Kikuno to Defend Lightweight Strap Against Hirota at Deep 55
Two of the top lightweights currently operating in Japan appear set
to collide Aug. 26 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.
Kikuno, lightweight champion of Deep, will
reportedly defend his belt against former Sengoku titleholder
Hirota at Deep “55
While only Hirota’s participation at the event has been made
official, news of the matchup was tweeted Wednesday by Satoru
Kitaoka, the man from whom Hirota took the Sengoku lightweight
title in 2009.
The bout marks the card’s third championship affair, as
featherweight ace Koichiro
Matsumoto will defend against returning Yoshida Dojo product
Nagakura, while heavyweight titlist Kazuhisa
Tazawa will clash with Georgian judoka Levan
A pupil of early-UFC veteran Tsuyoshi
Kosaka, Kikuno won his belt in April 2009, knocking out
Matsumoto in the final of Deep’s lightweight title tournament. The
29-year-old Kyokushin karate specialist embarked on a 2-2 run in
Dream, alternating wins over Andre “Dida”
Hironaka with losses to Eddie
Alvarez and Gesias “JZ”
Currently, Kikuno has won back-to-back starts, defending his Deep
title against Nobuhiro
Obiya in October before returning to Dream in May to outpoint
The championship bout will be Hirota’s first action since having
his arm broken by Shinya Aoki
in December 2009. Prior to that gruesome submission loss, the
30-year-old had knocked out Kitaoka and Mitsuhiro
Ishida in consecutive outings. Now a freelance fighter, Hirota
was a longtime staple at Gutsman Shooto Dojo.
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