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'The Godfather of Kickboxing' Thom Harinck Back Into the Mix

  • Published in Kickboxing

In 1972, director Francis Ford Coppola breathed life into Mario Puzo's most famous crime drama, The Godfather. The story and its subsequent sequels chronicled the story of the Corleone family from their origins in Sicily, rise to power and finally the efforts of the family to legitimize the family's name and fortune. One of the best scenes in trilogy is when an exasperated Michael Corleone exclaims, "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!"

Why even bring up The Godfather on a kickboxing site?

Why, because sometimes the truth can be stranger than fiction. On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, something else big was happening in 1972, the founding of Chakuriki Gym in Amsterdam by Thom Harinck. The 'Chakuriki' style which represents a fusion of techniques from boxing, Kyokushin karate, judo, jujitsu wrestling, Muay Thai and Savate for over forty years became a dominant influence on the fighting styles of many of the biggest names in kickboxing. Among his many talented pupils standouts such as Peter Aerts, Andy Hug, Badr Hari, Melvin Manhoef, Branko Cikatic, Hesdy Gerges, Pedro Rizzo, Jerome LeBanner and countless others have had their careers and fighting style shaped by Harinck's Chakuriki philosophy. In 2013, however, one of the most influential men in the sport decided to retire. At that time Harinck stated that he would continue to support the sport from the sidelines focusing his energy on the completion of a book about his life, spending time with his family, participating in European forums regarding kickboxing, and of course doing seminars all over the world.

During his first year of retirement, Thom Harinck was still one of the busiest retirees I had ever met. In 2015, one of his former pupils, current Glory light heavyweight champion, Saulo Cavalari reached out to him for management services. Always one to support the sport and his former pupils, Harinck agreed. With one foot already back in the game, 2016, Thom Harinck has decided to take Chakuriki full throttle again, coaching a small number of his former pupils including Saulo Cavalari, Hesdy Gerges and Amir Zeyada. Just when he thought he was out, they pulled him back in. His comeback has not been unconditional. While Harinck has sold his old gym in Amsterdam, he has found another place to train and it, like before, is under the Chakuriki system: hard training, no talking, no drugs. The Chakuriki style according to Harinck is not just a fight style, it's a lifestyle and in 2016 it begins again. For forty years Thom Harinck dedicated his life to training boys to be the best men in the ring and as long as he has his health, he's dedicated to training for many more. Watch out Glory, K-1, SuperKombat......Harinck's back.

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Photo of the Day: Giorgio Petrosyan, Gago Drago and Melvin Manhoef Partying with Alexander Gustafsson

  • Published in Kickboxing

If the average picture if worth a thousand words then I'm not really sure what this one is worth. Ruslan Suleymanov, the owner of LEGEND, recently turned 35 years old. What better way to celebrate turning 35 than by having a huge birthday party featuring some of the best fighters of the world just hanging out, right? Benson Henderson, Alexander Gustafsson, Andy Souwer, Giorgio Petrosyan, Melvin Manhoef and Gago Drago were among the names of fighters that were in attendance, but there were more, a lot more. 

Ben Pontier was there snapping up photos of the whole thing, which is when he captured this moment above. I don't even know.

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Full Yokkao 9 Fight Card

  • Published in Muay Thai

On May 24th in Xinyang Stadium Yokkao will present Yokkao 9, a card that promises to bring some of the best Kickboxing and Muay Thai to China. Pakorn was forced to pull out due to illness, but has been replaced by Phiaphaeng Walchart and, if you'll notice, there are a lot of K-1 rules bouts on this card. That has to do more with the Thailand vs. China theme and how Chinese fighters perform better under Kickboxing rules.

The main bout is Sudsakorn vs. Yi Long in a bout billed as Muay Thai vs. Gung Fu.

