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GLORY Release Card for Stacked GLORY 35: Sitthichai vs. Marat, Vakhitov vs. Mwekassa and More

  • Published in Glory

While everyone is abuzz over December 10th's GLORY Collision, featuring Rico Verhoeven vs. Badr Hari, GLORY is continuing to put forth some incredible cards in the interim. Today the company announced the card for GLORY 35 Nice, France and it's chock full of kickboxing goodness.

The main event is Sitthichai defending the GLORY Lightweight Championship against Marat Grigorian, then featured on the card is a Heavyweight Contender tournament. Interestingly enough, Ismael Londt won one of these tournaments and has yet to get his title shot yet. We've reached out to GLORY for comment, but nothing yet.

The stacking of the SuperFight Series continues with a Light Heavyweight unification bout as champion Artem Vakhitov and Interim Champion Zack Mwekassa clash for Light Heavyweight surpremacy. Also featured is Josh Jauncey against Dylan Salvador, who has been tearing things up in China over the past few years. 

GLORY 35 Nice

Lightweight World Title Headline Bout: Sittichai vs. Marat Grigorian

Heavyweight Tournament Final Bout: Winner of Bout A vs. Winner of Bout B

Light Heavyweight Co-Headline Bout: Zinedine Hameur-Lain vs. Pavel Zhuravlev

Heavyweight Tournament Semifinal Bout B: TBA vs. TBA

Heavyweight Tournament Semifinal Bout A: Jahfarr Wilnis vs. Mladen Brestovac

GLORY 35 SuperFight Series

Light Heavyweight Title Unification Bout: Artem Vakhitov vs. Zack Mwekassa

Welterweight Bout: Karim Benmansour vs. Eyevan Danenberg

Super Bantamweight Bout: Amel Dehby vs. Ji-Waen Lee

Lightweight Bout: Josh Jauncey vs. Dylan Salvador

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SuperKombat Releases Full Card For Oct. 1 Event, Featuring Ngimbi vs. Paraschiv Title Fight

  • Published in Kickboxing

On Saturday SuperKombat returns with their latest SuperKombat World Grand Prix event, this one being headlined by a huge world title fight at 72.5kg between Amansio Paraschiv and former It's Showtime champion Chris Ngimbi. Ngimbi has been highly-regarded for years now while Paraschiv has been incredibly impressive as late. Paraschiv won the New Heroes World Title in 2015 and now will be contending for the vacant title against very worth competition in Ngimbi.

Superkombat New Heroes (18:30 CET (19:300, local hour), Sport.ro, Fight Box)

1. Super Fight - MMA rules - Super Middleweight division (-75 kg)

Eugen Vulpe (Rep. Moldova) vs Lascar Cornelius (Romania)

2. Super Fight – Super middleweight (-77 kg)

Cristi Stoica (Romania) vs Cristian Rotar (Romania)

3. Super Fight - Light Heavyweight plus division (-86 kg)

Nicu Buceac (Romania) vs Răzvan Țîru (Romania)

4. Super Fight - Light Heavyweight division (-81 kg)

Daniel Stefanovski (Switzerland) vs Ionut Sandur (Romania)

5. Super Fight – Light Heavyweight division (-81 kg)

Adelin Mihaila (Romania) vs Adrian Rosca (Romania)

6. Super Fight - Heavyweight bout (+96 kg)

Kerone Davies (United Kingdom) vs Mihaita Golescu (Romania) 

7. Super Fight – Super Middleweight division (-77 kg)

Igor Scoda (Rep. Moldova) vs Alex Filip (Romania)

Superkombat WGP (21:00 CET, Eurosport)

1. Super Fight - Light Heavyweight (-81 kg)

Diego Mosquera (Colombia) vs Bogdan Nastase (Romania)

2. Super Fight - Middleweight division (-71 kg)

Eduard Chelariu (Romania) vs Andrei Leustean (Romania)

3. Super Fight – Lightweight division (-65 kg)

Jonathan Fabian (Spain) vs Cristian Spetcu (Romania)

4. Super Fight – Light Heavyweight plus division (-86 kg)

George Davies (United Kingdom) vs Sebastian Ciobanu (Romania)

5. Super Fight – Super Cruiserweight division (-95 kg)

David Trallero (Spain) vs Sebastian Cozmanca (Romania)

6. World Title Fight – Middleweightdivision (-72.5 kg)

Chris Ngimbi (DR Congo) vs Amansio Paraschiv (Romania)

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Yokkao Searching For An American Fighter For Yokkao 21 - 22 in Hong Kong

  • Published in Muay Thai

On Friday, October 28th in Hong Kong Yokkao will present Yokkao 21 and 22, featuring some of the very best in the world of muay thai. Scheduled for Yokkao 22 is Saenchai, although he is still opponent-less. While it isn't a lock, Yokkao is currently searching for an American fighter to step into the ring for Yokkao 21 and 22. So there could be a chance of fighting the great Saenchai or any of the other, top-named Thai fighters at their disposal. The other name that we know is Manachai, who has been training with Saenchai. Another name to add to that list is the ever-impressive Phetmorakot Wor. Sangprapai.

Their next set of events takes place on October 8th in the UK, though, featuring Jordan Watson vs. Ben Hodge, Liam Harrison vs. Fabio Pinca, Manachai vs Panicos Yusuf, Amy Pirnie vs Dakota Ditcheva, Jake Purdy vs Brad Standton, Luke Turner and many more.

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Lion Fight 32 Returns To Las Vegas With Malaipet vs. Hollenbeck

  • Published in Muay Thai

Lion Fight has announced their return to Las Vegas at the Tropicana for Lion Fight 32 on October 21st. The event, which will air live on AXS TV, is set to feature a showdown between Ky Hollenbeck and Malaipet for the Super Welterweight Championship, as well as Romie Adanza against Ming Freeman and a host of other bouts. Lion Fight has always delivered with their events and this one is shaping up to be no different.

Lion Fight 32

Super Welterweight Championship: Ky Hollenbeck vs. Malaipet

Travis Clay vs. Marvin Madriaga

Josh Shepard vs. Gabriel Mazzetti

Victor Saravia vs. Cody Allen Moberly

Romie Adanza vs. Ming Freeman

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Bellator Announces Bellator Kickboxing Event In December Featuring Giorgio Petrosyan

With Bellator Kickboxing: Budapest airing on Friday evening here in the States, Bellator is looking to make a tidal wave within the kickboxing industry by announcing their next event, a split MMA and kickboxing event, happening on December 10th in Florence, Italy. The show will feature Bellator Kickboxing's top talent, include a women's rematch, this time for the vacant Bellator Flyweight World title between Denise Kielholtz and Gloria Peritore. In addition to that, the names of Raymond Daniels, Kevin Ross and Joe Schilling were mentioned, but the biggest news yet is their latest acquisition.

The Doctor himself, Giorgio Petrosyan, will be fighting for Bellator Kickboxing, making his debut on December 10th.

Updated “Bellator Kickboxing: Florence” Card:

Female Flyweight World Title: Denise Kielholtz (45-3) vs. Gloria Peritore (11-1-1)

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K-1 WGP in Japan 2016 - 60kgs World Tournament Results

  • Published in K-1

So the K-1 60kgs tournament took place this morning in Tokyo, Japan. The co-main event was supposed to feature Kaew Weerasakreck against the winner of the 2016 65kgs tournament Hideaki Yamazaki but Kaew`s teammate Gon`Napar fought instead and what a fight it was. Here are all the results thanks to Mr. Jordan Booth.

Results

60kgs Tournament Final - Koya Urabe Def Taiga KO 1ST RND (Punches, 3 Knockdowns) Koya looked fantastic tonight, really utilized that great boxing of his.

65kgs Superfight - Gon'Napar Weerasakreck Def Hideaki Yamazaki Unanimous Dec (28-26,28-26,28-26) Both were dropped in the first round from punches. Yamazaki looked good in the first but at some point in the second ate few to many leg kicks and was clearly on sore legs the rest of the fight. He was barely walking after the match. good fight.

Mokoto Uehara Def Koichi Pettas Unanimous Dec (30-28,29-28,29-28)

Kenta Hayashi Def Yuji "kyoken" Takeuchi KO 1ST RND (Punches, 3 Knockdowns)

60kgs Semi 1 - Koya Urabe Def Paulo Tebar KO 2ND RND (Punches, 2 Knockdowns) 

60kgs Semi 2 - Taiga Def Hirotaka Urabe Unanimous Dec (30-27,30-27,30-26)

Makoto Kozu forest vs Hong Chin'yao KO 3RD RND 

Morii Kokai Def Michitaka Uchida Majority Dec (29-28,29-29,29-28)

Kuwata Yuta Def Yu Nomura KO 3rd RND

60kgs Quarterfinal - Kosuke Komiyama Def Paulo Tebar Unanimous Dec (30-28,29-28,30-28) (Komiyama inured so Tebar advanced)

60kgs Quarterfinal - Koya Urabe Def Karim Bennoui Unanimous Dec (30-27,30-27,30-27)

60kgs Quarterfinal - Hirotaka Urabe Def Johannes Wolf Unanimous Dec (29-28,29-28,29-28)

60kgs Quarterfinal - Taiga Def Javier Hernandez TKO 2ND RND (Downed with Liver kick, survived the round then left the ring)

Koji Def Toshi Unanimous Dec (30-29,30-29,30-29)

Masanobu Goshu Def Dynamite Yuta Takahashi Majority Dec (30-29,29-29,30-28)

K-Jee Def Yoshinari KO 2RND (Punches, 3KD)

Kento Ito vs Ryusei Asizawa DRAW (29-27,27-27,28-28)

 

 

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Bellator Kickboxing 3 Spoilers and Interview

Bellator Kickboxing returned for its third event this Saturday in Budapest, Hungary. There wasn't a ton of press going into this show, but it will air on Friday on Spike TV, so if you want to wait for that, be warned, spoilers ahoy. Results from CombatPress.

Bellator middleweight title: Zoltán Laszák def. Karim Ghaji

Raymond Daniels (R3 - Decision) Zsolt Benedek 

Denise Kielholtz (R3 - Decision) Renáta Cseh-Lantos 

Alexandru Negrea (R3 - Decision) Ali El Ameri 

Mustapha Haida (Ext.R - Decision) Kike Bonnin 

On top of that, Adam Repa spoke with the new champion, Zoltan Laszak about his big win.

Q: - First of all, congrats on the win and your peformance! Based on what we talked about pre-fight it seemed you slightly differed from the original strategy. Did something happen pre-fight or during the bout that made you change?

A: - Thanks. Yeah, somewhere early in the fight I managed to catch him with a pretty good shot and honestly, this made me a bit wanting to go for the kill. Therefore it became more like a punch for punch, kick for kick fight if you know what I mean.

Q: - How do you feel, do you think that overall you still managed to keep yourself to what you planned before with coach István Gnyálin?

A: - Absolutely. Although as I mentioned I stood more in front of Ghajji, traded more punches with him I still managed to keep the strategic plan and come out on top of most of the exchanges.

Q: - What was it like from the inside? What and how do you remember of the fight?

A: - Actually I don't really remember much. There were some really high points and I've enjoyed it thoroughly. When they put the belt around my waist.. There are simply no words of how that felt. I know it's a cliché but it's really indescribable. It was a very emotional moment for all of us - my coach, teammates (Dávid Elszaszer, Vivien Wágner). Those long years of working hard had been crowned yesterdey evening.

Q: - What's next for you? Have you talked to Scott Coker, the management or someone about it?

A: - They really enjoyed my performance, loved the fight but we didn't talk about any specific plan or opponent for my first title defense so I cannot tell you much at the moment.

