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It's Showtime 60 in Japan is Off, For Now

IS Japan

Chalk this one up to an unfortunate circumstance of the GLORY buyout of It's Showtime, as there are still a few It's Showtime events scheduled for this year and it looks like the first victim will be the It's Showtime event in Yokohama. To understand what kind of a blow this is, It's Showtime has been working with local promoters in Japan for well over a year now promoting "Countdown to It's Showtime" events, which were all supposed to lead to It's Showtime's big Japan debut. This was to take place in September, but it looks like it might not happen in September, or even at all. Statement from Simon Rutz and It's Showtime Japan's President Fujiawara below.

"As a result of the acquisition of IT'S SHOWTIME by GLORY Sports International and all necessary internal adjustments associated with this acquisition, we’ve both, GLORY Sports International and Showtime Japan concluded that the necessary period for the preparation is too short to ensure the desired quality for our show, which was scheduled for September 17, 2012, in the Pacifico National Convention Hall in Yokohama, Japan.

For this reason we decided to postpone this event until further notice.

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LiverKick Best of 2013: Fight of the Year

  • Published in News

Photo (C) GLORY

The year 2013 was a tremendous year for the sport of Kickboxing as we saw GLORY take aim at America as one of its home bases and really made some strides that I honestly thought we’d never see for the sport here. GLORY not only ran shows, but they ran a bunch of shows and those shows were attended by a good number of paying customers. Then, to top it off, GLORY moved from CBS Sports Network and internet PPVs to Spike TV, picking up steam and viewers with every show. That was a big deal.

GLORY wasn’t the only organization to make moves, either, as we saw another season of the SuperKombat World Grand Prix, the birth of LEGEND in Russia and K-1 starting to get the gears in motion by running both a Heavyweight World Grand Prix and a World MAX tournament within the same year. But which company did what doesn’t really matter, what matters are the fights and the fighters.

Throughout the coming week we’ll be looking at the best of 2013 throughout multiple categories, with yesterday being the Fighter of the Year and today instead turning to the fights themselves. There were a lot of great fights this year, but only one of them could be the Fight of the Year. Surprisingly enough, the Fight of the Year happened near the tail-end of 2013 in the GLORY 13 Welterweight tournament.

LiverKick 2013 Fight of the Year: Nieky Holzken vs. Joe Valtellini

This was a fight that had everything going for it. Throughout the year there were a lot of upsets in the major GLORY tournaments and fans didn’t always get what they wanted to see, but going into GLORY 13 the fans wanted to see Nieky Holzken square off against Canadian fighter Joe Valtellini and they got just that. Valtellini moved on to the finals after a beautiful headkick KO on Raymond Daniels while Holzken picked up a decision over Karapet Karapetyan, leading into what was the fight that the fans wanted to see.

This was a fight that had it all; drama, technique, momentum shifts and even ended with a knockout. If you are a Kickboxing fan this is the kind of fight that gets you excited and makes you want to share it with non-Kickboxing fan friends in an attempt to turn them. In this fight Valtellini showed any of the remaining doubters that he belongs in the top of the Welterweight division and can not only hang with the likes of Nieky Holzken, but get within a breath of taking Holzken out. Without a doubt a possible rematch is something to look out for in the future.

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GLORY 17 Los Angeles Featuring PPV Tournament

  • Published in Glory

Glory 17

When it comes to GLORY events, semantics are vital. Numbered GLORY events have been airing on Spike TV and television around the world while the undercards are the GLORY SuperFight Series. When it comes to GLORY 17 Los Angeles things are going to be a little bit different. GLORY 17 Los Angeles will air on Spike TV, like usual, but this time around that will not be the main attraction. Oh no.

The main attraction?

The GLORY Last Man Standing Middleweight tournament on PPV. We told you that GLORY PPV was coming and here it is. This will be an 8-man tournament, which GLORY has announced six of the names thus far. Those names are as follows; Joe Schilling, Simon Marcus, Alex Pereira, Bogdan Stoica, Melvin Manhoef and Wayne Barrett. The big surprise is the inclusion of Simon Marcus, who has a long history with GLORY 10 Middleweight tournament winner Joe Schilling. The new names are Bogdan Stoica, brother of Andrei Stoica and Melvin Manhoef. We all know Melvin.

This is a huge deal, obviously, we'll have more information when it becomes available.

