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The Wonderful World of Kickboxing

  • Published in News

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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. 

 

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K-1 News and Notes for K-1 World MAX Final 16

  • Published in K-1

K-1

Well, god damn, tomorrow is a big day for K-1, as they are holding the K-1 World MAX 2013 Final 16 event in Mallorca, Spain. The event will feature Buakaw Banchamek, Andy Souwer, Henri Van Opstal, Yasuhiro Kido, Enrico Kehl and many others in one of K-1's biggest events of this year. There has been a lot of movement on the K-1 front over the past few days. As we've already gone over before, the event will be streamed live tomorrow in the afternoon here in the United States. You can watch the event live here on LiverKick!

There was a press conference yesterday afternoon live in Mallorca, featuring what fighters had arrived already. There is also a video posted from The Fight Network in Canada of Kru Alin from K-1 giving a preview of the event from before he left for Mallorca.

For those looking to bet on the event, you are in luck as K-1 has forged a deal with TopBetta.com so that you can place bets directly on the fights! They use the European betting system, so if you are like me, American, and used to -140, etc., well, get used to it? We'll hopefully have footage from the weigh-ins shortly, but there are photos on K-1's Facebook and it looks like there are a ton of people there, which bodes well for tomorrow's event.

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Buakaw Banchamek Vs Abdoul Touré Video

  • Published in Asia

Here is the video from Buakaw's fight (if you can call it that) against Abdoul Touré from August 15th in Chiang Rai, Thailand for a WBC Muay Thai Diamond Championship. This is the second time these two have fought, the first time it wasn't a fairly matched fight and Buakaw won by KO with a body kick. Surprise surprise this fight was not much different and consisted of Buakaw repeatedly knocking down his french opponent with head kicks and elbows until the referee eventually stopped it. There is no doubt Buakaw looks like a beast as usual, but I was asking myself if this was even a fight, or was it fake. I really would like to see Buakaw against some opponents his level, as much as I enjoy a good Buakaw domination this was just too unfair for me, not to mention he didn't even look like he was trying. 

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LiverKick Best of 2013: Comeback of the Year

  • Published in News

Photo (C) Pink Elephant Photography

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 Monday featuring Fighter of the Year, Tuesday featuring Fight of the Year and Wednesday being Knockout of the Year. Today’s category is a little bit more fluid and up for discussion than the others, as today is Comeback of the Year. There have been a few fighters who either came back from a long layoff or returned to the big leagues and made a solid impression, making it an interesting topic.

LiverKick 2013 Comeback of the Year: Buakaw Banchamek

Few names in Kickboxing and Muay Thai hold the weight that Buakaw Banchamek’s does. Buakaw is a legend in every sense of the word, as in Thailand he might not be known as the best Thai Boxer, but he’s one of the most famous. This comes with its own set of consequences, though, as Buakaw has had a bumpy last few years that has seen him step back from a higher level of competition and instead get into the rhythm of taking either easier or exhibition bouts depending on the circumstances.

Buakaw fought his last fight for Thai Fight in December of 2012 and then that was it from Banchamek for months. In fact, he didn’t fight again until August of 2013 for MAX Muay Thai after yet another lawsuit, this time with Thai Fight, was settled. His year began at MAX Muay Thai 3 against Dong Wenfei in a bout that barely saw Buakaw warm up, leaving us all to fear that Buakaw would be back in “Thai Fight mode” just taking easier fights and having fun. Then, after years of rumors of him joining GLORY a huge announcement came out that Buakaw had signed with K-1 and would be entering the World MAX tournament.

His complete decimation of David Calvo in the Final 16 was proof enough that Buakaw was back and ready to show the Kickboxing world what they were missing out on. The rest of his year saw him defeat both Yoshihiro Sato and Enriko Kehl in MAX Muay Thai and in both fights looking like the Buakaw of old. Then on December 28th he battled a very game Zhou Zhi Peng before turning up the heat in the fourth round and dominating him.

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TopKing World Series 3 Final 8 Results and More Videos

  • Published in Asia

Here are all the results from Top King World Series 3 Final 8 from last night in Hong Kong. I figured I'd include Pornsanae's fight as well, I have to admit, it upset me.

Final 8 Tournament.

Marat Grigorian def. Eisa Alamda Nezam by Decision

Reece McAllister def. Marcin Parcheta by KO Rd 1

Khayal Dzhaniev def. Niclas Larsen by Decision

Buakaw Banchamek defeats Dmytro Konstantynov by Decision

SuperFights

Sangmanee Sor Tienpo def. Man Kwok by Decision  

Pongsaklek Sasiprapagym def. Marc Dass by Decision

Denis Puric def. Pornsanae Sitmonchai by KO in Rd 1

Sam-A Kaiyanghadaogym def. Trishin Constantine by Decision

 

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K-1 Postpones World MAX Show in Thailand

  • Published in K-1

If the only news that you pay attention to is fighting sports you might not have known that there is currently a bit of political upheaval in Thailand right now. In fact, there was a military coup that went down just days ago, leaving some areas of Thailand under strict military presence. Not all, though, some areas are untouched. Pattaya, where K-1 is planning their K-1 World MAX Finals event, happens to be one of the places under strict curfew. 