Q: - Did you suffer any injuries, any break in the fight?

A: - No, luckily not. I had a long night with the hospital visits but I came away from the fight with a few stitches on my eyebrow so that's it. My ribs hurt and my thighs show some beautiful patterns so it's the usual. That's the fight game.

Q: - Any closing words, shout outs?

A: - Yeah, hereby I'd love to thank my coach, my teammates Dávid and Vivien and all those people who have rooted for me - My family, all my teammates, friends, students and last but not least my partner!

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Bushiroad Creates KNOCK OUT, Aiming To Take Over Kickboxing

  • Published in Kickboxing

Kickboxing's rise in popularity can almost entirely be thanked on behalf of Japan, K-1 in particular. Sure, lots of talent came from (and still comes from) Europe, but the shows never quite reached the level that K-1 did in Japan. Therefore, K-1 was kickboxing for a very, very long time. The death of FEG led to the fracturing of the sport. Now we have GLORY, K-1 Japan, K-1 Europe, SuperKombat, WGP, Kunlun and many other promotions in its wake. 

The reality here is that there are people who believe in kickboxing as a sport and all want to make it big again, but under their own terms. Would it take a rising in Japan for the sport to boom again? That's what KRUSH has been hoping for with their K-1 Japan. KRUSH originally began as a joint venture between the All Japan Kickboxing Federation and K-1, then when AJKF fell to the wayside KRUSH split off on its own. Ironically, KRUSH now is the brand keeping the K-1 name alive in Japan. But that doesn't mean that everyone has always relied upon the whole K-1/AJKF mindset when it comes to kickboxing.

There was the New Japan Kickboxing Federation as well, which split off from AJKF in the mid-90's. The promotion No Kick, No Life rose in the ashes of the whole "anti-K-1" brand of kickboxing, instead focusing on muay thai rules. Now, replacing NKNL is KIXROAD, a collaboration between NKNL and Bushiroad with their show KNOCK OUT. Confused yet? KNOCK OUT takes over No Kick, No Life's television slot on Tokyo MX starting in 2017 and is being backed by Bushiroad. If you are unfamiliar with Bushiroad they are a trading card company based out of Japan. In 2012 Bushiroad acquired New Japan Professional Wrestling and has since made the once-great Japanese wrestling promotion flourish with the help of placing New Japan's biggest stars in Hiroshi Tanahashi, Shinsuke Nakamura (now in WWE), Kazuchika Okada and Togi Makabe (what?!) back into the national spotlight. 

That is exactly what Bushiroad is looking to do with KNOCK OUT. Our pal karaevfan on Kakutougi (the best kickboxing message board, period) gave a full report and translations from their first press conference and they have huge plans. They noted that kickboxing has yet to have a global leader since FEG's K-1 disappeared. MMA has the UFC, pro wrestling has WWE (although Kriyama of Bushiroad notes that New Japan is 'working on that'), but kickboxing is fractured. 

Famed former New Japan Kickboxing champion Onodera Riki will be producing KNOCK OUT and looking to once again make kickboxing flourish. This will be straight-forward, traditional kickboxing, which means three minute rounds, three rounds for normal fights, five for title fights. As for the rules? It sounds like muay thai, but they are calling it kickboxing. Why muay thai? Because they mentioned elbows. 

The first event is scheduled for December 5th at the Tokyo Dome City Hall (formerly JCB Hall), which seats about 3,000 people. The card is threadbare for now, but they aren't focusing on exclusive talent acquisition for now, just partnering with RISE and taking freelancers. 

Yuichiro 'Jienotsu' Nagashima  vs. T-98 (Takuya Imanari)

Haruaki Otsukivs. StarBoy KwaythongGym

Tenshin Nasukawa vs TBA

Genji Umeno vs TBA

They plan on running shows every other month and don't plan on making money for two years. Everything seems ambitious, with them wanting to expand the kickboxing market and overtake their competition. I guess we'll have to wait and see what they do.

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Fight Card for EM Legend 16 (Emei Legend)

  • Published in Kickboxing

EM Legend in China continues hitting on all cylinders for their next event, which happens on September 24th in China. Their 65kg tournament continues with Quade Tarnaki against Anvar Boynazarov and Kunchai vs. Manas. Also featured on the card is Rasul against Hiroya and a few other big fights.

65kg Tournament: Quade Tarnaki vs. Anvar Boynazarov

65kg Tournament: Kunchai vs. Manas

60kg Christian vs. Ji Duo Yi Bu

63kg Antoine Habash vs. Zhao ChuanLin

64kg Jonnata vs. Zhang ChengLong

65kg Rasul vs. HIROYA

70kg Sasu Lucian vs. Zhao XiaoYu

70kg Magomedov vs. Bian Denis

70kg Mendes vs. Liang YuanHao

70kg Mo ZhuangWei YuLong vs. Valentino Thibaut

70kg Ying PengPeng vs. William Whipple

70kg Elizier vs. Liu Lei

75kg Bahram Abdolmaleki vs. Han KaiHu

80kg Alexei Liubchenko vs. Falcao

93kg Sergj vs. Carlos Ulberg

100kg Douglas Abror vs. Andrei Sen

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Legendary John Wayne Parr Heads to Bellator Kickboxing in 2017

Remember when John Wayne Parr retired?

I'm not sure that JWP remembers that, even, because he got the itch to come back and did. Back in 2012 he was going to retire, he fought his first Caged Muay Thai bout and got that itch after just a few months. He's now ten fights deep after his retirement and if you've ever spoken to or heard an interview with him, it shouldn't come as a shock to you. The guy just loves to fight. 

Last year he appeared in Lion Fight and America's interest in The Gunslinger is as real as ever. Now it looks like Bellator Kickboxing has scooped up the legendary JWP and he'll be making his Bellator Kickboxing debut in early 2017. Awesome, right?

 

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Samedov vs Morosanu Fight Video

  • Published in Video

Zabit Samedov defeated Catalin Morosanu yesterday on the Akhmat Fight show in Grozny. It was easy to tell from just the entrance that Morosanu was not in the shape he usually is. He pulled out of his fight with SuperKombat last month due to a herniated disk in his neck but then accepted this fight just a month later. I'm sure Akhmat paid Morosanu well to convince him to fight even though he was injured and probably hadn't trained. Samedov did his job and did it well, avoiding Morasanu's early hail mary barrage and then catching him with a well timed knee to the solar plexus. I hope Catalin Morosanu can get his neck taken care of and we can see him back in top form again soon.

Here is the video so you can all see for yourselves.

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Randy 'Boom Boom' Blake On Martial Arts and a Long Career

  • Published in Interviews

It's the sound of thunder.  It's the sound of his fists or knees connecting with his opponent's body.  It's the sound of the other guy hitting the canvas.  It's his tagline -- #BOOM!  Randy Blake Oklahoma's favorite son continues his climb to dominance in the kickboxing world.  With more than 30 fights under his belt, and over half of them ending in KOs, Blake continues to prove himself as a fierce competitor in the ring and a benevolent advocate for the sport.  In addition to exhibiting dominance on his local circuit and climbing the ranks at Glory, Blake has held the XFL Light Heavyweight and ISKA World Heavyweight titles.  Blake’s other credentials include:

  • 4th Degree Black Belt in Karate, Kickboxing, and Jiu-Jitsu under 5 time world champion Dale "Apollo" Cook;
  • 2nd Degree Black Belt in Ketsugo under Herold Brosious;
  • Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under RCJ Machado.
  • Beginning his training at age six at Hillcrest Academy Dojo under Sylvester Meola in Ohio, Randy set himself on a lifelong path of the discipline required in martial arts.  After relocating to Oklahoma, Blake continued to hone is skills under 5x world champion Dale Apollo Cook at Apollo's Martial Arts.  Like many of his peers, Blake's early inspiration to begin this journey was the film, Bloodsport. Blake's interest in the prowess displayed by Van Damme on screen and his determination to perfect every move earned him punching bag for Christmas, a present he is thankful for until this very day.

Blake has had a long journey from his days of emulating Jean-Claude Van Damme to the present. Already, he has faced some of the best and brightest in the kickboxing community including Mirko “CroCop” Filipovic, Dustin Jacoby, Koichi, Mourad Bouzidi and others.  Today he not only derives his inspiration from his instructors, his peers and the generation he seeks to inspire, but also his mother. You see, Randy isn’t the only one with talent in the family when it comes to martial arts, meet Mrs. Blake.

Blake describes his mother as amazing!  When asked how he learned of his mother’s interest in martial arts, Blake recounted, “I got a phone call one day from her after high school saying ‘Guess what I’m doing?’ and as I said, ‘What?”, she said, ‘Karate!’  Blake went on to say that while he initially thought the idea humorous, his mother did in fact begin her own journey to excellence in martial arts and has competed in semi-contact rules and grappling events. Among Ms. Blake’s many accolades, she has thirteen OKA (Oklahoma Karate Association) sanctioned State Championships for Black Belt Executive Women in Kata and sparring.  She additionally has competed in NAGA (The North American Grappling Association), where she received one (1) Silver, one (1) Bronze and three (3) Gold medals.  Ms. Blake is not only a physical participant in martial arts, but she has taken her love for this discipline to another level by involving herself in organizations and projects designed to foster a love for martial arts in others.  She is not only a board member for the Oklahoma Karate Association but also a member of Girls in Gis, an organization whose goal is to unite girls and women of all ages who train Brazilian jiu-jitsu.  The organization strives to build camaraderie among the women as well as help them to crate their niche in BJJ.

Like his mother, Randy too shares her commitment to bringing the joy of martial arts to others.  Blake related that teaching and working with children is one of his passions.  A foundation in martial arts, according to Blake, gives children confidence and fosters a pattern of thinking that encourages children to do and be whatever they set as their goal. Blake stated that he experienced these principles in action growing up and wants nothing more than to give back and to be a positive role model.

In looking toward the future Blake plans to stay healthy, continue to fight and to be successful.  Blake would also like to continue to give back through motivational speaking and conducting seminars across the country.  Ultimately he would like to open a gym, but at twenty-nine years of age Blake has more to do inside the ring before heading to the sidelines.  Whether inside or outside the ring, what is clear is, whatever Randy Blake decides to do he will wow his fans and also inspire martial arts students around the world.

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IKSA's Cory Schafer Talks Controversial Refereeing, Judging and More

  • Published in Interviews

The sport of kickboxing is one that has waxed and waned with the times. Currently the sport is attempting to grow into new markets and find its niche and, accordingly, the rules and regulations that go into making kickboxing events happen have come under fire of late. Much like MMA, which has seen its share of controversy in the past few years, kickboxing has seen its share of controversial decisions and actions by referees that have been uniformly frowned upon by fans, fighters and many others within the sport.

We reached out to ISKA President Cory Schafer, who is in charge of overseeing most of the bigger events that have been happening worldwide, including GLORY events, for his thoughts on these controversies and applications of the rules.

The first thing that comes to mind is just how many controversies there have been of late, which Schafer seems sympathetic towards. “I fiercely defend every fan’s right to question, criticize or complain about the officiating.  That is a privilege that they earn with the ‘price of admission’ or their support of the televised broadcast,” he explained. “I am however realistic about the legitimacy of these questions and/or criticism.  Very few fans are adequately educated on the rules or the judges scoring criteria.  Fans and the media as well fail to realize that there is a world of difference between ‘watching a fight’ and ‘judging a fight.’  They are two completely different cognitive processes.  Of course when the bout result is obvious they will lead to the same result but when the contest is less obvious often they will not.  For the past two years I’ve been part of an event called MEDIA DAY in California where we allow members of the media to attend a judges training seminar and then actually sit next to the real judges during the event and cast (unofficial) ballots.  Interestingly enough at the last media day there was a ‘controversial’ decision.  Everyone on media row had FIGHTER A winning.  All of the judges however had FIGHTER B winning.  Interestingly enough the three media shadow judges who had attended the judges seminar all had FIGHTER B winning as well.  It was a great case study in the difference between ‘watching’ and ‘judging.’”

