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Enfusion Live Card for May 25th

  • Published in Kickboxing

Enfusion

Enfusion Live will be airing tomorrow, May 25th on http://www.enfusionlive.com. The card features a good mix of veterans and up-and-comers

Enfusion Live Line Up 21:00 GMT+2 Time

1.Omar Hanafy (EGYPT) Vs Khalid Chabrani (THE NETHERLANDS) 75Kg

2. Hamza Essalih (MOROCCO) Vs Maik Redan (THE NETHERLANDS) 60KG

3. Othman Allach (MOROCCO) Vs Kevin Hessling (THE NETHERLANDS) 75Kg

4. Mohammed Jaraya (MOROCCO) Vs Walid Hamid (MOROCCO) 67Kg

5. Lindsay Scheer (USA) Vs Anke Van Gestel (BELGIUM) 61Kg

ENFUSION WORLD TITLE 61KG

6. Marcello Adriaansz (SURINAM) Vs Gurhan Degirmenci (TURKEY) Heavyweight

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Fighters are Human, Too, and We Need to Treat Them That Way

  • Published in Interviews

(C) GLORY

“These are the gladiators,” my father is fond of saying, “The people who agree to damage each other for our entertainment and money, and by god we’ll gladly pay them to do this until they are too beat up and brain damaged to do it anymore.” My dad is a fight fan. His favorite fighter is Fedor Emelianenko. He says this not to be crass, but to make a point: who accepts moral culpability for the violence entailed in combat sports? There’s three positions you can take: 1) You unequivocally reject combat sports because you reject violence. 2) You take the position of the opening quote, that the contract signed between the “gladiators” absolves everybody (including the fans who watch) of any moral responsibility for the outcomes and consequences of the fight, or 3) You acknowledge the violence but also appreciate and accept the moral consequences. I hope that if you’re a combat sports fan (and especially if you’re a fighter) that you take the third position.

To begin with, I don’t think that people who sincerely make statements like those above actually believe them. Serious acute or chronic injury, or worse, fatality, is not a permissible contingency held by many, and I would question the motives of those for whom it is. There may be those who genuinely believe in the idea that we shouldn’t feel bad about fighters getting seriously hurt, but I would argue that upholding this belief in even the most extreme circumstances is really testing its limits and challenging the scope and expectations that many fighters have about their own careers. No fighter wants to suffer a career ending injury, or worse, die.

Fighters are human beings. We get to see them get hurt, but we seldom see them suffer--physically, emotionally, and financially. They routinely suffer the types of injuries that most people would occasionally if ever experience and they experience more head trauma on a regular basis than most people ever would in a lifetime. We don’t get to experience and understand the personal sacrifices that they make to pursue their passion: career choices, time spent apart from loved ones, medical expenses, debt. Our insight is limited to a promoter’s media package and information publicized through outlets like this one. Fighters desire a quality of life just like anyone else. They have similar desires to make a living and provide for loved ones, even if this is very hard to do in their line of work. Their choice of profession is driven by a passion that any individual should aspire to find in their own careers.

Thus, to fans who believe that fighters have nothing to feel bad about when they hurt their opponent, why deny them their compassion? Why deny yourself compassion? The martial arts is for many practitioners a form of human expression, and while it is the practice of hand-to-hand combat, its prevalence as a component of the healthy lifestyles of many caring and compassionate individuals demonstrates that it doesn’t have to dehumanize; the countless moments of comradery throughout the span of kickboxing illustrate that. A quasi-Cobra Kai-like philosophy of violence without limits or control is malignant and destructive--and is thankfully not shared by many. Those who truly lack compassion in their hearts or who have a desire to inflict suffering when they step into the ring warrant our concern, not praise. It’s ok to care for the well-being of other people no matter what their chosen profession is.