  • *** YOKKAO 9 Fight Card ***
  • Saturday 24th May - Xinyang Stadium (China)
  • Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee (Thailand) vs Yi Long (China)
  • -72kg K-1 rules 3x3
  • N'Diaye Carl (France) vs Fang Bian (China)
  • -80kg K-1 rules 3x3
  • Imwiset Pornnarai (Thailand) vs Qiu Jianliang (China)
  • -67kg Muay Thai Full Rules 3x3
  • Calogero Palmeri (Italy) vs Yang Zhou (China)
  • -67kg K-1 rules 3x3
  • Ekapop Sor Klinmee (Thailand) vs Nu Er La (China)
  • -80kg K-1 rules 3x3
  • Runmai Mo Tammachat (Thailand) vs Ji Wenhao (China)
  • -58kg Muay Thai Full Rules 3x3
  • Igor Klimovich (Belarus) vs Li Ning (China)
  • -60kg K-1 rules 3x3
  • Kamel Meztani (France) Guo Xi Chuang (China)
  • -74kg K-1 rules 3x3
  • Philaphaeng Walchart (Thailand) vs Deng Ze Qi (China) ***Pakorn injured
  • -65kg Muay Thai Full Rules 3x3
  • Gustavo Ferreira De Oliveira Mendes (Brazil) vs Zhou Tao (China)
  • -70kg K-1 rules 3x3
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Gokhan Saki Issues Statement About GLORY Contract Negotiations

  • Published in Glory

It didn't take long for Gokhan Saki to want to share with the world his side of the contract dispute that has been ongoing with GLORY for the better part of a year and a half now. Earlier this week GLORY announced that the GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship was vacated due to Saki not defending it for well over a year, with them even extending that period to attempt to work out a deal between the two sides. They were unable to come to terms, which from what we've heard has mostly been about money. 

Saki was making in the range of $200,000 per fight before and GLORY simply didn't see the value in such a contract considering how their other stars are compensated. This isn't boxing and it isn't top level UFC, sadly. The money just isn't there to justify exorbitant contracts. Early on in GLORY many stars were signed to bloated contracts which simply don't reflect the current market for kickboxing. For Saki there is interest from GFC who is willing to pay him and has proven that they are willing to pay for name stars, as seen by Badr Hari's working agreement with them.

Saki released a statement through kickboxing blog Kickboxing Planet early this morning that attempts to explain his side of the story. What's clear is that Saki is very, very upset over this, but the statement itself is, well, a bit rough.

Bellator fans, the people in the USA are not going to see top quality kickboxing and this is bad for the sport. When you win the belt on Sept. 19 you can keep the price money but I expect the winner to hand the belt over to me and acknowledge that he didn’t beat the best. I mostly don’t talk like this and maybe there are a lot of emotions right now. But now that I offended anyone, I did that on purpose and I’m not sorry about it.

During this rant he describes his social media following as a point of value of him over the competition within the division, going as far as to make claims that the rest of the division are nobodies compared to him. This statement is... not a good look for a fighter in the public eye and chances are if there was an open dialogue between GLORY and Saki's camp that dialogue has most likely been shut down. 

It's easy to sympathize with Gokhan Saki as he is without a doubt one of the best fighters in the world and has worked extremely hard to reach that level. Before the market imploded he was without a doubt one of the more valuable stars. Hopefully he is able to make the money that he believes that he deserves and will continue fighting for his fans across the world. 

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Crowdsourcing Questions for Nieky Holzken

  • Published in Interviews

Glory

This time around we are trying something new, as we are teaming up with MixFight.nl to co-op an interview with GLORY 13 Welterweight Champion Nieky Holzken by crowdsourcing the questions. So leave your questions in the comments, on Facebook or Twitter and we'll pass them along.

"As part of an international partnership with mixfight.nl and liverkick.com we will visit and interview GLORY's brand new welterweight champion Nieky Holzken. We will ask Nieky about his preparation regarding his last tournament, winning the title and the celebration ceremony that followed, but we will also ask how his schedule will look like this year.

