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LiverKick.com Podcast - Volume 12: K-1 Final 16 and Lion Fight 7

  • Published in LK Podcast

Yet another weekend where the Kickboxing world gives us something of note to digest. This weekend was the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16 in Tokyo, and there was a lot to talk about. On top of that, we talk about Lion Fight 7 and more. Join Rian Scalia (@rianscalia) and myself (@LiverKickdotcom / @dvewlsh) as we run through the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16, a look at the field moving forward and other stuff.

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K-1 Announces Full May 27th Fight Card, Badr Hari vs. Anderson Silva

  • Published in K-1

K-1 Rising

It was only a matter of time before K-1 finalized their May 27th fight card, and now they've done just that. On top of the MAX line-up which was announced earlier on Friday, additional Superfights were announced late Friday evening via press release. A big question is the inclusion of Mosab Amrani vs. Zeben Diaz and how both men seem like a better fit than a fighter like Gago Drago who has fallen on tough times of late and might not belong in the K-1 World MAX Grand Prix. The big fights are at Heavyweight and are worth marveling at. The additional fights are as follows:

Superfight: Mosab Amrani vs. Zeben Diaz

Heavyweight: Badr Hari vs. Anderson "Braddock" Silva

Heavyweight: Mirko Cro Cop vs. Loren Javier Jorge

Heavyweight: Daniel Ghita vs. Paul Slowinski

Heavyweight: Rico Verhoeven vs. Sergei Laschenko

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Remy Bonjasky Deserves Better

  • Published in News

Bonjasky

Remy Bonjasky deserves better. He deserves better from the fans, he deserves better from his fellow fighters and he deserves better from GLORY.

Last night at GLORY 14 Zagreb we saw Remy Bonjasky’s career end in a fashion that would have made Harmonica from “Once Upon a Time in the West” feel uneasy. Remy Bonjasky’s career has cemented him as one of the all-time greats in Heavyweight Kickboxing, with three K-1 World Grand Prix victories under his belt. That puts him in the same category as fighters like Peter Aerts and Ernesto Hoost and Sem Schilt, as multi-time K-1 World Grand Prix champions who have nothing left to prove to the world. He belongs in the same breath as those fighters, yet it feels like he’s not taken as seriously by many.

Peter Aerts had a huge retirement ceremony at GLORY 13, with lots of fanfare and respect thrown his way, while Remy Bonjasky’s retirement was far more subdued, with Remy standing in the ring after his fight with Cro Cop being assailed by boos from the Zagreb crowd. There was no ceremony, no balloons, no post-fight interview on the broadcast, and there was no confetti, just a chorus of boos both in the arena and around the world from fans of Mirko Cro Cop who felt that Cro Cop was robbed. All of this while a three-time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion stood in the ring for the last time with tears in his eyes.

This wouldn’t be the first time in Remy Bonjasky’s career that things wouldn’t go his way, in fact, it would be one of many incidents where things went horribly wrong for the Flying Dutchman. This is the same Remy Bonjasky that Saduharu Tanikawa, Stefan Leko and Badr Hari had dubbed as an “actor” in the ring. In the fight with Leko in 2007 there were multiple low blows delivered to Remy Bonjasky, who then took time to recover, leading to Leko and Tanikawa believing that he was faking his injury in the ring and that he wasn’t good for K-1. Then came 2008 where Badr Hari became frustrated in the K-1 World Grand Prix Finals, pushed Bonjasky over and stomped him on the head, leading to a disqualification in the biggest fight of the year.

Bonjasky would never live that moment down, which sounds ridiculous, Bonjasky had done nothing wrong. He was an actor for taking that DQ win, he was a fraud and he was afraid of Badr Hari. His family received multiple death threats after the incident in K-1 from both fans and alleged friends of Badr Hari. After running into Semmy Schilt in the K-1 World Grand Prix 2009 Bonjasky was forced into retirement by a recurring eye injury, a detached retina, that left his vision in question. With limited peripheral vision it would be difficult for Bonjasky to be able to participate in such a tough sport as Kickboxing, making it hard to see strikes coming at him, but he still came back. He still fought with limited vision.

For years he had discussed wanting to have a retirement fight, one last fight to go out on, but with Kickboxing in the state that it was, no one was willing to give Bonjasky a big payday for his retirement, as they felt his retirement was simply not worth the attention or the budget, that fans wouldn’t care. Things started to turn around when GLORY started booking events and that they wanted the Flying Gentleman to help bolster their Heavyweight division, seeing the addition of Bonjasky as instant-credibility. Things were alright for Bonjasky in the beginning, but it was clear that things had changed in those years off.

