Ryo Okada stops Kazuma Kuramoto, remains Shooto bantamweight champion
Okada, who also holds both the promotion’s official bantamweight strap as well as the Pacific Rim title, knocked out Kuramoto with a solid left hook and a follow-up right straight in the second round.
The interim title was up for grabs as both men were only required to weigh 145lbs or less on fight night. Normally bantamweight have to weigh in at 135lbs the day before but the rules and regulations were tweaked for social distancing purposes.
It was not a walk in the park for the 31-year-old who had to overcome a spirited effort from Kuramoto in the early going of the opening frame. The four-time All-Japan Greco-Roman wrestling champion showed glimpses of his grappling brilliance, bringing the fight to the ground where he held the advantage.
However, Okada showcased some solid defense on the mat and was able to momentarily latch on a guillotine choke to stop Kuramoto in his tracks. While the challenger managed to break the submission hold, it gave the champion an opportunity to return to his feet.
In the stand-up, Okada shined the most, peppering his opponent with pinpoint accurate combinations. Kuramoto stepped on the gas pedal at the start of the second stanza, swinging hook after hook that the champion remarkably evaded.
To pacify the aggressiveness of Kuramoto, Okada shot for a quick takedown. But he did not hold the top position for too long and opted to exchange on the feet.
Kuramoto persistently hunted to score a takedown of his own. He closed the distance and wrapped his arms around the waist of his adversary for his signature German suplex but Okada was wary of it and pummeled the wrestler with knees to the thigh and midsection.
Kuramoto seemed to be breathing heavily due to exhaustion and Okada capitalized on it. After dodging a surprise spinning back fist, the champion uncorked a stunning haymaker.
Seeing Kuramoto on wobbly legs, Okada clobbered a left hook and then finished it off with another right hand to compel the referee to wave it off at the 3:02 mark.
Okada improved his standing to 16-4-3 with the victory, while Kuramoto tasted his first career defeat in the sport and downgraded to a 7-1 slate.
Best of the rest
The finalists for the inaugural Shooto women’s super atomweight championship had been determined as Mina Kurobe (15-5) and Megumi Sugimoto (5-1) trumped their respective opposition in their semi-final bouts.
Kurobe, the former Deep Jewels atomweight titleholder, vanquished relative newcomer Saori Oshima (1-1) via third-round technical knockout to punch her ticket to the finals against Segumoto.
On the other hand, Segumoto forced Mirai Nakamura (2-2) to wave the white flag with a rear-naked choke in the second round.