Schafer’s position is understandable; that he stands behind the rules and regulations that he oversees and that there is a difference between having to professional judge a fight and simply watching as a spectator. But, there has to be more, right? With so many people watching and so many disagreeing, where exactly is the line drawn? Exactly how accountable are referees and judges considering that their jobs are based on split-second decisions based on -- at times -- different rules depending on the event that they are working. 

“The first obligation of an official is to be worthy of the athletes and of the sport,” Schafer said of the officials that ISKA utilize. “ Considering the commitment that the fighters (and the promotion) make to their craft – our officials need to be dedicated and always on-point.  If they can’t handle the stress then they need to take a seat in the audience.  Every official is reviewed and held accountable.  At every event that I attend I hold a post event debrief where each aspect of the officiating (controversial or not) is reviewed.  Every event needs to provide a learning experience so that the officials can advance their skills.  If officials are not ‘getting better’ they are ‘getting worse.’”

When it comes to controversy it’s difficult not to bring up Levin vs. Marcus III, a fight that ended in a disqualification and saw Artem Levin storm out of the ring. There was actually a written agreement in place for this fight considering how volatile they expected it to be.

“The first time a fighter holds the referee will likely caution the fighters without stopping the action.  The second time it occurs in the same round, the referee may do the same or stop the action and issue an official warning. If it occurs again, the fighter will be penalized a point.  Further holding will not require additional cautions or warnings unless there is a great deal of time between infractions.  If two points have been taken away and the fighter continues to foul by holding then at the point when it would be appropriate to penalize the fighter a third time the fighter should be disqualified.   The referee retains full authority to caution, warn, penalize and disqualify according to his perception of the violations.”

“Wichger’s acted consistent with the interpretation above,” Schafer added. He was in agreement that the knockdown when Levin went through the ropes was perhaps up for contention, in part due to the angle caught by the television cameras not being clear enough at the time, although when viewing from an overhead shot a week later they were able to determine that Marcus did connect with a knee that contributed to Levin falling down, thus negating any further controversy. Schafer’s final take on that fight is one in which he held nothing back, either.

“In my final evaluation, Levin’s performance in both bouts against Marcus was nothing less than disgraceful,” he frankly stated. “He intentionally and constantly fouled and fought in a way that he knew was contrary to the spirit and intention of Glory rules.  I personally spent 30 minutes with his team and a Russian interpreter prior to the first bout in order to guarantee that there could be no misunderstanding.  The written document addressing the clinching vs. holding rules was sent to all fight teams in advance, handed out at the rules meeting, read aloud at the group rules meeting and reviewed by the referee at the one-on-one rules meeting.  Levin executed three different fouling techniques in the first 30 seconds of the first round.  He tried to bully his opponent and the referee and when it didn’t work he did what most bullys do – they quit.  In my opinion he should not have been paid because he failed to live up to the terms of his contract.”

As for consistent implementation of the rules, Schafer feels that the ISKA and its officials have been consistent and that the onus lies within the fighter and the trainers to understand and obey the rules. “It’s difficult to answer that question since I don’t really feel like the rules have been implemented inconsistently.  I place the responsibility on the fighters.  Those that fight according to the rules don’t have any issue with the officiating.”

It is an interesting concept, because for less clinch-heavy fighters there really aren’t many problems with officiating. There might be a controversial knockdown or decisions like the two van Roosmalen vs. Sitthichai fights that will always be up for discussion. Are officials getting too involved, though? So many of the fighters compete across MMA, muay thai, kickboxing and boxing that their reflexes may compel them to go to certain things in desperation (like a clinch), at what point is leniency proper or should rules be followed to the letter? 

“I don’t think that leniency is the proper construct.  I think that the referee has the power to caution, warn, penalize and disqualify and they are trained on how to use those tools (along with the pre-fight one on one rules meeting, the group rules meeting and the written documents provided to the fight teams in advance) in order to avoid having the take points away.  But when a fighter breaks the rules to the extent that it is damaging his opponent’s ability to be successful then the referee must take action in order to insure a fair contest.  I don’t see the fact that kickboxing is close to both Muay Thai and MMA as any kind of mitigating factor.  These are professional fight teams who accept a contract to participate in unique sport.  Their professional obligation is to be prepared to fight according to the rules that are provided.”

Modern kickboxing’s roots are from Japan, where K-1 was notorious for handing out the drawn rounds to push for extra rounds, yet that has become less-and-less prevalent in modern kickboxing outside of Japan. When asked if this is something that officials are aware of, or intentionally avoid Schafer was clear. “If you allow officials to score rounds even than the line at which they have to make a decision will continue to degrade.  They will begin using 10-10 too often and only award a round when a fighter dominates.  I know this as a fact from 30 years of experience.  The discussion also is kind of moot since that scoring procedure is determined by the SAC and they are very strict about this.”

As most of us have seen, when a fighter feels robbed or like something went wrong in a fight, they tend to turn to social media in an attempt to garner sympathy towards them. Being frustrating is understandable, but what kind of official channels are in place for fighters who feel wronged by the system? “Fight teams may submit a written protest addressing any misapplication of the rules or evidence of collusion.”

Schafer even went as far as to pen an article explaining the differences in how judges watch fights and how fans watch fights, which you can read here.

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VIDEO: Chingiz Allazov vs. Enriko Kehl From Monte Carlo

  • Published in Video

There was a lot of big kickboxing this past weekend, but perhaps one of the more overlooked fights was from Monte Carlo between Chingiz Allazov and Enriko Kehl. Both men are well-respected top lightweights and went to war in a bout that ultimately was won by Allazov via KO. Watch the fight below and weigh in on where either guy stands in the grand scheme of things right now.

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May 2016 LiverKick Rankings Update: Ch-ch-ch-changes Galore

  • Published in Rankings

There has been a lot going on this year for both Jay and I, so we waited for the rankings to really need an update. The thing is, now that we got to tackle them, they needed a lot of changes. After a rather uneventful early part of the year we are seeing major changes in quite a few divisions. While at times we've been able to let entire divisions stand as they are, this time around each division has at least one big change.

The LiverKick rankings date back to 2010 when Fraser Coffeen and myself began ranking fighters across multiple divisions, with the only way to move up the rankings (or being added to them) being defeating a ranked opponent. Therefore, these rankings are based upon who beats who, not talent, potential or anything else. They are also current, meaning that past wins or losses are not taken into account when ranking a fighter. 

Heavyweight saw some changes, some were good, others were questionable. Brian Douwes had a win over Jamal Ben Saddik to earn his spot, then had an incredible slide that bumped him out. Easy come, easy go. New additions are in WFL tournament winner Fabio Kwasi and GLORY newcomer Guto Inocente. Both had ranked wins that put them on the map here and have taken hold of the middle of the division. Their addition means that Badr Hari once again slides out of the rankings, mirroring his lack of activity against, well, anyone. 

Light Heavyweight saw a big departure in the way of Gokhan Saki. In a way, that was a long time coming. Saki hasn't competed at this weight in a very long time and his last fight was now well over a year ago now, meaning that he has finally been dropped. This makes Artem Vakhitov the undisputed #1 Light Heavyweight in the world. There are two additions to the rankings at this point, one being Mladen Kujundzic thanks to his recent win over Andrei Stoica and Luis Tavares. Middleweight only saw movement really at the top with Marcus and Levin swapping, Wilnis and Schilling swapping and the addition of Cedric Doumbe who is a rare case of a fighter ranked in two divisions.

Welterweight is another division that has seen some shake-ups. While Holzken is still unmoving, Artur Kyshenko is on an incredible run and Cedric Doumbe hasn't tasted defeat in a while now. Mustapha Haida has made some big strides and makes his debut. Lightweight has seen only a few changes, notably the slide of Davit Kiria. Enriko Gogokhia's win over him earns him a rather high spot on the list. Tayfun Ozcan has quietly been making his way into the top ten for a while now and once again, Davit Kiria is welcoming new names into the rankings.

Featherweight is, well, Featherweight. That'll probably change again soon after the next K-1 Japan event. 

LiverKick Rankings Updated on 5/26/2016

Heavyweight (Per 5/16)

1 Rico Verhoeven
2 Benjamin Adegbuyi
3 Ismael Londt
4 Jahfarr Wilnis
5 Fabio Kwasi
6 Guto Inocente
7 Jamal Ben Saddik
8 Anderson Silva
9 Andrei Gerasmichuk
10 Zabit Samedov

Light

Heavyweight (Per 5/16)

1 Artem Vakhitov
2 Saulo Cavalari
3 Mourad Bouzidi
4 Danyo Ilunga
5 Mladen Kujundzic
6 Jorge Loren
7 Andrei Stoica
8 Zack Mwekassa
9 Luis Tavares
10 Reduon Cairo
Middleweight (Per 5/16)

1 Simon Marcus
2 Artem Levin
3 Jason Wilnis
4 Joe Schilling
5 Filip Verlinden
6 Alex Pereira
7 Dustin Jacoby
8 Israel Adesanya
9 Cedric Doumbe
10 Fang Bian
Welterweight (Per 5/16)

1 Nieky Holzken
2 Artur Kyshenko
3 Cedric Doumbe
4 Murthel Groenhart
5 Hicham El Gaoui
6 Raymond Daniels
7 Yoann Kongolo
8 Mustapha Haida
9 Karim Ghajji
10 Bai Jinbin
Lightweight (Per 5/16)

1 Robin van Roosmalen
2 Sitthichai
3 Enriko Gogokhia
4 Giorgio Petrosyan
5 Yodsanklai Fairtex
6 Marat Grigorian
7 Wu Xuesong
8 Tayfun Ozcan
9 Dzhabar Askerov
10 Josh Jauncey
Featherweight (Per 5/16)

1 Kaew Fairtex
2 Hidaeki Yamazaki
3 Masaaki Noiri
4 Minoru Kimura
5 Massaro Glunder
6 Yasuomi Soda
7 Yuta Kubo
8 Serhiy Adamchuk
9 Gabriel Varga
10 Qui Jian Liang
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WATCH: Yohan Lidon Lands a Monster Head Kick KO

  • Published in Video

Yes, slow news day. That being said, this head kick KO from Yohan Lidon over Karapet Karapetyan from May 19th at Capital Fights in France is simply a thing of beauty. Does it match the Marat Grigorian one from the last GLORY show? Maybe, maybe not, but who cares? It's a beautiful head kick KO and that's the reason why we are here. 

Énorme KO de Lidon sur Karapetyan

Incroyable KO infligé par Yohan Lidon ! Rassurez-vous, son adversaire d'un soir s'est relevé quelques instants après. #boxe21

Posted by L'ÉQUIPE 21 on Thursday, May 19, 2016

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Steven 'The Warman' Wright's Women's Pound-for-Pound List: May 2016

  • Published in Rankings

In putting together this women's pound for pound lists I must first make it clear that there is no difficulty in finding talented women. The difficulty lives in how many talented women there are. I could make a list for several weight classes, but it gets so thin after number five, that I thought a better representation for female Muay Thai and kickboxing fighters is to do a p4p list. 

