yamato knocked Hayashi down to the canvas. He then chased Hayashi, looking for a knockout blow. However, Hayashi was not discouraged, refused to take a step back and came back with punch combinations.
In the second round, Hayashi came out chasing Yamato and both fighters traded hooks. Hayashi pushed the champion to the rope, where he landed body blows and upper cuts. The champion returned with short left hooks and jabs. Yamato appeared to be hurt on the rope, and Hayashi repeatedly hit him with left hooks to the body, who covered up. Hayashi chased Yamato to the end of round. In the final round, both fighters traded punches, looking for a knockout. Yamato landed clean uppercuts, while the challenger continued to hurt the champion with strikes to the body. Yamato finished the round strong, hurting Hayashi in the rope at the end of the round, and earning a unanimous decision win.
Yuki Yoza def. Taio Asahisa – A kickboxing match turned into a full-contact Karate brawl, when former Kyokushin World Champion, Yuki Yoza, took the crown from his bitter rival, the K-1 Lightweight champion, Taio Asahisa. Asahisa was very active in the first round, opening with low kicks and circling around Yoza. Yoza landed punches, while Asahisa returned with kicks. Asahisa continued to score with low-right kicks and checked Yoza’s low kicks until the round ended.
In the second round, both fighters traded hooks and low kicks wildly as if they were in a Kyokushin match. Yoza finally found his rhythm, landing cleaner blows. Both fighters exchanged strikes right after the bell rang. Wild exchanges persisted in the final round. Both karatekas traded blow with no one willing to take a step back. They pushed, hooked and low kicked each other to the end. Yoza’s cleaner strikes proved decisive in the end, as he became the new champion by unanimous decision.
In the post-fight interview, Asahisa revealed that he had fractured his right hand before the fight. His father later posted the X-ray of his right hand, showing that Asahisa had fractured his right index finger during practice on 7 February, around 1 month before the fight, but decided to not pull out.
Haruto Yasumoto def. Toma – The RISE and K-1 crossover match between the two young kicking specialists was largely dictated by the taller of the two and the story of the fight was illustrated by the heavy punch combinations of the KNOCKOUT alumn Yasumoto. At the start of the first bell, Haruto would come out guns blazing, mixing punch combinations to the head and body of the K-1 ace Toma. This first exchange would foreshadow the outcome of the fight over three rounds, with Toma shelled up as Haruto unloaded a litany of heavy hooks to the midsection and head of the outgunned K-1 fighter. Toma would attempt to keep the taller fighter off with kicks to the midsection and would try to pressure Haruto by switching stances, but would always be met by heavy punch counters in response. Yasumoto would go on to win a lopsided unanimous decision victory, securing his spot into the upper echelon of the Featherweight division.
Masashi Kumura def. Masahiko Suzuki – Perhaps the most anticipated crossover match on the card and what many fans thought would be the fight of the year material and a matchup between two former champions for their respective promotions. Both fighters would start the first round with a frantic pace, with Kumura seeking to dictate the distance with lead kicks to the body and a stiff jab. Suzuki would not be far behind, answering the strikes of the K-1 fighter with a series of punches and low kicks, making for a very close first round. The second round would be a showcase of Kumura’s excellent jab, with Kumura snapping Suzuki’s head back whenever he landed and getting a clean knockdown on the RISE fighter with a well timed piston jab early into the round. However, Suzuki would be able to counter over Kumura's jab with a right overhand and break Kumura’s nose, leaving the K-1 fighter with a bloodied face and a heavily swollen nose. At the opening of the third round, Suzuki would finally find his range, getting past Kumura’s jab and finding success unloading hooks to the body and head of Kumura as he was up against the ropes. Kumura would ultimately win the fight by unanimous decision, with the knockdown in the second round deciding the outcome of the fight.
