LiverKick

Switch to desktop Register Login

Time to Give Back: Help UK Fighter Kevin Harper Out

  • Published in Kickboxing
Harper and Vinny
Kevin Harper (top right) with Vinny Shoreman

So the whole Kickboxing and Muay Thai community around the world is a bit fractured and strange sometimes, but there are always good reasons to come together and bond and right now seems like one of those moments. I was talking earlier with a guy that most of you know pretty well, Vinny Shoreman, formerly the color commentator on It's Showtime and has also done work with K-1, Yokkao, LEGEND, Enfusion and more. Vinny is a guy that has been around the UK Kickboxing and Muay Thai scene and become an important figure and he's looking to do something good for the community, something which I completely support.

You might know the name of Kevin Harper, you might not, it depends on how much you've paid attention to the Kickboxing and Muay Thai scene out there. Harper has been doing some tremendous work over in the UK as a fighter, trainer and promoter, but things haven't been smooth sailing for Harper. Harper and his son, Oliver, have just gone through what has to be one of the worst nightmares imaginable, as Kevin's wife has lost her long battle to cancer. This leaves Kevin in an awful spot and Oliver without a mother, something that no child should have to endure.

Kevin is going through a lot right now and the next few years are not going to be an easier for him, so it's time for the community to give back. It doesn't matter where you are from, which style of fighting you prefer or who your favorite fighter is in this case, this is just someone from our community who is going through one of the most difficult times in his life. Vinny is going to be taking collections to help Kevin out, maybe even send him and his son on a vacation to try to get their minds off of this. So please consider giving back, even if it is just a little bit. You can reach Vinny at; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Tyrone Spong has already offered up his gloves from his upcoming bout with Nathan Corbett to the highest bidder, with the proceeds going to Kevin.

Thanks.

Read more...

Abraham Roqueni Parts Ways with Street Culture, Pulls Out From K-1 MAX Final 16

  • Published in K-1

Roqueni

You can't have a week without having some drama, and some drama we do have, as upcoming K-1 World MAX Final 16 participant Abraham Roqueni has publicly made a statement declaring that he's ending his relationship with his manager, Javier Rolo of Street Culture. If Street Culture sounds familiar to you it is because Street Culture worked as the local promoter in Spain for past It's Showtime events and is doing the same duty for the upcoming K-1 World MAX Final 16 in Mallorca. For promoter Javier Rolo this is not his only pressing issue, though, as there have been some issues with recent Enfusion Live events which he helped to promote.

Roqueni has severed his relationship with Rolo and Street Culture, which in turn has forced him to pull out of the K-1 World MAX Final 16. Before the lynch mob comes out, it's hard to see this as a reflection of K-1, really, and instead is an issue with their promotional partner. Some might be surprised at K-1 using a local partner, but it is pretty standard procedure for organizations, as even GLORY uses local promoters (Topuz in Turkey, DiBlasi in Italy, Neglia in New York, etc.). This is a loss for K-1, as Roqueni does have a solid name from his win over Andy Souwer back in 2011, but not a huge loss by any stretch of the imagination.

Read more...

Kickboxing and the Curious Case of Eternal Fatalism

  • Published in News

We are, as they say, at a bit of an impasse in the sport of kickboxing right now. It’s difficult to avoid, difficult to make eye contact with and not look away. We’ve been at this place before, though, which is why it feels so awful this time around. Back in 2010 it looked like the sport of kickboxing was heading for imminent doom and destruction. FEG was a sinking ship and they were taking on water -- fast -- faster than they ever wanted to publicly admit. 

Things were looking bleak for the sport of kickboxing at that time, but there was still hope. There were still people who were passionate about the sport, who wanted to do everything that they could for it. You had Simon Rutz and Bas Boon at each other’s throats, but both men were passionate and willing to do what it took to keep the sport afloat. You had Romanian promoter Eduard Irimia ready to expand beyond Romania. You had men with vision. Followed by the men with money to go with that passion.

