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It's Time for the Smaller Weight Classes to Shine

Kickboxing has long been all about the heavyweight weight classes. If you were to ask anyone about K-1 the first thing that would come to mind would be the K-1 World Grand Prix. Of course, there is a good reason for that. When modern kickboxing in the form of K-1 began in Japan it was to appeal to the local audiences with a blend of Kyokushin, Karate and professional wrestling. The Japanese public was always attracted to the idea of the clash of titans (I mean, really, isn’t everybody?) so K-1 focused heavily on the Heavyweights. 

If you look at GLORY, SuperKombat and even promotions like Enfusion you’ll see that the focus is still largely on the heavier weight classes. No matter what Badr Hari is doing it is news, if Peter Aerts is in a pro wrestling match in Japan everyone cares and people still ask if Sem Schilt will ever return to the ring. Speculation over Alistair Overeem leaving the UFC to return to kickboxing has been healthy for his entire UFC run. Needless to say, the big guys draw eyeballs.

The one real anomaly is the rise of K-1’s MAX division in the 2000’s. It was an idea created to promote the handsome and talented MASATO originally, but the reality was that it created a good number of stars and helped to make something outside of Heavyweight sustainable. We’ve seen the rise of a few stars like Giorgio Petrosyan, Buakaw Banchamek, Andy Ristie, Robin van Roosmalen and many more. It’s Showtime helped to push forward with expanded weight classes and GLORY is continuing along the path with the Light Heavyweight and Middleweight classes a big focus over the last year.

If we look at other sports the focus isn’t always just on huge, lumbering titans, though. While American Football might have a few such characters, a lot of the time the smaller, more agile players end up a focal point. The home run sluggers in baseball might draw eyeballs, but not all baseball players are Mark Mcguire. In football (you know, soccer) it is even more clear that you don’t (and shouldn’t) be a giant to be successful. Look no further than some of the lines at betting at William Hill to see how diverse the playing field can be. 

At GLORY 20 Gabriel Varga and Mosab Amrani will compete for the GLORY Featherweight Championship. It’s a solid first step, although there is confusion as to if this will air on the SuperFight Series or on Spike TV. Last that I’ve heard it was the SuperFight Series. Even so, it will be the headliner for that show that will air on CBS Sports Network and across the globe as its own show. 

Then, of course, is K-1’s 55kg World Grand Prix going down in Japan on April 19th. K-1 Japan has been putting out a steady stream of events featuring smaller weight classes and has been wildly entertaining. As long as the big players in kickboxing keep focusing on smaller weight classes there is still hope that the lighter, more technical and quick weight classes can shine in the near future. 

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Bai Ling attending SuperKombat World Grand Prix I next Sat. evening (Mar. 7) in Ploiești, Romania

It's nice to have friends in high places.

SuperKombat Fighting Championship will enjoy yet another special guest appearance from Hollywood, as famous actress Bai Ling will be ringside for next Saturday evening's (Mar. 7, 2015) SuperKombat World Grand Prix I event on Eurosport from Sala Sporturilor in Ploiești, Romania.  

The Chinese-born is no stranger to fighting since she often trains in martial arts for her interesting movie roles. 

Bai Ling is known for her work in films such as The Crow, Red Corner, Crank: High Voltage and Wild Wild West, and TV shows including Lost.

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Interview with the Glory heavyweight challenger and the SuperKombat's franchise, Benny Adegbuyi

The Romanian fighter Benjamin Adegbuyi is taking on Daniel Lentie on 7th March at SuperKombat World Grand Prix I. LiverKick is offering you the translation of his SportNews interview in native language. 

R: How do you feel? Are you ready?

B.A.: I feel very good. It's always a pleasure to fight in Romania, where the fans are with you, your family, and Ploiești is a great city. I feel good, I'm ready, I'm the same every time regardless of the opponent. I hope to make show. 

R: Do you find it harder to fight under this pressure?

B.A.: At the level where we are, we have to be professional, and these thoughts should not affect us at all.

R: Are you superstitious?

B.A.: I have no superstition, I'm always prepared. I hope to make a great game and win by knockout.

R: Did you study your opponent?

B.A.: Unfortunately I found out quite late the opponent's name. He's a pretty good fighter, awkward, southpaw... I began to study him, we have available a week and it will not be a problem. We have a plan. I hope him to have the same fate as against Morosanu.

R: What means the SuperKombat promotion for you?

B.A.: For me it means a lot, I was discovered here. I started here, and since then every gala I have been included, I won and I did very good matches. It remains my first love, forever in my soul... 

R: What advice do you have for those who want to follow in your footsteps?

