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The Official LiverKick.com Rankings

  • Published in Rankings
Heavyweight (Per 7/17)

1 Rico Verhoeven
2 Daniel Ghita
3 Errol Zimmerman
4 Anderson Silva
5 Benjamin Adegbuyi
6 Peter Aerts
7 Hesdy Gerges
8 Mirko Filipovic
9 Ben Edwards
10 Zabit Samedov

Light

Heavyweight (Per 7/17)

1 Gokhan Saki
2 Tyrone Spong
3 Danyo Ilunga
4 Nathan Corbett
5 Saulo Cavalari
6 Artem Vakhitov
7 Mourad Bouzidi
8 Igor Jukovic
9 Michael Duut
10 Andrei Stoica
Middleweight (Per 7/17)

1 Artem Levin
2 Joe Schilling
3 Wayne Barrett
4 Filip Verlinden
5 Simon Marcus
6 Alex Pereira
7 Sahak Parparyan
8 Melvin Manhoef
9 Jason Wilnis
10 Israel Adesanya
Welterweight (Per 7/17)

1 Nieky Holzken
2 Joseph Valtellini
3 Marc De Bonte
4 Karapet Karapetyan
5 Artur Kyshenko
6 Raymond Daniels
7 Karim Ghajji
8 Aussie Ouzgni
9 Alexander Stetsurenko
10 Paul Daley
Lightweight (Per 7/17)

1 Davit Kiria
2 Andy Ristie
3 Robin Van Roosmalen
4 Giorgio Petrosyan
5 Murthel Groenhart
6 Buakaw Banchamek
7 Dzhabar Askerov
8 Andy Souwer
9 Ky Hollenbeck
10 Aikpracha
Featherweight (Per 7/17)

1 Mosab Amrani
2 Yuta Kubo
3 Masaaki Noiri
4 Gabriel Varga
5 Sagetdao
6 Liam Harrison
7 Shane Oblonsky
8 Yodkhupon Sitmonchai
9 Chibin Lim
10 Marcus Vinicius
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Badr Hari vs. Tony Gregory Official For It's Showtime, May 14 in Lyon, France

  • Published in Kickboxing

The Bad Boy is Back!They say that the news never sleeps, and in that regard, neither do I, apparently. Keeping Dutch hours leads you to find pretty cool stuff in the wee hours of the morning, and it turns out that Badr Hari's return opponent has been announced by It's Showtime, officially, as has the rest of the Lyon card and it is lining up to be absolutely incredible.

The main event features the return of the Bad Boy, Badr Hari! Badr will be coming back after a year layoff due to some nagging legal issues, and his return opponent has been hotly debated for the past few weeks or so. The long-standing rumor was that the fight between Gokhan Saki and Badr Hari that was originally airmarked for the Amsterdam ArenA show would materialize in Lyon, but instead local kickboxer Tony Gregory has been called back into action to fight Badr Hari. This is a great return bout for Badr Hari, as it gives him a chance to hone his skills and gives him a bit of a cushion before heading back into the deep waters. Tony Gregory retired from kickboxing a few years ago to pursue a boxing career, but after disappointing results he finds himself back in the kickboxing mix, this time against one of the most dangerous fighters in the kickboxing world.

Tyrone Spong steps back into the It's Showtime ring, this time at Heavyweight as he'll take on Igor Mihaljevic, a Croatian Heavyweight. Igor provides a stiff challenge at Heavyweight for Spong, who is right now training with King Mo Lawal in Holland. Spong looks to cement his spot as one of the elite Heavyweights in the world by taking the fight to Igor here. Paul Slowinski's jam-packed year doesn't stop just yet, as he will take on the man that is more of a beast, the Romanian Daniel Ghita. Ghita looks to be heading into his fight with Hesdy Gerges in a few weeks, and a fight against Slowinski will provide another challenge, but will Slowinski just be a stepping stone for Ghita?

Then we move down from Heavyweight to Middleweight, as It's Showtime's 70kg MAX division fills out the rest of the card, with two-time K-1 MAX World Grand Prix Champion Giorgio Petrosyan takes on a fighter that last year put on one of the best fights imaginable against Mike Zambidis, Chahid Oulad El Hadj. This is a huge fight for Chahid, and for Petrosyan it is just another day at the office. With It's Showtime planning a 70kg MAX tournament in July and both men rumored to be involved, a win here is huge for momentum.

It's Showtime's 70kg MAX champion defends his crown finally, as Chris Ngimbi looks to ward off Willy Borrell. Ngimbi's title win has been disputed by some fans, so a strong performance by Ngimbi can help solidify his spot in It's Showtime this year and help build momentum for the MAX tournament in Russia this July. Rounding out the card is Abder Penda facing off against Marat Grigorian at 70kg, with both men looking to leave a big impression on the international kickboxing scene.

