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LiverKick.com Heavyweight Rankings: May 2011

  • Published in Rankings

Heavyweight

1. Semmy Schilt
2. Badr Hari
3. Peter Aerts
4. Gokhan Saki
5. Hesdy Gerges
6. Daniel Ghita
7. Tyrone Spong
8. Kyotaro
9. Ewerton Teixeira
10. Jerome Le Banner

Welcome back to the LiverKick.com rankings. These rankings are an attempt to break down the top 10 fighters in three different weight classes - Heavyweight, for fighters above the 85kg limit, Middleweight, for fighters at the 70-72.5kg limit, and Light Heavyweight, for fighters at the 77-84kg limit. Our rankings are based on in-ring accomplishments and recent wins and loses. We hope they reflect where these fighters currently stand, although we recognize that all rankings are inherently subjective.

May 2011

We've decided to take a different approach to the rankings, in the past Fraser Coffeen handled them, but as many are aware, Fraser has since had to step down from his responsibilities at LiverKick.com and has since moved on to other ventures. Our Top 10 list a while back moved on to being a top 25 to reflect a uniformity with our then home of SBNation. We've decided to move back to only including the Top 10 and to opt for the inclusion of Light Heavyweight (77kg - 84kg) to reflect the depth of talent in that weight class.

Former #1 Alistair Overeem has been removed from the rankings after some intense discussion, we've come to the conclusion that as long as he is contracted with Zuffa the chances of Overeem fighting in another organization as a kickboxer has decreased to about zero. We are sad to see a talent such as his be confined to only Mixed Martial Arts but will continue to cheer him on.

This means that there was a lot of reshuffling to the weight classes for them to make sense, as with K-1's silence and a sincere doubt that there will be a K-1 World Heavyweight Grand Prix this year, we take a more global look at the weight classes and rankings for them. It is without dispute that the most accomplished kickboxer at Heavyweight/Super Heavyweight, and the man to beat is Semmy Schilt. Schilt does hold a WGP loss to Peter Aerts in 2011 and a loss to Badr Hari in 2010, but outside of that his record is pristine.

After a year of inaction, Badr Hari returned to the ring against a less-than-game Gregory Tony. Tony's performance might have been shameful, but Hari was in good shape, kept his cool and there is a promise of a bout with Tyrone Spong or Daniel Ghita on the horizon for It's Showtime in the Fall. For his recent accomplishments, though, without a doubt Badr Hari is one of the men to beat and secures his spot at #2. Mr. K1, Peter Aerts shocked the world taking it to Sem Schilt in December, making the Finals of the Heavyweight GP. Aerts had stated before the Grand Prix that it would be his last and he is contemplating retirement, so under those circumstances and for his recent accomplishments, the #3 slot is a great fit for him.

#4 Gokhan Saki is in action at the end of this month in the finals of the Glory World Series Heavyweight Tournament, where he'll take on Brice Guidon. While the tournament was not the toughest road for Saki, a win in it would further cement his spot in the top 5. We hope to see him against other top 5 competition soon. #5 Hesdy Gerges has once again been released from police custody and will be in action this weekend at It's Showtime. His bout with #6 Daniel Ghita was the biggest Heavyweight fight of the year so far and his win cemented his spot above Ghita. #7 Tyrone Spong is where things get messy, Spong holds a victory over #8 Kyotaro last year, who himself is largely inactive without K-1, but has a loss to #10 Jerome Le Banner. Le Banner of course has his forfeit loss to Kyotaro but little else outside of the Spong win recently. #9 Ewerton Teixeira is another fighter who only fights for K-1 so is in a state of limbo for the time being.

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Simon Rutz Interview Part 2

  • Published in Interviews

Simon RutzAmidst all the bad K-1 news, Europe’s top fighting organization, It’s Showtime, has been a hot topic of conversation lately. As plans for 2011 come together, we’re seeing more and more events announced by the company, who find themselves constantly expanding their product throughout the world. But in the middle of all the positive news came an unfortunate announcement last week – due to a planned co-promotion with K-1 falling through, It’s Showtime would not run their big annual show at the Amsterdam Arena in 2011.

Between this latest news, all the rumors swirling around K-1, Badr Hari’s return, and various other stories, now seemed like a good time to speak to the always forthcoming It’s Showtime president Simon Rutz. As always, Mr. Rutz offered plenty of insight into their dealings with K-1 and so much more.