B.A.: I always guided them, even on Facebook, to try not to quit. It's a pretty difficult sport, which is not sustained from the beginning, but with desire and will, seriousness, talent and a bit of luck you can get a pretty good level. So follow your dreams!

R: What are your goals for 2015? Where will you stop? 

B.A.: I would like to finish undefeated again. I hope to be the best if I can. I think I could get 2nd, but depends on the matches. The ranking system is a little odd, so I also need knockouts. Certainly if I grow, I get 2nd or 3rd.

R: Did you think about MMA?

B.A.: Honestly I thought, I think I will also do a little Brazilian jiu-jitsu in parallel. It helps the stand-up fighters' mobility.

R: Who would you want to fight and who would you want to avoid?

B.A.: I wanted to fight Semmy Schilt but he withdrew. He is a man who barely lost. I wanted to see my level and I think I would have been able to beat him. I fight any opponent, I would not refuse anyone.

R: Who  was your idol?

B.A.: I had no idol, but I admired Bonjasky, Aerts, Sefo and Hunt in Japan. Prior to my kickboxing start, I used to wake up at night to morning to watch them.

R: Could you fight a gym colleague?

B.A.: Honestly, I can't, but it can happen in some pyramids of the greatest promotions. If it happens so, we are professionals. But in other circumstances, I would refuse to fight with an opponent from our crew (Respect Gym).

R: What's a training day for you the SK figthers there?

B.A.: It is very complex. We wake up at 8 am, we have training, 2 hours of exhaustion. Some vomit, some faint, some have dizziness, some liver problems. After, you eat a bit, you go home and get some rest if you don't have anything else to do during the day and again at 6, training. You end at 8, you eat, watch a movie if you can, then simply fall to the bed.

If you're not in a training camp, you can manage to play soccer or go to the cinema/bowling. During the preparation only Playstation and FIFA.

R: Do you enjoy watching movies? Are you watching motivational movies?

B.A.: Yes. Well, not really. I just like good movies with great actors.

R: A message for your opponent?

B.A.: You made a mistake by accepting this fight against me, I will destroy you! Haha...

 

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Card for Enfusion #25 on March 14th

On March 14th Enfusion returns with Enfusion Live #25 live from Belgium. The event is headlined by an Enfusion World Title match at 80kg where Hicham El Gaoui looks to defend that title against Morad Salhi. Also in the card is the talented William Diender against Nordin Ben Moh, a huge 70kg battle between Harut Grigorian and Marco Pique and more.

#25 Enfusion Live, Turnhout Belgium Saturday 14.03.2015
Local Start Time 21.30
1. 3X3      
Youssef Challouki (Belgium) Vs Sidy Barry (France) - 70KG
2. 3X3      
Anissa Meksen (France) Vs Isis Verbeek (The Netherlands)- 54Kg
3. 3X3      
Robbie Hageman (The Netherlands) Vs Engin Kutuk (Turkey)-  70 KG
4.  3X3     
Harut Grigorian (Armenia) Vs Marco Pique (Surinam)- 70 KG
5. 3X3      
Nordin Ben Moh (Morocco) Vs William Diender (The Netherlands)- 70Kg
6. 5X3      
Hicham El Gaoui (Morocco) Vs Morad Salhi (Morocco)
- 80Kg  Enfusion World Title
 

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SuperKombat Releases Card for March 7th 5th Anniversary Event

SuperKombat is looking to kick off their 2015 in style with their first event of the year; SuperKombat World Grand Prix I in Ploiesti, Romania. The show will begin with a SuperKombat New Heroes undercard that will look to help them establish talent for future SuperKombat events. Over the years SuperKombat has developed quite a bit of talent that have made a splash on the world stage and this card serves as both a reminder and a sign of what's to come with the New Heroes fights. The main card features many of the names that SuperKombat fans have grown to know and love, including; Cristian Ristea, D'Angelo Marshall, Bogdan Stoica, Amansio Paraschiv, Andrei Stoica and Heavyweight bruiser Benjamin Adegbuyi. 

The event will be broadcast, as always, on EuroSport. We'll have more for you as the event approaches.

Interesting angle for the New Heroes event is that Bogdan Nastase is an actual sheepherder and will come to the ring in his full sheepherding gear.

