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Photo of the Day: Rashad Evans in Brussels to Corner Tyrone Spong

This weekend It's Showtime has a huge event coming up, including the "Benelux retirement" of Peter Aerts against internationally-acclaimed Tyrone Spong. The twenty-six year old Spong is possibly looking to make the transition to MMA, but not before settling his debts in the Kickboxing world and making his way to the top. Fighting Peter Aerts in one of his retirement fights is a huge honor for Spong, and would be one of his biggest wins at Heavyweight to date, which he very much needs. Spong has been training in Florida with Rashad Evan's "Blackzilian" camp, including fighters like former K-1 World Grand Prix Champion Alistair Overeem, so he will without a doubt be in good shape and will have had a decent sparring partner, to say the least.

It's Showtime 58 will air live on HDnet this Saturday at 3pm Eastern time, or if you are not in the United States or wish to view the entire card, purchase the event from ShowtimeFights.com.

Rashad Evans

“I came all the way out here 2 Brussels, Belgium to corner @Tyrone_Spong & he got me out here like The Notorious Bum! I'm not trying 2 be high maintenance but could a brutha at least get a bed?! Lol” [source]

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K-1 Announces Deal in China and Three 2015 Events

  • Published in K-1

If you've been wondering why K-1 has been seemingly so focused on China over the past year or so, look no further than the announcement made today by K-1 that they have secured what looks to be a pretty hefty broadcast deal in China that will reach most of the country. We had the news on the next event in China, taking place on January 1st, last week. That will be the first of ten live events that will be produced inside of China next year by K-1 through this partnership.

That first event is a China vs. USA themed event. Originally they had announced Kevin Ross and Tiffany Van Soest from the USA as fighting for the event, but due to commitments to Lion Fight Van Soest is 100% out and Ross is still trying to clear things up, but it's up in the air right now. 

According to their statement today, K-1 will be aired live on nine major, commercial broadcast network in China. I'm not kidding. Those listed are; Hunan TV, Hebei TV, Hubei TV, JiangXi TV, Anhui TV,Chongqing TV, Guangdong TV, Hainan TV, Qinghai TV. This covers most of China's population, which is estimated at 1.357 billion people. I'm not sure how to compare this to the US because China has over four times the population that the US does, but this is basically like being on one of the major broadcast networks like CBS, ABC or NBC. This partnership will make K-1 one of the most widely-viewed combat sports in the world.

K-1 has also announced two other events;

February 1st; China vs. Japan
March 28th; China vs. Thailand
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Watch John Wayne Parr's Amazing Retirement KO Over Jordan Tai

  • Published in Video

It is impossible not to respect John Wayne Parr and the career that he has had. We, as fans fully support his decision to retire from fighting and understand that injuries catch up and after a while your body stops doing what it used to do. Hell, JWP told us after the fight that he broke his finger again, the same one as before that left him sidelined, in the first punch of the fight. That being said, he put up footage from the fourth round of his retirement fight, and I'll be damned if he looked slow or like he had a broken anything.

If you have a Twitter account, go ahead and send some well wishes to @JohnWayneParr

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Watch the K-1 MAX Selection Brazil Tournament Here

  • Published in Video

K-1

While there is a lot of attention being paid to GLORY over the past year or so, as they have been picking up where K-1 left off back in 2010, K-1 Global has been active within 2013 after having a bit of an odd 2012, to say the least. K-1 has been running a few, smaller shows this year in the hopes of finding up and coming talent to help refill their roster since the big GLORY split happened a few years ago.

As we've seen with the K-1 World MAX Final 16 card, they have done a pretty good job of that through their K-1 World Qualifying Tour events so far and will continue to do so with the K-1 World Tour events as well, which will look to crown champions in each country as well as give some of those fighters not ready for the big time yet some developmental contracts.

Last night they posted the video from June 22nd's K-1 World Qualifying Tour MAX Selection Brazil event, which saw Wallace Lopez move on to the K-1 World MAX Final 16. Go ahead and watch the full tournament here.