If you missed part 1 yesterday, click here for the story on exactly what happened with the canceled Amsterdam Arena event and the state of affairs for K-1 and It’s Showtime.

LiverKick.com Exclusive Interview with Simon Rutz Part 2

LiverKick.com: It’s very exciting to hear Badr Hari will return in May in Lyon. Is that fight confirmed?

Simon Rutz: It is not confirmed yet because the contract is not signed, but I think we will have the contract signed in 2 weeks.

LK: Any news on his return opponent?

SR: At this moment we are talking with possible opponents.

LK: Where do his legal troubles stand?

SR: Nobody knows what will happen in the future with this case! This case was big in the news in The Netherlands, but from what I understand, the police still don’t have any witnesses.

LK: So do you have concerns about Hari’s reputation considering the trouble kickboxing recently had with the government in Amsterdam?

SR: Of course it doesn’t help! But these are two totally different cases. Amsterdam wants to have big sports events in their city, but with one of the biggest events (It’s Showtime), they make it difficult. When we don’t run show in the future in Amsterdam, it will be a shame for the city, but not for It’s Showtime. We will survive with or without Amsterdam.

LK: Remy Bonjasky is working with It’s Showtime now. Have you discussed him having a retirement fight with you?

SR: Yes, I discussed a retirement fight for him, but the money he asked for I don’t want to pay! Of course he can ask, but believe me, nobody will pay him that much money!

LK: How did you feel about K-1’s response to the protest regarding the Hesdy Gerges vs. Semmy Schilt fight?

SR: What they said and did was bullshit. They say that the corner for Schilt was wrong, and they punished the judges? I understand why K-1 did this, because last year they didn’t get Badr Hari and Remy Bonjasky, so they needed the 4 time K-1 winner Semmy Schilt in the final. I think if Hesdy Gerges was in the final, it would have been a totally different final.

LK: You had an unfortunate falling out with Cosmo Alexandre last year. Why couldn’t that situation be worked out?

SR: Because it was the second time he did something wrong. But for me there’s no problem. He is a nice guy and a good fighter, but I don’t use him anymore.

LK: I understand your clause regarding fighters taking fights before It’s Showtime shows – is that written in to their contracts?

SR: It’s always written in their contract, but with Cosmo, we didn’t write the contract because, stupid as I am sometime, a word from me is more important than a contract. But don’t misunderstand me, in 99% of the cases we have a contract!

LK: Tyrone Spong is no longer the 95kg champ. Any idea when there will be a fight for that title, and who might fight for it?

SR: Yes, I am working on that and I think that 2 fighters are fighting for this title on March 6 in Amsterdam. Soon I will let everybody know.

LK: Melvin Manhoef said on twitter that he likely won’t fight for It’s Showtime this year. Might he be stripped of the 85kg belt?

SR: If he doesn’t fight for his title, yes I will strip him of the belt because those are the rules! But Melvin is Melvin, one day he says that and the other day he thinks differently. Also, if he doesn’t fight this year for It’s Showtime and K-1 is broke, who else can pay him? Last time Melvin was disappointed because K-1 didn’t treat him well and that’s the case.

LK: What are your personal favorite fights in It’s Showtime history?

SR: Badr Hari vs. Sem Schilt, Mootje Khamal vs. Chahid, Ivan Hipolyte vs. Rayen Simson, Rob Kaman vs. Alexei Ignashov, and almost all the fights from Gago Drago.

LK: Last year when I spoke to you and asked who we should watch for in 2010, you brought up Aussi Ouzgni, who then had a great year. So, who should we watch out for in 2011?

SR: Marat Grigorian is one of the biggest talents in the world. Watch him.

LK: Anything else our readers should know?

SR: A lot of people think that It’s Showtime is happy that K-1 is broke, but believe me we hope that K-1 survives. That’s really better for the sport. Also personally I like the people from FEG like Mr. Tanikawa, but in my opinion they do a lot of strange things. For many years I have said to them that they must do things differently but every time they do the opposite. I think that they were afraid of It’s Showtime, but that is totally not necessary. The world is big enough for two good and big kickboxing organizations. Also, I want to say that life is beautiful! Carpe Diem!

