RIZIN 21 just concluded a mere moments ago, and the main event saw fan-favorite superstar Mikuru Asakura (13-1, 1NC) cap-off the night with a second-round knockout win over Mexico’s Daniel Salas.
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Following the win, Asakura took to the mic to leave the Hamamatsu Arena crowd with the night’s final comments. Mid-interview, however, RIZIN boss Nobuyuki Sakakibara came into the ring with a microphone followed by the first-ever ONE Championship lightweight title-holder Kotetsu Boku (26-14-2) of KRAZY BEE.
A brief three-man conversation proceeded, and it concluded with Sakakibara having Asakura and Boku face-off for the cameras, with the organization essentially confirming that a match-up between the two was coming. Though no date was given, prior to RIZIN 21 it was publicly revealed that the company was hopeful they would be able to have Mikuru Asakura be able to participate on RIZIN 22 after headlining RIZIN 21.
Everyone’s favorite street fighter, Mikuru Asakura has genuinely established himself as one of Japan’s top stars sinfe making his RIZIN debut in August of 2018. It didn’t hurt that in his first three fights with the promotion, Asakura was able to brutally knockout two Japanese legends and former Shooto champions in Takeshi Inoue and Hatsu Hioki. Between these two staggering knockout wins, Asakura was able to prove he was more than just a knockout-artist by putting together a fantastically well-rounded performance to defeat a hyped Kazakh in Karshyga Dautbek.
Last year, 2019, was an excellent year for Mikuru Asakura. As he started the year with a win over the red-hot Luiz Gustavo, outbrawling the brawler, before closing the year out with one-sided victories over Yusuke Yachi and John Teixeira, the last of which coming in an important RIZIN vs. Bellator super-fight. As previously mentioned, tonight Asakura competed in his first bout of the decade, and he scored a second-round knockout win over Daniel Salas. Dropping his foe with a picture-perfect headkick, he sent the Mexican into unconsciousness with some vicious follow-up shots.
Though not 27-years-old and in the prime of his life like Asakura, one of KRAZY BEE’s top trainers Kotetsu Boku hopes to get back on the right track and earn a monumental win when he shares the ring with Asakura in the near future.
At 42-years-old, “No Face” has certainly seen better days than as of late. In 2019, Boku fought and lost twice under the ONE Championship banner. He opened the year with a first-round submission loss to Bruno Pucci, and closed the year with a quick knockout loss to highly-ranked contender Thanh Le. Prior to these two outings, he had not competed since 2017 where he was slammed and pounded out by current champion Christian Lee.
This broke a sneakily solid two-fight streak for Boku that included wins over Timofey Nastyukhin and Eric Kelly. Despite the back-and-forth past couple of years, back in 2012 at ONE FC 6, Kotetsu Boku became the first-ever ONE Lightweight champion with a brutal third-round knockout of Zorobabel Moreira Jr.
In recent times, Boku has put a lot of his focus on coaching the young talent at KRAZY BEE alongside the likes of Issei Tamura. He’s had a decent role in the rise of Yusuke Yachi and has long been one of the gym’s top trainers, even more so since the crushing passing of Norifumi “KID” Yamamoto.
Yusuke Yachi, of course, fought and lost to Mikuru Asakura last year. This was mentioned tonight in the RIZIN ring by Boku, and there is no doubt that the eventual Boku-Asakura fight will have some sort of underlying revenge-based rivalry.
One more time, there is no confirmed date for this fight. But in the likely chance it is planned to take place at RIZIN 22, that show will take place on April 19 live from the Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan.