Kiyoshi Tamura
Professional wrestling career
Height 180 centimeters (5 ft 11 in.)
Weight 90 kilograms (200 lb.)
Debut May 21, 1989


Kiyoshi Tamura (田村潔司, Tamura Kiyoshi, born December 17, 1969 in Okayama) is a Japanese middleweight professional wrestler and mixed martial artist. Once a student of legendary pro wrestlers Billy Robinson, Nobuhiko Takada and Akira Maeda, Tamura is known for his skill in catch wrestling as well as his ability to deliver exciting professional wrestling bouts. He has competed in some form or another for the following organizations: Universal Wrestling Federation, UWF International, Fighting Network RINGS, K-1, PRIDE, and U-STYLE, his own promotion, often fighting much larger opponents. In mixed martial arts, he holds notable victories over Renzo Gracie, Jeremy Horn, Ikuhisa Minowa, Masakatsu Funaki and Kazushi Sakuraba.

Professional wrestling careerEdit

UWF Newborn (1989-1990)Edit

A former sumo wrestler for the Okayama University of Science High School, Tamura debuted in 1989 in the UWF Newborn in a losing effort against Minoru Suzuki. He soon revealed himself as a promising rookie, but he was forced to put his career in a long hiatus after a match with Akira Maeda on October 25, in which Maeda hit him with a full force knee strike and fractured his orbital bone.[1] Tamura took an entire year to return, and he only had time to work in one event before UWF closed.

UWF International (1991-1996)Edit

After UWF's demise, Tamura followed to its main successor group, UWF International, where he was put under the tutelage of Nobuhiko Takada. Debuting with a victory against Masahito Kakihara, Tamura was spunky and could even demand respect from older veterans, as demonstrated during a bout against Yoji Anjo where Tamura broke a hold, delivered several kicks to Anjo's head and kicked him out of the ring.

In 1992, after making his shootfighting debut before boxer Matthew Saad Muhammad, Tamura was sent to United States to learn catch wrestling under Lou Thesz. He returned with a new, polished grappling style, defeating Kazuo Yamazaki in a match without shin protectors on October 23. Only some months after, on February 14, 1993, Tamura had a high level match with Nobuhiko Takada, after which many pundits (such as Pro Wrestling Illustrated) compared him to Takada himself and considered him as a candidate for the future ace of the company.[1] The next year, Tamura took part in the Best Of The World 1994 Tournament, advancing through the rounds by beating Bad News Allen and Naoki Sano, but being eliminated himself by eventual winner Super Vader at the semi-finals. He also went to lose the match for the second place to main eventer Gary Albright, and never challenged Vader for the title.

Insatisfied with the symbolic return of UWF to gimmicky puroresu with the victory of Vader, and also inspired by the recent success of mixed martial arts promotion Pancrase, Tamura proposed to take a direction towards realistic fighting again. He would fight a shoot fight with Masahito Kakihara on February 18, 1995, winning by rear naked choke in 2:06. Later, he was granted a victorious rematch against Gary Albright, but the match became infamous for Albright's unwillingness to cooperate, which ruined Tamura's win to the point of having him in tears.[1] The same night, Nobuhiko Takada announced his decision to retire from pro wrestling to pursue a politic career, which was met with harsh critics by Tamura. After a new rematch with Albright on August, Tamura addressed the returning Takada and challenged him to a mixed martial arts fight, to no avail.[2]

The same year, UWF International celebrated an interpromotional feud against New Japan Pro Wrestling, but Tamura refused to participate. In December 1995, Kiyoshi offered himself instead to represent UWF-i at the mixed martial arts event K-1 Hercules, and claimed he would retire if he lost his match to Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Patrick Smith in said event. However, he won the fight. Tamura returned to UWF-i to feud with Kazushi Sakuraba, but he concluded in his intention to leave the company, and asked to be released. He had his final match on May 27, where he defeated Sakuraba and, after the bout, took off one of his own shin protectors and threw it to the audience before leaving the arena.

Fighting Network RINGS (1996-2001)Edit

After negotiations with Pancrase, Tamura jumped to Fighting Network RINGS, founded by old mentor Maeda. He was briefly pushed as the top star, being given the first (worked) RINGS heavyweight title, but as RINGS transitioned to real MMA bouts, his star began to flicker, as he struggled to keep pace despite winning bouts.