 

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How the Arrest of Hesdy Gerges Effects the Kickboxing World

  • Published in Kickboxing

HesdyThe recent arrest of K-1 and It's Showtime star Hesdy Gerges throws a monkey wrench into the whole kickboxing world right now. The first impact felt by the arrest is for the March 6th It's Showtime event, where the scheduled main event was Daniel Ghita vs. Hesdy Gerges. It was a fight that fans around the globe were looking forward to, as it was a meeting of two of the kickboxing world's up-and-coming stars.

The second is that it is a third black mark on It's Showtime within the span of a year. Within a year we saw their biggest star, Badr Hari, jailed for assault on a police officer. Of course with Badr Hari this was not his first time he was in trouble with the law, and with the company that he keeps it was not a surprise to many when it happened. Then later on in the year, Ashwin Balrak, who has fought for It's Showtime, was involved in a cocaine bust. Now comes the arrest of Gerges.

To compound matters, Mayor Van der Laan of Amsterdam has publicly accused kickboxing organizations of bringing with them a criminal element to their shows and has local officials cracking down on these events. To run an event in Amsterdam, according to Simon Rutz in a recent interview, means jumping through lots of hoops to prove they are "clean."

This arrest alone could not come at a worse time for the kickboxing world. Things could get worse if Hesdy is found guilty for being involved in the incident, but for now, it is unclear what, if any, was his involvement. He was questioned last year about the arrest of his half brother, but was not a person of interest. The conjecture and "facts" I've seen floating around the internet are false at best; Hesdy was not found with cocaine at the time of the arrest that we know of, he was not in Belgium when his half brother was arrested last May.

For now we have to wait and see as the situation unfolds.

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Badr Hari or Tyrone Spong to Replace Hesdy Gerges Against Daniel Ghita

  • Published in Kickboxing

The Bad Boy is Back?Because we've wanted to get to the bottom of this whole Gerges mess, we've reached out to a lot of really strong sources on the matter, you know, the reliable type that is always happy to talk about stuff. Well, no one is saying a word about the Hesdy Gerges situation right now, which to me is not exactly the greatest sign, but could also be good for Hesdy Gerges as I simply think that a lot of people aren't sure what is going on.

There is one man that is talking, and he is talking about the other thing we care about; FIGHTS. Daniel Ghita has sparked a new rumor by appearing on Romanian television to talk about his upcoming fight, which he has no opponent. Apparently there are two men in contention right now to fight Ghita and both of them are very worthy replacements. The first is Tyrone Spong. Spong is the muay thai standout that within the under 95kgs division was seen as the best fighter, bar none. Well, he wanted to compete on the K-1 level, so he bulked up, and the results were mixed at first, but there has definitely been a positive change.

A fight with Ghita could be great for his career and a giant win that he has been looking for. The other opponent? None other than the Bad Boy himself, Badr Hari. Badr Hari is ready to fight, as he has been training since his release from prison and has recently been preparing to fight in May. We might not have to wait that long, though, as with Gerges on the shelf, Badr Hari could very well be his replacement and kick off 2011 with style, clashing with Daniel Ghita.

So, who would you like to see Ghita fight in the main event of It's Showtime's event on March 6?

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Hesdy Gerges to be Extradited to Belgium Regarding Drug Trafficking Charges

  • Published in K-1

GergesBack in February It's Showtime World Heavyweight Champion Hesdy Gerges was arrested for possible involvement in drug trafficking. Hesdy's brother as well as a friend were arrested in Belgium last year with over 120 kilos of cocaine when the case reached a bit of a dead end. Gerges, who was questioned last year but not charged in the case became a suspect again earlier this year, which almost got in the way of his big bout with Daniel Ghita in March.

According to de Telegraaf, a Dutch newspaper renowned for it's questionable material took the straight and narrow on this article, with very little editorializing. The issue is straight forward enough; Authorities in Belgium will get a chance to question and possibly detain Hesdy Gerges as Dutch Authorities have granted Gerges to be extradited to Belgium.

