Two sporting events guarantee a thumping year-end

By Fred Varcoe

This is always a wonderful time of year: peace on Earth, goodwill to all men and women, and people in Japan are beating each other up. So if festive cheer isn’t your thing, perhaps you’ll prefer one of the following.

K-1 World Grand Prix 2010 Final

Call me sentimental, but I really like K-1, and the World Grand Prix Final is always the highlight of the calendar. This year, once again, it’ll likely come down to who can stop 212-cm Semmy Schilt, the defending champion and a four-time title winner. The Dutchman has only three losses in 38 bouts, but two of those were to Peter Aerts, and the pair could meet in the semifinals at Ariake. That’s assuming that Schilt can get past Japan’s Kyotaro and that the 40-year-old Aerts can overcome Mighty Mo, a force of nature whose right hand leaves few men standing. On the other side of the draw, the mound of muscle masquerading as Alistair Overeem will probably have too much power for newcomer Tyrone Spong, while Turkey’s Gokhan Saki—who I’ve tipped for glory in the past—will face a tough match against Romania’s Daniel Ghita.

World Grand Prix 2010 Final Dec 11, 4 p.m. 6,000 yen-100,000 yen. Ariake Colosseum. Tel: 0570-064708.

Kameda Matsuri 2010

There was a time when the Kameda brothers were the darlings of Japanese TV. The story of how dad Shiro raised his sons to be fighters had a romantic ring to it: dad loved his boys and the boys loved him back, even when he was throwing baseballs at their heads to improve their reflexes. All the kids had to do was to prove that their boxing skills were genuine, and the world—well, Japan—would shower them with glory. Koki, the eldest, won a world title, but the decision was controversial and public opinion started to turn. To his credit, Koki dominated the rematch against Juan Landaeta, but the bubble had burst.

Then Daiki—who is about as charming as an exploding toilet—stepped up to the plate and disgraced the family when he manhandled Daisuke Naito in a world title fight. He was banned from boxing for a year, and Shiro was exiled for good. Daiki returned to win the WBA flyweight title earlier this year, and he’ll be making a second defense of his title against Romania’s Silvio Olteanu this month, with Koki and younger brother Tomoki fighting on the same bill. The criticism of the Kamedas has managed to overshadow their skill—in truth, the jury’s still out on how good they are, but they shouldn’t be dismissed as boxers just because they’re media morons.

Dec 26. 5,000 yen-100,000 yen. Saitama Super Arena. Tel: Kyodo Tokyo 0570-064-708.

This story originally appeared in Metropolis magazine (

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I'm with you Fred,a sentimentalist who loves gladiators like these guys spilling blood on my TV.

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WOW...the top price for a ticket is 100,000 yen???

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There's nothing quite as beautiful as the "sweet science" - blokes belting each other's heads in, kicking each other in the 'nads, inflicting permanent brain damage and spraying blood ringside. Love it! All those "herbivore boys" can go and watch anime - leave this to us real men!

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I would rather watch DREAM Dynamite, K1 is OK but not quite as exciting.

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Kameda familly have nothing in the way of etiquette or personality and the old man is just a bad loser who treid to bully everyone else.

The kids have alot to learn about life and being in the public eye too and behave like spoilt brats but they seem to think they are super stars which is actually sickening !!

No time at all for this horrible bunch of misfits!!

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