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Dave Walsh

Dave Walsh

Dave Walsh has been covering MMA and Kickboxing since 2007 before changing his focus solely to Kickboxing in 2009, launching what was the only English-language site dedicated to giving Kickboxing similar coverage to what MMA receives. He was the co-founder of HeadKickLegend and now LiverKick. He resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he works as a writer of all trades.

His second novel, Terminus Cycle, is available now via Kindle and Paperback.

Dave (a) LiverKick dot com.

Website URL: http://www.dvewlsh.com

Robin van Roosmalen Returns to MMA In September For FFC26

Saying "former GLORY Lightweight Champion" in regards to Robin van Roosmalen is still going to take some getting used to -- both for us and for him -- but the now-former lightweight champion will be returning to MMA on September 23rd in Austria, once again under the FFC banner at FFC 26.

Van Roosmalen's second professional MMA bout will be the headliner of the show, featuring him against 0-2 Italian fighter Zoltan STurai. The kickboxing portion of the card is headlined by a 77kg title bout between Shkodran Veseli and Eyevan Danenberg. Also on the card is Mladen Brestovac back in action against Damian Garcia and Samo Petje against Leo Zulic. You can find more info at FFC's website. 

Van Roosmalen debuted in MMA at FFC 22 against Theo Michailidis with a R2 TKO.

GLORY Teases Badr vs. Rico With GLORY Collision Promo

Yesterday the news broke that GLORY would be promoted Badr Hari vs. Rico Verhoeven in December, most likely in Germany. GLORY has now officially acknowledged that with promo materials for it, including banners and a hype video. The video simply says "December," while Badr Hari released a version himself via social media that says December 10th.

Chances are the date and venue aren't nailed down just yet, but that December 10th is the most likely date.

Badr Hari vs. Rico Verhoeven Set For December Thanks to GLORY

The fight. 

If you follow kickboxing you know the one fight that everyone has been asking about; GLORY Heavyweight Champion Rico Verhoeven vs. Badr Hari. Badr Hari may not be a regular in the realm of high-level kickboxing right now, but he's the lone holdover of a generation of heavyweights that defined the sport from the heyday of K-1. 

Hari, never a K-1 World Grand Prix Champion -- in part thanks to his volatile temper leading to a DQ loss in 2008 -- was seen as the heir apparent to the heavyweight throne, only for FEG's K-1 to go bankrupt and the international kickboxing scene changed forever. Since then, GLORY has emerged as the world leader in the sport, albeit in a scaled-back form compared to the opulence of FEG's K-1. 

Since then both Hari and Verhoeven have had very different paths. Hari chased paydays from rich sheikhs and warlords where he could find them while Verhoeven competed with the best of the best, transitioning from being a tall, awkward kid to an unstoppable force in heavyweight kickboxing. Outside of the ring Hari has been plagued with legal issues thanks to his temper and for a while it looked like he would never, truly, find a way back to fighting the best. 

Hari has remained a public figure, his every indiscretion stealing international headlines all while being accentuated by a fairly rabid social media following. For Verhoeven, this became the fight to make, the fight that made sense. All of the old heroes had retired; Semmy Schilt, Peter Aerts, Jerome Le Banner, Ernesto Hoost and Remy Bonjasky. 

With wins over Gokhan Saki, Daniel Ghita, Errol Zimmerman and Benjamin Adegbuyi it was all starting to feel a bit "academic" for Verhoeven. He is the best and all of the challengers that are lining up are talented individuals, but what can they bring to the table? 

An issue that arises with a dominant champion is that it's difficult for other stars to flourish. Adegbuyi, in any other generation, would be a huge star, but now he's been defeated twice by Verhoeven, as have Daniel Ghita and Errol Zimmerman, making it lonely at the top for Rico, who has only suffered one errant loss in China to Anderei Gerasimchuk while Rico's wife was in labor and his mind was elsewhere. 

Speculation has run wild for the past few months, smaller promoters have tossed their hat into the ring with very public, very unrealistic offers to host the fight, but there was always going to be one promotion where it would go down; GLORY. GLORY has worked with Verhoeven and Hari's team and now it's official. According to a report from Gareth Davies, the fight is happening in December in Germany. 

As for the stakes? Simply pride.

Hari is not under a longer contract to GLORY, thus no title will be on the line. 