This is the mentality that was reflected in the actions of Gokhan Saki at Glory 15 and articulated by other fighters in the aftermath of the event--there’s something to be said when professional fighters come forward, express their compassion, and demand the same from the fans. It should be the norm for anyone, fan or fighter. We should maintain the humanity to uplift people and celebrate their value, and we should also denounce voices who would seek to dehumanize, demean, reduce, or commoditize the people who we as fans have given our time, money, and appreciation. It’s the human thing to do.

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Dutch Film About Kickboxing and Crime Heading to the US

  • Published in Kickboxing

Wolf

The Netherlands are known for being one of the homes of modern day Kickboxing, with a lot of the best fighters and gyms in the world coming from the Dutch people. One of the things that we don't like to talk about are the links to organized crime that have been whispered about for years. It's one of the chief reasons that Kickboxing in major cities in the Netherlands has had such a tough time over the past few years. How big of a deal is the organized crime world being involved with Kickboxing?

Dutch filmmaker Jim Taihuttu released the film "Wolf" last year in the Netherlands, which is centered upon a Dutch Kickboxer who works his way up the ranks of the local scene where he falls into a world of organized crime. You follow Maj-id on his journey from a grey, unidentifiable Dutch suburb into the shady underworld that surrounds Kickboxing and apparently it will be coming to US shores soon! The film is due out on May 23rd and has garnered a good deal of critical acclaim already.

Truly some interesting timing as Kickboxing has been picking up here Stateside, with many aware that some of the top talent come from the Netherlands. Now it looks like fans will get a glimpse into the rest of the world of Dutch Kickboxing.

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Nine Questions with Remy Bonjasky

  • Published in Interviews

He is known as "The Flying Gentleman". With a career spanning nearly twenty years, this three time K-1 champion is one of the most well known fighters in the world.. Having recently retired, I caught up with Remy in Istanbul to talk about his past, present and future. In many ways, March 08, 2014, marked the end of an era as Remy announced his final fight would be at Glory 14 in Croatia against Mirko"Cro Cop" Filipovic. True to his reputation as a gentleman and a great sportsman, Remy's exit from the ring was as graceful as his entrance when he defeated the elder Overeem brother, Valentijn in 1995.

SW: Now that "The Flying Gentleman" has landed what are your plans?

RB: Well I have several projects I'm working on, including opening up my second gym. I also am working with several fighters training and there's also doing seminars and other projects. It's not really like a retirement. I will still be very busy.

SW: I know you have your own gym, Bonjasky Academy. Who are you currently working with?

RB: Well, right now, probably my most notable student is Danyo Ilunga. There are some others I am training but Danyo is probably the most well known at this time.

SW: If you weren't training or hadn't become a kickboxer, what other profession do you think you would have pursued?

RB: I probably would have continued my career in banking.

SW: I find it exciting that Glory has revitalized interest in kickboxing in the United States. What are you thoughts on the future of kickboxing, in the States and abroad?

RB: I am very pleased with the organization, its very professional, good shows. I think more interest is definitely showing. It's going to get bigger and bigger. The fights are exciting with lots of knock outs. It's growing.

SW: This is not the first time you have stepped away from kickboxing, I know at one time you were having a problem with one of your eyes. What was the nature of your injury?

RB: It was because I had a detached retina.

SW: After you defeated Mirko in Croatia, there was a weird response in the crowd, what was your take on that?

RB: I don't know. It was a very emotional event, not just for me. It's something that never happened in my career before, but I don't believe they were really booing me, it was about the result. I love the people of Zagreb and they have always shown me a lot of love. I don't know what can you say. I am still very happy that I was able to show my skill and win.

SW: I have always wondered what you were really thinking after your incident with Badr Hari at the 2008 K-1 finals.

RB: *shrugs* Badr. You know he did what he did and as a result the fight had that outcome.

SW: I'm sure you're weren't mad about the prize.

RB: Not at all.

SW: What is something about you, perhaps a little known fact, that your fans might find surprising?

RB: I'm afraid of spiders.

