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The Kickfighting Roundup #2: Yothin Claims Rajadamnern Gold, Ryusei Proves Himself Against Kyo Kawakami

Jun 12, 2024
Ryusei landing a knee on Kyo Kawakami. Photo: KNOCK OUT
Two big Rajadamnern Stadium title fights and a Japanese prospect proves himself against top level competition.

Welcome to the second edition of the kickfighting roundup, where fights outside of the major promotions, such as GLORY, ONE, RISE, and K-1, are given a spotlight. An eventful April concluded with a Raja title fight, Kunlun Fight tournament qualifiers, and two prospects proving themselves against tough competition.

EDUARD SAIK VS. MAMMAD AMRALIYEV

April 13, 2024 Eduard Saik has proven himself as the next big thing to emerge from the Russian kickboxing scene, with triumphs over ONE Championship alumnus Constantin Rusu and GLORY veteran Joilton Lutterbach, as the standouts of his (so far) undefeated run. In his fight against Mammad Amraliyev, a noted veteran of the scene with 21 victories in 27 appearances, Saik demonstrated all the weapons in his arsenal, unleashing a continuously more of a one-sided beatdown of his opponent as the bout progressed. Credit has to be given to Amraliyev as well, who withstood a great amount of punishment and tried to find a way to win, which gave the viewers an entertaining fight to watch.

 

CHAILAR VS. YOTHIN

April 27, 2024 Chailar’s second title defence, and Yothin’s first shot at a stadium title after fighting in stadium scene for over 15 years.

Chailar Por.Lakboon has been hovering at the top of the 122 and 126 lbs divisions for over 6 years. Since 2017, Chailar has become a star within the Kiatpetch and now Petchyindee promotion, with many wins over other top fighters such as Ronachai and ‘View. Just a few months ago, Chaila controversially came second in FOTY 2023 voting, many thinking he should’ve won instead. Coming into this fight, he was 7-1-1 against elite opposition.

Yothin FA.Group, now 31, has been at the top for a decade. He peaked in 2016-2019, when he won 19 of 25 fights against many perennial P4P contenders, culminating in a KO win against, at the time, P4P n°1 Rungnarai. It seemed that Yothin had lost a step after the Covid break when he moved up 2 divisions to 126 lbs, but he has regained his top form once again. He was 3-2 coming into this fight, against top opponents.

The fight itself came down to the wire. Chailar won the early rounds but Yothin found his groove in the fourth and smothered Chailar in the clinch in the fifth to take a razor-thin split decision. 

 

KUNLUN FIGHT 97 70 KG TOURNAMENT QUALIFIERS


KITTIDET NACHAITONG VS. UMAR SEMATA

April 27, 2024 Kittidet qualifies for a spot in the Kunlun Fight 16 man 70 kg tournament with a wide unanimous decision victory over longstanding kickboxing veteran Umar Semata in the finals of the four man A qualifier tournament. The Thai fighter landed an early knockdown in the first round against Semata with a right cross. The rest of the fight would be dictated by the power and durability of the Thai fighter, with his body kicks and heavy punches showing a large power disparity and preventing Semata from building any meaningful offence to stay competitive in the fight, with Kittidet showboating all fight when Semata missed shots or after feints that drew out big reactions from Semata.

Earlier in the night, Kittidet made short work of Sabri Ben Henia in a scrappy, high pace, close range fight, finishing the Belgian fighter in the first round. Kittidet showcased his durability, barely being moved by the shots of the Belgian before sending Ben Henia down to the canvas twice with heavy crosses before finishing the fight with a left hook.
 

 

MOHAMMADREZA GHAFARI VS. ABOLFAZI ALIPOUR

Mohammadreza Ghafari claimed the second spot in the Kunlun Fight 16 man tournament by triumphing over the four man B qualifier tournament with a second round TKO victory over Abolfazi Alipour in the finals. Ghafari went down in the first round after taking a perfectly placed knee to the body from Alipour during a frenzied exchange of hooks, but was able to weather the storm against Alipour’s heavy body shots. Ghafari came out strong at the ring of the bell in the second round, barraging Alipour with heavy hooks to the head, allowing him to score a knockdown in a messy exchange of hooks, which spelled the end for Alipour. The heavy hitting Ghafari scored two additional knockdowns against a concussed Alipour to claim a TKO victory.

In the semifinals of the tournament, Ghafari made short work of David Andreasyan, tanking the shots of his opponent on his tight high guard before unloading a stream of hooks to the body and head of the Armenian to score a knockdown before unloading a barrage of left hooks and crosses to the head of his opponent against the ropes to claim a brutal referee stoppage victory in the first round.

 

MICHAEL SAVVAS VS. JOM PARUNCHAI

April 27, 2024 ONE alumnus Michael Savvas claimed a dominant decision victory against top stadium Muay Thai fighter and former Rajadamnern Stadium Lightweight champion Jom Parunchai in an excellent display of technical skill, outclinching and outkicking the former champion in a legacy-defining performance, with the only round where Jom had noticeable success being the fourth round. The Cypriot fighter worked the body of the former Raja champ with knees and front kicks enroute to a wide decision victory. Savvas is currently on a four-fight undefeated streak after a rough stretch in 2022, where he only won one fight out of four in the year and suffered the worst loss in his career against Panpayak Jitmuangnon in his final fight in ONE Championship before the head of Petchyindee Sia Boat cut ties with the Singaporean promotion.

RYUSEI VS. KYO KAWAKAMI

April 27, 2024 Undefeated Ryusei put his 16-0 record on the line against his hardest test yet, former Shootboxing Champion Kyo Kawakami. Kyo opened well, thoroughly outboxing his opponent in a slow-paced first round. In the second round, Ryusei made appropriate adjustments and found a home for his kicks and his left hooks. A hard step-in knee to the body by Ryusei set the tone for the rest of the fight as he also went on to win the last round and take home a unanimous decision victory. Despite an impressive record, Ryusei has only fought one notable opponent, and he will take another step up in competition this month against Shootboxing Champion Kotaro Yamada.