As I stated before, we are at an impasse at the moment. The Japanese fight market has shrunk, shrunk to the point of almost being dead, but not quite. It doesn’t exist like it did what feels like a lifetime ago. What exists now is a facsimile of the grandeur that we knew before. Simulacra, a copy of a copy of a copy with adjustments made for degradation. Europe and America were always the wild west for kickboxing; that was clearly where the money was, but would it be able to reach the great heights that were achieved in Japan and Asia? 

Enter GLORY. GLORY took a gamble, filtering millions of dollars into the sport that was on its knees after losing its king. Without a doubt the K-1 name held the prestige, it had done things that no one thought possible with the fringe sport of kickboxing. The rise of K-1 meant making the rest of the sport of kickboxing look silly in the process. The end result is that kickboxing rules aren’t kickboxing rules anymore, they are K-1 Rules. The name K-1 is intrinsically linked with the sport of kickboxing even to this day, for good or for bad. 

So GLORY was set to fill the hole that was left by FEG’s bankruptcy with big promises, fireworks and a roster of capable production crew and the best fighters in the world. Sights were set on America, on taking on the leviathan market where the UFC rose from obscurity into a sport appearing regularly on Fox programming and had weaseled its way into becoming a household name. This was kickboxing’s white whale and, for a while, things were looking good.

Spike TV was hungry for the next big combat sport after they lost the UFC to Fox Sports, scooping up Bellator and then K-1. K-1 withdrew their name from the hat to restructure, leaving Spike TV ready to accept GLORY into the fold. Kickboxing had finally made it, it was on cable television in the United States. The first show happened and the ratings were in. They weren’t great, but they weren’t bad, either. There was promise. 

Since then there have been the good times and the bad times, but what became increasingly clear was that there was no competition for GLORY anywhere out there. GLORY was doing things right, it was paying the fighters what they deserved to be paid, treating them with respect and doing everything right. Growing pains are real, though, especially when the anticipated growth doesn’t live up to the reality. Kickboxing was, for all intents and purposes, a new sport to many fans out there. It was a part of the whole that is Mixed Martial Arts, thus, it was fringe. There has been growth, but the growth is slow, it is costly and it is frustrating. 

GLORY’s last event was GLORY 17/Last Man Standing on June 21st, which, as of the time that I write this, was two months ago. Since then there have been rumors, whispers and public decrees from fans; GLORY is dead. If you read forums or comment sections on websites you’ll hear all about it, you’ll hear that so-and-so’s trainer said that the company is bankrupt, you’ll hear that shows have been canceled, that members of the board are ready to depart, that payments have been filtering in late. For the kickboxing faithful these are all triggers, things that will bring back that long-forgotten PTSD that came with the dissolution of FEG’s K-1 back in 2010 and 2011.

Then there are those that like to watch the world burn, who are calling for the end. These are the fatalists. We’ve had private assurances from many within GLORY that right now is simply a time of restructuring, of regrouping, of changing strategies. Yesterday’s announcement of a new CEO was the first step. But, let’s give in to hysteria, to fatalism. Let’s say that GLORY has a few shows left and then, just as quickly as they emerged, they disappear into the ether of kickboxing history.

Who is there to pick up the pieces this time? Where are the Bas Boons looking to find anyone, to compromise his own visions and brands, to make things work? Where are the Simon Rutz’s running the #2 promotion and ready to take on the financial burden of being the de facto #1? Where are the Pierre Andurands, Ivan Farnetis, Scott Rudmanns and others who are willing to take a risk with their own personal money to invest in the sport? Where are your GLORY replacements where these now out-of-the-job fighters have to find work with?

The market right now is a mess. In a way, you can blame GLORY for the mess. GLORY was looking to be the alpha and omega in kickboxing, which meant exclusive contracts, which meant paying what others couldn’t pay, treating fighters unlike they were used to be treated. So you’ll tell me LEGEND Fight Show, the same promotion that put on three events thus far, only one in 2014 with nothing scheduled yet. So you’ll tell me GFC, the guys that are paying Badr Hari a mint to compete for them, because you were able to watch that last show from your couch, right? Because outside of Badr Hari they are stacking cards with expensive talent, right?