SUPERKOMBAT WORLD GRAND PRIX I 2015 (22:00 CEST)
1. Super Fight – Super Cruiserweight bout (-95 kg)
Clyde Brunswijk (Suriname) vs Cristian Ristea (Romania)
2. Super Fight – Heavyweight bout (+96 kg)
Michal Wlazlo (Poland) vs D’Angelo Marshall (Curacao)
3. Super Fight – Super Cruiserweight (-95 kg)
Ibrahim Giydirir (Turkey) vs Laszlo Nemeş (Romania)
4. Super Fight – Cruiserweight bout (-92 kg)
Zinedine Hameur-Lain (Algeria) vs Bogdan Stoica (Romania)
5. New Heroes middleweight title – Middleweight bout (-71 kg)
Julian Imeri (Albania) vs Amansio Paraschiv (Romania)
6. Super Fight – Super Cruiserweight bout (-95 kg)
Marcelo Adriaansz (Suriname) vs Andrei Stoica (Romania)
7. Super Fight – Heavyweight bout (+96 kg)
Daniel Lentie (Cameroon) vs Benjamin Adegbuyi (Romania)
SUPERKOMBAT NEW HEROES (20:00 CEST)
1. Super Fight – Middleweight bout (-71 kg)
Robert Stoica (Romania) vs Andrei Ostrovanu (Romania)
2. Super Fight – Light Heavyweight bout (-86 kg)
Daniel Thomas (Great Britain) vs Stefan Szomoru (Romania)
3. Super Fight – Super Middleweight bout (-77 kg)
Bogdan Nastase (Romania) vs Alex Filip (Romania)
4. Super Fight – Cruiserweight bout (-92 kg)
Cosmin Ionescu (Romania) vs TBA
5. Super Fight – Female Lightweight bout (-65 kg)
Annalisa Bucci (Italy) vs Cristiana Stancu (Romania)
6. Super Fight – Lightweight bout (-63,5 kg)
Luca Donadio (Italy) vs Cristian Spetcu (Romania)
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Video: Watch Liam Harrison knock out one of Jordan Watson's teeth

In preparation of their upcoming title bouts, Bad Company's Jordan Watson and Liam Harrison were sparring in front of the Yokkao cameras, when Harrison landed flush with an uppercut, knocking one of Watson's teeth out. 

Despite the injury, it was all smiles between the two, who both are scheduled to headline Yokkao's double-event next month. Watson will be defending his 70kg Yokkao world title he won last October when he meets the ultra-talented Sanny Dahlbeck. Harrison on the other-hand, will need to claw the 65kg belt away from the grasp of pound-for-pound great Pakorn.

Yokkao's 12 & 13 will commence on March 21st from the Macron Arena in Bolton, Manchester. 

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Danyo Ilunga Signs with FFC

Former It's Showtime Champion and current GLORY Light Heavyweight standout Danyo Ilunga has signed on with Croatia's Final Fight promotion. While the promotion did not release details of the contract or when he will debut, they seem excited to have Ilunga on board considering how talented he is. 

Ilunga was the long-time top dog of the division until he ran into Tyrone Spong in the finals of the GLORY 9 Light Heavyweight tournament. From there he went on to defeat Michael Duut, Andrei Stoica and Ondrei Hutnik before falling to Saulo Cavalari in the GLORY 18 Light Heavyweight Contender's tournament. I don't expect him to stop competing in GLORY any time soon, though, so consider his move to FFC just in addition to that.

Final Fight's current Light Heavyweight Champion is Igor Jurkovic, which would be a potentially interesting match up down the line for FFC to make.

"We are extremely proud that we have such a big name in Final Fight Championship. I think Danyo Ilunga needs no special introduction since he is the world's best fighter in light heavyweight division and No 1 on Glory raking lists. It is also an important indicator of the reputation FFC has in the international fighting sports scene since fighters such as Ilunga fight only in top promotions,“ said the FFC President Orsat Zovko and added: “We will soon reveal more details on Ilunga's debut in the FFC and we hope it will be as soon as possible.“

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Tyrone Spong Making His Professional Boxing Debut on March 6th

(C) Glory Sports International

It looks like Tyrone Spong's first fight back after his injury will officially be in a boxing ring. According to BoxingScene we can expect to see Tyrone Spong boxing in Germany on March 6th. Promoter Erol Cylan is in talks with Oczan Cetinkaya and Alexander Ustinov to possibly fight Spong on the card that will air on EuroSport.

While we are hoping to see Spong back to kickboxing soon and many have high hopes for his MMA career, we'll take seeing Spong back in any sport, hopefully healthy and looking strong.

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Glory 21 Announcement

Glory 21 has officially been announced for May 8th at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego. Wikipedia tells us that the arena holds 16, 100 people for mixed martial arts events if the whole arena is used, so this could be a huge show.

Artem Levin will be defending his title against the winner of the tournament at Glory 20 in Dubai. So it could be Jason Wilnis, Alex Pereira, Wayne Barrett or Simon Marcus anyone one of them against Levin will be an exciting fight as they all bring something different to the ring.