So, it would seem that retirement won't exactly be sipping Pina Coladas on the Riviera for Remy. He already has great plans for the future, including, but not limited to continuing to grow the sport as a trainer and mentor to today's rising stars. We wish Remy the best of luck and look forward to seeing him ringside.

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In the Gym with Wayne Barrett Video

  • Published in Glory

On June 21st Wayne Barrett will do battle in the GLORY Last Man Standing tournament live on PPV. Barrett will be fighting Romanian sensation Bogdan Stoica in the first round of the Last Man Standing tournament, taking on the winner of Joe Schilling vs. Simon Marcus later that evening. Needless to say, this is the biggest night of Wayne Barrett's Kickboxing career by a long stretch. Phoenix Carnevale of Everything Martial Arts hit the gym with Wayne Barrett where he gives some insight into his training and mindset.

Definitely worth the watch.

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Remembering Masato's Awesome Career, New StillWill Highlight Reel

  • Published in Video

Our good friend Will, known as StillWill has made yet another of his highlight reels. You might remember his Badr Hari, Gokhan Saki or Melvin Manhoef videos. Well, this time around it is the retired, yet incredible, Masato. Masato was the kingpin of the K-1 MAX division since the inception of the division. The division was actually created with him in mind, a conglomeration of TBS and FEG, knowing that they had a huge star at their disposal by the way of Masato.

Masato was a rare combination of raw talent, skill, refinement, looks, charisma and just being a likable guy. Masato was a cultural icon in Japan; he appeared in films, television shows, newspapers, advertisements, everything. When Masato changed his hair, every major television personality had to follow suit, emulating his look. Masato was a trend-setter, really. Then there was his kickboxing career, as he is truly one of the greats in the 70kgs division. Many would argue the Greatest of all Time, and I'd be hard-pressed to argue that right now.

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Glory 17: CroCop Vs Jarrell Miller Pre Fight Interviews

  • Published in Glory

On June 21st at Glory 17 Live on Spike TV Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller will get his chance to avenge his loss against Mirko CroCop. Their first fight was in CroCop's hometown of Zagreb, Croatia, March of 2013 and lets say he had a bit of a hometown advantage.

Jarrell Miller has not had any kickboxing fights since his loss to Crocop but has been knocking out a steady string of opponents in his boxing career, so he is by no means rusty and wants revenge. Miller without a doubt will be looking for the knockout this time because he does not want to go to the judges and risk what happened last time. He has very heavy hands, pretty slick boxing defense, and also blocks kicks well for a boxer.

During CroCop's interview he calls Miller a Big mouth, which i'm sure most people would agree with, but its nice to hear CroCop talk a bit of smack as well, it shows he has some fire towards this fight. CroCop will not be able to clinch and smother as much as he did during the first fight with the Glory rules being a lot more strict when it comes to clinching. It would be nice to see CroCop not only go for the high kick but also try and break down the legs of miller as most boxers are very susceptible to leg kicks. 

Miller wants to knock out Crocop, avenge his loss, and then return to his boxing career. That won't be an easy task considering he has a kickboxing veteran known for his  powerful kicks with a plan to beat "Big Baby" for the second time. It only takes one punch or kick from either of these men to end anyone's night early.

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Hungry for Vengeance at Lion Fight 17

  • Published in Muay Thai

Mashantucket Reservation, CT- 8/1/14:  A series of storms rolled up the east coast from the Bahamas up through New England.  Harsh winds and strong rain softened up the surfaces for a big blow from hail much like a series of jabs can set up a strong power punch.  The harsh weather outside reflected what was going on inside the Fox Theater at Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut.  Lion Fight 17 had brought a thunderstorm of Muay Thai action that few who saw it will forget.  I must say, if you are looking for awesome action, exciting techniques, and awesome aerial displays you don’t need to go to Glory, you can definitely get your fill from the high-class Muay Thai in the Lion Fight Promotions!