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More Changes to It's Showtime 57&58 on June 30th

IS

The It's Showtime card on June 30th has been a victim to the summer injury bug that MMA fans know all too well, especially Canadian UFC fans looking forward to UFC 149 (like Rian Scalia). A number of fighters on the It's Showtime event have had to drop out due to injuries or recent knockouts and being unable to receive medical clearance to fight. Then there is the case of Jerome Le Banner, who has been removed from the event completely due to some contractual situations, rumored to be his exclusive contract with Glory Sports International.

Rustemi Kreshnik will be filling in for Le Banner against Mourad Bouzidi, in a rematch where Bouzidi got the better of Kreshnik last time. We've already reported that Daniel Ghita's new opponent is Dzevad Poturak, in another series of unfortunate replacements for Ghita over the past few months. They have met twice before, with Poturak getting the better of a younger Ghita years ago, but many are sure that Poturak will not have that same luck again. Harut Grigorian was unable to receive medical clearance to fight, so he will be replaced by Hafid el Boustati against Robin van Roosmalen.

You can see the rest of the finalized card here.

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Kickboxing Doesn't Need to Be Ashamed of Booking Shows in Casinos

  • Published in Kickboxing

Glory

There have been numerous rumors about the next GLORY event here in the United States, including possibly being in a city in California that doesn’t really lend itself to many sports arenas in the area. The first thing that I thought of was that maybe we’d see a GLORY event at an Indian casino, which is something that we still see for a lot of combat sports events. TaKe-On Productions in New York has built up a decent relationship with a local casino which seems to suit them well right now, and Muay Thai events in California and Las Vegas have long-been associated with casinos.

Most non-UFC MMA events tend to take place at casinos, as well, due to them housing smaller venues than traditional sports arenas, making it easier for a promoter to not lose a lot of money by booking an arena and only being able to fill it beyond half capacity, including free tickets. Even the UFC was taking place in casinos for quite a while, which was in part due to problems with State Athletic Commissions not recognizing the sport or refusing to regulate it.

There should be no shame seen in booking an event in a casino, as for someone like GLORY they might not want to just jump into booking larger arenas right away. Right now seems like a good time to consider it, as online poker went from being illegal to each state having their own unique laws regarding it. The popularity of stuff like WSoP, both online and offline, has made casinos come out of the smokey grey area that they resided in before and into being viewed as just another part of American culture again.

While we still don’t know exactly where GLORY is planning to organize their next event within the United States yet, the bump on Spike TV should absolutely help them to gain more attention, but they shouldn’t rush into a larger arena just assuming that they will be able to fill it up, as a half empty arena, no matter what camera tricks are done, can show through on live TV sometimes.

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Raul Catinas and Hesdy Gerges the Latest Fighters Confirmed for K-1 WGP Final 16

  • Published in K-1

GergesThere has yet to be anything official from K-1 yet when it comes to who is fighting in the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16, but that is alright as we've already heard from a few fighters' camps already, talking about their inclusion. So far we know that Dzevad Poturak, Paul Slowinski, Mirko Cro Cop, Ben Edwards and probably Daniel Ghita will be fighting in the K-1 tournament. There are other names rumored, like Sergei Laschenko and Catalin Morosanu, but we've yet to see anything official to that effect yet. The latest names added to the list are that of Raul Catinas and Hesdy Gerges, confirmed by their coach, Thom Harinck.

Catinas is a great addition, as a young fighter who has been continually improving over the past few years. Catinas, a Romanian fighter, has primarily been fighting for SuperKombat for the past two years in his home of Romania. His signing hints at the possible SuperKombat partnership we've been hearing about for a while, but regardless, Catinas serves as a great addition to the tournament at age 24 riding on a five fight win streak.