So you’ll say Enfusion, K-1 or SuperKombat. I’ll say that all three are great promotions in their own right, each one growing in their own way, with their own unique business plans and markets. How many of them see a broad market as their audience right now? K-1 is focused on Asia, Enfusion is focused on the UK and SuperKombat is focused on Romania. You might say that if GLORY simply disappears like Criss Angel in a stunt that they’ll be able to bolster their rosters with big names, but where does that money come from? The end of It’s Showtime came from overreaching and hiring top talents. 

Right now nobody has what FEG’s K-1 had in a television partner that was willing to sink millions of their own money into each event and, realistically, we might never see that again. GLORY doesn’t even have that right now. Instead, GLORY has a good deal with Spike TV, but one that bears little fruit for either side right now and might take years to build up properly, to build an audience and really start making money. 

The rise of GLORY was both beneficial and detrimental to the sport of kickboxing. If GLORY ceases to be, then the sport of kickboxing is set back even further than when FEG’s K-1 ceased to be. If you consider yourself a fan of kickboxing then at this moment the sport will require something of you. The sport will require your faith. If GLORY says that they aren’t done yet, then, well, they aren’t done yet. In the meantime we can only hope that Enfusion, K-1, SuperKombat and others continue to grow and find themselves in better positions to provide stability for both fans and fighters alike.

For now, let's save our eulogies and instead focus on the sport that we all love. 

Read more...

The Wonderful World of Kickboxing

  • Published in News

650

As those of us who’ve been around for a while might say, when it comes to the sport of kickboxing, no news is typically bad news. We’ve been hearing a lot of rumors about Glory in the past few months--from murky accounts of an organization on dire straits to assurances by some of our professional kickboxing journalist pals that they have the exclusive scoop on BIG NEWS which has simply been embargoed by Glory for the time being. The fact remains that we haven’t heard anything substantive from Glory since July. There was talk of more SpikeTV content and of an event to be held at the end of October--we’re still waiting for any of these things to materialize. This behavior is worrisome for those of us who followed the scene as recently as 2012, when K-1 made promise after promise of a big comeback that ultimately never took place. It would be sad to see Glory succumb to the same fate as its ambitious predecessors, with K-1 and It’s Showtime telling the tale of how unforgiving the fight business can be.

Kickboxing in particular is a very strange industry, one that appears very active at a glance but which tells a far more sobering story beneath the surface. If we judged the scene solely on the number of events held annually, we might think that things look pretty good, with organizations like LEGEND, Global FC, Top King, A-1, and SuperKombat making news on sites like this one with fight cards featuring big name talent. While the accessibility of this content is highly variable, from robust TV broadcasts to mislabeled camera phone footage posted on YouTube, there are nevertheless fights happening all over the world and subsequently news and results which we can report to you.

But the difference between offering you a survey of sundry action from around the globe and a developing narrative that you can follow and become engrossed in is the difference between Kickboxing as a mere curiosity and as a sport in its own right. There are plenty of Kickboxing and Muay Thai videos that show up on MMA sites, but as much as their readers might appreciate them, they will never get the same first person experience of being there when iconic and spectacular moments unfold--memories of being glued to your TV when Andy Hug landed that spinning back kick or when Joe Schilling knocked Simon Marcus out cold. These moments were real, and they made us believe in this sport and dream about the possibilities. Call it a pet peeve, but I find it a little heartbreaking when brilliant retrospectives of great kickboxing moments wind up on MMA sites under “look at what this might teach us about MMA technique!” headings.

No one in particular is to blame for how things have turned out for kickboxing. Ultimately the success of any venture depends on the convergence of talent, a solid product, proper promotion, and a receptive market at an opportune moment in time. Kickboxing had various combinations of these things at different points in time, but the times and circumstances changed. The downfall of K-1 had as much to do with its management as it did with evolving trends in the Japanese entertainment market. Many factors came into play, but unfortunately, things ended for K-1 in an ugly way, leaving fighters with substantial outstanding earnings which they may never be able to fully collect. However, let us not kid ourselves about what it takes to build a real professional sport league. We’ve seen plenty of flamboyant millionaire playboys from around the world blow their money to party with celebrities and to book their favorite kickboxers for an evening of entertainment. Some of these mysterious rich dudes will even slap a label on their “organization” and take lots of photos with kickboxing bigwigs to make things look legit, but we all know that trying to produce a sustainable sports entertainment venue for the masses takes a lot more vision and tenacity than that. No matter how flashy their shows get, the playboys are not going to save Kickboxing, and neither will the small promotions like Top King (although we’ll give it a chance, just like we always do--that’s the story of Kickboxing, right?) that seem to come and go every year.