Taito Gunji def. View Petchkoson – The most controversial outcome on the card, with the first two rounds being very close and possibly warranting an extension round to decide the victor. The first round started off with very few strikes thrown and showed a first glimpse of View’s gameplan. The Thai national boxing champion used his elusive footwork, jab, and front kick to control the distance and evade the heavy combination puncher Gunji and would use his movement to give Gunji fits for the rest of the fight. Gunji would land to the body of View, but would be countered by leg kicks and jabs for his efforts. The second round was much of the same, with View showing off a well-educated jab, good timing with the front kick, and an ethereal ability to pivot off the ropes. In the third round, Gunji would finally find his range, putting pressure on View with his jab and cornering the elusive Thai fighter. Gunji was finally able to land punch combinations on the Thai fighter and took the most obvious round. Ultimately, K-1 Featherweight king Taito Gunji would win the match by majority decision, with the judges scorecards reading 30-30, 30-29, and 30-29.
Akihiro Kaneko def. Kompetch Sitsarawatser – The fight started off with a slow pace, with Kaneko backing Kompetch onto the ropes and both fighters throwing very little, mostly trading leg kicks while Kompetch was backed onto the ropes. The second round was much of the same, with Kaneko backing Kompetch onto the ropes for a majority of the round and both fighters trading leg kicks, although Kompetch would get the better of these leg kick exchanges. In the third round, Kaneko would come out with a greater sense of urgency, backing Kompetch onto the ropes and clipping the Thai fighter with a variety of heavy punches. The third round would be the decider of the fight, as Kaneko would go on to win the fight by a close majority decision.
Hiromi Wajima def. Jomthong – Hiromi Wajima brutalized living Muay Thai legend, Jomthong, to a stoppage win. In the first round, both fighters traded heavy low kicks. Two minutes into the round, Jomthong began landing clean left straights and kicks on Hiromi, who returned with high kicks. In the final second, Jomthong dropped Wajima with a left hook, but the referee did not give a mandatory eight count as he was just saved by the bell.
In the second round, both fighters continued to trade low kicks. Wajima landed clean low kicks on Jomthong, who returned with counter punches. Jomthong's front leg began to redden and swell. In the final round, Jomthong looked to score a knockdown with punches, while Wajima continued to chop Jomthong's legs. Jomthong's right leg appeared to be seriously compromised and he could no longer land his punches effectively. Two judges scored the fight a draw, sending it into an extra round. Jomthong appeared badly hurt even before the round began. Wajima quickly took advantage with clean leg kicks, resulting in a standing eight-count. Jomthong’s corner then threw in the towel before he was carried out on a stretcher.
In his post-fight interview with Masato, Wajima said that he wanted Jordann Pikeur next. They last fought in 2018, when Pikeur defeated Wajima by unanimous decision to defend his Krush Super Welterweight title.
A day after the fight, Jomthong posted a picture of his swollen leg on social media with the caption: "The picture tells the whole story... I tried my best! No excuses, just accept it and work toward getting better!"
Masaaki Noiri def. Dzhabar Askerov – K-1 two-division champion, Masaaki Noiri, made his comeback fight look easy, as he became the first fighter to knock out kickboxing veteran, Dzhabar Askerov, in nine years. Shortly after the fight began, Noiri feinted and knocked Askerov down with a lightning-fast left hook. The K-1 champ then put Askerov to sleep with a clean straight punch just two minutes into the first round! In the post-fight interview, Masaaki announced his desire to continue battling world class fighters to prove that he is the best fighter in the world.
Jordann Pikeur def. Abiral Ghimire – The reigning Krush champion, Jordann Pikeur, ended his three-year three-fight losing streak with a brutal left hook victory over knockout artist, Abiral Ghimire. 30 seconds into the first round, Jordann hurt Abiral with a body shot, then stalked him, seeking to cut off Abiral’s reach advantage. Abiral scored with low kicks, but Jordann pressured him with hooks. The fighters exchanged in the pocket and showed their toughness with Jordann, landing a clean punch to end the round.
In the second round, Abiral opened with leg kicks and jabs, but Jordann soon landed a high kick. Jordan chased Abiral into the corner and landed clean hooks, while Abiral attempted to get some strikes back. Both fighters continued to trade throughout the round. With 30 seconds left, Abiral put Jordann in the corner, but Jordann quickly turned the tide, putting Abiral down with a beautiful right hook, leaving Abiral to be saved by the bell. In the final round, Jordann left Abiral no chance to get into the fight, landing a brutal left hook that slept his opponent 6 seconds into the round.
