We have known for months that RIZIN was planning a big kickboxing tournament for later this year and that it would kick off at RIZIN 13 in September.
But, beyond that, details were sparse.
Well, details are still pretty sparse, but things are beginning to take shape as more information has emerged.
Post-show at RIZIN 11, RIZIN boss Sakakibara told media in Japan that their current plan for the upcoming RIZIN KICK Tournament would feature eight fighters. The plan is to have roughly half the bracket be made up from Japanese talent, and the other half (roughly) made up of international competitors.
After just defeating Hiromasa Ogikubo in an MMA bout this past weekend at RIZIN 11, Kyoji Horiguchi will join the RIZIN KICK Tournament despite having never fought in a pro kickboxing bout. His striking-based MMA game was enough to warrant him a slot in the tournament, and given his current ten-fight win streak it is hard to find much issue with him trying something new.
Another fighter confirmed for the tournament is 19-year-old phenom Tenshin Nasukawa. Undefeated in both MMA and kickboxing, the teenage sensation will turn 20-years-old in mid-August. His first post-teen fight will take place in RIZIN at their upcoming September show. He easily won the RIZIN KICK Tournament that took place last year.
Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Tenshin Nasukawa would be one of the biggest fights in Japanese combat sports history, and will undoubtedly be the biggest fight in RIZIN’s history as an organization. The question is, will the promotion put them on opposite ends of the bracket and hope both men make it to the finals for an eventual meeting? Or will they match them up early, as to not risk one of them losing?
A detail that most people are not aware of is that a third participant was confirmed in June.
At RISE 125: Road to RIZIN KICK in Japan, a four-man, one-night kickboxing tournament took place to determine who would compete in this upcoming RIZIN KICK Tournament.
The tournament consisted of;
- Momotaro (Oguni Gym, WBC Muay Thai International Featherweight Champion, RISE: Dead or Alive 57kg 2017 Tournament Runner-Up)
- Kento Haraguchi (KICK Lab, Japan Cup 2017 57kg Tournament Champion, ACCEL Featherweight Champion)
- Miyazaki Shuto (TARGET Gym, #5 Ranked RISE Featherweight)
- Yamato Fujita (RIZIN vet, Reversal Gym Shinjuku Me, 2011 Amateur Boxing Champion)
Kento Haraguchi defeated Momotaro and Miyazaki Shuto en route to winning the tournament. So, unless plans changed behind the scenes, the ACCEL Featherweight Champion will be the third fighter announced for the upcoming RIZIN KICK Tournament.
Sadly, beyond this, details on the upcoming are limited. But whatever does get confirmed and made official in the near future, we will see it join the recently announced RIZIN 13 additions.