I'll say this, It's Showtime hasn't disappointed yet and keeps marching forward for what looks to be a banner year. I know many fans are upset with the lack of K-1, but It's Showtime is really churning out the big cards. [source]

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Exclusive Simon Rutz Interview

  • Published in Interviews

SimonRutzAmidst 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.

Read on for part 1 of this 2 part exclusive LiverKick.com interview, as we get 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: It’s a shame you may not run in the Amsterdam Arena this year. When did you begin to think this show might not happen?

Simon Rutz: We have already known for many years that K-1 has big problems, but a few months ago they said to me that they have a new investor.  That was the reason why I agreed to cooperate on the Amsterdam Arena event in May this year.  Around Christmas I felt that there was something wrong with their situation because they didn’t answer my requests anymore.

LK: What were the plans for the show? Did you have fighters already lined up?

SR: When It’s Showtime and K-1 cooperate I always give my suggestions, and most of the time they use them.  My suggestions for this year were: Badr Hari vs. Gokhan Saki; Peter Aerts vs. Tyrone Spong; and Hesdy Gerges vs. Alistair Overeem, Errol Zimmerman, or someone else.

LK: We’ve heard a lot about K-1 not paying fighters, and I know Giorgio Petrosyan had problems with that last year. Are there It’s Showtime or Black Label fighters who are waiting to be paid by K-1?

SR: Yes, the following fighters have not been paid for a fight: Melvin Manhoef, Tyrone Spong, Daniel Ghita, Hesdy Gerges, Gago Drago, Pajonsuk, Dzevad Poturak, Chahid, and Giorgio Petrosyan still needs his win bonus from the last K-1 MAX tournament.  It is a lot of money! I never let our fighters fight before they are paid for their last fight.  I hear that some other fighters haven’t gotten their money for 4 fights.  It is a sad situation for all the fighters.

LK:  Given all these problems, what, in your opinion, does K-1 need to do to survive?

SR: They need a lot of money, and they must ask my advice (and do something with that advice) because they do a lot of stupid things.

LK: If they don’t get that money, and they don’t survive, what will it mean for kickboxing and for It’s Showtime?

SR: If they don’t survive it is very bad for the sport and for many fighters.  For It’s Showtime, it would mean that we are the number 1 kickboxing organization in the world and everybody will look to us.  We are getting busy like never before.  We have already seen a movement from K-1 to It’s Showtime.  Almost every day I talk with people around the world who want to organize an It’s Showtime event in their country.

LK: Would you ever consider buying out K-1?

SR: Why should I do that?  I have my own brand and company who is healthy and is going very well.  Also, what am I buying then?  Only a lot of problems!  The [K-1] name is very strong, but I already have a good name.  I will keep my money in my pocket!

LK: You said you are talking with people around the world, and this looks like a huge year for you with new events in England, Germany, and Spain. Any details on those shows?

SR: Our schedule for the year is now: March 6 – Amsterdam, Holland; March 26 – Brussels, Belgium; May 14 – Lyon, France (not signed yet); May – Manheim, Germany (not signed yet); June 11 – Warsaw, Poland; July 23 – Sochi, Russia; August 27 – Sarajevo, Bosnia; September 18 – Amsterdam, Holland; September 24 – Manchester, England (not signed yet); October 8 – Geneva, Switzerland; End of December in Amsterdam for the It’s Showtime Christmas Edition again.  We are also talking about It’s Showtime events in Spain, Ukraine, and Australia.  As you see, we are really busy.  We have at least 10 big events this year, maybe 12.

LK: You know I have to ask – any further info on possibly running in the United States?

SR: I am getting more and more interest for It’s Showtime events in the US.  Last week, one of the TV stations from the US bought our It’s Showtime events, so that is starting.  I also am speaking with several people to see what the possibilities are in the US.  But when we start, we will start slowly with events for 2,000 people.

LK:  With all this expansion, where do you want It’s Showtime to be in 2 years?

SR: Pff......... 6 months ago I said that in 5 years It’s Showtime would organize between 15 and 20 events a year, but we are going so fast, maybe next year we will already be doing 15 events a year!

Check back tomorrow for the conclusion of this interview as we discuss Remy Bonjasky’s retirement, Cosmo Alexandre, the Hesdy Gerges/Semmy Schilt controversy, and of course, Badr Hari.

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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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LiverKick Podcast - Vol. 4: It's Showtime 55, Heavyweight Kickboxing

  • Published in LK Podcast

You know that you are doing something right when you get emails and tweets asking you do to more of something. Especially in the age of the internet where just about everything sucks according to somebody and comments sections on just about every site turns into armchair grammarians, historians and experts of all kinds decide to dig their heels into the sand and prove their internet superiority. So you asked for more of the LiverKick podcast and we are more than happy than to bring it directly to you.