Kyotaro def. Satoshi Ishii – In the highly anticipated match-up of heavyweight stars, the former K-1 Heavyweight Champion, Kyotaro defeated Croatian Olympics Judo Gold Medalist, Satoshi Ishii. The first round began inauspiciously, as Satoshi landed a low blow. Satoshi focused on landing low and middle kicks, while Kyotaro gauged the distance with jabs and landed short hooks. With one minute left in the round, Kyotaro landed a clean right straight, hurting the judoka, who survived the round by turning his back and running around the ring to clear the cobweb.
In the second round, Kyotaro stalked Satoshi around the ring, looking to land his straight punches again. He then started going for Satoshi's body. Kyotaro continued to chase Satoshi around the ring with kicks to the body, while Satoshi looked to land short punches and clinched. With one minute left, Kyotaro showed off his boxing credentials, landing jabs and straights on Satoshi at will. In the final round, the gold medalist landed hard leg kicks and knees, looking to turn the tide of the fight, but Kyotaro hurt Satoshi with punches. Both fighters appeared tired in the final minute, swinging wildly.
KANA def. Funda Alkayis – KANA and Funda came out trading fast combinations, fighting for the center of the ring. Towards the end of the opening round, KANA landed a calf kick that hurt the Turkish fighter. Unloading hooks to the body, the referee stepped in for the first count. KANA continued her work in the next round, constantly applying pressure. Much like the first knockdown, she hurt Alkayis with calf kicks again, this time for the finish as the referee had seen enough.
K'FESTA 6 RESULTS
MAIN CARD - PART 3
Tetsuya Yamato def. Kenta Hayashi - Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-27, 30-27)
Yuki Yoza def. Taio Asahisa - Unanimous Decision (30-29 x2, 30-28)
Hiromi Wajima def. Jomthong - TKO at 0:25 of Extra Round
Masaaki Noiri def. Dzhabar Askerov – KO at 2:00 of R1
Jordann Pikeur def. Abiral Ghimire - KO (Left Hook) at 0:06 of R3
Kyotaro def. Satoshi Ishii - Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 30-29)
MAIN CARD - PART 2
Taito Gunji def. View – Majority Decision (30-30, 30-29 x2)
Akihiro Kaneko def. Kompetch – Majority Decision (30-30, 30-29, 30-28)
Masashi Kumura def. Masahiko Suzuki – Unanimous Decision (30-28 x2, 30-27)
Haruto Yasumoto def. Toma Tanabe – Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-29, 30-28)
Ali Ayinta def. Takumi Sanekata – Unanimous Decision (30-28 x3)
Stefan Latescu def. Seiya Tanigawa – KO (Right Hook) at 2:50 of R2
Ryunosuke def. Hoshi Akira Jr. – KO (Right Straight) at 1:08 of R3
MAIN CARD - PART 1
KANA vs. Funda Alkayis – TKO (Punches) 1:31 of R2
Miyuu Sugawara def. Phayahong – Majority Decision (29-29, 30-28 x2)
Yodsila def. Issei Ishii – Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 29-27)
Yuki Egawa def. Kang Yoon Sung – KO (Left Hook) 1:50 of R1
Tatsuya Oiwa def. Yuta Kunieda – KO (Right Straight) at 1:37 of R2
Pakorn def. Hayato Suzuki – Majority Decision (29-29, 30-29 x2)
Shintaro Matsukura def. Igor Silva – KO (Right Straight) at 2:25 of R2
Vinicius Dionizio def. Katsuya Jinbo – Unanimous Decision (28-27 x3)
Eruto def. Kosuke – KO (Left Straight) at 2:58 of R2
Raita Hashimoto – Riku Yamamoto – Draw (30-29, 30-30, 29-30)
Kuto Ueno def. Ryugi – Unanimous Decision (30-29 x2, 29-28)