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]