After last night’s win over Mirko Cro Cop Remy Bonjasky will walk away from GLORY with a record of 3-3, his storied career ending with a whimper, not a bang. Regardless of who you thought won between Cro Cop and Bonjasky, isn’t it safe to say that it is unfair to Bonjasky to boo him out of the arena for his last fight? This was known to be Bonjasky’s retirement fight for a while, why was it kept under wraps like that? Where was the big ceremony for Bonjasky? Why did he have to fight Mirko in his last fight in Mirko’s home town?

Remy Bonjasky has worked hard to earn the respect of the Kickboxing world, but it seems like it never came, even in his last fight. I hope that the years remember Remy Bonjasky for what he was; a dynamic fighter with great defenses, better kicks and the ability to feel a fighter out and to catch them off guard with a flying knee or kick from out of nowhere. He was one of the few men who would not only win the K-1 World Grand Prix once, but to win it multiple times and he has wins over some of the toughest Heavyweight Kickboxers to ever walk this earth. Last night felt like the Cro Cop show when it didn’t need to be just about Cro Cop.

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Jarrell Miller vs. Mirko Cro Cop II Set for GLORY 17

  • Published in Glory

This has probably been the worst-kept secret in recent Kickboxing history, but it is now [somewhat] official; Jarrell Miller will finally get his rematch against Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic at GLORY 17. The two met in 2013 in the K-1 World Grand Prix tournament in Croatia where Cro Cop was given a suspect judges decision after Miller roughed up the PRIDE, K-1 and UFC legend in his hometown. Cro Cop went on to win the tournament, but to many fans, there was a bad taste in their mouth over the victory.

Miller has since then been focused on his Boxing career, where he remains undefeated and seen as a top prospect. He's worked with everyone from the Klitschkos to the Money Team and is building up quite a reputation for himself. This is the opportunity that he's been waiting for to return to Kickboxing and should be an interesting fight. 

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LEGEND Fighting's Second Event Scheduled for November Featuring Cro Cop vs. Aleks Emelianenko

  • Published in Kickboxing

Cro Cop/Aleks

The first LEGEND Fighting event was a bit of a mixed bag, but a success in many regards as it featured a solid 72kg Kickboxing tournament on top of the now infamous battle between Badr Hari and Zabit Samedov, where Samedov was able to do the impossible and toppled Badr Hari. It also appealed with the freakshow factor by putting Aleksander Elemianenko up against Bob Sapp, with the local hero making short work of the sham of a fighter known as Bob Sapp.

The second LEGEND Fighting event is scheduled for November now and is set to feature the rematch that is almost ten years in the making between Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic against Aleksander Emelianenko in Russia. This will be contested under MMA rules, where Emelianenko is more comfortable and where Cro Cop has not ventured since his release from the UFC in October, 2011, save for the IGF New Year's Even event against professional wrestler/former sumo Wakakirin Shinichi.

Here's hoping that they once again feature some bigger Kickboxing bouts on this card as well, as the last event turned out to be quite entertaining.

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K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16 Rumored for Japan

  • Published in K-1

K-1

The K-1 Open Tryouts in Los Angeles were on Thursday, on top of that, tickets for the K-1 Los Angeles event were released. If that feels like a deluge of information about K-1, it is, but be prepared for more. On top of that, it appears that there is a rumor about the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16. According to Fightsite.hr, the news has come from Mirko Cro Cop's management that Cro Cop will be participating in the Final 16 in Japan on the 14th of October. Apparently, December in New York is the projected date for the K-1 World Grand Prix Finals.

Still nothing official yet, or a card for the Los Angeles event, but according to sources there should be announcement in short order from K-1 with more news. Stay tuned, as always. [source]

UPDATE: Douglas Kaplan has confirmed the date of October 14 for the World Grand Prix Final 16.

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Mirko Cro Cop Training to Fight, Unsure of K-1's Future

  • Published in K-1

When things get strange in Kickboxing, sometimes you can feel a bit overwhelmed when checking out the news. It might seem like there is just a deluge of information and that you might not be getting everything. If it makes you feel any better, a guy like Mirko Cro Cop feels the same way, and is unsure of what is going on as the rest of the world is. In a recent interview Cro Cop discusses his intense training and preparations for the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16, although he has no clue when the Final 16 will be. What is interesting to note is that Cro Cop continues to train MMA, training wrestling and grappling as well as stand up, strength and conditioning. He says that wrestling training helps even a stand up fighter and that he won't rule out fighting MMA again, but sees the UFC as the only place worth fighting for.

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A New Chapter for Cro Cop Ahead of Glory Debut

  • Published in News

Glory

Peter Aerts has shown us that while a 40-year-old body that has endured a lifetime of physical punishment may not respond as vigorously as it once could, a smart gameplan can still provide a path to victory for an older fighter. Aerts’ shocking upset of Semmy Schilt in 2010 and near upset of Rico Verhoeven in 2013 was a testament both to his unreal physical and mental toughness as well as to his ability to execute an effective gameplan that pushed his opponents out of their desired fighting styles. Indeed, adapting and finding a way to win is both Peter Aerts’ unique forte and the source of his career longevity, remaining in the top-10 across multiple decades and generations of fighters.