We really hope that Glory will actually make it. It seems like the formula’s been there--Glory had enough money, the right talent, the right TV deal, and an ostensible understanding of the business startup process (God knows there are enough smart-sounding former hedge fund/venture capital people on board--how many of them does it take to screw in a light bulb?). Where do things stand now? We really don’t know. We do know that there have been no shows in three months, and if it is indeed true that Glory is coming to Oklahoma on November 7, then that will make four months since its last show. We really hope that the lights will stay on at Glory because as kickboxing fans, we’ve looked forward for a long time to not living in the dark of the sports world. 

 

Read more...

Enfusion Reality Season Five Trailer

  • Published in Kickboxing

Enfusion have branded themselves as one of the better European Kickboxing leagues in the past few years not only with their Enfusion Live series of Kickboxing events but their Enfusion Reality series. Enfusion Reality has been running for a few years now and this time around for Enfusion Reality Season Five, they'll be focusing on the women. Thus Enfusion Reality Season Five has been dubbed "Victory of the Vixen."

So check out the new trailer for Enfusion Reality Season Five and be happy that you'll be able to watch it on EnfusionLive.com when it airs across the world. 

Read more...

Iman Barlow on Enfusion Win, Her Start in Martial Arts and More

  • Published in Interviews

Iman Barlow is somewhat of a phenom in Women’s Muay Thai. The 21-year old from Melton Mowbray, UK, defended her 54kg Women’s Enfusion world title this past weekend with a decisive victory over challenger Iman Ghablou.

JS: So first off Miss Barlow, congratulations on another dominant victory this past weekend, how did you evaluate your own performance and what was your game plan coming into the bout?

IB: The fight went well, I thought I won every round convincingly. After the first round I felt in control and from there I just enjoyed the fight and was sampling different techniques. We (My Dad and I) knew Iman Ghablou was a good boxer so our plan was to utilize the teep a lot but apart from that was just to go out there and bring my title back home to England.

JS: It's interesting that you mention your usage of the teep as that was something I was going to ask you about. The vast majority of strikers look to utilize the teep to the body, in this bout you looked to throw it regularly to the chin of Ghablou. Is this a technique you specifically drilled for this opponent or is it a move we can expect to see from you more often?

IB: Yes, I looked to throw it but then I saw she was open a lot for straight shots, like down the middle with teeps and straight punches. I saw the gaps and went for them but also I heard my Dad in my corner and he had also seen the gaps.

JS: It was a fairly one-sided affair and was your seventh appearance with the Enfusion promotion. Are there any current fighters on the Enfusion roster or outside the organization, which you would like to fight next? 

IB: Haha it was actually my 8th bout! Not really I am happy where I am at the moment, Enfusion have given me the opportunity of a lifetime to travel around the world doing what I love. I don't really like to call fighters out but all I will say is that I will fight the best to become the best slowly but surely. -54kg is dangerous division with me in for many years to come.

JS: You've already travelled to various different locations throughout your career, are there any other countries you wish to compete in?

IB: Yes I've seen some amazing places and the best thing about the whole experience is the people you meet along the way, I have friends from this sport all around the world it's amazing! Of course I've always said I'd love to fight in America that's my number one choice. Australia would also be pretty cool. 

JS: I've read previously online that you were introduced to martial arts at the age of 2! Could you give us a brief insight on your introduction and the martial arts you have trained?