This night’s line-up featured some great matches and re-matches, and if you had never seen an actual Lumpini Champion in action live, this was a great opportunity.  Scott Kent and Christine Toledo had brought Malaipet Sasiprapa to the States for a second match-up against Philadelphia’s Justin Greskiewicz.  Also on the card as the co-main event, Brazil’s Cosmo Alexandre was matched-up against Atlanta’s Jo Nattawut.  The professional undercard had great talent in the likes of Brett Hlavacek and Cyrus Washington, Carlos Lopez and Rami Ibrahim, Victor Saravia and Andy Singh, and Tim Amorim versus second time last minute replacement, Pedro Gonzalez.  Even the amateur preliminaries were exciting, entertaining bouts pairing local talent and some tough out-of-towners.  

In the Main Event, a confident and energized Purple People Eater aka Justin Greskiewicz started well, as he came out jabbing, and probing Malaipet’s defense.  Everything was going according to plan until thirty seconds into the fight, when Malaipet countered a probing low kick with a solid overhand right that landed flush on Justin’s temple sending him clattering to the canvas quickly.  Running on auto-pilot at this point, Greskiewicz returned to his feet, wobbled on his rubbery legs, and then pulled himself together in time to beat the count and continue.  The dazed Greskiewicz reverted to his hard-wired programming; advance and attack.  As he came forward, trying to reassert himself and recover the fight if not the round, Malaipet circled and moved around and countered Justin’s punches with hard shin kicks to the ribs and underarms.  Somehow, Justin made it through the first round and back to his corner for a refresher.  The minute rest helped a lot, as Greskiewicz came out back in form for the second.  Although by no means dominant, Justin was more accurate and effective with his boxing.  He landed some hard shots to Malaipet’s head and body, pushing the thickly muscled Thai backwards and into a circling pattern, but not hurting him.  At the same time, Sasiprapa continued to pepper Greskiewicz with hard punches and more kicks to the body.  By the end of the second round, Justin’s latissimus muscles had turned the same dark purple hue of his trunks.  Malaipet had tasted Justin’s power in the first two rounds and seemed to be unimpressed as the third round started.  He began to clown around, sticking out his tongue and shaking his head when hit.  He was baiting Justin to come at him, like holding a fat steak in front of a hungry dog’s eyes.  Undaunted, Greskiewicz advanced, landing a clean 1-2 combination.  Malaipet shrugged it off, again clowning.  Justin pressed forward, closing the distance and trying to land some elbows.  With some smooth footwork, the thick Thai avoided the attack and swept Justin to the ground loudly.  Now behind three rounds and an 8-count, Greskiewicz would have to sell out in the last two stanzas if he was to stake any claim on victory.  He came out of the corner under control but more intense with a more consistent pace.  He had mentioned to me previously that he expected Malaipet’s conditioning to be a weakness in his game, and that he would fade as the rounds went on.  Attacking with good boxing skills and combinations, Greskiewicz managed to cut Malaipet in the corner of his eye.  Malaipet’s reaction to the more oppressive Greskiewicz was stolid, more serious now, with no clowning.  I was briefly reminded of Ivan Drago in Rocky IV when he got cut, or James “the Grim Reaper” Roper in The Great White Hype, taking a good shot as an insult and hitting the switch to really turn his game on.  Going into the final stanza, Justin knew he was behind on the cards, at least 3 rounds to 1 and that pesky early knock-down.  Still under control, knowing that Sasisprapa was looking for that over-aggressive movement to counter hard, Greskiewicz attacked from distance.  He landed a clean high teep to Malaipet’s face, snapping his head back, and giving notice that Justin wasn’t ready to admit defeat just yet.   It seemed as if Justin’s comment about the older Thai’s conditioning was ringing true as Malaipet threw less and less, and defended more and more.  This allowed Justin to rack up points in the round.  However, when Malaipet felt Justin taking too much momentum, he would fire back effectively and not just coast through the round.  The final decision was a Unanimous Decision in favor of the Lumpini Champion, Malaipet Sasiprapa.

