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Dave Walsh

Dave Walsh

Dave Walsh has been covering MMA and Kickboxing since 2007 before changing his focus solely to Kickboxing in 2009, launching what was the only English-language site dedicated to giving Kickboxing similar coverage to what MMA receives. He was the co-founder of HeadKickLegend and now LiverKick. He resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he works as a writer of all trades.

His first novel, the Godslayer, is available now

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GLORY Renews Two Key Television Deals in Europe

GLORY announced earlier today that they have renewed two of their key television contracts in Europe. While GLORY puts a lot of promotional effort into the United States, Europe is still one of their main focuses and will continue to be moving forward. The first deal was with French-based Kombat Sport and the second the Croatian-based Fight Channel.

Both of these networks give them key coverage throughout many parts of Europe and will be a home to their GLORY SuperFight Series cards as well.

"Europe is a very important market for us, where some of our most loyal and hungry fan-bases exist," said Jon Franklin, CEO of GLORY. "This partnership with Kombat Sport and Fight Channel will satisfy that desire for world class kickboxing through an exciting time in company history. GLORY 19 is one of our strongest cards ever from top-to-bottom and then we keeping rolling in April with GLORY 20. We can't wait to show viewers around the world what GLORY looks like in the new year."

Fight Card For K-1's China vs. Japan Feb. 1st Event

K-1 is continuing to go full speed ahead with their Chinese home base with their second event of the year in Changsua, China. This time around the theme is China vs. Japan and will feature some of their Chinese standouts against a few Japanese fighters. Sadly a lot of the talent they wanted were already booked due to New Year's and early January events, but they still pulled together a pretty good card.

I assume there will be a free stream via Hunan TV like the last time as well. Stay tuned for that. Also Jungle Koki is the coolest name ever.

60kg Tomohiro Kiyai vs. Wu Ze
63kg Keisuke Nakamura vs. Wang Zhiwei
65kg Kuji Yoshimoto vs. Hanji
70kg Hideaki Kikkawa vs. Tien Xin
70kg K-Jee vs. Zang Lei
70kg Jungle Koki vs. Ba Te Er
53kg Syuri vs. E Meidie

Yokkao Fighters Saenchai and Pakorn Book Seminar Dates For NYC in February

This February New Yorkers have another thing to brag about to non-New Yorkers, this time it is three big seminar dates with Yokkao fight team members Saenchai and Pakorn. On February 13th, 14th and 15th at the Striking 101 Gym you'll be able to sit in on a seminar with the two famous Thais as they show the world some of their secrets and years of experience. 

Yokkao promoter Stefania Picelli will also be in New York to help secure a deal with a local gym to form a partnership, but those details will be available later. For now here are the details from the seminars.

LOCATION
York College Sports Arena – 9420 Guy R Brewer BLVD Jamaica – New York
DATES:
Friday 13th February 2015 >> 7:00pm 9:30pm
Saturday 14th February 2015 >> 12:00pm to 2:30pm
Sunday 15th February 2014 >> 12:00pm to 2:30pm
 
Tickets are on sale at: http://www.striking-101.com/seminar use the promo code TEAMYOKKAO to get 15% off ticket price.
 

Giorgio Petrosyan Returns This Weekend, Plus ANOTHER Fight in April Against Enriko Kehl

It's been a long time since we've seen Giorgio Petrosyan in the ring. In fact, I'd argue that it has been too long. The last time that we saw Petrosyan in the ring was December of 2013 when Andy Ristie was able to overcome the best fighter at 70kg via knockout. It was shocking at the time, but now we've all settled into this reality. This coming Saturday Petrosyan finally returns to the ring at Thai Boxe Mania 2015 against Erkan Varol in Turin, Italy.

The other big news is that Petrosyan's next fight is already lined up and it's going to be a big one. At Oktagon's 20th anniversary event on April 11th Petrosyan is set to face 2014 K-1 World MAX Champion Enriko Kehl in what should be an awesome bout. The young Kehl has proven himself as a worthy contender and a rising star of his own over the past few years and it will be quite the test for Petrosyan after such a long layoff.

Mike Tyson Eats an Apple and Unveils He'll Help Call GLORY 19

Yes, you heard that correctly, former Heavyweight Boxing champion and all-around controversial figure Mike Tyson has signed on to be a part of GLORY's broadcast team beginning at the upcoming GLORY 19. GLORY had been hyping some mystery guest interviewing both Errol Zimmerman and Rico Verhoeven in preparation for GLORY 19 and now it has come out that Mike Tyson will be joining the GLORY team as an analyst.

