Today, January 12, SHOOTO announced via their Twitter feed that the next Pro event would be on March 16th at Korakuen Garden. Two bantamweight matches on the card were announced as well, with more matches to be set at SHOOTO’s next event on January 20th. Jo Nam Jin of Korean Team MAD will face Purebreed Kawaguchi Redips’ Yosuke “Flying Monkey No. 2” Saruta. Snakepit’s Manabu Inoue will take on Shooting Gym’s Kenji Yamamoto.
At only 21 years of age, the Team MAD prodigy has faced some very high level competition in his young career, with losses against Shoto Sako, Kevin Belingon, and Taiyo Nakahara. His introduction to SHOOTO in 2012 saw him face Shinichi BJ Kojima and pull off an upset win. He’ll face rising star SHOOTO Rookie Champ Yosuke “Flying Monkey No. 2” Saruta, who got to the finals by putting away four opponents in a row. Both fighters are quick and have well-rounded game. Jo seems never to get a break in tough opponents, and his division is getting stronger by the day.
Manabu Inoue, Pancrase mainstay and Sengoku competitor, has faced the best of the best in his division. Losing to BJ back in Sengoku, he returned to Pancrase in 2011 to defend his King of Pancrase title, only to lose it to Shintaro Ishiwatari in his second outing. Trying his luck in SHOOTO in 2012, Inoue got a harsh welcome from phenom Kyoji Horiguchi in an absolute war, yet a late round rally couldn’t stave off another decision loss. A recent draw with Yuta Sasaki – whose only loss was to Guy Delarmeau – puts him back in contention somewhat. He’ll face Kenji Yamamoto, who also drew in his last outing at SHOOTO Rookie Finals. Kenji’s crisp combinations and complete arsenal will be needed in full force when he jumps up a level to face Inoue.