My criteria is simple; the total number of victories over solid opposition is number one. Another way to put it; who did you beat and how did you beat them. A win is good, a KO win is better. Championships mean little, because there is a world champion in 90 percent of the gyms in the world. It means more to travel or import top talent and test ones self in that way than it is to remain undefeated against familiar opposition. Volume of fights is huge. If you flirt with boxing and MMA from time to time and do not build your kickboxing and Muay Thai resumes, fighters can jump you. Also if you are predominately a stadium Muay Thai fighter this is not the list for you. The major stadiums do not have female fights as of right now so all the champs are from regional stadiums. Muay Thai contributor Sylvie Duuglas Ittu has a great list for those that want lighter weight stadium fighters. Without further a due, your Liverkick.com female pound for pound(p4p) rankings. 

Honorable mentions, (Marianna Kalergi, Ilona Wijmans, Miriam Nakamoto (not sure if she is returning, but she is elite) Julia Berezikova (would be in the top 15 if she didn't compete in MMA so much, still an elite fighter with a good resume) Lucia Krajcovic, Lucy Payne and Rachel Adamus.

15. Anissa Haddaoui HOLLAND/MOROCCO

Fresh off a tournament win over all action star Ilona Wijman's and Sheena Windershoven she enters the top 15. She will have to be more consistent to move up in the rankings.

14. Mio JAPAN

Mio is a KO artist that campaigns at 48kgs, the smallest weight class in competitive fighting. She will struggle to move up in the rankings due to lack of depth in the weight class. However she has been the girl to beat in Shootboxing's smallest division for some time now. Her KO over Yuuki is violent stuff

13. Samantha van Doorn HOLLAND

Samantha is on fire right now. Sure, she has been beaten by the top women on this list. But she has won three straight over Australia's Sam Brown, Ilona Wijmans(2015 Fight of the Year), and Patrizia Gibelli

12. Eva Naranjo SPAIN

Eva has a controversial win over Iman Barlow and a solid win over Sam Brown. However her boxing focus has taken away from her kickboxing resume of late so she can only be on the list at 12.

11. Anke van Gestel BELGIUM

Its hard to find a more active fighter than the 22yr old Anke van Gestal. She fights anyone, and despite some loses to the better women in the sport she has just beaten Rachida Bouhout and Aleide Lawant, Bouhout was a higher weight Enfusion champion. Anke has also beaten Lindsey Haycraft Sheer, veteran Claire Haigh, Sarah Debaieb, and Ilona Wijmans in an Awesome fight.

10. Antonina Shevchenko PERU

Sister of All time Great Muay Thai fighter Valentina Shevchenko, Antonina has built quite the resume herself. Fresh off a Enfusion reality show tournament win over Laetitia Bakissy and Shana Lammers. Antonina started the year off right and then signed with Lion Fight. If all goes well, she will get one fight to showcase her skill and then a title shot with Jorina Baars later in the year. Lack of opponents could mean the Jorina fight is next. 

9. Jemyma Betrian HOLLAND/SURINAME 

Activity is the only reason why Jemyma isn't higher. Outside of a draw to Tiffany van Soest, Betrian is unblemished. No loses in kickboxing and wins over Christi Brereton, E Meidie, and Wang Kehan in an epic fight. She hasn't fought kickboxing in two years, but also hasn't committed to MMA full so she makes the list. 

8. E Meidie CHINA

Though controversial, E Meidie has the biggest win on this list in an extra round decision victory over Anissa Mekson. She also beat Isis Verbeek and won six times in eleven months. She will need more total fights to move up, but she is in the elite women's weight class so opportunities will come.

7. Wang Kehan CHINA

Despite E Medie having the big win, the best fighter in China is Wang Kehan. She burst on the scene when she almost stopped Jemyma Betrian in the first round. Since that fight, she trains with Betrian and hasn't lost a fight sense. Irena Mazepa, Michaela Michl, and Masha Valent. Unlike Meidie, Wang has left the country and has had success without the favoring of hometown judges, winning in the US, Belarus, and the Philippines. She just stopped Rachel Adamus on Kunlun so she is adding to her resume every month. 

6. Tiffany van Soest USA

The American super star has been Lion Fight Champion pretty much since it has aired on TV. She has wins over Ashley Nichols, Bernise Aldis, Lucy Payne(twice) and Alexis Rufus. Tiffany had a tough 2014 losing to Muay Thai Legend Caley Reece and Denist Kielholtz. But she bounced back to regain her Lion Fight title and is now signed to Glory kickboxing. She is seen as the premiere signing in the women's division and now fighting between 52 and 54kgs she will have plenty of chances to move up in the rankings. 

5. Rena JAPAN

The Shootboxing queen hasn't lost since she was 19yrs old in 2011. Sense then she is beating and stopping opponents. Elli Maria Ekstrom, Christina Jurjevic(Twice), Ai Takahashi, and her most important victory, a 5rd decision over Erika Kamimura, who would be on this list had illness not end her career. Rena is a talent and her KOs of Za Za Sor Aree and Reinthong are brutal and beautiful.

4. Denise Keilholtz HOLLAND/SURINAME

She is the best 57kg fighter on the planet. Denise has wins over Ilona Wijmans(controversial), Lindsey Haycraft Sheer, Vicky Church, Lucy Payne, Lucia Krajcovic, Cindy Huyer, and a big win over Tiffany van Soest at a time when most felt they were one and two in the world. Denise is fresh off a win in Bellator's kickboxing league so more to come from the Dutch/Suriname fighter

3. Jorina Baars HOLLAND

Jorina Baars is amazing. She has the combination to low kick game down, uses her length well, and is getting victories in Muay Thai, which isn't even her best stand up sport(she is a better kickboxer). Victories over Martina Jindrova(twice), Chantel Ughi (twice), Anissa Haddaoui and the most important win in the history of women's Muay Thai, a dominate victory over the unbeatable MMA star Cyborg Santos. Outside of that there isn't much talent in the higher weight classes so her inevitable fight with new Lion Fight signee Antonina Shevchenko is an opportunity to move up. 

2. Iman Barlow ENGLAND

In truth, no one has a better resume than Iman Barlow. No female fighter on the planet, in boxing, MMA, or Muay Thai fights as much and win's as much as Iman. She has wins over, Samantha van Doorn(twice), Alexis Rufus, Maria Lobo, Adi Rotem, Mellony Geugjes, Johanna Ryberg, Ferial Ameeroedien, and Fani Peloumpi to name a few of many. The only reason she isn't number one is because of a stoppage loss to Anissa Meksen in the Enfusion reality show tournament. Outside of that, the girl who beat the boys Iman Barlow is a prodigy in the sport and has been fighting in Muay Thai since she was 3...that isn't a joke. She has more than 150 fights. 

1. Anissa Meksen FRANCE

French fighter Anissa Meksen is he number one p4p female fighter on the planet due to her resume and the way she won. She has victories over Isis Verbeek, Maria Lobo, and Ashley Nichols. But she has stoppage wins over Adi Rotem, Johanna Ryberg, Phet Yodying, and the win that makes her number 1, a stoppage victory over p4p number 2 Iman Barlow. A controversial loss to E Meidie is the only blemish to her otherwise stellar record. She should remain at the top spot, but the arrival of Glory's female division could mean a possible fight with Tiffany van Soest and a rematch with Iman Barlow. Yet as it stands, Anissa Meksen is the number one p4p female kickboxing/Muay Thai fighter on the planet.

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K-1

K-1 WGP in Japan 2016 - 60kgs World Tournament Results

  • Published in K-1

So the K-1 60kgs tournament took place this morning in Tokyo, Japan. The co-main event was supposed to feature Kaew Weerasakreck against the winner of the 2016 65kgs tournament Hideaki Yamazaki but Kaew`s teammate Gon`Napar fought instead and what a fight it was. Here are all the results thanks to Mr. Jordan Booth.

Results

60kgs Tournament Final - Koya Urabe Def Taiga KO 1ST RND (Punches, 3 Knockdowns) Koya looked fantastic tonight, really utilized that great boxing of his.

65kgs Superfight - Gon'Napar Weerasakreck Def Hideaki Yamazaki Unanimous Dec (28-26,28-26,28-26) Both were dropped in the first round from punches. Yamazaki looked good in the first but at some point in the second ate few to many leg kicks and was clearly on sore legs the rest of the fight. He was barely walking after the match. good fight.

Mokoto Uehara Def Koichi Pettas Unanimous Dec (30-28,29-28,29-28)

Kenta Hayashi Def Yuji "kyoken" Takeuchi KO 1ST RND (Punches, 3 Knockdowns)

60kgs Semi 1 - Koya Urabe Def Paulo Tebar KO 2ND RND (Punches, 2 Knockdowns) 

60kgs Semi 2 - Taiga Def Hirotaka Urabe Unanimous Dec (30-27,30-27,30-26)

Makoto Kozu forest vs Hong Chin'yao KO 3RD RND 

Morii Kokai Def Michitaka Uchida Majority Dec (29-28,29-29,29-28)

Kuwata Yuta Def Yu Nomura KO 3rd RND

60kgs Quarterfinal - Kosuke Komiyama Def Paulo Tebar Unanimous Dec (30-28,29-28,30-28) (Komiyama inured so Tebar advanced)

60kgs Quarterfinal - Koya Urabe Def Karim Bennoui Unanimous Dec (30-27,30-27,30-27)

60kgs Quarterfinal - Hirotaka Urabe Def Johannes Wolf Unanimous Dec (29-28,29-28,29-28)

60kgs Quarterfinal - Taiga Def Javier Hernandez TKO 2ND RND (Downed with Liver kick, survived the round then left the ring)

Koji Def Toshi Unanimous Dec (30-29,30-29,30-29)

Masanobu Goshu Def Dynamite Yuta Takahashi Majority Dec (30-29,29-29,30-28)

K-Jee Def Yoshinari KO 2RND (Punches, 3KD)

Kento Ito vs Ryusei Asizawa DRAW (29-27,27-27,28-28)

 

 

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K-1 Europe Planning 95kg World Grand Prix on October 27th

  • Published in K-1

While K-1 Japan has been putting on some of the best shows in the world, K-1 outside of Japan has been rather quiet. K-1 GLOBAL was running events in China, but the ongoing details of setting up shop in China have considerably slowed down their approach on China for the moment. 

For fans across the world the K-1 name is still the standard for which all kickboxing is measured and K-1 is returning to Europe, kickboxing's spiritual home. K-1 Europe will operate much in the same vein that K-1 Japan does, operating shows based out of Europe highlighting the best talents around, but while K-1 Japan has lighter weights covered, K-1 Europe will be focusing on heavier weights. Everything kicks off on October 27th in Belgrade, Serbia with the K-1 Europe 95kg World Grand Prix.

This will be a one-night, eight-man tournament, returning to K-1's roots and while no names have been announced yet, the promotion is going to focus on talented up-and-comers as well as established talents in the weight division, with some of the names that I've heard being kicked around as definite crowd-pleasers.

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K-1 WORLD GP 60kgs Tournament Fight Card

  • Published in K-1

K-1 WGP 2016 60kgs Tournament takes place this weekend September 19th in Tokyo Japan at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium. This will as usual be an am

azing card with an 8-man tournament at 60kgs where there is a high possibility that the Urabe brothers are going to fight in the finals again. As hard as it is for me to watch two brothers fight (they have already fought each other multiple times) they do make an exciting fight everytime. Also Kaew Weerasakreck will be defending his 65kgs belt against Hideaki Yamazaki. The last time they fought was in 2014 and Kaew won by decision but Yamazaki has got a lot better so this should be interesting.

