|3.||Buakaw Por. Pramuk
|6.||Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee
Welcome back to the LiverKick.com rankings. These rankings are an attempt to break down the top 10 fighters in three different weight classes - Heavyweight, for fighters above the 85kg limit, Middleweight, for fighters at the 70-72.5kg limit, and Light Heavyweight, for fighters at the 77-84kg limit. Our rankings are based on in-ring accomplishments and recent wins and loses. We hope they reflect where these fighters currently stand, although we recognize that all rankings are inherently subjective.
We've decided to take a different approach to the rankings, in the past Fraser Coffeen handled them, but as many are aware, Fraser has since had to step down from his responsibilities at LiverKick.com and has since moved on to other ventures. Our Top 10 list a while back moved on to being a top 25 to reflect a uniformity with our then home of SBNation. We've decided to move back to only including the Top 10 and to opt for the inclusion of Light Heavyweight (77kg - 84kg) to reflect the depth of talent in that weight class.
That means there were some very pronounced changes to the 70-72.5kg rankings. Part of the move to adding a 77kg ranking is certain fighters, Nieky Holzken in particular, will be absent from the 70kg rankings, and others will be moving up to reflect the changes. Of course no one will usurp #1 Giorgio Petrosyan, as he has earned his spot as the top Middleweight in the world. He'll have to prove his mettle once again in his third big tournament this year with It's Showtime running a huge 70kg tournament later this year. Petrosyan's next challenge is #10 HINATA. HINATA has been fighting for REBELS in Japan, who has just announced will become a part of It's Showtime Japan, and the first bout to promote the name will be Petro vs. HINATA.
The #2 spot was a lot tougher to choose, as #3 Buakaw Por Pramuk does hold his victory in the 2010 S-Cup, but he also has no major kickboxing bouts on his plate as of right now. He has re-focused on Muay Thai, mainly in the Thai Fight promotion. #2 Andy Souwer has stayed active in the thick of the action, and while there are some head-scratchers of losses on his record, he has solid wins over top competition in 70kg as well as over fighters from the 77kg division. #4 Mike Zambidis has had an incredible career resurgence of late. Last year he made it to the Finals of the K-1 World MAX tournament and has continued in his winning ways this year, including a 4-man tournament recently.
The #5, #6 and #7 spots were a lot more difficult to decide, as Artur Kyshenko, Sudsakorn and Yoshihiro Sato have all had their ups and downs within the division. Kyshenko is clearly the front-runner out of the three fighters, with Sudsakorn making a very calculated and successful approach on the international scene over the past few years. Sato has had a few tough losses, including one to Andy Souwer that keep him in the top 10 but make it a lot easier for him to slip.
#8 Chris Ngimbi will be a part of It's Showtime's upcoming tournament and many are outwardly calling for Ngimbi to fight Giorgio Petrosyan, just to see the It's Showtime 70kg MAX title around the waist of an undisputed champion. Ngimbi has successfully defended his title in an incredible fashion at It's Showtime Lyon with a flying knee KO on Willy Borrel. Many feel that Petrosyan is clearly the top fighter and to have a fighter like Ngimbi holding the title makes little sense, but Ngimbi has the skills, passion and power to make a run at the top, and all will be decided later this year in It's Showtime's tournament.
Both #9 Albert Kraus and #10 HINATA are top level fighters who have had some struggles of late, losing to some lower-ranked competition while holding their own against top competition. Both men are far from done and continue to prove in every fight that the 70kg division is a deep division with a lot of talent. HINATA challenges Petrosyan over the summer. Kraus should, without a doubt be a lot higher in the rankings, as his only losses over the past two years come by the way of Giorgio Petrosyan for top competition, then comes the head scratcher. His loss to Bhatu Khasikov hurts him immensely. Bhatu is still young and a relative unknown, plus the judging in the fight seemed less-than-fair. Regardless, it is a mark of shame on Kraus's record for the time being, which can be avenged with wins over some top 5 competition.