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Joe Schilling Talks Once Again Chasing Artem Levin for Rubber Match and GLORY 24

  • Published in Interviews

(C) Glory Sports International/James Law

Few names have become as synonymous with the American kickboxing movement within GLORY over the past few years like Joe Schilling. Schilling was originally a standout muay thai fighter who made a name for himself taking on all comers within his division and rising among the ranks until it was time to fight the top dogs in the world. There may have been some bumps, bruises and cuts along the way, but when it comes to Joe Schilling the word “pretty” isn’t often in the vocabulary. With a nickname like “Stitch ‘em Up” due to his proclivity for throwing lacerating elbows one can quickly understand why Joe Schilling rose up from being a cult favorite to one of GLORY’s American poster boys. 

This Friday evening at GLORY 24 he returns to the GLORY ring to face top middleweight Jason Wilnis. Originally Schilling was going to get his chance at a rubber match with career-adversary Artem Levin and his GLORY Middleweight championship, but an injury forced Levin off of the card and left Schilling with a tough, young and hungry Jason Wilnis looking to make a name off of one of the men who earned his spot on the Mount Rushmore of the division. For Schilling there is a lot riding on this fight outside of just another kickboxing fight, this is his first kickboxing fight since two back-to-back losses in Bellator, the latter being via knockout.

“You know, people have been talking a lot of shit, saying a lot of things, but really, I’m a multi-sport athlete,” he explained to us. “How many fighters can say that? I got caught in MMA, it happens, but now I have to show the world what I can and always have done in the ring and too bad for Wilnis, it’s going to be against him. I’m in demand right now, like they wanted me for the Dynamite show but the medical suspension got in the way of that happening.”

For a time the fight with Artem Levin was Schilling’s white whale, the one fight that eluded him. Scheduled and rescheduled a number of times in their respective pre-GLORY careers, their clash finally happened at GLORY 10 in the middleweight tournament that saw Schilling pull off the victory in an extension round of the finals. Once again Schilling finds himself frustrated with Levin pulling out of a fight with him. “I feel like I’m chasing him all over again. GLORY called me up and said they wanted me to fight Levin in Denver and, you know, this was the fight that I was asking them for, so I took it. Then a few weeks later they call and tell me that Levin was out and Wilnis is in and I was really pissed off.”

Schilling doesn’t seem certain that he’ll get that third fight with Levin any time soon, that he’ll be able to settle the score and have one man walk out victorious in their series, but he seems dead set on moving forward. As for where that future will be for Schilling, it seems to be on Spike TV for now. “I signed a new deal with Bellator, for MMA and kickboxing on Dynamite shows. I know not everyone loved that show, but it was incredible, a lot of vision went into that. There are going to be more and I’m gonna be fighting on them, be it kickboxing or MMA.”

The future within the GLORY ring seems to be less certain for Schilling, though, although he does seem open to more fights in the future. “Kickboxing is always my preference and if the offer is there and it’s the right offer I’ll take it without a second thought. The fights that I want are in GLORY right now.”

There has been a lot of talk about the future of kickboxing in America as well as GLORY’s future, which Schilling of course has had on his mind of late. His thoughts on the matter diverge from the common line of thought, though. “I never buy this line of bullshit about how you need an American champion to make it big here in the US. GLORY has been diluting their product in the name of finding this big American star and it has meant putting on weaker cards not featuring the top talents in the world. Put on big fights between the best fighters and the fans will react to that, who cares if they speak english or if they don’t? What matters is what happens in the ring, not the post-fight interviews.”

Schilling himself is of course one for leaving it all in the ring, with some of the most exciting fights in GLORY’s history under his belt, including the two dramatic fights with Artem Levin that have helped to define GLORY’s middleweight division. That doesn’t mean that he’s overlooking Wilnis on Friday at all, though. “Wilnis is a tough guy, he’s hungry and a win over me would mean a lot for his career. In no way am I overlooking Wilnis, though, I think that I’m on a mission here to prove those doubters wrong. That’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

Joe Schilling makes his return to GLORY on Friday at GLORY 24 against Jason Wilnis live on Spike TV in the main event.

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GLORY Appoints New CEO, Next Show in October

  • Published in Glory

Things have been quiet on the GLORY front, which to many has been a bad sign, but we've been hearing reports from within the company about "big things" happening, including some shifts. The first of those shifts was announced today when GLORY unveiled that Jon J. Franklin has been appointed as the new CEO for the organization, replacing Andrew Whitaker. Whitaker will remain with the organization in an advisory role, working mostly with the television aspect of the brand.