There is also an all American heavyweight tournament which will grant the winner entry into the Glory heavyweight contender tournament where the winner will fight Rico Verhoeven for the belt. The American heavyweights have yet to be announced.

Of course this will all be Live on Spike TV on Friday, May 8th. I'm so happy to see Glory announcing events more than a month before the show now and giving us all a chance to get excited and also more time to buy tickets.  [source]

 

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Top Class Muay Thai Fighters, Top Class Fights At Lion Fight 20

(C) Bauzen

Foxwoods Casino, 2/20/15: Scott Kent and the Lion Fight crew delivered another great night of fights, showcasing what really makes Muay Thai the Sport of Kings. If you don’t already know, what sets Muay Thai apart from other combat sports is the sportsmanship, honor, respect and friendship amongst the fighters. Even after what was to some a questionable decision the fighters always maintained a smile on their face, and acknowledged the skill and ability of their opponent. By the end of the night there were two after parties. One at Scorpion, the bar across the hall from the Fox Theater, where UFC Veteran and BJJ Gold Medalist Gabriel Gonzaga and many other spectators were partying it up and burning off the adrenaline. The other, smaller party was fighters, coaches and cute medical staff only, and it was in the ambulances and emergency room of the local hospital, where at least half a dozen of the fighters got to bond. The pictures from the taxi’s, buses, ambulances and ER are great. They look like pictures from a kid’s 12th birthday party. But enough of this love in the hospital, let’s get to the war in the ring.

In the main event Jorina Baars was just too fast, too strong, and too accurate for the more experienced Chantal Ughi to handle. Starting with a one-sided first round in which Jorina came forward with a mix of punches, body and low kicks that kept Ughi moving back, defending, and still taking clean hits. Although Chantal posed no danger to Jorina, her own front leg was quickly in danger of collapse from Baars’ kicks. More of the same action followed in the second round. Sensing her imminent demise, Ughi began throwing elbows after clinching Jorina, but couldn’t find the space to make effective contact. She did have a brief flash of life before the end of the round, but it turned out to be naught but a last gasp. Although Chantal made it out of the round, she was unable to get off the stool, and surrendered from her corner before the third round could start.

The co-main event was one of those fights that could have been a disaster on paper, but in either direction. Joe Sittisak has a world of experience, but with that experience comes an older body which can break down in training or a fight. Chris Mauceri has youth, speed, height and reach on his side. Youth brings with it passion and aggression, whereas the elder has composure, patience, power and resilience. Watching this fight was like watching a young fighter training on a heavybag, or even more like a wing chun dummy, heavybags move too much. Mauceri came forward tirelessly, like an incoming high tide, throwing waves of punches, kicks and knees. But like a strong seawall, Sittisak just absorbed them and turned them back. He moved around the ring like tired old elephant, but when he felt his back touch those ropes, he would fire back with a solid combination, or a clean knee or kick to the body, or a sweep so smooth and effortless you’d think he was on ice. The rounds were close, and followed the same pattern for the first four rounds with Sittisak doing just barely enough to keep the Upstate New York product at bay. In the fifth the older Thai looked like he just wanted to get to the end and have a cigarette and a beer. He had put enough rounds in the bank and was now in cruise-control. Mauceri may have sensed he was behind because he hit the gas even harder, coming forward and almost literally swinging for the fences with huge arcing right hands that Sittisak either slipped, faded, or countered. One of those counters punched Chris’ ticket to the ER, opening up a gash over his left eye which was bad enough for the ref to ask the doctor to look at. After the pause, Chris opened up the throttle even more and poured on the pressure. It was a valiant effort, and a great fight, but in the end the heavy bag will always be hanging there ready for more, while we need to rest and ice. So to did Sittisak win by UNANIMOUS DECISION 48-47 x 3 judges.

I wish I could just skip the rest of the card, oh faithful reader, and list the results. But to do so would be an injustice of the highest order to both you and the fighters who had the crowd dazzled. So dazzled that they didn’t really know when to applaud or cheer. Or perhaps they were on Japanese manners that night? It was ironic because the theater was filled, but almost silent for most of the time during the fights. I think not having the traditional Thaiboxing music playing during the rounds opened up the ears to hear the silence from the crowd. The other pro fights were intense, but I’ll try to keep it short.

