Sengoku to Stage Bantamweight Tournament This Summer

World Victory Road representative T.Mukai at today's press conference. Photo by GBRing.

Sengoku Raiden Championship today announced plans for a summer-long "Bantamweight Asia Tournament 2010," a project aimed at unearthing quality 135-pound prospects from Japan and neighboring nations.

While no participants have been revealed -- in fact, SRC just began soliciting applicants on its official Web site today -- the tournament will kick off on July 4th at Tokyo's Differ Ariake Arena, a decidedly smaller venue (cap. 1,250) than the usual Ryogoku Kokugikan (cap. 13,000).

Sherdog's Tony Loiseleur has details:

Participation criteria include being under 35 years of age, having at least five professional mixed martial arts fights with a better than .500 overall record, being a legal resident of an Asian state for more than 10 years and the recommendation of the gym or promotion to which the applicant belongs.

The exact number of tournament participants has not been determined but may feature a qualification bracket in order to progress to a seeded 16-fighter tournament. Fighters will earn 100,000 yen, or approximately $1,070 per bout, while the winner of the main tournament will receive an additional three million yen, or a little more than $32,000, and likely participation at future SRC shows.

Parent company World Victory Road also announced that SRC will adopt "unified" weight classes, beginning with SRC 13 on June 20th:

Since its inception two years ago, SRC’s weight classes have been near the weights of the Unified Rules but used metric standards, meaning that each weight class deviated slightly from its North American counterpart. Instead of weight classes at 132, 143, 154, 168 and 183 pounds, the promotion will now use 135, 145, 155, 170 and 185 pounds as standards, in addition to the 205-pound and heavyweight divisions.

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