Jon J. Franklin, based out of Denver, has been working with GLORY for a while now with his company, The Sports Entertainment Company. Franklin has also served in senior roles for IMG-Media, was President of Golden Gloves Boxing and worked with AP-X. His extensive history within the realm of boxing can only help GLORY further at this point. 

Some might be concerned over the change at this point, especially after a period of relative silence, but this is actually a good thing. This shows that GLORY is thinking to the future and that they are looking to revise their direction for the future. As someone who worked previously within the world of corporate PR and IR, CEO changes are a very common occurrence in many organizations, with the idea being to keep fresh ideas and direction for organizations. 

Also, according to an interview given to MMAMania, Franklin stated that they would be returning in October, which aligns with a statement we received from within GLORY about a month ago.

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A Look at the Field For Glory 9's Light Heavyweight Tournament

  • Published in News

Glory 9

GLORY 9 takes place at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City this Saturday, June 22nd. Among the night’s major attractions will be an 8-man light heavyweight (209 lb./95 kg.) tournament, featuring much of the world’s top talent at that weight. The tournament field includes longtime divisional standouts, champions of all varieties, and a couple of American kickboxers with the chance to prove themselves on the international stage. Here is just a bit more information about each of the fighters in the field.

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Glory World Series Press Conference and Weigh-Ins Video

  • Published in Kickboxing

If for some reason you were like me, that means that you were sleeping a few hours ago when the Glory World Series live presser went down. That is kind of a bummer, as it was live on YouTube for the whole world to watch, in English, and hosted by none other than Mauro Ranallo. Lucky for us who enjoy sleeping, the internet is a marvelous thing and it was archived. This means you can watch it at your leisure as you get hyped up for what is one of the biggest kickboxing weekends in a very long time.

What is important when watching this video is to note just how far Glory has come. This press conference was uber professional and exactly what you'd expect from a worldwide combat sports brand working its way to the top.

Don't forget to watch the Glory World Series live this Saturday morning at 10:00am Eastern time/7:00am Pacific time. If you are worried about where to watch it, well, never fear, as you don't have to leave the comfort of your chosen web browser or even leave this very site. Just load up this page right now and order the video by clicking on it and plonking down $15 USD. Seriously, if you don't have a problem buying multiple UFC PPVs a year to fund Dana White's Bruce Lee t-shirt collection, this should be no sweat. Help out Glory and help out LiverKick, by doing so you will help me expand my own Bruce Lee t-shirt collection, which as of right now is a lone shirt. I have to beat Dana White in this category guys, and you can help.

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Dzevad Poturak Announces Retirement

  • Published in Kickboxing

Poturak

Bosnian Heavyweight Kickboxer Dzevad Poturak has released a statement today announcing his retirement from the sport of Kickboxing at the age of 35. Poturak, who has competed in K-1, It's Showtime, SuperKombat and most recently Final Fight, will fight one last time at Final Fight 07, which is scheduled for September. Poturak's record currently stands at 50-22-1-1, with notable wins over Sergei Laschenko, Wendel Roche and Daniel Ghita under his belt.

Poturak had a strong showing at the K-1 World Grand Prix in March where he defeated Laschenko in a reserve bout and was called to fill in for an injured Badr Hari. Poturak was actually injured himself at the time, but opted to head to the ring and fight, putting forth a valiant effort against Ismael Londt. His most recent bout was at Final Fight 06 where he lost to Igor Jurkovic.

His retirement bout is slated for September 6th in Sarajevo under the Final Fight banner. Everyone here at LiverKick wishes Poturak well in his retirement.

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Glory 17: Glory Prepares to Distinguish Itself As a Combat Sports Brand

  • Published in News

Glory 17 is a turning point for Glory in many ways, marking its entry into the American PPV market by staging the largest, most significant kickboxing tournament on American soil in decades. But even more noteworthy than that, this event signifies the opportunity for Glory to truly distinguish itself as a unique combat sports product that is capable of delivering where other brands may falter, particularly the UFC. The UFC’s present difficulties are well known: problems with a ballooning roster, complaints about “boring” fights, and problems marketing fighters have led to great inconsistency in the quality of UFC events. Glory, on the other hand, has experienced few to no difficulties in this regard--and for very interesting reasons. In this article, I will talk about some of the things that I think make Glory a fairly unique entity in the combat sports world.

