The 12th day of Young Lion Cup action comes from Tottori, with critical matches for leading players Shota Umino and Karl Fredericks.
Shota Umino (4-1) vs Yota Tsuji (1-4)
Yota Tsuji’s Young Lion Cup has seen him make great strides in each of his matches, but he hasn’t been able to turn impressive offense into results. Tsuji has added some lucha libre influences to his rope work, and a mighty Giant Swing to his arsenal, but still sits at two points. Here at the penultimate point of his campaign, Tsuji has an opportunity to take down the perceived leader of the New Japan Dojo, and if he can, would turn himself into an effective spoiler.
Umino recovered from a first match loss to Clark Connors to come back to eight points, and holds an important tie breaker over Ren Narita, who sits at the top of the table with 10 points. That means he can afford a loss, but that a win over Tsuji puts him in the driver’s seat, entirely in control of his own destiny on September 22 in Kobe.
Karl Fredericks (4-1) vs Michael Richards (1-4)
Michael Richards started strong with a win over Yota Tsuji in the cup, but has fizzled since, solid fundamentals at times knocking more established Young Lions off kilter but a lack of experience showing itself in the points tallies. It would be easy then for Fredericks to look past his Fale Dojo opponent to Umino in Kobe World Hall, but to do so would be a huge mistake; Fredericks can ill afford a loss in the knowledge that he was beaten by Ren Narita in his first tournament match, and that could make all the difference if there’s a tie at the top when all is said and done.