::Bio::Has been into martial arts since his youth, getting involved in judo and sumo, as well as playing baseball. Showing he was an extremely athletic competitor.
Real Name: Kiyoshi Tamura
Weight: 196 lbs
Date Of Birth: December 17th, 1969
Birthplace: Mie, Japan
Debut: May 21st, 1989
Affiliation: U-FILE Camp/U-STYLE Axis
Guillotine Choke (see image 16)
Single Leg Crab (see pic 10)
Release German Suplex
Jumping High Kick (see pic 15)
Jujigatame (cross armbreaker, see pic 12)
Left Leg Kick
RINGS Heavyweight Title (1)
U-STYLE Title (1)
RINGS Battle Dimensions Tournament 1997
U-STYLE Title Tournament August 2004
Idolized and admired pro-wres pioneers Tatsumi Fujinami and Antonio Inoki.
His shoot-style journey began in the 2nd UWF vs. another new shoot-stylist, Minoru Suzuki on 5/21/1989 at Tokyo Bay NK Hall.
On 10/25/89, he was placed in a match vs. Akira Maeda, the top native fighter and the owner of the promotion. Tamura lost at 2:19 by a stiff knee strike that KO'ed him, as well as injuring his eye badly, and making him sit out for a year plus.
After the showing vs. Maeda, Tamura would be pushed there as a confident fiery youth, and got his first win vs. a similar fighter in Masahito Kakihara on 12/1/1990.
After the second incarnation of United Pro-Wrestling Force closed down on 12/1/1990, Nobuhiko Takada opened UWF International on 5/10/1991, Tamura's rise would continue there.
In his first big main event match on 2/14/1993 at a full Tokyo Nippon Budokan Hall, he fought the owner and top star Nobuhiko Takada, but lost by TKO. Tamura put up an awesome match for Takada, getting much offense from his protege.
When UWFI was organized and strongly known, Tamura began getting pushed and suited as Takada's main successor as the top native fighter.
Scored his first big victory on 5/6/1993, defeating fellow rising star and NJ trueborn Naoki Sano.
On 6/10/1994 in the semi-final of the Best Of The World tournament, Tamura pushed Vader to 7:14 before being KO'ed, giving the top gaijin monster a solid challenge. In the third place match of the Best Of The World tournament on 8/18/1994, Tamura fought another tough gaijin threat in Gary Albright, where he took the suplex machine to 11:00 plus, giving Albright a back and forth tough bout. Those two strong showings against two monster outside threats made the fans see Tamura as a threat and major player.
On 6/10/1995 Tamura fought the toughest foreigner (since Vader had left) Gary Albright. Where Tamura was supposed to go over and continue his elevation to be the top guy, but Albright was upset about having to job to Tamura and the match turned into a shoot with Albright being uncooperative, and the match was thrown out.
After the rematch vs. Albright on 8/18/1995 that was clean, UWFI fell into money problems, and went to New Japan Pro-Wrestling for help, hoping to start an intriguing and profitable feud. Tamura didn't find that good for his career, and basically left UWFI, doing a K-1 fight (winning vs. Patrick Smith) and a match vs. Kazushi Sakuraba that was medicore.
During his time in UWF and UWFI, he and fellow young gun Masahito Kakihara had a series of competitive matches where the two traded wins, because of their similar fighting styles.
Tamura would enter Akira Maeda's Fighting Network RINGS on June 29, 1996 at Tokyo Bay NK Hall. Debuting at the same building he initiated his pro-career, for his second road in shoot-style. His first bout would be tough, against a veteran of RINGS in Dick Vrij of the RINGS Holland branch. It was fairly one-sided with Vrij beating Tamura up till later in the match, Tamura got him down to the mat and finally made him submit with a rear choke. Tamura came into RINGS at a wonderful and perfect time, he was exaxtly what RINGS needed. The top star Maeda was really slowing and getting older, and Maeda would skyrocket him to the top of RINGS, and let Tamura replace him. The win over Vrij was the start of it.
On 9/19/1996, Tamura's next big match would be vs. the extraordinary Volk Han from Russia, who is an artist and master at sambo (Russian combat grappling that focuses on positioning and leg holds). Tamura and Han both fought hard, with Tamura being ahead 3-2 meanwhile Volk made Tamura submit with a hammerlock. The bout was one of the all-time best showings of matwork the company had put out, as well as the match being included in the top 3 matches of 1996 for RINGS. That was the first in which the pairing would go on to have a series of classic matches together.
Soon after Tamura went on to have the 1996 RINGS match of the year fighting peer Yoshihisa Yamamoto on 12/21/1996 in the semi-finals of the Mega-Battle tournament. In the final of the 1996 Mega-Battle Tournament on 1/22/1997, he battled Volk Han in a losing effort, the match itself was another of the best in RINGS history.