Mike Tyson almost moved into the realm of kickboxing many years ago to fight Bob Sapp, only for things to fall through. There was even talk of him having a contract with PRIDE at one point but nothing coming of it. Mike Tyson has been an avid fan of Mixed Martial Arts and a good friend of Dana White, so he's no stranger to the world outside of Boxing that involves kicks and knees. It'll be interesting to see if he brings more positive attention to the GLORY product or if fans aren't interested anymore.

Final Card for K-1 Japan on January 18th

K-1’s Japan contingent have promised us what looks to be a pretty amazing card on January 18th. The event features a classic K-1 one night tournament, this time at 60kg. It features a mix of names that we know from the Japanese scene to some heavy hitters from around the world including Javier Hernandez, Karim Bennoui and Denis Puric.

The rest of the card is an awesome, eclectic mix of styles with some really fascinating fights on the card. Kaew Fairtex vs. Minoru Kimura is an awesome, awesome fight and I’m very happy to see Sanny Dahlbeck back in the mix against the very awesome Yoshihiro Sato. This event will be broadcast on NicoNico on the 18th.

HW: Manabu vs Fujita Tomoya
60kg: Yuma vs Kanbe Shota
65kg: Goto Masanobu vs Saito Yuta
65kg: Hiramoto Ren vs Ishikawa Yuki
60kg GP Reserve Fight: TOSHI vs Kim Hun Jae
60kg GP: Shimano Kotaro vs Javier Hernandez
60kg GP: Urabe Hirotaka vs Karim Bennoui
60kg GP: Yamamoto Masahiro vs Gagny Baradji
60kg GP: Urabe Koya vs Denis Puric
65kg: Kaew Fairtex vs Kimura Minoru
70kg: Sato Yoshihiro vs Sanny Dahlbeck
55kg: Takiya Shota vs Shou Rong
55kg: Tobe Ryuma vs Horio Ryuji

AXS is Ready to Showcase New Japan Pro Wrestling Like Never Before

 (C) NJPW/AXS TV/TV Asahi

On Friday evening AXS TV will not only be presenting Legacy FC’s first kickboxing event, Legacy Kickboxing 1, they will also be starting off their series of english broadcast New Japan Pro Wrestling events from 2013. This will mark the first time in the modern age of New Japan Pro Wrestling that an American network has not only taken interest in presenting their programming, but to do so in a respectful, exciting manner.

Sure, this isn’t kickboxing news, but the truth is that Japanese professional wrestling was at the roots of K-1 and modern kickboxing as a whole. Without Japanese pro wrestling there would be no GLORY or K-1 right now, there would have been no boom for kickboxing and we wouldn’t have grown to idolize Peter Aerts, Ernesto Hoost, Andy Hug and countless others. 

New Japan Pro Wrestling is probably the best professional wrestling organization around at the moment. If you ever had any interest in professional wrestling but found the offerings of WWE to be a bit too hokey or childlike for you and simply gravitated towards MMA and other “real” sports instead, I urge you to check out what AXS TV is going to be presenting this Friday. 

New Japan was not always the best that Japan had to offer, with All Japan being the king of the 90’s, NOAH being the king of the early 00’s but New Japan’s younger talent from the early 00’s matured into some of the best talents ever seen on this stage and the action is simply divine. New Japan Pro Wrestling is based on what they call “strong style.” Strong Style is basically whatever style of pro wrestling that New Japan is dabbling in, but its roots are based on martial arts due to the founder Antonio Inoki’s obsession with the concept of the “mixed fight.” It doesn’t hurt that Inoki is one of the fathers of modern MMA, either, with most of those early MMA fights taking place in a New Japan ring. 

The action tends to be brutal, the storytelling takes place inside of the ring and while there is still big characters, elaborate costumes and other basics of pro wrestling, things tend to feel a bit more “real” and exciting. It won’t feel remarkably different to the average viewer as much as it will feel alien, but that is where Mauro Ranallo and Josh Barnett come into play. AXS TV’s series is set to span the epic saga of the IWGP Title in 2013, which saw struggles between Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchida Okada. The first episode kicks off with Tanahashi vs. Okada from January 4th, 2013 this Friday evening before Legacy Kickboxing is set to kick off. So you’ll be there anyway, just show up an hour earlier for an awesome hour of pro wrestling.