K-1 has been monitoring the situation and along with their partners in Thailand have decided to postpone the event for the time being. It might not be until July, but two months for a nation to get itself in order after a government is overthrown is a bit quick and they will wait out the situation before booking another event there. Kind of a bummer, we know, but it seems like the right call for this one. 

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Buakaw Victorious Over Yoshihiro Sato at MAX Muay Thai IV

  • Published in Asia

MAX

MAX Muay Thai IV: Sendai went down over the span of last night in Japan in a night that promised some big action with Buakaw facing his stiffest challenge in years by the way of Yoshihiro Sato. They have met three times previous, with Buakaw holding two victories and Sato holding one. That one victory that Sato held was a third round knockout over Banchamek, which made this rematch all the more enticing for fans. Sato showed flashes of brilliance in the first round, but after Banchamek got warmed up he took control over the fight, with Sato not having an answer for Buakaw's sweeps and throws throughout. For many fans, this was an important fight for Banchamek, as his last loss was to Andy Souwer in 2009, but since then the level of competition has been called into question for his fights in Thai Fight and MAX Muay Thai. With Sato being a benchmark it is clear that Banchamek is still in top form against a solid opponent.

Jingreedtong walked away as the victor in the one-night tournament, as well as Aikpracha and HIROYA picking up big wins as well.

MAX Muay Thai IV: Sendai

Buakaw Banchamek (R3 - Decision) Yoshihiro Sato

Final: Jingreedtong (R3 - Decision) Dylan Salvador

Aikpracha Meenayothin (R3 - Decision) Tomoaki Makino

HIROYA (R3 - Decision) Sapanpetch Sit-Itisukato

Semi-Final: Jingreedtong (R3 - Decision) Alessandro Campagna

Semi-Final: Dylan Salvador (R3 - Decision) Yuya Yamato

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Video: Watch Buakaw Banchamek Dismantle Zhang Chunyu

  • Published in Video

If I were to describe Buakaw Banchamek's 2014 it would probably be in one word; active. Buakaw fought for the fifth time this year yesterday in Belarus at the Top King World Series event in the first part of a huge 70kg tournament. He fought Chinese fighter Zhang Chunyu in the first round of this tournament and pretty much dominated him, as you'd probably expect. Check out the video below for all of your Buakaw squashing dudes needs.

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MAX Muay Thai Results: Buakaw Beats Kehl, Sagetdao Wins Tournament

  • Published in Asia

Sagetdao

MAX Muay Thai held their last event of the year, MAX Muay Thai The Final Chapter in Thailand today, which saw a huge main event featuring Buakaw Banchamek vs. Enriko Kehl, which always struck me as odd knowing that both Buakaw and Kehl will be fighting for K-1 on December 28th in separate fights, but hey, the more fights featuring these two the better, I say. There was also a 4-man tournament featuring Sagetdao, Andrei Kubelin, Victor Ngabe and Dylan Salvador.

Buakaw and Kehl fought a very tough fight, with Kehl looking good at first, but Buakaw really running away with the fight as it went on, opening up a nasty cut on Kehl's forehead which almost stopped the fight, but the doctors decided that he could continue. Kehl still landed some solid blows throughout, but Buakaw seemed to be on form and had an answer for everything Kehl threw at him.

 

  • Buakaw Banchamek (R3 - Decision) Enriko Kehl
  • Tournament Final: Sagetdao (R3 - Decision) Victor Ngabe
  • MAX Ultimate: Ekapracha (R1 - TKO) Tomoyuki Nishikawa
  • Tournament: Victor Ngabe (R3 - Decision) Dylan Salvador
  • Tournament: Sagetdao (R3 - Decision) Andrei Kubelin
  • Khem Sitsongpeenong (R3 - Decision) Vahid Roshani

 

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LiverKick Throwback: Buakaw vs. Masato K-1 World MAX Finals 2004

  • Published in K-1

The world of kickboxing has a rich history to fall back upon so we here at LiverKick figure, why not? Why not give a glimpse into some of the fights from the past that have made up this wonderful sport and tie it all in to the present. The kids on the Instagram and Twitter like to call Thursdays "Throwback Thursdays," I'm just going to say that this is a LiverKick Throwback.

Let's travel back in time now, all the way back to 2004. Yes, 2004, almost exactly ten years ago to the day, on July 7th, 2004. The K-1 World MAX Finals were the hottest ticket in town since Masato's win in the first ever tournament back in 2002 and Buakaw Banchamek (formerly Por. Pramuk) vs. Masato was the fight that everyone was clawing to see. They were the best of the best; Masato representing the Japanese bushido spirit and Buakaw the best that Thailand had to offer (regardless of your opinion, he was the best in kickboxing at the time). 

This fight was everything that K-1 was meant to embody; Japan vs. Thailand, the foreigner vs. the hometown hero and it delivered in spades. We can look back upon this fight and marvel at the display, the heart and fortitude shown and how K-1 saw Buakaw as a threat to their Japanese-centric MAX brand. This fight was the poor kid from Thailand against the groomed mega-star of Japan and it is beautiful. 

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