GLORY 33 New Jersey Featuring Rico Verhoeven vs. Anderson Silva

On Friday, September 9th in Trenton, New Jersey GLORY returns to action with GLORY 33. GLORY 33 is set to feature two huge world title bouts, first on the GLORY SuperFight Series Jason Wilnis will get his title shot against champion Simon Marcus in the main event, then on the main card GLORY Heavyweight Champion Rico Verhoeven defends against Anderson "Braddock" Silva.

Silva is coming off of a KO victory at GLORY 32 against Gordon Haupt, while Jason Wilnis is coming off of a win over Joe Schilling. 

The GLORY Women's Bantamweight Tournament continues as well with one of the more interesting bouts of the tournament in Zoila Frausto vs. Daniela Graf. 

Saenchai Training BJJ at Yokkao Gym in Bangkok, Possibly Preparing For MMA

When you've conquered the world of muay thai as thoroughly as Saenchai has, what would be stopping you from branching out more? That's exactly what Saenchai seems to be doing as he approaches his 36th birthday. We recently saw him competing for GLORY under kickboxing rules and now Saenchai is rolling and training BJJ at the Yokkao gym in Bangkok, perhaps preparing for trying his hand at MMA.

Saenchai's name is synonymous with muay thai and his virtuoso-equse skills transcend the sport.

 

IKSA's Cory Schafer Talks Controversial Refereeing, Judging and More

The sport of kickboxing is one that has waxed and waned with the times. Currently the sport is attempting to grow into new markets and find its niche and, accordingly, the rules and regulations that go into making kickboxing events happen have come under fire of late. Much like MMA, which has seen its share of controversy in the past few years, kickboxing has seen its share of controversial decisions and actions by referees that have been uniformly frowned upon by fans, fighters and many others within the sport.

We reached out to ISKA President Cory Schafer, who is in charge of overseeing most of the bigger events that have been happening worldwide, including GLORY events, for his thoughts on these controversies and applications of the rules.

The first thing that comes to mind is just how many controversies there have been of late, which Schafer seems sympathetic towards. “I fiercely defend every fan’s right to question, criticize or complain about the officiating.  That is a privilege that they earn with the ‘price of admission’ or their support of the televised broadcast,” he explained. “I am however realistic about the legitimacy of these questions and/or criticism.  Very few fans are adequately educated on the rules or the judges scoring criteria.  Fans and the media as well fail to realize that there is a world of difference between ‘watching a fight’ and ‘judging a fight.’  They are two completely different cognitive processes.  Of course when the bout result is obvious they will lead to the same result but when the contest is less obvious often they will not.  For the past two years I’ve been part of an event called MEDIA DAY in California where we allow members of the media to attend a judges training seminar and then actually sit next to the real judges during the event and cast (unofficial) ballots.  Interestingly enough at the last media day there was a ‘controversial’ decision.  Everyone on media row had FIGHTER A winning.  All of the judges however had FIGHTER B winning.  Interestingly enough the three media shadow judges who had attended the judges seminar all had FIGHTER B winning as well.  It was a great case study in the difference between ‘watching’ and ‘judging.’”

Schafer’s position is understandable; that he stands behind the rules and regulations that he oversees and that there is a difference between having to professional judge a fight and simply watching as a spectator. But, there has to be more, right? With so many people watching and so many disagreeing, where exactly is the line drawn? Exactly how accountable are referees and judges considering that their jobs are based on split-second decisions based on -- at times -- different rules depending on the event that they are working. 

“The first obligation of an official is to be worthy of the athletes and of the sport,” Schafer said of the officials that ISKA utilize. “ Considering the commitment that the fighters (and the promotion) make to their craft – our officials need to be dedicated and always on-point.  If they can’t handle the stress then they need to take a seat in the audience.  Every official is reviewed and held accountable.  At every event that I attend I hold a post event debrief where each aspect of the officiating (controversial or not) is reviewed.  Every event needs to provide a learning experience so that the officials can advance their skills.  If officials are not ‘getting better’ they are ‘getting worse.’”

When it comes to controversy it’s difficult not to bring up Levin vs. Marcus III, a fight that ended in a disqualification and saw Artem Levin storm out of the ring. There was actually a written agreement in place for this fight considering how volatile they expected it to be.