Full Card

60kgs Tournament Final - 

65kgs Title - Kaew vs Hideaki Yamazaki

Mokoto Uehara vs Koichi Pettas

Yuji "kyoken" takeuchi vs Kenta Hayashi

60kgs Semi 1 - 

60kgs Semi 2 - 

Makoto Kozu forest vs Hong Chin'yao

Morii Kokai vs Michitaka Uchida

Kuwata Yuta vs Yu Nomura

60kgs Quarterfinal - Kosuke Komiyama vs Paulo Tebar

60kgs Quarterfinal - Koya Urabe vs Karim Bennoui

60kgs Quarterfinal - Hirotaka Urabe vs Johannes Wolf

60kgs Quarterfinal - Taiga vs Javier Hernandez

Toshi vs Koji

Dynamite Yuta Takahashi vs Masanobi Goshu

K-Jee vs Yoshinari 

Kento Ito vs Ryusei Asizawa

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K-1 Japan Holding -57.5kg Tournament For New World Title in November

  • Published in K-1

Fans of K-1 Japan know better than to mess with Takeru, the K-1 -55kg Champion, a truly violent force in kickboxing. Yet, it appears that K-1 is moving the goalpost a bit for Takeru's brand of violence by adjusting the division's weight to -57.5kg, where they will crown a new champion. This goes down on November 5th at Yoyogi National Stadium and will be an 8-man tournament.

K-1 Japan -57.5kg GP

Tournament: Ozawa Kaito vs Josh Tonna

Tournament: Tobe Ryuma vs Elias Mahmoudi

Tournament: Kanbe Shota vs Yun Qi

Tournament: Takeru vs. Jamie Whelan

Reserve: Otaki Yuta VS Asahisa Yuki

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Absolutely Do Not Push Takeru While He's Wearing His K-1 Championship

  • Published in K-1

K-1 Japan has another, star-studded and most likely knockout-filled card approaching on the 24th of June, featuring a 65kg tournament. Also featured on the card will be K-1 -55kg Champion Takeru taking on Ozawa Kaito. At a recent press conference for the event both men stared down and Kaito decided to get cute with Takeru. Takeru is, of course, a beautiful, violent soul, which is to say that it didn't work out too well. Here's the thing, don't come at Takeru while he's wearing his belt.

Apparently he's kind of invincible while wearing it, because this one-handed judo takedown is just a thing of beauty.

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K-1 Japan 65kg World Grand Prix

  • Published in K-1

K-1 Japan keeps churning out some of the best kickboxing action in the world with their upcoming K-1 Japan -65kg World Grand Prix, set to happen on June 4th. The best 65kg fighters in the world will be competing in a one-night tournament, including favorites like Kaew, HIROYA, Glunder and Noiri while bringing some new names into the mix like Stanislav Renita, Ilias Bulaid (well, he fought there before, but you know) and Chris Mauceri.

65kg World Tournament

Teruaki Yamazaki VS Stanislav Renita

Ilias Bulaid VS Chris Mauceri

Massaro Glunder VS Masaaki Noiri

Kaew Weerasakreck VS HIROYA

Reserve Fight: Kimura 'Philip' Minoru vs NOMAN

Superfights

Takeru VS Ozawa Kaito

Urabe Hirotaka VS Komiyama Kosuke

Uehara Makoto VS TBA

Kido Yasuhiro VS TBA

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Remembering Prince Through K-1's Theme Song 'Endorphinmachine'

  • Published in K-1

Kickboxing has changed a lot over the past few years. To the point where if you took a fan from the late 90's or mid-00's it would be near-unrecognizable. Yet the legacy of K-1 lives on in many ways. Interestingly enough, today there have been rumors about a possible K-1 World Grand Prix that we are trying to track down some leads on, but that's not what I'm posting about. I'm posting about the passing of a legend in the music industry, Prince. I know that the link between Prince and kickboxing is tenuous, at best, but there is one. I wrote a little bit about Prince's passing already, if you are interested.

But the link here is that for years K-1 used a Prince track as their theme. That song was "Endorphinmachine" from the oft-forgotten album "The Gold Experience." While that album might not go down as an all-time classic for His Royal Badness, it did contain an amazing track that was difficult NOT to pump you up, especially when it came to K-1. 

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Live Stream Information for K-1 Japan -65kg Japan GP

  • Published in K-1

That's right, it's that time again to get your Smiling Points ready on NicoNico and buckle down for some of the best kickboxing action in the world with K-1 Japan's -65kg Japan GP. This tournament will be a one-nighter that'll decide which Japanese 65kg fighter will move on to the next leg of this big tournament. As always, they stream live via NicoNico for 2,000 Smiling Points. I'm not entirely sure how much their Smiling Points translate to due to current exchange rates, but I'm pretty sure it's around $18 USD to watch the show live, although it might be a bit more than that. If you've never used NicoNico before, we have an old guide up from the 2014 Shoot Boxing S-Cup that Jay put together that will help get you started. 

The K-1 Japan -65kg Japan tournament starts at 6:00PM Tokyo time (so 4am Eastern/2am Pacific) according to the listing on NicoNico and costs the usual 2,000 Smiling Points. 

Here's a refresher on the card for this event.

65kg Japan Tournament - Quarter Finals

Noiri Masaaki VS Kimura Minoru

Terasaki Naoki VS Hiroya

Soda Yasuomi VS Yamazaki Teruaki

Kubo Yuta VS Noman

Superfights

Kaew Weerasakreck VS Massaro Glunder

Urabe Hirotaka VS Johannes Wolf

Makoto Uehara VS Nori

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K-1 Global Reiterates Their Long-Forgotten Claim to Their Video Library

  • Published in K-1

If you remember back, far back, you'll remember a time when GLORY was proud to announce the acquisition of the K-1 tape library and K-1 was quick to retort that they hadn't and that anything that they did buy was not a legal sale. So the recent announcement that UFC Fight Pass had acquired over 100 K-1 events from GLORY was sure to raise their ire.

Earlier today K-1 Global issued a press statement explaining that this matter is still under legal scrutiny in Japan and that they are still refuting that GLORY actually bought anything back in 2013. What will come of this is anyone's guess, but K-1 seems adamant on this issue. K-1 has been moderately dormant of late, their latest outing was an amateur tournament in Italy run in conjunction with Carlo di Blasi.

K-1 Global currently sanctions K-1 Japan events, though. The last K-1 World Grand Prix that was ran by K-1 Global concluded in 2013 with Mirko Cro Cop emerging victorious. The last K-1 World MAX that they ran saw Enriko Kehl victorious.

Seeing as though the UFC went through with this deal I'm under the assumption that they were comfortable with whatever documentation that GLORY had. For now it looks like the only hope that K-1 has in this matter is for the legal system in Japan to decide in its favor. 

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K-1 The Championship: Title Fights Breakdown

  • Published in K-1

Since this next K-1 Card is so exciting we've decided to breakdown the 4 title fights and get everyone as pumped up as we are. The full card is listed AT THIS LINK.

This card will be played on NICO NICO TV, we posted instructions on the easiest way to order from this site earlier in the year for the S-cup, you can order these the same way just instead of looking for the name S-cup u should look for the name K-1 WGP 2015 The championship. Here is the link on how to order through NICO NICO.

Kaew Fairtex(c) vs Kimura "Phillip" Minoru

We will start with the 65kg fight between Kaew Fairtex and Kimura Minoru. This fight is a rematch from January of this year where Minoru won a very controversial decision. First of all here is the video of the fight.

Now lets talk about the elephant in ring... that referee! I believe that by being so involved in the fight and constantly touching, pushing, and breaking up the fighters he actually ruined the outcome of the fight. In the 2nd round Fairtex had Minoru badly hurt yet the ref kept interfering because of the clinch and then spending extra time talking and pushing the fighters around for no reason which gave Minoru plenty of time to recover. Also it seemed that Kaew won the first two rounds quite decisively but then he got an 8 count in the 3rd, I was sure there was going to be an extra round but was proven wrong by the bad judging.

Since their last meeting which was almost a year ago both fighters have been very active and made great improvements. Fairtex is getting much more confidant with his boxing which is showing us the power he has in hands but for this fight its best if he sticks with his left body and head kick. The only time he was ever in any danger the first fight was when he decided to come in and punch, which eventually got him an 8 count and cost him the fight. He can use that kick all fight to keep himself out of range of the dangerous hands of Minoru.

There is no doubt that Kimura has huge power and speed in his hands for this weight class, it seems no matter who he touches on the chin, they fall down. He will really need to work on keeping his left foot on the outside of Kaews right foot and using his explosiveness to get past the kick and land punch combinations. I'm really expecting fireworks with this fight, now lets just hope they have a better referee this time.

Marat Grigorian(c) vs Sanny Dahlbeck

Grigorian vs Dahlbeck is once again the typical orthodox boxer vs southpaw kicker which seems to be happening a lot lately but always makes for an interesting fight.

Armenian fighter Marat Grigorian is the current K-1 70kgs champion and is now training at Hemmers gym in Holland. He is predominantly a boxer who throws in low kicks and knees every so often. His strongest attributes are the constant pressure he can put on fighters and his great combinations. He will really have to use this against Dahlbeck, the last time Grigorian fought a good southpaw it was against a much smaller fighter in Serhiy Adamchuk the newly crowned Glory 65kgs champion. To be fair Adamchuk took the fight on 24 hours notice, which of course is a disadvantage for Adamchuk but everyone forgets that Grigorian had been training for an Orthodox fighter for 4-6 weeks and now he gets sprung with a tricky southpaw last minute. This led to Marat having a really bad performance and losing to Adamchuk who was really making Grigorian look sloppy. For this fight Grigorian cannot just plod forward, get into range and throw punches like he usually does, he must use more explosiveness and push Dahlbeck to the ropes then unleash his combinations. If Marat can keep close to Dahlbeck and keep him on the ropes I feel Sanny will get tired and eventually get stopped in the later rounds.

Sanny Dahlbeck is a Swedish fighter who spends lots of his time in Thailand training at Sitmonchai. He is an extremely explosive southpaw with a very hard and fast left hand. Southpaws always have a small advantage over orthodox fighters because for the most part they always fight and train with right handed fighters, where as orthodox fighters only meet left handed fighters once in a while and to find a good southpaw for training is quite difficult. Dahlbeck will need to use this as much as possible, he will need to use his left kick and straight left as much as possible and make sure he angles off after throwing. If Sanny can keep Marat off balance with his body kick, angle to maintain the center of the ring and clinch up to avoid damage he can make this an easy night just like Adamchuk did. Dahlbeck is taller than Adamchuk, this is a good thing because he can land his straight left from further away and get the angle without too much danger but it could also mean that Marat is able to keep him off balance more due to his higher center of gravity in which case Sanny will end up on the ropes and be in big trouble.

I really do feel that conditioning is going to play a huge part in this fight, with Grigorians pressure if Dahlbeck gets tired in the last round he will not make it to the decision but if Dahlbeck has trained hard and made sure he is ready to move the whole fight he should be fine.

Koya Urabe(c) vs Hirotaka Urabe 

In case you didn't notice yes, these guys have the same last name and yes they are brothers. Koya is Hirotaka's younger brother, they have already fought once before in the final of the 60kgs tournament in January of this year.

Now keep in mind after watching that fight that they had both already won two fights, Hirotaka got one first round KO but in the semi-finals he ended up winning an extra round decision and Koya got two first round knockouts. You can tell that Hirotaka already had a damaged leg going into the final and Koya took advantage of it like a good little brother would do.

Koya is a southpaw and maybe a little bit slicker and more skilled but Hirotaka is tougher, grittier and will never give up especially now that his younger brother already beat him once. Both fighters love to use their hands so the southpaw to orthodox thing plays less of a role plus I'm sure they know each other very well since they have probably been training together their whole lives before this fight. I personally feel the fight is going to play out quite similar to the previous one but it will be very interesting to see what Hirotaka can do without a damaged back leg. Hirotaka has to find a way to surprise his younger brother, it seemed in the first fight that Koya was always one step ahead.