This week Rian (@rianscalia) and myself (@liverkickdotcom / @locuststar) talk about It's Showtime 55, looking through the card and giving analysis on the future for these fighters and some of the divisions. We take a long, hard look at how these fights affect the rest of 2012 in the Kickboxing world, especially at Heavyweight. The retirement of Badr Hari and rising of Daniel Ghita and Errol Zimmerman really paints a new picture at Heavyweight.

So go ahead and give it a listen. Into and outtro provided by my own project called Night Terrain (@nightterrain).

{music}podcast{/music}

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Badr Hari Retires, Daniel Ghita the Man to Beat at Heavyweight

  • Published in Kickboxing

It's Showtime 55 was an explosive show, and in the realm of the Heavyweight division helped to organize it and make some sense of what was a rather confusing division. The retirement of Badr Hari was the big story for this show, and quite honestly, Badr Hari looked better than he has looked in a long, long time in the ring. He was focused, in control and defending just about everything that Saki had to offer. It is a shame that we will not get to watch him fight again for an undisclosed amount of time, but he is off to try his hand at Boxing where he will try to become a star in America.

What is clear is that Daniel Ghita's win over Hesdy Gerges has proven that Ghita is finally making good on his potential. Ghita burst onto the international scene in 2009 when he first appeared in the It's Showtime ring, stopping Tomas Hron with deadly low kicks. He then went on to win the K-1 WGP Final Qualifying Tournament in Japan three months later, which gave him the unenviable task of making his K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16 debut against Semmy Schilt. Ghita was yet to become a complete fighter and Semmy was able to pick him apart in typical Schilt fashion. The years that have followed have been important learning years for Ghita, with the last two years in particular with him realizing that he needed to improve his hands to hang with the elite Heavyweights.

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Badr Hari Retires From Kickboxing to Begin Boxing Career

  • Published in K-1

Not many events in the kickboxing world can leave you speechless, but the retirement of one of Heavyweight Kickboxing's biggest stars in the past ten years will do just that. The big secret announcement from It's Showtime was originally scheduled for Friday but was then pushed back to today. In the meantime, word got out that Badr Hari would take on Gokhan Saki on January 28th for It's Showtime. To many, this was the big announcement that It's Showtime was trying to keep under wraps, but it would turn out to be much bigger.

Badr Hari has spoken about his desire to enter the world of Boxing for a long time now, much more seriously over the past year. This includes talk of possible Olympic Boxing that seemed to die off and talking with Michael Schiavello in a Voice Versus episode about possibly leaving kickboxing for boxing. Add in the steady decline of K-1 over the past few years and Badr Hari's legal troubles and kickboxing became less and less his passion.

Tonight It's Showtime sent around a press release announcing Badr Hari's retirement from kickboxing on January 28th against his hand-selected opponent of Gokhan Saki. The irony is, of course, that Gokhan Saki might do exactly the same thing next year and pass on Kickboxing to enter into the Boxing or MMA world. It's Showtime also casts some serious doubt onto the possibility of the K-1 World Grand Prix;

If K-1 will host a World Grand Prix this year, Badr will also participate to that. The Grand Prix Final is scheduled for December 10 in China. If this World Grand Prix will take place, depends if K-1 will be able to pay its debts to IT’S SHOWTIME and others. If not, the fight on January 28 will be Badr’s only remaining fight as a kickboxer.

This is huge, if not crushing news to kickboxing fans around the world and good news for Boxing.

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LiverKick Podcast - Vol. 3

  • Published in LK Podcast

After a bit of a break for the holidays and other assorted nonsense the LiverKick Podcast makes it's [mildly] glorious return. As always, Rian Scalia (@rianscalia) joins myself (@LiverKickdotcom / @LocustStar) as we discuss the latest happenings in the world of Kickboxing. We take a look at some of the huge announcements from Golden Glory, including a card announcement for March 23rd as well as them announcing three huge tournaments and the whole saga of them and the K-1 name. Then we move on to look at the Yokkao Extreme card that went down yesterday before bringing it all back to It's Showtime which goes down next week.

Fight the good fight and listen to the LiverKick Podcast. Intro and outtro music provided by Night Terrain (@nightterrain).

{music}podcast{/music}

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LiverKick Podcast - Volume 6

  • Published in LK Podcast

podcast

It has been too long (again), hasn't it? The LiverKick Podcast makes its return after two weeks of absence with all of the latest news from the Kickboxing world. This week we take a look at the It's Showtime, SuperKombat and Fight Code cards that went down this weekend, as well as a look forward for K-1 and the Glory World Series.. Rian Scalia (@rianscalia) and myself (@liverkickdotcom / @locuststar) give our thoughts on the cards, from the good to the bad to the downright ugly.

{music}podcast{/music}

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