King of Pancrase Ryo Kawamura has a new challenger for his belt: Shinsho “The Animal” Anzai. The showdown for the Middleweight Championship will take place on June 29, 2014 at PANCRASE 259.
Kawamura has held on to his gorgeous chunk of metal in one defense since winning it in January of 2012, and that was by soccer kicking Shungo Oyama into unconsciousness. He stepped out of the squared circle when he felt there weren’t enough challengers at home, meeting Melvin Manhoef’s fist in ONE FC and Lee Dool-Hee’s determination in ROAD FC.
Both losses disappointed but did not dethrone him. The King came back on top in a non-title match with Kazuo Takahashi, who had called him out specifically for his retirement fight. Then at DEEP Cage Impact, their Champ King Kaz called out Kawamura, but instead Kaz opted to try for the DEEP Megaton title, and Kawamura was left holding the belt alone again.
Now steps up to the plate a crazy young man on a 5-fight win streak. Shinsho Anzai most recently lived up to his moniker “The Animal” by brutalizing a much taller Will Noland. Noland just happened to be ranked number 1 in PANCRASE at the time, so by felling the redwood, Anzai cleared a path direct to a title shot.
New rules in PANCRASE disallowing soccer kicks will take a choice weapon away from both fighters, who can claim wins by the deadly punt. Additionally, the cage format has not been kind when they have fought in it before. This new environment as PANCRASE steps into a “global standard” will be an equalizer for both. If Kawamura and Anzai each bring their A-games, brutality will be the theme of the title match.
The event will also host the semifinals for the 2014 NeoBlood Tournament in the flyweight, super flyweight, bantamweight and featherweight divisions.