In 2003 he opened his own promotion, U-STYLE. On November 23, 2005 he had his last match for this promotion, defeating Josh Barnett. He briefly came out of retirement for Antonio Inoki's Inoki Genome Federation, the last time being on November 8, 2007, beating Montanha Silva in the latter's IGF debut.

Personal lifeEdit

On July 7, 2007, Tamura married tarento and pro wrestling host Yumiko Sakurai.

In wrestlingEdit

  • Finishing moves
    • Cross armbreaker[3]
    • Cross kneelock[1]
    • Roundhouse kick [1]
    • Sleeper hold[3]
  • Signature moves
    • German suplex[1]
    • Guillotine choke[1]
    • Jumping high kick[1]
    • Palm strike[1]
    • Single leg Boston crab[1]

Championships and accomplishments Edit

  • Pro Wrestling Illustrated
    • PWI ranked him #98 of the top 500 singles wrestlers of the "PWI Years" in 2003[4]
  • Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
    • Best Technical Wrestler (1998)

Mixed martial arts record Edit

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 32-13-3 Kazushi Sakuraba Decision (unanimous) Fields Dynamite!! 2008 December 31, 2008 2 5:00 Saitama, Japan
Win 31-13-3 Masakatsu Funaki TKO (punches) Dream 2: Middleweight Grand Prix 2008 First Round April 29, 2008 1 0:57 Saitama, Japan
Win 30-13-3 Hideo Tokoro Submission (straight armbar) K-1 Premium 2007 Dynamite!! December 31, 2007 3 3:08 Osaka, Japan
Loss 29-13-3 Taiei Kin Decision (unanimous) Hero's 9 July 16, 2007 2 5:00 Yokohama, Japan
Win 29-12-3 Ikuhisa Minowa KO (soccer kicks) Pride FC - Shockwave 2006 December 31, 2006 1 1:18 Saitama, Japan
Loss 28-12-3 Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira Submission (armbar) Pride 31 - Dreamers February 26, 2006 1 2:24 Saitama, Japan
Win 28-11-3 Makoto Takimoto Decision (unanimous) PRIDE Critical Countdown 2005 June 26, 2005 3 5:00 Saitama, Japan
Win 27-11-3 Aliev Makhmud TKO (retirement) PRIDE 29 February 20, 2005 1 7:09 Saitama, Japan
Win 26-11-3 Rony Sefo Submission (armbar) PRIDE Shockwave 2003 December 31, 2003 1 2:20 Saitama, Japan
Loss 25-11-3 Hidehiko Yoshida Submission (ezekiel choke) PRIDE Total Elimination 2003 August 10, 2003 1 5:06 Saitama, Japan
Win 25-10-3 Nobuhiko Takada KO (punch) PRIDE 23 November 24, 2002 2 1:00 Tokyo, Japan
Win 24-10-3 Ikuhisa Minowa Decision (unanimous) Deep - 6th Impact September 7, 2002 3 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 23-10-3 Bob Sapp TKO (punches) PRIDE 21 June 23, 2002 1 0:11 Saitama, Japan
Loss 23-9-3 Wanderlei Silva KO (punch) PRIDE 19 February 24, 2002 2 2:28 Saitama, Japan For Pride Middleweight Championship
Loss 23-8-3 Gustavo Machado Decision (unanimous) Rings: World Title Series 1 April 20, 2001 2 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 23-7-3 Renato Sobral Decision (majority) Rings: King of Kings 2000 Final February 24, 2001 2 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 23-6-3 Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira Submission (armbar) Rings: King of Kings 2000 Block A October 9, 2000 2 2:29 Tokyo, Japan
Win 23-5-3 Zaza Tkeshelashvili Decision (unanimous) Rings: King of Kings 2000 Block A October 9, 2000 2 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Win 22-5-3 Pat Miletich Decision (majority) Rings: Millennium Combine 3 August 23, 2000 2 5:00 Osaka, Japan
Win 21-5-3 Jeremy Horn Decision (unanimous) C2K - Colosseum 2000 May 26, 2000 2 5:00 Japan