The addition of Gerges helps to legitimize the tournament, as Ghita will serve as the third participant in the tournament, on top of Ghita and Laschenko, who are ranked in LiverKick.com's Top 10. Daniel Ghita is a strong #2, Laschenko is #6 and Gerges is at #10. Gerges has had a tough few years after looking incredibly strong in 2010. This doesn't mean that he can't rebound, as this tournament will be a perfect chance for him to string a few quality wins together and get himself back in the discussion as one of the elite Heavyweights.

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Saenchai Wins at the Hoost Cup - Will He Go to K-1?

  • Published in Asia

Hoost CupThe Hoost Cup went down this weekend, featuring a few interesting fights, namely Saenchai's first "Kickboxing" fight, which has sparked all sorts of speculation as to what his future might be and if he might be headed to K-1 as his sponsor Yokkao has insinuated at on Twitter. It doesn't hurt that K-1 head Mr. Kim has been seen visiting with Stefania, the mastermind behind Yokkao Extreme, either.

The results are as follows;

Yoshihiro Sato (R3 - Dec.) Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima

Saenchai (R3 - Dec.) Yosuke Mizuochi

Souta Ichinohe (R1 - TKO) Ryuya Kusakabe

Shu Ogawa (R3 - Dec.) Hiroki

Hukashi (R3 - Dec.) Yuto Tsujide

Satoko Sasaki (R3 - Dec.) Maria Pantazi

Now, as for Saenchai and K-1, it is no secret that K-1 is looking to re-establish itself with a new set of stars, and who better than one of the most famous Thai fighters alive today in Saenchai? Saenchai's flashy style has won him tons of fans all over the world and it would make for a perfect and entertaining fit for K-1. Seeing as though Saenchai's natural weight class is around 60kg and his tendency to fight up in weight it wouldn't shock me to see him at 65kgs.

As for Saenchai's relationship with K-1 right now it is still too early to predict what will happen, but LiverKick has been able to confirm that there have been preliminary talks between the two parties, although it is not clear how far these talks have gone.

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February 2015 LiverKick Rankings Update

  • Published in Rankings

(C) Glory Sports International

You've spoken and we've listened. We know there was a bit of a lapse in updating the official LiverKick Rankings, but they are officially back after the events of GLORY 19. Some of the movements will make sense, others will be a bit more confusing or you might not agree with. That's why we are here to talk about it. 

First off, apologies on the lack of updates on them. There wasn't a ton of movement for a while and then when there was both Jay and myself were busy. In late 2014/early 2015 Jay's wife gave birth to their beautiful daughter and during that time I was finishing up my second novel, which is currently off with my editor being polished up. LiverKick has always been a small operation and when we are under a crunch the site tends to suffer a bit. It just is how it is, but we appreciate your understanding.

Now, onto the rankings.

The first odd thing is Heavyweight. Just the entire division at this point. Andrei Gerasmichuk is the new addition to Heavyweight and he's troublesome, at best. He defeated Rico Verhoeven in January at a Kunlun event, but the reality here is that we can't just place him at #1 just yet. The problem created by that win is immense. Placing him at #1 is an issue if he does not continue to face top competition. His win over Balrak was impressive, but depending on how the rest of the Kunlun tournament goes will depend on if he's a legitimate top ten player or not.

The inclusion of Ben Edwards at Heavyweight will continue until either he loses in HW Kickboxing or he goes for one year inactive (as has been our rule since the beginning and how most 'retirements' are not permanent). 

Not much movement at Light Heavyweight.

Middleweight saw very little movement as well. With Simon Marcus we had a similar problem with him getting smoked in China, but his opponent is still a relatively unknown quantity on this level. If he continues to face tough opponents we'll rank him and Marcus will probably drop out.

Welterweight had some movement, but not much that you'll recognize. It is not that deep of a division considering that some Lightweights fight up in weight, but usually not enough to warrant them being considered Welterweights (for example fighting at 72.5kg or so).