1. Each Glory weight class has more elite fighters than a single card can accommodate.

The Last Man Standing tournament is essentially a display of the entire Middleweight division, and it is a scary division, featuring Artem Levin, Joe Schilling, Simon Marcus, Wayne Barrett, Filip Verlinden, and Melvin Manhoef as well as dangerous contenders like Alex Pereira--all of these men are either champions, former champions, or fighters who have distinguished themselves against championship-level competition. Whereas some promotions might struggle to fill fight cards with less accomplished talent, Glory has the unique problem of struggling to fill fight cards with overqualified talent, bumping the likes of Levin to the non-televised SuperFight Series. If you ever find yourself wondering why a fighter like Giorgio Petrosyan gets to occupy the fourth slot on the Glory main card, it’s frequently because any Glory card could offer you a choice of several main event fights.

2. Glory has complete control of the rules of the sport.

No matter how many three or four-letter-name sanctioning bodies Glory will claim accountability to, the fact remains that Glory, as an organization in today’s combat sports market, is unique because of the complete control that it has on the rules of the sport. By frequently changing its clinch rules, its knockdown rules, and its 8-count rules, Glory has crafted and refined a viewing experience that is more fast-paced and exciting, producing a high volume of memorable fights and highlight reel moments. This is an ability that neither the UFC nor any other MMA organization possess, and the end result for them is a perpetual struggle to reconcile the Unified Rules of MMA with the type of fights that UFC wants to sell. Glory, by contrast, can eliminate any rule that negatively affects the viewing experience.

The flipside is that we also don’t have to talk about drug testing in the sport of Kickboxing. Glory is in a peculiar position here as well, operating between the lines of an oversight structure that is very dated and arguably unequipped to handle a multimillion dollar professional sport. Indeed, WKA’s official rules, published in 2011, leave drug testing up to the discretion of the “WKA supervisor, tournament promoters, and the official doctor,” who “can and may perform tests” but don’t necessarily have to do so unless directed by local law, making WKA’s actual responsibility very unclear. The procedure, standards, and logistics of testing are either mentioned in vague terms or not outlined at all. Glory, for its part, hasn’t forced the issue, leaving us to enjoy the fruits of ambiguity. In other words: don’t ask, don’t tell, and Pride never die.

3. Glory is learning how to market its fighters.

This is an issue that we’ve discussed several times here on LiverKick and which Dave Walsh expounded on in his excellent piece comparing kickboxing to the history of regional pro wrestling promotion. Behind every fight is an evolving narrative with at least two central characters, and as viewers, we’re interested in not only the fight itself but also in how the fight will determine the next chapter of the story. The promoter’s job is to build anticipation and interest in the fight and to illustrate what it means in the grand scheme of the division. With Glory 17, Glory has been proactive in producing media which tells us the story, including an excellent video on the rivalry between Rico Verhoeven and Daniel Ghita. The authenticity of this rivalry (for the critics’ sake) is as irrelevant as the authenticity of the 2009 rivalry between Badr Hari and Alistair Overeem--it felt real at the time and it electrified the atmosphere at the Saitama Super Arena. As Glory gains screen time on television and PPV, promotional efforts like this will be increasingly vital to its success.

While Glory got off to a rough start, it seems like the organization has found its identity as a kickboxing promotion and major combat sports brand. It is undeniably a unique presence in today’s sports entertainment market. If this event is a success and the Glory audience continues to grow, I think that Glory could become a leading company. Until then, you will have to join me in keeping fingers tightly crossed.

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Badr Hari vs. Ismael Londt Cancelled

  • Published in Kickboxing

Badr Hari

In what might be the least shocking bit of news to Kickboxing fans, the fight in May between Badr Hari and Ismael Londt has been cancelled. This confirms reports that we've been hearing for at least the past few weeks that the Gunyar brothers, who were promoting the fight, were having issues acquiring a license to promote an event in Eindhoven (which shares Amsterdam's laws in this case). This, of course, comes as zero shock if you've been following Dutch Kickboxing.

There have been incredibly heavy restrictions set on Kickboxing events in Amsterdam and neighboring cities thanks to a law called BIBOB that is targeted at organized crime. The school of thought was that Kickboxing events held within the city would always pander to certain "VIPs" from the world of organized crime, thus making them meeting places for criminals. The city of Amsterdam wanted to clean up their reputation and saw this as a natural way to do so.

It didn't matter how legitimate of a business the Gunyars were going to run, trying to promote a convicted criminal with known ties to organized crime in an event in Amsterdam was never, ever going to work. According to Badr Hari's Facebook page, "May 29th in Dubai" seems to be his next stop.

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