“The first time a fighter holds the referee will likely caution the fighters without stopping the action.  The second time it occurs in the same round, the referee may do the same or stop the action and issue an official warning. If it occurs again, the fighter will be penalized a point.  Further holding will not require additional cautions or warnings unless there is a great deal of time between infractions.  If two points have been taken away and the fighter continues to foul by holding then at the point when it would be appropriate to penalize the fighter a third time the fighter should be disqualified.   The referee retains full authority to caution, warn, penalize and disqualify according to his perception of the violations.”

“Wichger’s acted consistent with the interpretation above,” Schafer added. He was in agreement that the knockdown when Levin went through the ropes was perhaps up for contention, in part due to the angle caught by the television cameras not being clear enough at the time, although when viewing from an overhead shot a week later they were able to determine that Marcus did connect with a knee that contributed to Levin falling down, thus negating any further controversy. Schafer’s final take on that fight is one in which he held nothing back, either.

“In my final evaluation, Levin’s performance in both bouts against Marcus was nothing less than disgraceful,” he frankly stated. “He intentionally and constantly fouled and fought in a way that he knew was contrary to the spirit and intention of Glory rules.  I personally spent 30 minutes with his team and a Russian interpreter prior to the first bout in order to guarantee that there could be no misunderstanding.  The written document addressing the clinching vs. holding rules was sent to all fight teams in advance, handed out at the rules meeting, read aloud at the group rules meeting and reviewed by the referee at the one-on-one rules meeting.  Levin executed three different fouling techniques in the first 30 seconds of the first round.  He tried to bully his opponent and the referee and when it didn’t work he did what most bullys do – they quit.  In my opinion he should not have been paid because he failed to live up to the terms of his contract.”

As for consistent implementation of the rules, Schafer feels that the ISKA and its officials have been consistent and that the onus lies within the fighter and the trainers to understand and obey the rules. “It’s difficult to answer that question since I don’t really feel like the rules have been implemented inconsistently.  I place the responsibility on the fighters.  Those that fight according to the rules don’t have any issue with the officiating.”

It is an interesting concept, because for less clinch-heavy fighters there really aren’t many problems with officiating. There might be a controversial knockdown or decisions like the two van Roosmalen vs. Sitthichai fights that will always be up for discussion. Are officials getting too involved, though? So many of the fighters compete across MMA, muay thai, kickboxing and boxing that their reflexes may compel them to go to certain things in desperation (like a clinch), at what point is leniency proper or should rules be followed to the letter? 

“I don’t think that leniency is the proper construct.  I think that the referee has the power to caution, warn, penalize and disqualify and they are trained on how to use those tools (along with the pre-fight one on one rules meeting, the group rules meeting and the written documents provided to the fight teams in advance) in order to avoid having the take points away.  But when a fighter breaks the rules to the extent that it is damaging his opponent’s ability to be successful then the referee must take action in order to insure a fair contest.  I don’t see the fact that kickboxing is close to both Muay Thai and MMA as any kind of mitigating factor.  These are professional fight teams who accept a contract to participate in unique sport.  Their professional obligation is to be prepared to fight according to the rules that are provided.”

Modern kickboxing’s roots are from Japan, where K-1 was notorious for handing out the drawn rounds to push for extra rounds, yet that has become less-and-less prevalent in modern kickboxing outside of Japan. When asked if this is something that officials are aware of, or intentionally avoid Schafer was clear. “If you allow officials to score rounds even than the line at which they have to make a decision will continue to degrade.  They will begin using 10-10 too often and only award a round when a fighter dominates.  I know this as a fact from 30 years of experience.  The discussion also is kind of moot since that scoring procedure is determined by the SAC and they are very strict about this.”

As most of us have seen, when a fighter feels robbed or like something went wrong in a fight, they tend to turn to social media in an attempt to garner sympathy towards them. Being frustrating is understandable, but what kind of official channels are in place for fighters who feel wronged by the system? “Fight teams may submit a written protest addressing any misapplication of the rules or evidence of collusion.”

Schafer even went as far as to pen an article explaining the differences in how judges watch fights and how fans watch fights, which you can read here.

VIDEO: Yokkao's Stefania Picelli Talks Thailand, The Yokkao Fight Team And More

Yokkao has been one of the bigger names in muay thai gear for the past few years, their brand extending beyond simply just gloves and shorts to all sorts of apparel, gyms, internationally-renowned fight teams and some of the most exciting full rules muay thai events anywhere in the world. Take a look around Thailand with Stefania Picelli while she talks about the history of the sport, the brand and the shows.