Of course the crux of this matter for kickboxing fans is not only Gerges' innocence, but that he has a bout coming up at It's Showtime at the Sand in Amsterdam against Chris Knowles. Gerges' legal problems once again come dangerously close to an It's Showtime main event featuring Hesdy Gerges, leaving It's Showtime in another possible jam. We can only hope that this matter is sorted out promptly and in time for It's Showtime at the Sand. [HT: Brent Ducharme]

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The Technical Brilliance of Daniel Ghita's KO of Hesdy Gerges

  • Published in Interviews

Gerges/Ghita

I think it is fair to say that everyone is thoroughly impressed with Ghita's knockout of Hesdy Gerges and his performance in general. Gerges is an incredibly tough fighter whose defenses are usually air tight. If you need an example of that, go no further than watching the controversial bout between Gerges and Badr Hari in 2010 where Badr Hari was throwing everything that he had at Gerges but Gerges would not go down. It led to one of the "Badr Moments" that we will all miss so much where Badr Hari pushed Gerges down and punted him in the face. After the beating that Badr put on Gokhan Saki, you should be able to appreciate just how good Gerges's defenses are against powerful hands.

So the marvel is that Daniel Ghita, the man who we have all labeled as the guy with no hands went ahead and took Gerges out of the game with a marvelous three-punch combination. Watch the fight again. The game plan for Gerges early on was to not allow Ghita to get into a rhythm with his kicks. Ghita quickly walked Gerges down into the corner and began his barrage of kicks, which Gerges was able to check or defend while keeping his hands up near his head to defend against possible punches. Ghita then began throwing combinations while in the corner, mixing it up just enough to begin cutting away at Gerges's defenses. Ghita's jab became incredibly important all of a sudden, as he was using it to set up the low kick, and then other times he was not. So now every time Ghita was throwing the jab, Gerges had to wonder if the low kick was going to follow, or if Ghita was just going to jab.

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Hesdy Gerges to Be Released Within the Week, Says Thom Harinck

  • Published in Kickboxing

(C) Ben PontierThere have been some clouds over the kickboxing world of late, as the first big kickboxing event of the year, Fighting Stars presents It's Showtime on March 6 had its main event threatened when headliner Hesdy Gerges was arrested for involvement in possible drug trafficking. His half brother was arrested last May in a warehouse in Belgium that contained 128 kilos of cocaine. Hesdy was already out of the picture in the investigation last year, but for some reason the investigation had stalled and he was put back in the picture last week. There was no cocaine or any weapons found in Gerges residence, unlike you'll see reported or rumored, and I've believed the entire time that Hesdy would not be held for much longer as the timeline doesn't add up for his involvement in this.

In May of last year, Hesdy Gerges was fighting for It's Showtime in their big ArenA event, fighting the highest profile fight of his career against Badr Hari. He made a huge impression, holding his own against the fighter known to be one of the best, if not best in the world. He was so on his game that it frustrated Badr Hari to the point of kicking him after tripping him and making international headlines. Hesdy Gerges became a household name due to that fight, and was invited back to K-1. His career finally taking off, on top of a tough training schedule doesn't leave much time or reason to throw it all away with a risky drug endeavor.

His trainer, Thom Harinck spoke with the Dutch Metro News today, and outright said, "Gerges has been framed." Fighter Stars and It's Showtime believe that Gerges is innocent as well and have not gone ahead with an official replacement yet. Harinck discussed why he believes Gerges is innocent, outlining his schedule. "He wakes up at 7:30, at 10:00am he trains with me, rests in the afternoon, then in the evening does strength and conditioning and is in bed by 10:00 PM. I cannot imagine that he still would have time for things like this."

Fighting Stars representatives believe that Gerges will still be able to make the event, and Harinck believes that Hesdy should be released by the end of the week, putting this whole nightmare behind us. [source]

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Keys to Victory: Hesdy Gerges

  • Published in Kickboxing

On March 6th, Daniel Ghita will take on Hesdy Gerges in the main event of It's Showtime Sporthallen Zuid. This is the second in a two-part series where I will lay out the keys to victory for each fighter. Today, we'll look at Hesdy Gerges. You can find the first part of this series here.

Strengths:

Athleticism - Hesdy is the taller and slimmer fighter and he'll have to use that to his advantage against Daniel. Gerges doesn't carry the kind of knockout power that Daniel does in his hands or kicks so he will have to rely on his ability to put combinations together and move in and out of Ghita's range to avoid his big punches and leg kicks. There are times in the past where Daniel has tired in the later rounds of a fight so that's somewhere Hesdy can capitalize if his stamina keeps up.