Whatever happens with this fight these two are always non-stop action from bell to bell and Hirotaka seems very motivated to take that belt from his younger brother as he feels that he deserves it.

Takeru(c) vs Charles Bongiovanni

I had not heard much about the Frenchman Charles Bongiovanni until his last fight on the K-1 Survival wars card where he took on Danial Williams. Williams is usually the hard puncher for this 55kg weight class but Bongiovanni proved he was right up there as well by landing a perfect counter right hook to drop Charles and then showed great finishing skills to drop him twice more. Its quite unusual to get first round knockouts in the 55kg division but Charles has proven he has the power to do it. Once again there is a pattern with all the fights here and Bongiovanni is a Southpaw and looks like he will be the taller of the two fighters so we will see how well he is able to work that on the current champion Takeru.

Takeru is not a big power puncher like Williams or Bongiovanni but he can score knockdowns with well placed punches due to his great technique. He will definitely be the more technical fighter of the two and he has great eyes to see what openings he can capitalize on as you can see in his fight above with Alexandre Prilip. Takeru lands one overhand right, and then its just a matter of time before he lands another to put Prilip down for an 8 count to end the first round. I really feel that both of these fighters are not the type to move backwards and they will meet in the middle and stand toe to toe until one fighter falls down. I'd be quite surprised if this one gets to the judges scorecards.

 

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GLORY Release Card for Stacked GLORY 35: Sitthichai vs. Marat, Vakhitov vs. Mwekassa and More

  • Published in Glory

While everyone is abuzz over December 10th's GLORY Collision, featuring Rico Verhoeven vs. Badr Hari, GLORY is continuing to put forth some incredible cards in the interim. Today the company announced the card for GLORY 35 Nice, France and it's chock full of kickboxing goodness.

The main event is Sitthichai defending the GLORY Lightweight Championship against Marat Grigorian, then featured on the card is a Heavyweight Contender tournament. Interestingly enough, Ismael Londt won one of these tournaments and has yet to get his title shot yet. We've reached out to GLORY for comment, but nothing yet.

The stacking of the SuperFight Series continues with a Light Heavyweight unification bout as champion Artem Vakhitov and Interim Champion Zack Mwekassa clash for Light Heavyweight surpremacy. Also featured is Josh Jauncey against Dylan Salvador, who has been tearing things up in China over the past few years. 

GLORY 35 Nice

Lightweight World Title Headline Bout: Sittichai vs. Marat Grigorian

Heavyweight Tournament Final Bout: Winner of Bout A vs. Winner of Bout B

Light Heavyweight Co-Headline Bout: Zinedine Hameur-Lain vs. Pavel Zhuravlev

Heavyweight Tournament Semifinal Bout B: TBA vs. TBA

Heavyweight Tournament Semifinal Bout A: Jahfarr Wilnis vs. Mladen Brestovac

GLORY 35 SuperFight Series

Light Heavyweight Title Unification Bout: Artem Vakhitov vs. Zack Mwekassa

Welterweight Bout: Karim Benmansour vs. Eyevan Danenberg

Super Bantamweight Bout: Amel Dehby vs. Ji-Waen Lee

Lightweight Bout: Josh Jauncey vs. Dylan Salvador

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GLORY 33 Draws 517,000 Viewers Live on ESPN2

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GLORY's run on ESPN has most been live on ESPN3 and replayed on ESPN2 some time in the near future. That has been anywhere from a day to two days to two weeks, depending on ESPN's scheduling. On Friday night for GLORY 33, ESPN2 aired the event live. Well, there is a caveat to that, because the college football game between Louisville and Syracuse ran over and GLORY 33 was pushed to ESPNews until it was over.

That left about an hour and fifteen minutes for GLORY 33 on ESPN2 and the numbers that they pulled were the best that we've seen in quite a while with 517,000 live viewers. That means that live viewers got to see Rico Verhoeven crush Anderson Silva and Matt Embree look like a million bucks. That's not a bad way to snag viewers.

[Source]

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Yao Ming's Investment Firm Acquires Strategic Stake in GLORY

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Following an exciting outing at GLORY 33, it was announced today that former NBA star, Yao Ming, through his investment firm Yao Capitol, has purchased a strategic stake in GLORY kickboxing. 

In a press release issued this afternoon by GLORY, they announced that Yao Capitol along with Liberty Global, have concluded a strategic investment in the kickboxing company. The move is seen as GLORY has been attempting to make further strides in not only the US market, but the Asian market as well. GLORY will increase the number of shows that they produce in 2017 to a whopping 18 with shows scheduled in Latin America and Asia. On top of that, GLORY will be launching reality television programming in the near future and will be launching a joint venture with Yao Ming in China while looking to enter the Chinese market.

The Chinese market has been growing rapidly, with promotion like Kunlun, Hero Legends, EM Legend, WLF and more seeing growth in China over the past few years. Teaming with a Chinese superstar like Yao Ming to enter the market seems like a sound strategy, as opposed to coming in as outsiders.

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Glory 33 Live Results

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Its time for Glory and we will be here with the Live Results and on Twitter @JayJauncey. There should definitely be some exciting fights on this card not to mention Braddock's chance to finally break his barrier and be at the very top of the heavyweight division.

Glory 33 Results

HW Title: Rico Verhoeven (R2 KO) Anderson "Braddock" Silva -- Well, Rico looked amazing High kicks, low kicks, angles, nice counter punches everything was on point. Eventually he dropped Braddock 3 times in 2nd round twice with low kicks and one with a left high kick to get the victory. If Badr doesn't take this fight seriously hes in big trouble.

Tournament Final: Matt Embree (R2 KO) Giga Chikadze -- First round was pretty even round until the final second when Embree caught Gigas kick and landed an amazing overhand dropping Chikadze but he was saved by the bell. 2nd round Embree comes out hard and finally lands that overhand right again and Chikadze is falls like a sack of potatoes. I am really impressed with Embree, his hands have never looked so great, if he fight like this he can give either Van Roosmalen or Varga problems.

Guto Inocente (Majority Dec) Hesdy Gerges -- Frustrating fight, with Inocente moving well and throwing spinning techniques but holding as soon as Gerges got close. Gerges was the aggressor the whole fight but neither men landed much of significance. Not sure I agree with that decision though, Hesdy and winning decisions do not go hand in hand.

FW semi: Matt Embree (R2 TKO) ChiBin Lim -- 1st round Embree looking great using hard punches and a few low kicks, while Lim covers up lots. 2nd round both fighters go for a left hook but Embrees lands first and drops Lim, Embree swarms Lim once hes up and lands a monster left hook and drops Lim at the bell but 2 knockdowns means the fights over.

FW semi: Giga Chikadze (Majority Dec) Serhiy Adamchuk -- First and 2nd round are very close rounds with both guys throwing kicks from a distance very hard to score. 3rd round Adamchuk turned up the heat a bit and started landing some nice punches and a high kick.

Super Fight Series Results

MW Title: Jason Wilnis (R3 - TKO) Simon Marcus -- Marcus looks on fire in round 1 just like their previous fight. 2nd round was pretty close until Marcus decided to drop his hands and act cocky in the corner and Wilnis landed a few punches and ref decided to give him an 8 count, I personally thought he was acting but the ref can see his eyes better than us. 3rd round Wilnis wobbles Marcus with a right hand and drops him with a combo, then drops him again, and swarms 1 more time and the ref has seen enough, Wilnis is the new Middleweight champ.

Chi Lewis-Parry (R2 - TKO) Anthony Mcdonald -- Chopper took the first round really easy almost didn't do anything seemingly waiting for the short notice opponent to gas in the 2nd round which worked perfectly and after dropping Mcdonald twice with knees and punches in the 2nd, Mcdonald couldn't answer the bell for Rd 3.

Jessica Gladstone (Majority Dec) Daniela Graf -- Gladstone being the much taller fighter used her reach with body kicks and straight punches to keep Graf away until the 3rd round when Graf started to land a few punches but it was too little too late. Great fight by Gladstone especially taking this fight on a week notice.

Francois Ambang (Unanimous Dec) Daniel Morales -- Very close fight, Morales improved greatly from their first by training at Coliseum but Ambang just looked like he was throwing with more power and explosiveness which ultimately won him the fight. If Morales keeps this improvement up hes going to become a solid fighter for this weight class.

Kevin VanNostrand (R2 - TKO) David Moore -- Moore was absolutely out of his league in this fight here. In round one Van Nostrand was picking him apart and Moore literally turtled and turned his back, which... Yikes. Van Nostrand looks good and gets a quick stoppage in the second round, but Moore was so clearly out of his league here.

 

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On Dream Fights; or, How Braddock Could Turn the Dream Into a Nightmare

  • Published in Glory

In the sport of kickboxing there aren’t many dream fights left. Masato has retired, Buakaw has moved on to whatever promotion pays for his exclusivity to operate outside of the bounds of actual divisions, and the heavyweight greats that made K-1 and heavyweight kickboxing the spectacle that it is today have mostly sailed off into the sunset. While there can be arguments for batons being passed to a new generation, the lesser, more fractured platforms and the sudden retirements of fighters like Sem Schilt has put a damper on the division. That’s why this last dream fight between Rico Verhoeven and Badr Hari matters so much, yet at GLORY 33 it is put in question.

Newer stars either never materialized or burnt out. Daniel Ghita became a Romanian politician after disappointing losses to Rico Verhoeven, Badr Hari was primed to take the sport to the next level and refused to control his temper, Alistair Overeem chased his dream of UFC gold and guys like Tyrone Spong saw a future in boxing that kickboxing could never give them. Top fighters like Robin van Roosmalen and Rico Verhoeven are even seeing possible futures for themselves in MMA, with both having sights set on the UFC. 

Through all of this, Rico Verhoeven arose, coming from a background of being a solid heavyweight, but young and unseasoned. He looked like he would be the next Hesdy Gerges; a top guy who came close, but never quite put it all together to become what he could be. Yet, he persevered. Something changed inside of him when he fought Semmy Schilt. Schilt was a monolith in the kickboxing world, an unstoppable beast of a man, a legend, yet Rico stood with him, took his shots and survived. The fighter that emerged from that fight was changed and since then we’ve seen Rico Verhoeven climb the ladder, rung-by-rung and represent kickboxing unlike anyone else in a modern age.

Rico has plowed through the division and while there are fights to make, there aren’t huge money fights to make, or are there? When the idea of a fight against Badr Hari emerged it seemed ridiculous.

Badr Hari is perhaps the exact opposite of Verhoeven. Verhoeven had a quiet start to his career, while Badr Hari was the “Golden Boy” almost from the start. He was pegged for greatness, but he had a temper and at times lost it in the ring. That meant getting knocked out when he shouldn’t have and it also meant losing fights that he was winning because of getting frustrated and attacking downed opponents. His opponents in the ring and innocent backstage placards weren’t his only victims, eventually it spilled over into the public and Badr Hari became a guy better known for snatching headlines for his legal problems than fights. Eventually the only people that would pay his rates to fight were warlords and wealthy Middle-Eastern men who perhaps thought they had struck gold by getting access to Hari, only for things to get weird.

While Hari has curated his career, Verhoeven has fought anyone that GLORY has thrown at him and done so as a professional. Rico does the media, he’s affable and does what he needs to do. Not only that, but he’s sparred with top MMA guys and dabbled in MMA himself, making him a bigger media target. 