In the Co-Main Event, Jo Nattawut took on Cosmo Alexandre in what looked as much like a professional fight in Thailand as almost any fight I’ve seen in the US.  They both took their stances and bouncing rhythms early and began the slow feeling out first round typical of fight in the big stadiums in Thailand.  Once in a while one of the combatants would land a sharp strike, countered equally by the other.  It was the slow steady build up that the true fans of Muay Thai can appreciate, much like the Ram Muay/Wai Kru.  Unfortunately, not everyone in the crowd was an educated fan of Muay Thai.  It was one drunk asshole, who just wanted to see some violence who repeatedly shouted silliness into the ring, things like “kill ‘im”, “rip his fuckin’ head off”, and other lame standards.  Undaunted, and not acknowledging the idiot, the fighters moved on, and in to the second round.  Cosmo seemed to be testing Jo’s power, taking a couple of shots, in order to land a hard on in return.  The pace had picked up a tick, as both fighters used quick punches to set up leg and body kicks, and both countered well when hit.  As the rounds progressed, so did the action and amount of power shots.  More knees from both fighters, more kicks to the head from each marked the passage of time.  In the third and fourth, Cosmo’s Defense First style allowed Jo to dictate the pace and get off clean shots consistently over the two rounds.  Alexandre did take the opportunity to explode in a few well-placed flurries and aerial attacks.  It seemed to me that Nattawut was, however, starting the exchanges and finishing them.  The fifth round was somewhat less than exciting.  A strong throw by Jo early was equalized by one from Cosmo towards the end, with not too much in the middle.  The Split Decision went to Nattawut, 48-47, 47-48, 48-47.

In a very interesting rematch, Cyrus Washington would take on Brett Hlavacek.  Brett had very recently taken Cyrus’ WBC title in a hard-fought battle at Chris Tran’s great Warrior’s Cup promotion in New Jersey.  Although the belt was not up for grabs, a shot at vengeance was.  This type of rematch is often great motivation for the guy who had lost the first.  They often rededicate and refocus themselves, pushing to another level during training.  However, it appeared that Brett had counted on that and trained harder and more effectively than ever before.  Brett came out in the best shape I have ever seen him in, and looked not only confident, as he usually is, but also focused, and serious.  Cyrus came out toned and ready as ever.  At the bell, Cyrus came out swinging for the fences, trying to punish Brett and possibly hurt him early.  Brett, however, was on his defensive game, blocking or evading most of Cyrus’ shots.  In a short clinch, Brett grazed Cyrus’ eyebrow with a rising elbow.  It didn’t land hard and flush, but just enough to open a cut and start a trickle of blood between Cyrus’ eyes.  The fight progressed with an intense pace, with both fighters flashing elbows and power kicks.  At one point, Brett landed an elbow and went to finish the combo with a jumping knee, Cyrus spotted it coming, and stepped around into a safe position and swept the already airborne Brett, flipping him upside down, landing in a heap on the back of his neck.  Brett smiled, picked himself up, and a moment later landed a straight right hand flush to Cyrus’ chin, sending Washington to the mat for an 8 count.  The rounded ended with Brett pinning Cyrus to the ropes and peeking over his shoulder to watch himself on the big screen.  He landed a few lateral knees to Cyrus’ flank then pushed off and landed a nice elbow at the bell.  This caught Cyrus’ attention.  From then on, Cyrus would try to press and push the pace, desperate to even the score and take the victory.  As Cyrus pressed forward, he was stepping into Brett’s range.  Brett used his quick hands and good movement landing some flashy and effective blows, including a teep to the face, some good elbows, and a nice double round-kick going from Cyrus’ body then quickly up to his head.  The fourth round slowed the output a bit, as each man seemed to be resting up for the final showdown.  In that final round, Cyrus’ used a savvy right feint to set up and land a hard left hook to Brett’s head and followed that trying to take the momentum, round and possibly the fight.  Brett tried to smother Cyrus’ attacks, but didn’t go on the offensive in return.  He seemed to be shutting the engines down and relying on the rounds he had banked as well as that knock down.  The decision was one of the only weird ones of the night, as one judge had it 47-47, one 48-46 and the last 48-45 for a majority decision for Hlavacek.