As usual we will give the fans the opportunity to ask questions. If you got any questions just ask them here and Nieky will answer your questions the interview will be published on mixfight.nl and liverkick.com."

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Andy Souwer Drops Decision to Tsukuru Midorikawa in Japan

  • Published in Asia

Souwer

Today in Japan Andy Souwer made his return to the ring after his December bout with appendicitis that left him sidelined and forced to pull out of a few bouts. Souwer has been back at training for a few weeks and took a fight in Japan for the RIKIX "No Kick, No Life" event on February 11th. Souwer fought against Japan's Tsukuru Midorikawa in a bout that went all five rounds, with two of the judges scoring the fight for Midorikawa and one for Souwer.

Outside of some Japanese play-by-play there isn't much about the fight so it's unclear how it really went down, but one would have to say that this is a disappointing start to 2014 for Andy Souwer who maybe returned a bit too quickly after his surgery.

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Eduard Irimia Explains that SUPERKOMBAT Fighters Can Fight for Anyone

  • Published in Kickboxing

SuperKombat

SUPERKOMBAT has an interesting stable of fighters at its disposal, guys like Benjamin Adegbuyi, Bogdan and Andrei Stoica, Catalin Morosanu, Raul Catinas and Sebastien Ciobanu. While lots of promoters force fighters into exclusive contracts, Eduard Irimia would like to make it clear that fighters under the employ of SUPERKOMBAT are not held to those kinds of restrictions. In fact, he encourages fighters under the SK banner to gain experience outside of the SUPERKOMBAT organization.

In the article, which was posted to Romanian luptatorii.ro, Irimia talks about his "gentlemen's agreement" with Pierre Andurand and GLORY, stating that they are not rivals and that he would be happy to send some of his fighters to GLORY. There is also a brief mention that Irimia would allow fighters to fight for K-1 as well.

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Sung-Hyun Lee Isn't Afraid of Buakaw Banchamek

  • Published in K-1

K-1

This weekend Buakaw Banchamek will square off against Korea's Sung-Hyun Lee in the K-1 World MAX Final Four event. This event is scheduled for February 23rd and will air on http://www.k-1.tv via a free stream. No doubt that this is a huge fight for Sung-Hyun Lee, who was competing at 65kg previously before deciding to move up to 70kg in 2013 and enter the K-1 World MAX tournament. Now he has reached the coveted Final Four and will fight the legendary Buakaw Banchamek, but don't color him scared, because he's not. [source]

"In a lot of ways Buakaw is a fighter with basic patterns. He has a lot of power but his combinations are easy to predict. He does not have the technical ability or combination punching of European fighters like Andy Souwer. I feel my style matches up better with Buakaw than those fighters.

I am not that worried about his power. In 2009 I fought a Thai fighter named Ping Poongkwa. I remember his body kicks felt like being hit by a steel pipe. I fought a lot of other Thais but none of them had that kind of serious power. I feel people are just afraid of Buakaw because of his “name”."

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GLORY 26 Airing Live on ESPN3, Two Day Delay on ESPN2

  • Published in Glory

There has been some speculation online about the future of GLORY and if the ESPN deal was a "one and done." GLORY CEO Jon Franklin discussed that there was a verbal agreement between GLORY and ESPN to air GLORY 26 as well while they continued with negotiations and now, today, according to ESPN's WatchESPN website, we know when it will be airing on ESPN platforms. 

GLORY 26 will air live on ESPN3 once again, this time at 4pm Eastern. Much like the previous event, it will air on ESPN2 via tape delay, only this time it won't be 1:30am in the morning. Instead it will air on Sunday, December 6th at 8pm Eastern time. This is a two day tape delay, but on prime time. Airing on a Sunday during football season seems like a hard win for kickboxing, with the Packers vs. the Lions airing at 6:30pm eastern on the same evening. 

We'll have to see how it turns out, but it is good to see that GLORY and ESPN have gotten things ironed out for the next event. 

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