Loss 20-5-3 Gilbert Yvel TKO (strikes) Rings: Millennium Combine 1 April 20, 2000 1 13:13 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 20-4-3 Renato Sobral Decision (majority) Rings: King of Kings 1999 Final February 26, 2000 2 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Win 20-3-3 Renzo Gracie Decision (unanimous) Rings: King of Kings 1999 Final February 26, 2000 2 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Win 19-3-3 Borislav Jeliazkov Submission (rear-naked choke) Rings: King of Kings 1999 Block B December 22, 1999 2 1:17 Osaka, Japan
Win 18-3-3 Dave Menne Decision (unanimous) Rings: King of Kings 1999 Block B December 22, 1999 2 5:00 Osaka, Japan
Win 17-3-3 Joop Kasteel Submission (armbar) Rings: Rise 5th August 19, 1999 2 2:17 Japan
Draw 16-3-3 Yoshihisa Yamamoto Draw Rings: Rise 4th June 24, 1999 3 5:00 Japan
Win 16-3-2 Tariel Bitsadze Submission (rear-naked choke) Rings: Rise 3rd May 22, 1999 1 9:19 Japan
Draw 15-3-2 Frank Shamrock Draw Rings: Rise 2nd April 23, 1999 1 20:00 Japan
Win 15-3-1 Hiromitsu Kanehara Submission (armbar) Rings: Rise 1st March 20, 1999 3 0:14 Japan
Win 14-3-1 Valentijn Overeem Submission (armbar) Rings: Final Capture February 21, 1999 1 6:08 Japan
Win 13-3-1 Kenichi Yamamoto TKO (strikes) Rings: World Mega Battle Tournament December 23, 1998 2 1:26 Japan
Draw 12-3-1 Tsuyoshi Kohsaka Draw Rings: Fourth Fighting Integration June 27, 1998 1 30:00 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 12-3 Tariel Bitsadze TKO (strikes) Rings: Third Fighting Integration May 29, 1998 1 3:39 Tokyo, Japan
Win 12-2 Mikhail Ilyukhin Submission Rings: Battle Dimensions Tournament 1997 Final January 21, 1998
Win 11-2 Akira Maeda N/A Rings: Battle Dimensions Tournament 1997 Final January 21, 1998
Win 10-2 Joop Kasteel KO (strikes) Rings: Battle Dimensions Tournament 1997 Final January 21, 1998
Win 9-2 Hans Nijman Submission (kimura) Rings - Mega Battle Tournament 1997 Semifinal 1 October 25, 1997
Win 8-2 Volk Han Submission (armbar) Rings - Extension Fighting 7 September 26, 1997
Win 7-2 Tsuyoshi Kohsaka Submission (toe hold) Rings - Extension Fighting 2 April 22, 1997
Win 6-2 Andre Mannaart Submission (rear-naked choke) Rings Holland - The Final Challenge February 2, 1997
Loss 5-2 Volk Han N/A Rings - Budokan Hall 1997 January 22, 1997
Loss 5-1 Volk Han N/A Rings - Battle Dimensions Tournament 1996 Final January 1, 1997
Win 5-0 Yoshihisa Yamamoto Submission (neck crank) Rings - Battle Dimensions Tournament 1996 Final January 1, 1997
Win 4-0 Mitsuya Nagai N/A Rings - Battle Dimensions Tournament 1996 Final January 1, 1997
Win 3-0 Mikhail Ilyukhin Submission Rings - Battle Dimensions Tournament 1996 Opening Round October 25, 1996
Win 2-0 Maurice Smith Submission (armbar) Rings - Maelstrom 6 August 24, 1996
Win 1-0 Patrick Smith Submission (heel hook) K-1 Hercules December 9, 1995

Mixed rules Edit

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 1–0 Matthew Saad Muhammad Submission (rear-naked choke) UWF-i Combat Sport Yokohama May 8, 1992 1 0:38 Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Kiyoshi Tamura .
  2. Tatsuhito Kaneko, Nakimushi, Gentosha 2002
  3. 3.0 3.1 Profile at Puroresu Central . Puroresu Central. Retrieved on 2013-12-14.
  4. Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 500 Wrestlers of the PWI Years . Wrestling Information Archive. Retrieved on 2010-09-15.
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