On March 28th, 1997 Tamura was placed to fight Akira Maeda. This was branded as new generation vs. old generation, that's exactly what it came out as. Much alike to the old UWF style, it was low scoring, with Tamura having the advantage in 1/0, and intense and heated in the ending moments. Following countering previous Maeda rear choke, Tamura in the end got trapped in the rear choke again to submit. Tamura lost another big match, but was not to be shot down so easy. Tamura had now reached his peak and hit his full stride.
Tamura opened his own dojo in 1997, called U-File Camp. He would teach and train several students to go off and find their future in the combat world.
On 9/26/1997 Tamura finally defeated his rival Volk Han in a shoot with submission by armbar, to add to their set of classics.
Tamura progressed on in beating Maeda on 12/23/1997 in the semi-finals of the Mega-Battle tournament, [i]then[/i] moving on to the final where he bested Russian Ilioukhine Mikhail and be crowned "King of RINGS".
After two crucial losses to Valentijn Overeem (shoot, got beat badly) on 4/16/1998, and Bitsadze Tariel (lost King of RINGS title) on 5/29/1998, Tamura came back fighting hard on June 27, 1998 in once again, the building he debuted in, Tokyo Bay NK Hall vs. then, the best Japanese shooter, Tsuyoshi Kosaka. Tamura and Kosaka fought to a 30:00 draw. This hard fought battle had a solid effect of gaining Tamura a pretty good deal of his credibility back to him. Many who have viewed and witnissed the match called it match of the year for 1998.
When Fighting Network RINGS went to shoots in late 1990s (1997 it started, not fully though, got more and more as years went on), Tamura followed with it. He succeeded better than many of his associates.
His record of 9-5-0 in RINGS includes wins over Tsuyoshi Kosaka, Volk Han, Pat Miletech, and Renzo Gracie. Injuries began catching up with him and effecting his shoot career in 2000 though, and couldn't successfully accustom to full MMA rules.
Enters MMA king league, PRIDE FC on 2/24/2002 after a streak of 3 losses and a year off from shooting. Tamura has found mixed success there, losing to Wanderlei Silva, Bob Sapp, and Hidehiko Yoshida. One of the biggest accomplishments of Kiyoshi's career happened on 11/24/2002 in front of a 67,000 sold out Tokyo Dome crowd, a victory over one of his mentors, the legendary Nobuhiko Takada in R2 1:00 by KO in Takada's retirement match. His other win is over Rony Sefo in R1 2:20 on PRIDE's 12/31/2003 show. Two more wins in PRIDE came in 2005, over Aliev Makhmud on 2/20, and Yoshida Dojo trainee Makoto Takimoto on 6/26 in his return to action from a broken hand suffered 3 months earlier.
Has an overall shoot record of 15-8-0.
Opens his own shoot-style promotion named Pro-Wrestling U-STYLE on 2/15/2003 at Tokyo Differ Ariake, selling out with a 1,822 crowd. It is a reincarnation of UWF. Using a very similar scoring system and set of rules, the same theme music, and even using the old UWFI announcer's son for a ring announcer. Tamura ends the debut show in a thrilling, back and forth battle vs. ex-RINGS mid-carder, Wataru Sakata, defeating him in 11:46 with a guillotine choke. Running a tremendous, exciting sucessful showcase of shoot-style. Five years later on the U-STYLE 1st Anniversary show on 2/4/2004 at Korakuen Hall, Tamura faced one of his old famous opponents from RINGS, Tsuyoshi Kosaka. The two fighting it out again, much like back in RINGS, having a brilliant, stiff, heated, realistic shoot-style MOTYC for 2004.
Announced a resumption of U-STYLE in October 2005 after not having run a show since 12/4/2004. The restart being called U-STYLE Axis, and will have bigger and securer financial backing from Dream Stage Entertainment, which also backs MMA-giant PRIDE. Tamura said they'll run two "big" shows per year, and still run at smaller venues. It also includes bigger cards, with more fighters and variation of them, including foreigners and pro-wrestlers.
Kiyoshi Tamura is a consistent, fiery, terrific, confidence filled, unselfish fighter and man. Kiyoshi Tamura can be placed under different roles in combat; the absolute agressor, and the spirit filled, surprising fighter. Kiyoshi Tamura is a strong draw anywhere in the combat world.
Being a shoot-style evolutionist and leading all-time great at his style, top star, top fighter, and now a promoter of his own company with several promising shoot-stylists looking to carry the style on into the future.
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Kiyoshi Tamura & Nobuhiko Takada
(Credit to: SportsNavi for all images.)