Stefania Picelli discussing YOKKAO, Muay Thai and her Thailand...

YOKKAO: why we do what we do!

Posted by Yokkao Boxing on Sunday, July 10, 2016

Ky Hollenbeck Victorious At Lion Fight 30

Lion Fight returned last night with their own blend of high-octane muay thai action featuring Ky Hollenbeck in the main event against Mark Holst. It was an interesting bout, with Hollenbeck dumped out of the ring at one point, but Hollenbeck in control. In the fourth round a pair of headbutts opened up a nasty set of cuts on Hollenbeck's face, forcing the referee to stop the fight and go to the judge's scorecards, with Hollenbeck taking a technical split decision over Holst. Weird.

Sergio Wielzen retained the Lion Fight Lightweight Championship with a split decision win over Arthur Meyer in what was a very close fight. Wielzen walked away victorious but Meyer put forth an awesome effort. 

Ky Hollenbeck (R4 - Technical Split Decision) Mark Holst 

Lion Fight Lightweight Championship: Sergio Wielzen(C) (R5 - Split Decision) Arthur Meyer 

Eddie Martinez (R5 - Split Decision) Nick Chasteen 

Amine Ballafrikh (R5 - Decision) Joe Logan 

Yeison Berdugo (R3 - KO) Issac Tijerina 

Full Fight Card Announced For GLORY 32

GLORY has released the full fight card for GLORY 32, which will include the GLORY Featherweight title being defended in a rematch between new champion Serhiy Adamchuk and former champion Gabriel Varga. Also on the card is a Light Heavyweight contender tournament featuring the debut of Pavel Zhuravlev, which to longtime kickboxing fans is exciting. The GLORY SuperFight Series sees the Women's Super Bantamweight tournament continue, Anderson "Braddock" Silva looking to climb back up the rankings and Chi Lewis Parry taking on Maurice Greene.

GLORY 32 Virginia

Featherweight Title Headline Bout: Serhiy Adamchuk (c) vs. Gabriel Varga

Light Heavyweight Tournament Final Bout: Winner of Bout A vs. Winner of Bout B

Light Heavyweight Co-Headline Bout: Brian Collette vs. TBA

Light Heavyweight Tournament Bout B: Manny Mancha vs. Zinedine Hameur-Lain

Light Heavyweight Tournament Bout A: Pavel Zhuravlev vs. Ariel Machado

GLORY 32 SuperFight Series

Heavyweight Headline Bout: Chi Lewis-Parry vs. Maurice Greene

Heavyweight Co-Headline Bout: Anderson Silva vs. Gordon Haupt

Super Bantamweight Bout: Funda Alkayis vs. Vanessa De Waele

Welterweight Bout: Francois Ambang vs. Michael Stevens

Featherweight Bout: Giga Chikadze vs. Chris Mauceri

Respect World Series 2 Results: Adegbuyi and Andrei Stoica Victorious

Danny Seth/Respect World Series

Respect World Series returned for their second event, this time taking place in London. The whole cast of fighters that fans have grown to know and love from Romania was there, with fan favorites Andrei Stoica and Benjamin Adegbuyi picking up big wins, while Bogdan Stoica and Sebastian Ciobanu had a bit more complicated of an evening in London. Respect was cool enough to post all of their fights on YouTube, as well.

Respect World Series 2

Benjamin Adegbuyi (R3 - Dec) Colin George 

Antonio Plazibat (R2 - TKO) Bogdan Stoica 

Daniel Sam (R3 - Dec) Vladimir Toktasynov 

Andrei Stoica (R1 - KO) Antonio Souza

Yousri Belgaroui (R1 - KO) Sebastian Ciobanu 

Marian Rusu (R1 - KO) Tomasz Czerwiński 

Arnold Oborotov (R3 - Dec) Gökhan Gedik 

Kazadi Mwamda (R2 - TKO) Anatoli Ciumac 

Ciprian Șchiopu (R2 - TKO) Jamie Bates 

Andrei Leuştean (R2 - KO) Dominik Matusz 

Marius Cimpoieru (R1 - No Contest) Ionuț Răducanu 

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