So the very idea of them fighting seemed not only odd, but like the strangest mishmash ever. Yet, this is exactly who is left in kickboxing with star power. Badr Hari represents the latter days of K-1’s prominence, while Rico represents the GLORY era. Badr Hari was never K-1 World GP Champion, but that was mostly his fault, it was there for the taking and he pissed it away. 

Yet, there, in the shadows, stands Anderson “Braddock” Silva, the unlikely challenger to Verhoeven at GLORY 33 and the potential spoiler. Fans are excited to see Badr Hari fighting a top level guy again, thankful that he hasn’t had legal issues yet and that the fight has an actual date and venue, yet, if Rico Verhoeven loses, does the fight still have value?

The risk seems almost unfathomable. Who would take such a bold risk heading into the biggest money fight left in the sport of kickboxing? Those in power are perhaps viewing Braddock as a guy that will put up a fight, but has no chance of beating Verhoeven. Or maybe they see that Braddock has a chance and simply don’t care? This is a sport, after all, and fighters lose. Let the sport sort itself out. 

The allure of Badr Hari fighting in GLORY alone will move tickets, but those tickets don’t go on sale until the week after Braddock vs. Rico. While I wouldn’t call Rico Verheoven foolish, the idea of him fighting in Kunlun Fight against a relatively unknown Andrei Gerasimchuk and getting manhandled while his wife was in labor with their daughter and Rico was in no headspace to fight is still fresh in my memory. That was the night that GLORY’s unstoppable champion got hurt by a guy who went on to do pretty well, but not great afterwards. It’s also the fight that GLORY refuses to acknowledge because they know how it looks. 

Yet, here we are, Rico Verhoeven heading into the biggest fight of his career and Anderson “Braddock” Silva is being treated like a truck stop on the way to his destination. Rico will get some highlights and hype heading into the fight with Badr, no sweat. Except for the fact that the lead up to this has been all about Rico’s fight with Badr Hari. Nobody wants to talk about Braddock. Braddock who worked hard to get here, Braddock who has lost bullshit decisions and perhaps hurt himself by not turning up the heat when he needs to, Braddock who gets passed over for his shot time and time again. Yet here it is, here is Braddock Silva’s shot.

So while Rico Verhoeven is the king of kickboxing, moving on to face an invading warlord and thwart him back into the history books, one guy is realizing his career dream and he’s not gonna go down without a fight. 

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Robin van Roosmalen Drops to Featherweight to Challenge Gabriel Varga At GLORY 34

  • Published in Glory

Robin van Roosmalen has proven himself to be one of the toughest guys in kickboxing. The GLORY world champion in the face of fighters like Giorgio Petrosyan and Andy Ristie, then dealing with young up-and-comer Sitthichai in a confusing pair of fights (Sitthichai won the first, Robin won the second, their records say otherwise). Now, van Roosmalen will drop to Featherweight, the weight that he has waded into in MMA, and get an immediate title shot against newly-crowned two-time Featherweight Champion Gabriel Varga at GLORY 34 Denver. 

On top of that GLORY is putting on a Middleweight tournament featuring four top fighters, including Israel Adesanya!

GLORY 34 Denver

Featherweight World Title Headline Bout: Gabriel Varga vs. Robin Van Roosmalen

Middleweight Tournament Final Bout: Winner of Bout A vs. Winner of Bout B

Middleweight Co-Headline Bout: Dustin Jacoby vs. TBA

Middleweight Tournament Semifinal Bout B: Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Thomas

Middleweight Tournament Semifinal Bout A: Yousri Belgaroui vs. Alex Pereira

GLORY 34 SuperFight Series

Welterweight Bout: Casey Greene vs. Richard Abraham

Light Heavyweight Bout: Saulo Cavalari vs. Brian Douwes

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LiverKick's Official Glory 33 Predictions

  • Published in Glory

Glory 33 begins this Friday with the Super Fight Series at 8:30pm ET/5:30pm PT on UFC Fight Pass followed by Glory 33 on ESPN 2 or Eversport.tv. With the event just over 24 hours away we've once again decided to try and predict the unpredictable known as Kickboxing. There have been a few last minute changes to the card with the addition of Kevin Vannostrand to the SFS as well as Zoila Frausto no longer fighting and the tough Canadian, trained by Trevor Smandych, Jessica "Thumper" Gladstone taking her place against Daniela Graf.

JJ is Jay Jauncey (@jayjauncey).

DW is Dave Walsh (@dvewlsh).

Glory 33

HW Title: Rico Verhoeven vs Anderson "Braddock" Silva

JJ - Rico by Decision, I feel his cardio and technique is just too good for most heavyweights out there.

DW - Rico by decision. Rico is a beast right now and while Braddock could be the ultimate spoiler here, Rico knows that and will probably play it safe.

Hesdy Gerges vs Guto Inocente -

JJ - Gerges by TKO, Inocente has looked great but Hesdy is a huge step up and in my opinion its too soon for Inocente to be fighting a legend like Gerges.

DW - Gerges by decision. I think that Inocente has proven himself a valuable asset to GLORY, but Gerges is a gatekeeper to the elite and he's not there yet.

Tournament Final: 

JJ - Serhiy Adamchuk wins tournament to get rubber match with Gabriel Varga.

DW - Adamchuk wins this. I don't see any other way. He's a very, very complete fighter even if at times he isn't exciting to watch.

FW semi: Serhiy Adamchuk vs Giga Chikadze - 

JJ - Serhiy Adamchuk by Decision, Chikadze has looked great in Glory so far but before Glory he had problems with tricky, durable guys which is exactly Adamchuk.

DW - All respect to Giga, but Adamchuk is one of those guys that is gonna be at the top of this division for a long time, right alongside Varga.

FW semi: ChiBin Lim vs Matt Embree - 

JJ - Matt Embree by Decision just because Lim has been through too many wars and its starting to catch up to him while Embree is still young and fresh.

DW - Embree by decision. Lim has been a .500 fighter against top guys and always puts up a gutsy performance, but Embree is younger, fresher and less battle worn than Lim.

Super Fight Series

MW Title: Simon Marcus vs Jason Wilnis

JJ - Jason Wilnis by KO, this is a really hard one to predict but Wilnis does have good KO power in his hands and that has proven a problem for Marcus in the past even though he beat him previously but that was their 2nd fight that night.

DW - Marcus by decision. Marcus is simply the guy right now. He's had a suspect chin a few short times in kickboxing, but he's learned his lesson since then, I don't see him getting into wild exchanges with Wilnis. Their first fight he won by volume while Wilnis simply walked him down and got hit. I expect similar.

Chi Lewis-Parry vs Anthony Mcdonald

JJ - Chopper by KO, Mcdonald took the fight on short notice while Chopper is in the best shape of his life and looked much more technical and composed his last fight. I foresee a nasty ending in this fight.

DW - Chopper via KO. Choppa's comin'.

Jessica Gladstone vs Daniela Graf

JJ - Gladstone by Decision, I've seen Jessica fight live before and she is as tough as they come, she can grind out a fight like no other as long as she is in shape considering taking the fight last minute.

DW - Graf via decision. I like Gladstone, but Graf was prepared to fight on this night against an American favorite, none-the-less. I think that she'll just be able to outpoint her.

Francois Ambang vs Daniel Morales 

JJ - Ambang by KO, Leg kick Destruction

DW - Ambang via KO. Morales is trying, but Ambang is by far a more complete kickboxer and he's proven himself time and time again. Morales doesn't have the power or ability to get on the inside and test Ambang's chin like others have, period.

Kevin VanNostrand vs David Moore

JJ - VanNostrand by Dec, Kevin is a really hard fight for anyone due to his awkward style.

DW - Van Nostrand by decision. Kevin is a surprisingly good fighter for a guy of his renown and really deserves more time in the spotlight. This is that and I appreciate it. Also, since we've been caring for newborn twins I've been rewatching Seinfeld again and Dr. Van Nostrand always wins. 

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GLORY: Collision Featuring Verhoeven vs. Hari Happens On December 10th

  • Published in Glory

The fight finally has a finalized date and location.

While we had heard a while ago that GLORY was aiming for December 10th for the big GLORY: Collision event featuring Badr Hari vs. Rico Verhoeven, now that is officially the date of the event. The show happens on Saturday, December 10th live from Oberhausen, Germany at the Konig Pilsener Arena. 

GLORY: Collision will be a four-fight card that will be in addition to GLORY 36 and the GLORY 36 SuperFight Series, so expect them to pull out all of the stops for this mega-event. Tickets go on sale to the public on September 19th at Ticketmaster and September 16th for GLORY email members.

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Glory Signs 4 New Fighters

  • Published in Glory

Glory recently announced the signing of 4 new fighters to their promotion. This is very important as some of the divisions in Glory have gotten a bit shallow with the same people having to fight for the belt. Luckily all of the signed fighters will be going into these divisions, 2 into the featherweight division and 2 into the welterweight division.

1. Thongchai Sitsongpeenong trains at Sitsongpeenong with Glory lightweight champion Sittichai and is 20 years old. He will be joining the welterweight division and has a KO win over Khayal Dzhaniev and a win over Fabio Pinca in which he broke Pincas arm. Record - 165W - 32L

2. Petchpanomrung Kiatmoo9 trains at the Kiatmoo9 gym and is 21 years old. He is ranked in the top 10 of Lumpini stadium at both the 140lbs and 135lbs weight categories. He will join Glory's featherweight division. Record - 151W - 34L - 2D

3. Adel Ekvall Halila from Sweden is joining the featherweight division and has a record of 45W - 10L with 5 wins by KO.

4. Konstantin Khuzin from Russia will bring his Tatneft and IFMA experience to the Glory welterweight division.

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Xavier Vigney Out Against Chi Lewis-Parry at GLORY 33 SuperFight Series

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The much-anticipated rematch between Californian giant Xavier Vigney and Chi Lewis-Parry will have to wait, it seems. Without a reason given, Vigney is off of the card and replacing him will be Oregon's Anthony McDonald. 

GLORY 33 SuperFight Series

Middleweight World Title Headline Bout: Simon Marcus vs. Jason Wilnis

Heavyweight Co-Headline Bout: Chi Lewis-Parry vs. Anthony McDonald

Super Bantamweight Grand Prix Quarterfinal Bout: Zoila Frausto vs. Daniela Graf

Welterweight Bout: Francois Ambang vs. Daniel Morales

Catchweight (140 lb) Bout: Rami Ibrahim vs. David Moore

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Randy 'Boom Boom' Blake On Martial Arts and a Long Career

  • Published in Interviews

It's the sound of thunder.  It's the sound of his fists or knees connecting with his opponent's body.  It's the sound of the other guy hitting the canvas.  It's his tagline -- #BOOM!  Randy Blake Oklahoma's favorite son continues his climb to dominance in the kickboxing world.  With more than 30 fights under his belt, and over half of them ending in KOs, Blake continues to prove himself as a fierce competitor in the ring and a benevolent advocate for the sport.  In addition to exhibiting dominance on his local circuit and climbing the ranks at Glory, Blake has held the XFL Light Heavyweight and ISKA World Heavyweight titles.  Blake’s other credentials include:

  • 4th Degree Black Belt in Karate, Kickboxing, and Jiu-Jitsu under 5 time world champion Dale "Apollo" Cook;
  • 2nd Degree Black Belt in Ketsugo under Herold Brosious;
  • Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under RCJ Machado.
  • Beginning his training at age six at Hillcrest Academy Dojo under Sylvester Meola in Ohio, Randy set himself on a lifelong path of the discipline required in martial arts.  After relocating to Oklahoma, Blake continued to hone is skills under 5x world champion Dale Apollo Cook at Apollo's Martial Arts.  Like many of his peers, Blake's early inspiration to begin this journey was the film, Bloodsport. Blake's interest in the prowess displayed by Van Damme on screen and his determination to perfect every move earned him punching bag for Christmas, a present he is thankful for until this very day.