When 39-year-old Mirko Cro Cop makes his Glory debut, he will find himself in a division full of dangerous young opponents ranging from skilled technical fighters like Rico Verhoeven to bloodthirsty knockout artists like Daniel Ghita, Gokhan Saki, and Errol Zimmerman. After enduring years of trauma fighting through the ranks of K-1, Pride, and the UFC, Cro Cop will have to fight smart, trading physical prowess for intelligent and perceptive kickboxing. He will have to become a crafty and tactically adept fighter to stay afloat in a shark tank of heavyweight talent.

Perhaps sensing the need for reinvention, Cro Cop has actually developed a close-ranged dirty boxing style in his return to kickboxing. This tactic appears to have paid off for the Croatian, who has now gone 6-0 with notable wins over SuperKombat veterans Ismael Londt, Pavel Zhuravlev, and Loren Javier Jorge as well as young American upstarts Randy Blake and Jarrell Miller, controversial home town decisions notwithstanding. While his new style may not please those who wish to see Cro Cop turn back the clock, the move reflects Cro Cop’s growth as a fighter and signifies his maturing expectations. It’s a wise decision that has allowed him to remain competitive in today’s kickboxing world.

While a fight against semi-retired Remy Bonjasky may not necessarily provide great insight into Cro Cop’s place in the heavyweight division, it will undoubtedly offer kickboxing fans around the world the chance to see one of the great legends of the sport return to the sport’s grandest stage, and in 2014, following a year of upsets which saw long-held titles, ranks, and orthodoxies overturned, Cro Cop may have some surprises--which hopefully include some vintage LHK finishes--left in store.

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Remy Bonjasky Victorious in His Retirement Fight Against Cro Cop

  • Published in News

Remy

Tonight in Zagreb, Croatia fans across the world got to say goodbye to the legendary Remy Bonjasky at GLORY 14 Zagreb. It was a tall task for Bonjasky, who was stepping into the ring with local hero Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic with a rather biased crowd. It didn’t matter, though, as Remy Bonjasky has steppe into the ring with the odds against him in the past before. This was a chance for redemption for Remy Bonjasky, a rematch from twelve years ago that saw Mirko Cro Cop walk away victorious.

It was three tense, close rounds fought by both men. Both Mirko Cro Cop and Remy Bonjasky’s styles have changed as they’ve aged and accumulated injuries, with Cro Cop relying on a more punch-heavy style and Bonjasky more on defense with the hands and offense with the legs. This was the story of the fight, as Mirko would swarm with the punches while Bonjasky would defend, then circle away to get distance and lay into Mirko with body kicks.

Many fans are going to be unhappy about the decision in this fight, though. Cro Cop was a bit more aggressive throughout, but the shots weren’t doing a lot of damage and Bonjasky was never in much trouble. Bonjasky was fighting as he tends to do, but his kicks were landing and landing heavy. This made for an incredibly close bout that fans of both fighters will be disputing for years to come, that being said, Remy Bonjasky’s hand was raised at the end of the night.

Remy Bonjasky has had a tremendous career and it is sad to see him go, but the persisting vision problems as well as years of injuries have made it tough for him to compete against the younger, quicker fighters of today. What we can say is that both men are legends and that nothing, no win or loss, can take that away at this point. I’m genuinely saddened that we won’t have another chance to hear “The Man with the Harmonica” again to lead Remy Bonjasky into the ring, but I was happy to see him walk away from the sport with a victory.

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GLORY 14 Zagreb Card

  • Published in Glory

GLORY 14

On March 8th in Zagreb, Croatia the first GLORY event of the year, GLORY 14, will take place. GLORY 14 is set to be a big start for the year with a huge headline bout between two K-1 legends in Remy Bonjasky and Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic. To top it off there will be a Lightweight World Title fight between Andy Ristie and Ky Hollenbeck where the winner walks away with the championship. Then, of course, there is a Middleweight Contender tournament.

 

  • GLORY 14 ZAGREB
  • Headline Bout: Mirko Filipovic vs. Remy Bonjasky
  • Tournament Final Bout C: Semifinal Bout A Winner vs. Semifinal Bout B Winner
  • Co-Headline (Lightweight World Title) Bout: Andy Ristie vs. Ky Hollenbeck
  • Tournament Semifinal Bout B: Dustin Jacoby vs. Alex Pereira
  • Tournament Semifinal Bout A: Sahak Parparyan vs. Jason Wilnis
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