An oft overused phrase in fightsports, but in this case it is undoubtedly true. As Liam himself puts it in this video interview, regarding the fight later today with Saenchai, it is a meeting between "the p4p best thai-boxer in England, against the p4p best in the world in the last 20yrs, from Thailand".
We're always trying new things out here at LiverKick.com, and so here is our latest feature: the video Month in Review. Each month, I'll post a short 3-5 minute review of the month's top stories, the best fights from the month, and a look ahead at the most anticipated fights of next month.
Below is our first installment for March 2011.
Check the full entry for videos of the 4 must watch fights from March.
Of course, since this is a new feature, any (constructive) feedback is most appreciated. Too long? Too short? Something you want added? Something you want removed? Let me know so I can improve for next month.
I'm in China right now, unable to access Youtube, so I'm going all the way back to December 2010 for this bout, the final of the inaugural Thai Fight Tournament.
The winner got a heap of prizes including an Isuzu (yes, this tournament is also funded by Isuzu Motors), a million baht (approx. 33k USD), sponsors, and a lot exposure.
Pinca fought his way through Sharos Huyer and Rafi Zouheir, and Petmankong went through Zhou Hong Zhang and Vitaly Gurkov to meet in the semi-finals. There were questions about whether Petmankong, previously a 126 lb and 135 lb fighter, could be successful in the 147 lb tournament, but he'd proved more than skillful enough to handle his first two opponents. Pinca had been making a name for himself facing high quality Thai opponents, but had come up short against elite fighters like Kem Sitsongpeenong, Saenchai Sor Kingstar, and Attachai Fairtex. He himself was not a a large fighter for 67 kg, having fought at 140 lb a number of times.
Pinca wears the blue in this bout, Petmankong the red.
Initially I was going to post a highlight reel that went up on Mixfight of ten of the top K-1 knockouts in history, and while that is good in theory, if you are coming to LiverKick.com on a regular basis, this is stuff that you should already have in your pocket somewhere. If not, well, have at it. Our good friend Jill puts together some rather awesome highlight packages once in a while, and on occasion when I actually check my Tumblr account I see them and think that the world needs to see them.
All Japan Kickboxing Federation had a very rich history until its untimely death in 2009, while still making sure to keep us happy by splintering off into the KRUSH events that we know and love today. AJKF gave us a lot of top Japanese stars, so why not reflect on it?
The below is a beautiful display of Muay Thai. Both Buakaw and Petnamek throw beautifully and utilize their technique in rather different strategies to impose their will on the fight.
This bout, in addition to being a fun to watch display of Muay Thai, also serves to highlight a difference in scoring between Muay Thai and kickboxing or Western boxing. Namely, that the judges weigh the last two rounds heavily over the first three. This makes sense on paper, but for those of us who are used to seeing each round weighed equally, it seems strange on viewing.
Of the fighters, Buakaw is undoubtedly more famous, due to his successes in K-1. At this point, he was still fighting in the 135 - 140 lb (61.5 - 63.5 kg) range. It would be two years before his debut in that organization. He now fights at 154 lb (70 kg), which is also his walk-around weight.
Like Buakaw, Petnamek Sor Siriwat was a well-regarded fighter on the Muay Thai circuits during this time. He too would move up in weight. I believe the most recent footage of him on Youtube showed him participating in Muay Thai vs San Da in 2005.
Buakaw fights out of the blue corner in this bout, Petnamek, southpaw, fights out of the red corner.
Hello, people. Here's a short highlight of a knockout for you all. I'm pretty sure this fight happened recently in Italy.
Calzolari is a regional fighter in Italy and has fought recently against Namsaknoi, Kem, and Sudsakorn, among others. Kaoponlek fought at a very high level in Thailand before moving to Europe, holding Lumpini and Rajadamnern titles. I'm not sure where he lives these days, but I'm fairly certain he's overseas.
This video is only a short clip, but it certainly gives a sense of how a "dramatic" KO looks. Kaoponlek wears golden shorts, Calzolari blue.
Proof that you don't need to be on a grand stage to have a great fight, here is an unknown fight from a few weeks ago in Thailand that is absolutely a must see.
What you have here is a match in the 46kg (101 lbs) division at the Channel 7 Stadium in Bangkok from February 6. In the blue is Muangthai Sor Boonyeeam, a 17 year old fighter with a record of 40-18. In the red, Amata Por Tongboran, age 20, 40-20. Two very young fighters, neither of whom sports an amazing record, but the end result is simply spectacular.
No joke, you should watch this:
What starts off as a relatively normal Muay Thai opening round picks up immediately at the start of round 2 as Amata comes out fast and furious. He spends almost the entirety of this 2nd round landing punch after punch, absolutely rocking Muangthai to the point that many refs would have stepped in and called a down. In the 3rd, Muangthai rallies, connecting with his own shots before landing one of the most beautiful elbow KO's I have ever seen. Both men show a huge variety of technique here, using elbows, knees, kicks, and punches to show off the full range of what makes Muay Thai so special. But it's the changes in momentum and the heart shown by both that really sets this fight apart and makes it something special.
We've got a long way to go before the year is done, but don't be surprised if this one shows up on the Fight of the Year ballots when the time comes.
Now that we know Badr Hari is returning to action against Tony Gregory for It's Showtime on May 14th, I thought this would be a good time to show one of my all-time favorite fights. When you read that either Badr or Ruslan will be involved in a fight, it's sure to be exciting. Put them both in the same ring and you get fireworks.
In their first meeting, Ruslan knocked out Badr with a right hand in the early stages of the first round. Although they would rematch just five months later, it must have seemed like an eternity for the mighty Moroccan as he surely had revenge on his mind. Badr came into this contest riding a two-fight win streak while Ruslan was coming off of a KO loss to Glaube Feitosa. The timing was just right for Hari to avenge that demoralizing defeat and prove that it was just a fluke.
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.
Remember that event about a month ago where Sudsakorn fought Petrosyan two weeks after fighting Kem Sitsongpeenong? I remember. I also remember trawling the internet for video. Well, I found it and am here to share.
Sudsakorn is in the blue gloves, and comes out in the pink afro, and Petrosyan wears red gloves, and comes out in his normal hair.
Note that Sudsakorn's January 15 bout in Thailand against Kem was at 67 kg. This fight is at 70 kg, which is Petrosyan's weight class. Reports are that Sudsakorn weighed in between 67 and 68 kg, while Petrosyan weighed in just shy of 70, presumably putting on 5 or so kg after weigh-ins.