Lightweight has been interesting of late with there being a lot of movement. The biggest x-factor in the bottom half of the division has been the unranked Steve Moxon. He holds a win over Aikpracha, but he holds so many lopsided losses that including him felt pained, especially considering the level of competition that Aikpracha has been facing of late. Sitthichai comes in after a long tradition of including muay thai fighters who fight in kickboxing and only weighing their kickboxing fights, not their muay thai fights. He has a ton of quality wins including ones over Andy Souwer and Murthel Groenhart. 

Featherweight saw a lot of movement thanks to the recent Shoot Boxing and K-1 happenings. The division has always seen things shaken up all of the time thanks to how active a lot of the fighters are in Japan. GLORY has an upcoming title bout between Mosab Amrani and Gabriel Varga which could be changing the landscape quite a bit. No, we aren't happy about having to rank a certain tournament winner who received poor decisions in his favor, but it is what it is. 

Heavyweight (Per 2/13)

1 Rico Verhoeven
2 Daniel Ghita
3 Errol Zimmerman
4 Sergei Kharitonov
5 Anderson Silva
6 Benjamin Adegbuyi
7 Andrei Gerasmichuk
8 Hesdy Gerges
9 Ben Edwards
10 Zabit Samedov

Light

Heavyweight (Per 2/13)

1 Gokhan Saki
2 Tyrone Spong
3 Saulo Cavalari
4 Danyo Ilunga
5 Nathan Corbett
6 Artem Vakhitov
7 Mourad Bouzidi
8 Igor Jukovic
9 Michael Duut
10 Andrei Stoica
Middleweight (Per 2/13)

1 Artem Levin
2 Joe Schilling
3 Filip Verlinden
4 Jason Wilnis
5 Wayne Barrett
6 Alex Pereira
7 Sahak Parparyan
8 Simon Marcus
9 Israel Adesanya
10 Robert Thomas
Welterweight (Per 2/13)

1 Nieky Holzken
2 Joseph Valtellini
3 Artur Kyshenko
4 Karapet Karapetyan
5 Raymond Daniels
6 Karim Ghajji
7 Paul Daley
8 Alexander Stetsurenko
9 Jonatan Oliveira
10 Francois Ambang
Lightweight (Per 2/13)

1 Robin van Roosmalen
2 Davit Kiria
3 Andy Ristie
4 Giorgio Petrosyan
5 Sitthichai
6 Murthel Groenhart
7 Marat Grigorian
8 Andy Souwer
9 Enriko Kehl
10 Aikpracha
Featherweight (Per 2/13)

1 Mosab Amrani
2 Kaew Fairtex
3 Masaaki Noiri
4 Yuta Kubo
5 Gabriel Varga
6 Hiroaki Suzuki
7 Liam Harrison
8 Shane Oblonsky
9 Zakaria Zouggari
10 Houcine Bennoui
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GLORY Possibly Looking to Expand into MMA Waters in 2015

  • Published in Glory

The year 2014 was an interesting one for kickboxing and 2015 is looking to be just as crazy by the looks of it. GLORY 19 will kick off GLORY's 2015 with a GLORY Heavyweight Championship bout between champion Rico Verhoeven and challenger Errol Zimmerman in Virginia. The rest of the year we'll have to wait and see. In Jon J. Franklin's holiday address he gave some insight into what to expect from 2015 and surprisingly enough the term "MMA" appeared.

GLORY 19 will be held in Virginia with the team behind Spartyka Fight League assisting in promoting the event, meaning to expect the local undercard to feature some MMA bouts for sure. Is that a sign of things to come? Here's a passage from Franklin's statement.

2015 will be a year of great fight nights, spectacular new promotions and new exotic locations.  We will be in Dubai, UAE and we will welcome international superstars to our events.  Glory also looks forward to amazing evenings in conjunction with with top MMA promotions and to new television networks all over the world joining the Glory juggernaut.  Stay tuned for the many exciting surprises that are on tap for 2015.

It seems to point to possibly seeing co-promotional events much like GLORY 4 Tokyo was with DREAM. The question is; will they work with Bellator? Will GLORY hold their own MMA fights? I guess we'll have to wait and see.

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