AXS TV sent us the third episode of New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV, which was the April 7th main event between Tanahashi and Okada, a rematch that saw Dave Meltzer of the WON praise it as a five-star classic, the match of the year. It’s truly the pinnacle of that style of pro wrestling and a tremendous match, so it speaks for itself, but Ranallo and Barnett were able to do it justice in a way that we haven’t seen in a long time.

On January 4th of this year Global Force Wrestling helped to distribute the annual NJPW Tokyo Dome event, Wrestle Kingdom 9, with Matt Striker and Jim Ross on commentary. Ross and Striker were good, but they were tossed together for the first time and some things simply didn’t mesh. The team of Ranallo and Barnett had none of these problems and were able to add historical context and personal insights without having to start relating to the WWE or other domestic products. 

There is a level of immersion that comes with this, which is aided by Ranallo’s wrestling knowledge and A+ research that goes into calling each show and Barnett’s personal history in Japan. Barnett competed in Japan for years in MMA and also spent time training in professional wrestling before wrestling under the New Japan Pro Wrestling banner for a while. So it’s safe to say that what Barnett adds is his own personal experiences in the grueling training that New Japan wrestlers go through and how they perform in the ring. Hell, he’s even been in the ring with a lot of these guys and knows them personally. 

We can -- for the most part -- ignore the pretty awful ad that was produced for the series and is airing on AXS TV, because the program itself is extremely well done. In this episode it began with interviews with the wrestlers, helping to set up the match a bit more, then the meat of the match (which was a long one, took up the entire program), followed by a post-match interview. It wasn’t the kind of thing that I’d expect for what is just an hour-long program that could have easily been slapped together for cheap and tossed on air.

Definitely tune in for this -- or at least set your DVR for it -- because it’s definitely worth watching.

 

Steven Wright's 2014 Year in Kickfighting Highlight

The year 2014 was a pretty strange one for kickboxing. There were some great things that happened and there was a lot of downtime and doom and gloom hanging over the sport as a whole. This year feels a lot different, a lot better thus far. Things are looking up. We have schedules from both K-1 and GLORY, we have promise popping up in China and the sport seems to be correcting itself and its trajectory. I spoke about all of this with Patrick Wyman on Steven Wright's podcast last week, where we delved into the year that was and the year that will be. It's interesting to hear us start geeking out about all of the things that are happening in China as well as all of the good from 2014. Check it out here.

Steven also put together a really awesome highlight video from last year showcasing some of the best fights that went down and the most memorable moments.

Former K-1 and GLORY Fighter Mark Miller Teaching at The Factory in Los Angeles

Mark "Fightshark" Miller has been through hell and back not just once but a number of times now. The most recent clash with his health issues started when he was preparing for a fight at GLORY 12, only to end up in the hospital and since then (GLORY 12 was November of 2013) he's been dealing with daily dialysis, minor surgeries, on-and-off bouts of wearing an eye patch and awaiting a transplant for his kidney. Things haven't been easy.

But now he feels ready to get back out there. Not quite a return to the ring just yet, but instead the former K-1 and GLORY veteran will be training fighters of all experience at The Factory in Sherman Oaks, California inside of Los Angeles. He'll be training six days a week and will be available for one-on-one sessions and personalized training. If you are in the area Mark is a guy with a ton of experience in not only fighting, but life and business as well and it's definitely worth your time to pick up some techniques from him and to pick his brain about the fight industry in general. 

GLORY Announces GLORY 20 Dubai for April 3rd

For any major combat sports organization having a clear line-up of events is always the best way to keep fans engaged and ready for more. The key is to not overstimulate your audience but to keep them engaged and excited about what you have to offer. GLORY is doing exactly that with the announcement of GLORY 20 Dubai, which is set to take place in the United Arab Emirates on April 3rd. 

The event will be headlined by the long-awaited GLORY Featherweight Championship bout between Canadian Gabriel Varga and Dutch-Moroccan brawler Mosab Amrani. The card will also mark the return of former UFC fighter Pat "HD" Barry who will be squaring off against the always-dangerous Mourad Bouzidi in a Heavyweight bout.

In keeping with tradition, there will be a Contender's tournament on the card as well, this one being in the stacked Middleweight division. Jason Wilnis will take on the uber-tough Alex Pereira while Wayne Barrett will test his mettle against muay thai standout Simon Marcus. 

Tickets will go on sale on February 1st for those in the area or planning to attend and the event will be airing on Spike TV.

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