IB: Yes my Dad Mark Barlow and my Mum Maxine Adams run Assassins Muay Thai gym so when I was little I used to go and sit down while they used to teach and I started to join in when I was around 2 and a half. I used to hit the bag and the fighters used to mess around with me and take me on the pads. I had my first fight when I was 4. I've always been into Muay Thai and it's all I have ever known, I’ve struggled to get fights sometimes when I was younger so I have done a few kickboxing and K-1 rules fights to keep busy. 

JS: Have you ever trained in other disciplines or would consider making the switch over to MMA?

IB: I've trained in Boxing before and a little bit of Judo. Apart from that I once had a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lesson with a friend but I don't think it's for me I much prefer to be a stand up fighter. I can't see myself going into MMA but I'd never rule it out. 

JS: Last but not least, your hometown of Melton Mowbray is renowned for it’s pork pies and Stilton cheese. Now your fight is out the way, will you be indulging in either or do you have another post-fight snack of preference?

IB: Haha it sure is. They’re definitely not on my list of favorites to indulge in; my problem is that I love food of all kinds. I love pad thai and also a good Nandos after a fight makes me happy, I also drink a lot of tea so it's nice to drink that after a fight also. I'm not indulging too much as my next fight will be on Enfusion’s reality show victory The Vixen in September and to win you have to have four fights in the space of about 5 days so I'll have a few days off and get back into training for that; sixteen women and only one winner. It's going be one of the hardest things I’ll go through but that will make it even more rewarding when I win.

JS: Best of luck with your fights in September and thank you very much for your time Iman, is there anything else you wish to say, anyone to thank?

JB: Yes, I'd like to first thank my family for always being a great support system and for helping me follow my dreams, all of Enfusion family, Vinny Shoreman and my sponsors Gold standard nutrition, Fairtex UK, Booost oxygen, Dirty 3rd Clothing and thank you to everyone for their continued support and messages, they always means a lot.

Read more...

Promotors and Promotions to Watch: Vinnie McWilliams

  • Published in Kickboxing

ESU

Hello all, in my continued attempts to get the sport of Muay Thai and kickboxing to the masses, I decided to do a segment called promoters and promotions to watch. My goal; to introduce the kickboxing public to new talent and ways to watch them, to encourage fighters, managers, and gyms to contact the promoter in hopes of creating opportunities for their athletes to compete, and finally, I hope to introduce the back bone to the sport, which is the local shows. Long before Giorgio Petrosyan, Jordan Watson, Andy Ristie, and Gohkan Saki were watched on Glory and K-1 cards, there were local promoters that gave them the opportunity to develop there skill set. I hope to tell people about such promoters and give them a forum to get their product out. First up, Vinnie McWilliams of the UK .

Read more...

Trailer for Enfusion Season 2

  • Published in Kickboxing

If you are one of the lucky few to get Fight Now! TV in the US, you will be treated to being able to watch the second season of Enfusion. This season focuses on the 95MAX division as they train at Super Pro Samui bootcamp in Thailand with weekly fights that see one fighter eliminated. Looks like it'll be airing Tuesdays at 8pm Eastern time, so if you get it, watch it!

Read more...

Weekend Results: Enfusion Live May 25th

  • Published in Europe

(C) Ben Pontier

Enfusion Live continued forth with their 2014 season by promoting yet another event in the Netherlands this past weekend. This one emanated from Amsterdam and, well, you'd know it from the fact that one of the sponsors on the mat was for a whore house in the red light district. It's no wonder Amsterdam has such a weird international reputation with Kickboxing. Anyway, here are the results from the event as well as highlights!

Aziz Kallah (R3 - Dec.) hicham Boubkai
Anke Van Gestel (R3 - Dec.) Lindsay Scheer
Marcello Adriaansz (R1 - TKO) Gurghan Degirmenci
Walid Hamid (R3 - Dec.) Mohammed Jaraya
Othman Allach (R1 - KO) Kevin Hessling
Hamza Essalih (R3 - Dec.) Maik redan
Khalid Chabrani (R1 - KO) Omar Hanafy

Read more...
Subscribe to this RSS feed

Copyright 2010 - 2014 LiverKick.com. All Rights Reserved.

Top Desktop version