Range - When a fighter has a reach advantage and has the ability utilize it to their advantage, they often control the standup and dictate the pace. This is an area where Gerges can really control Ghita if he can enforce his will. If Hesdy can keep Ghita at the end of his jab, straight right, and leg kicks, it will pay big dividends as the fight progresses.

Kicks - Though not as devastating as Ghita's kicks, Gerges' kicks are effective and have won him fights in the past. Daniel's legs are like mighty Redwood trees and very durable but well placed kicks will have negative effects on any fighter if they are landed repeatedly. With Ghita relying on his kicks as much as he does, if Hesdy can slow them down even a little bit, that's a big plus for him.

Weaknesses:

Size - It sounds odd to list size as a weakness for the taller fighter but Gerges doesn't carry a lot of mass. Mass that can go a long way in absorbing the brutal body kicks and punches that Ghita brings to the table. We saw what those dangerous strikes did to Gokhan Saki in the 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix Quarterfinals. Saki's body was so wrecked that he could not continue for more than a moment against Alistair Overeem in the semifinals. This makes Gerges being able to stay out of Ghita's range even more important.

Complacency - When you have nearly half of your wins by way of decision, it can be argued that you should place a bigger emphasis on finishing a fight. Of course, there are a lot of tough fighters out there and you can't finish every fight by brutal KO, but allow a fighter of Daniel Ghita's caliber to hang around and it can cost you in a big way.

Keys to Victory:

For Hesdy Gerges to go home victorious on March 6th, he'll need to use his reach to stay outside of Daniel's range, pepper him with shots, and wear him down. A knockout is always a possibility in kickboxing but with Ghita only being finished by KO once in his career, I wouldn't rely on that. Hesdy needs to avoid Ghita's leg kicks in the early stages of the fight when Daniel is fresh and carrying big power in his legs.

If Hesdy Gerges can apply this gameplan against Daniel Ghita, I believe he can be victorious on March 6th.

Who are you picking to win? Leave me a comment and explain why.

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Hesdy Gerges vs. Errol Zimmerman Added to GLORY 11 Chicago

  • Published in Glory

Glory 11

Even if GLORY is shifting towards four-man tournaments, there is still going to be a need for a reserve fight in these tournaments and considering that the reserve fighters will have fought the same number of fights as the main tournament fighters, it seems a lot more even. It was announced today that at GLORY 11 Chicago and their huge Heavyweight tournament that we'll see a Heavyweight reserve bout between newly-signed Hesdy Gerges and Errol Zimmerman. Both men have been top ten Heavyweights for years now, with Zimmerman having an incredible run up until he ran into Semmy Schilt last year.

This is a very logical move on the part of GLORY and oddly enough, this is a fight that has never happened before. Never. It was expected to go down at the K-1 World Grand Prix in Nanjing in 2011, but FEG's financial problems led to that event not happening. So Chicago gets another big Heavyweight showdown between two of the best in the business, it is hard to complain about this card, which will be the promotion's debut on Spike TV.

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It's Showtime: Sporthallen Zuid Amsterdam Live Results and Commentary

  • Published in Kickboxing

Hesdy/GhitaJoin us here at LiverKick.com as we'll be doing live results and commentary for Fighting Stars Presents: It's Showtime Sporthallen Zuid Amsterdam, the event is live today, March 6th at 8pm CET/2pm EST/11am PST on http://www.showtimefights.com. The show is headlined by Hesdy Gerges squaring off against Daniel Ghita in a heavyweight showdown between two top prospects, as well as L'houcine "Aussie" Ouzgni, a fighter seen as the future of the 70kg division, against a legend in the division, Andy Souwer.

70kg MAX: Robin van Roosmalen (R3. - Decision) Chahid Oulad El Hadj

70kg MAX: William Diender (R3. - Decision) Rachid Belaini

It's Showtime 95kg MAX Championship: Danyo Ilunga (R5. - Decision) Wendell Roche

70kg MAX: Artur Kyshenko (R3. - Decision) Gago Drago

70kg MAX: Andy Souwer (R3. - Decision) L'houcine Ouzgni

Heavyweight: Hesdy Gerges (R3. - Decision) Daniel Ghita

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