John Nofer shocked everyone in the Muay Thai world except for him, his trainer Rami Ibrahim, and the Sitan family. After Jason Andrada started fast with some heavy leather and leg kicks, Nofer landed a solid right cross that make Andrada acknowledge it with a smile and nod. The emotionless Nofer just pushed his fists deeper into his gloves and came forward like the Terminator. Andrada’s movement and quick slickness weren’t enough in the second round to prevent a sudden knockdown that he popped up from but had to endure a count for. Then he got his with a solid and well placed left handed crossing elbow that cut Jason just above and behind his right eye. After getting up, smiling and wiping the blood from his face Andrada attacked. But attacking the Terminator never worked in the movies, and it didn’t work that night as the stoic young automaton put together enough punishing combinations that referee Tom Sconzo was forced to step in for a standing 8-count, effectively the 3rd knockdown of the round and thus end of the fight. Nofer wins by TKO at 2:58 of the second round.

In what started out at a slow simmer of a fight in the first soon heated up and boiled over as the rounds wore on between Rich Abraham, out of Chicago, and Jo Nattawut, up from Georgia. They started out with the traditional slow Thai pace, and I figured out quickly, as it appeared Jo did, that Abraham was a slugging boxer, throwing hard punches at every opportunity. Nattawut seemed made for this type of opponent as he figured out that his own kicks were as fast, if not faster from distance than Abraham’s arsenal of punches. The tough and aggressive Abraham continued to press forward and advance through all five rounds, including the fifth in which Nattawut really tried to step it up and put him away. Nattawut had tasted Abraham’s power a few times in the fight, but was not afraid of it, to the point that he would bait Abraham with lowered hands, and if not taunt, then at least toy with him, pulling out any trick he could muster, including a cartwheel kick that looked good until it missed and Jo landed heels over head in the ropes. Aside from that, Nattawut dominated, cutting up Abraham’s head, sending him to the ER Party, UNANIMOUS DECISION, Nattawut.

Dublin, CA sent us Gaston Bolanos and his interesting mix of traditional and exotic techniques to take on New York’s Caleb Archer and his tough Sitan style. A good match up with both fighters showing great skill and stamina, however a close eye could see that Gaston was building momentum and confidence as the fight progressed. He was looking for a spinning back elbow throughout, setting it up from afar with a right cross miss, then stepping through and spinning the left elbow. He missed it about 4 times, but like a good baseball player knows, with enough at-bats he’ll get the homerun, he stayed with it. And it paid off in the 3rd round; when he finally landed the right spinning back elbow flush to Caleb’s head, knocking him out at 1:05 in the round. A quick note here about the great refereeing of this moment in particular. Caleb was unconscious but on his feet. Veteran fighter and referee Coban Lookchaomaesaithong (yes, I had to look up the spelling!) stopped the action, waived off the fight, and caught the fighter in his arms before he could hit the mat and bounce his head off the floor. I can’t stress how important that is, because the concussive force of a limp person’s head hitting the floor compounds and amplifies the damage from the original blow, if not creating its own separate concussion. Kudos to you, Coban!

Julio Pena gave up height and reach, but carried the muscle needed to get inside and pound on Tom Evans. After a clinch had been broken, Tom turned his back momentarily and walked away. Pena seized the opportunity and jumped in front of Evans, unloading a barrage of punches. There is already a Vine of the knockout, title “One-punch KO” but that takes away from the effort that Julio truly exerted. He through punches non-stop for a good ten-seconds before landing that perfect right cross. Ten seconds of non-stop full power punching is no joke. Try it. I’ll wait… 8…9…10. Okay, now catch your breath, wipe the sweat and reassess the one-punch theory. All that work earned Julio a KO at 1:30 of the first, and Tom Evans a VIP ticket to the ER Party.

The first professional fight, which sadly didn’t make it to air on AXS TV was one of the most even match ups and a great contest. Bryce Lawrence showed some fluid movement and great combinations in the first round, scoring both a knock-down 8-count and a cut on Tim Amorim’s face. Tim is normally a slow starter, but picked his pace up quickly from the time of the knock down. Through the second, third and fourth rounds he stayed aggressive until Bryce checked his progress with strong punch combos followed by nice snappy kicks and forced him into the reverse. The very game and tough Amorim continued to fight back, but was moving backwards away from the smooth and confident Lawrence. In the fifth, just when Bryce was looking winded, he snapped a teep to Tim’s face that scored well and followed it with a right cross, spinning back-fist combo that put Tim down for another 8 count and sealed the deal for Bryce Lawrence, giving him a majority decision, 47-47, 48-46, 47-46.

Amateur Results:

KRIS SILCK def. Brian Gamez by TKO Rd. 2.
GREG MULGREW def. Mike Carbonneau by KO Rd. 1.
STACEY SCAPECCIA def. Colleen Downey by UD
JULIAN NGUYEN def. Chris Malloy by UD
PHIL DaSILVA def. Ben Anton by SD
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