In other notable pro action, Rami Ibrahim suffered a tough loss to the taller, longer, quicker and stronger Carlos Lopez by Unanimous Decision: 49-46, 49-46, 50-44.  An acrobatic aerial attack from Andy Singh was shot down by the grounded, steady approach of Victor Saravia.  Saravia won by TKO in the fourth round.  In his second pro fight, Tim Amorim learned a valuable lesson; don’t sleep on last minute replacements.  The always game Pedro Gonzalez kept up his usual bull-rushing style, driving Tim to the ropes and dropping him with a right hook.  The game Amorim played matador as well as he could, but the ring was not big enough for him to keep a distance.  He was eventually bullied into a TKO loss in the fourth round.

The amateur bouts were exciting and good match-ups, although I would like to see them lose the head-gear and shin pads.  The pro fights were top notch, and the Main Event did not disappoint.  It was a great night that showed not only great Muay Thai technique, but the heart, discipline and character of Thai-boxers that help build the reputation and mystique of our beloved Art of Eight Limbs.  

-CHOK DEE!

Amateur Results:
Jared Tipton def Jose Rivera by UD
Billy Keenan def Chanon Kuldaree by SD
Bryce Lawrence def Stephane Smarth by UD
Nicole Scimeme def Jessica Palencar by UD
Patrick Rivera def Nate King by UD

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The Return of Badr Hari: A Look at Badr vs. Zabit Samedov from the K-1 World Grand Prix 2009 Final 16

  • Published in K-1

Badr Hari is a name that strikes strong emotions with kickboxing fans across the world, some love him while others find his behavior in and outside of the ring a disgrace to the sport. Regardless, Badr Hari has made a huge impact on the world of kickboxing in the past five years or so. We've seen Badr Hari climb up to the very peak of the mountain only to melt down twice now.

Yesterday we took a look at Badr Hari's breakout bout of 2009 where he met then three-time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, Semmy Schilt, in the It's Showtime ring for the It's Showtime World Heavyweight Championship. This was a big bout for Badr Hari, as he was able to bull rush Semmy Schilt, knock him off balance and quickly knock him out. The usual approach to taking out Semmy Schilt is a slow, methodical pace, wait for him to make a mistake and swarm him. Badr Hari didn't bother waiting, he just swarmed, smelled blood and took the title home. Badr Hari then went into the Final 16 in Korea with a world of momentum behind him, leaving poor Zabit Samedov to square off with a hungry and well-prepared Badr Hari.

Zabit Samedov is no slouch, he is a world class kickboxer who often finds himself in bad situations due to his size. In the world of K-1 there are Heavyweights and there are Super Heavyweights. Samedov is a small Heavyweight fighting against monsters of men like Hari. None of that mattered when he stepped into the ring against Badr Hari. This was stop two on Badr Hari's road to redemption.

We will continue to look at what led Badr Hari to his May 14th clash with Gregory Tony for It's Showtime, why he hasn't fought for a year and the fights that happened along the way.

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GLORY Announces GLORY 17 Los Angeles

  • Published in Glory

GLORY

This is, of course, why rumors are rumors. GLORY has announced GLORY 17 Los Angeles today. GLORY 17 Los Angeles is scheduled for June 21st at the Forum in Inglewood, California. No bouts have been announced just yet, but tickets are on sale starting on April 16th at the box office or ticketmaster.com.

This will be GLORY's first trip back to Los Angeles since GLORY 10 last year, which saw Joe Schilling conquer the Middleweight division in the Middleweight tournament, including a big win over Artem Levin. If I were a betting man I'd probably bet some money on Joe Schilling being on that card, but that is of course nothing official.

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