Blake has had a long journey from his days of emulating Jean-Claude Van Damme to the present. Already, he has faced some of the best and brightest in the kickboxing community including Mirko “CroCop” Filipovic, Dustin Jacoby, Koichi, Mourad Bouzidi and others.  Today he not only derives his inspiration from his instructors, his peers and the generation he seeks to inspire, but also his mother. You see, Randy isn’t the only one with talent in the family when it comes to martial arts, meet Mrs. Blake.

Blake describes his mother as amazing!  When asked how he learned of his mother’s interest in martial arts, Blake recounted, “I got a phone call one day from her after high school saying ‘Guess what I’m doing?’ and as I said, ‘What?”, she said, ‘Karate!’  Blake went on to say that while he initially thought the idea humorous, his mother did in fact begin her own journey to excellence in martial arts and has competed in semi-contact rules and grappling events. Among Ms. Blake’s many accolades, she has thirteen OKA (Oklahoma Karate Association) sanctioned State Championships for Black Belt Executive Women in Kata and sparring.  She additionally has competed in NAGA (The North American Grappling Association), where she received one (1) Silver, one (1) Bronze and three (3) Gold medals.  Ms. Blake is not only a physical participant in martial arts, but she has taken her love for this discipline to another level by involving herself in organizations and projects designed to foster a love for martial arts in others.  She is not only a board member for the Oklahoma Karate Association but also a member of Girls in Gis, an organization whose goal is to unite girls and women of all ages who train Brazilian jiu-jitsu.  The organization strives to build camaraderie among the women as well as help them to crate their niche in BJJ.

Like his mother, Randy too shares her commitment to bringing the joy of martial arts to others.  Blake related that teaching and working with children is one of his passions.  A foundation in martial arts, according to Blake, gives children confidence and fosters a pattern of thinking that encourages children to do and be whatever they set as their goal. Blake stated that he experienced these principles in action growing up and wants nothing more than to give back and to be a positive role model.

In looking toward the future Blake plans to stay healthy, continue to fight and to be successful.  Blake would also like to continue to give back through motivational speaking and conducting seminars across the country.  Ultimately he would like to open a gym, but at twenty-nine years of age Blake has more to do inside the ring before heading to the sidelines.  Whether inside or outside the ring, what is clear is, whatever Randy Blake decides to do he will wow his fans and also inspire martial arts students around the world.

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IKSA's Cory Schafer Talks Controversial Refereeing, Judging and More

  • Published in Interviews

The sport of kickboxing is one that has waxed and waned with the times. Currently the sport is attempting to grow into new markets and find its niche and, accordingly, the rules and regulations that go into making kickboxing events happen have come under fire of late. Much like MMA, which has seen its share of controversy in the past few years, kickboxing has seen its share of controversial decisions and actions by referees that have been uniformly frowned upon by fans, fighters and many others within the sport.

We reached out to ISKA President Cory Schafer, who is in charge of overseeing most of the bigger events that have been happening worldwide, including GLORY events, for his thoughts on these controversies and applications of the rules.

The first thing that comes to mind is just how many controversies there have been of late, which Schafer seems sympathetic towards. “I fiercely defend every fan’s right to question, criticize or complain about the officiating.  That is a privilege that they earn with the ‘price of admission’ or their support of the televised broadcast,” he explained. “I am however realistic about the legitimacy of these questions and/or criticism.  Very few fans are adequately educated on the rules or the judges scoring criteria.  Fans and the media as well fail to realize that there is a world of difference between ‘watching a fight’ and ‘judging a fight.’  They are two completely different cognitive processes.  Of course when the bout result is obvious they will lead to the same result but when the contest is less obvious often they will not.  For the past two years I’ve been part of an event called MEDIA DAY in California where we allow members of the media to attend a judges training seminar and then actually sit next to the real judges during the event and cast (unofficial) ballots.  Interestingly enough at the last media day there was a ‘controversial’ decision.  Everyone on media row had FIGHTER A winning.  All of the judges however had FIGHTER B winning.  Interestingly enough the three media shadow judges who had attended the judges seminar all had FIGHTER B winning as well.  It was a great case study in the difference between ‘watching’ and ‘judging.’”

Schafer’s position is understandable; that he stands behind the rules and regulations that he oversees and that there is a difference between having to professional judge a fight and simply watching as a spectator. But, there has to be more, right? With so many people watching and so many disagreeing, where exactly is the line drawn? Exactly how accountable are referees and judges considering that their jobs are based on split-second decisions based on -- at times -- different rules depending on the event that they are working. 

“The first obligation of an official is to be worthy of the athletes and of the sport,” Schafer said of the officials that ISKA utilize. “ Considering the commitment that the fighters (and the promotion) make to their craft – our officials need to be dedicated and always on-point.  If they can’t handle the stress then they need to take a seat in the audience.  Every official is reviewed and held accountable.  At every event that I attend I hold a post event debrief where each aspect of the officiating (controversial or not) is reviewed.  Every event needs to provide a learning experience so that the officials can advance their skills.  If officials are not ‘getting better’ they are ‘getting worse.’”

When it comes to controversy it’s difficult not to bring up Levin vs. Marcus III, a fight that ended in a disqualification and saw Artem Levin storm out of the ring. There was actually a written agreement in place for this fight considering how volatile they expected it to be.

“The first time a fighter holds the referee will likely caution the fighters without stopping the action.  The second time it occurs in the same round, the referee may do the same or stop the action and issue an official warning. If it occurs again, the fighter will be penalized a point.  Further holding will not require additional cautions or warnings unless there is a great deal of time between infractions.  If two points have been taken away and the fighter continues to foul by holding then at the point when it would be appropriate to penalize the fighter a third time the fighter should be disqualified.   The referee retains full authority to caution, warn, penalize and disqualify according to his perception of the violations.”

“Wichger’s acted consistent with the interpretation above,” Schafer added. He was in agreement that the knockdown when Levin went through the ropes was perhaps up for contention, in part due to the angle caught by the television cameras not being clear enough at the time, although when viewing from an overhead shot a week later they were able to determine that Marcus did connect with a knee that contributed to Levin falling down, thus negating any further controversy. Schafer’s final take on that fight is one in which he held nothing back, either.

“In my final evaluation, Levin’s performance in both bouts against Marcus was nothing less than disgraceful,” he frankly stated. “He intentionally and constantly fouled and fought in a way that he knew was contrary to the spirit and intention of Glory rules.  I personally spent 30 minutes with his team and a Russian interpreter prior to the first bout in order to guarantee that there could be no misunderstanding.  The written document addressing the clinching vs. holding rules was sent to all fight teams in advance, handed out at the rules meeting, read aloud at the group rules meeting and reviewed by the referee at the one-on-one rules meeting.  Levin executed three different fouling techniques in the first 30 seconds of the first round.  He tried to bully his opponent and the referee and when it didn’t work he did what most bullys do – they quit.  In my opinion he should not have been paid because he failed to live up to the terms of his contract.”

As for consistent implementation of the rules, Schafer feels that the ISKA and its officials have been consistent and that the onus lies within the fighter and the trainers to understand and obey the rules. “It’s difficult to answer that question since I don’t really feel like the rules have been implemented inconsistently.  I place the responsibility on the fighters.  Those that fight according to the rules don’t have any issue with the officiating.”

It is an interesting concept, because for less clinch-heavy fighters there really aren’t many problems with officiating. There might be a controversial knockdown or decisions like the two van Roosmalen vs. Sitthichai fights that will always be up for discussion. Are officials getting too involved, though? So many of the fighters compete across MMA, muay thai, kickboxing and boxing that their reflexes may compel them to go to certain things in desperation (like a clinch), at what point is leniency proper or should rules be followed to the letter? 

“I don’t think that leniency is the proper construct.  I think that the referee has the power to caution, warn, penalize and disqualify and they are trained on how to use those tools (along with the pre-fight one on one rules meeting, the group rules meeting and the written documents provided to the fight teams in advance) in order to avoid having the take points away.  But when a fighter breaks the rules to the extent that it is damaging his opponent’s ability to be successful then the referee must take action in order to insure a fair contest.  I don’t see the fact that kickboxing is close to both Muay Thai and MMA as any kind of mitigating factor.  These are professional fight teams who accept a contract to participate in unique sport.  Their professional obligation is to be prepared to fight according to the rules that are provided.”

Modern kickboxing’s roots are from Japan, where K-1 was notorious for handing out the drawn rounds to push for extra rounds, yet that has become less-and-less prevalent in modern kickboxing outside of Japan. When asked if this is something that officials are aware of, or intentionally avoid Schafer was clear. “If you allow officials to score rounds even than the line at which they have to make a decision will continue to degrade.  They will begin using 10-10 too often and only award a round when a fighter dominates.  I know this as a fact from 30 years of experience.  The discussion also is kind of moot since that scoring procedure is determined by the SAC and they are very strict about this.”

As most of us have seen, when a fighter feels robbed or like something went wrong in a fight, they tend to turn to social media in an attempt to garner sympathy towards them. Being frustrating is understandable, but what kind of official channels are in place for fighters who feel wronged by the system? “Fight teams may submit a written protest addressing any misapplication of the rules or evidence of collusion.”

Schafer even went as far as to pen an article explaining the differences in how judges watch fights and how fans watch fights, which you can read here.

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Artem Levin Talks About the Fallout From GLORY 27, the Future and More

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On Friday, February 27th Glory returned to Chicago and headlining the event was the third installment of the epic battle between Simon Marcus and Artem Levin. Glory 27 did not disappoint from the first bout to the last, fighters electrified the crowd with stunning knockouts and hard fought battles. The main event was not without drama. The night ended with reigning champion Artem Levin being disqualified after he failed to continue fighting. In a statement he later released to the public, Levin apologized to his fans for letting them down, however, he revealed that he felt self respect was far more important than winning or losing. In a follow-up conversation with Levin, he expressed his view point and gave an idea of what is to come.

Levin: The refereeing was strange from the very beginning. There were thoughts after the fight, perhaps, I overreacted and ended the fight early, but after another time I’ve watched the fight, I realized that I was right about everything. The referee was charged-up from the start, beginning with the fictitious knockdown. They’ve taken way the belt for the second time using this referee. The 4-man tournament in Los Angeles in 2013 involved the referee beginning the count after a punch to shoulder in the extra round. Also during this event the referee began the count in the first round and took points from me in the next rounds due to mutual clinching. This referee has done the same thing each time refereeing my fights. I decided in the third round to exit and to stop the absurdness and nonsense. Some say, that I should have continued and fight until the final bell, but the referee would have taken a point another time and I’d be disqualified by him. So I thought I should make a decision. I rely on me only, I decide my fate myself, thus I made the decision! Numerous Americans, Canadians, and websites around the world supported me. I am sure that I’ve done the right thing!

As far as his immediate plans, Levin continued: I’ve got many suggestions, but I’ve signed with GLORY at the current time. The future is interesting, time will show whether I will be perfoming. I’d like to leave it without comment. I will say that one of my main aim is to perform in Russia I've been fighting abroad through all my career in foreign promotions, with foreign supporters, with foreign referees. Now I’d like to fight for my native fans in my country with the best opponents!

As I footnote to Levin's comments, I asked Glory CEO, Jon Franklin to give some of his feedback on the incident.

Jon Franklin: ISKA held a special session during the rules meeting to triple check that the athletes understood clinching and holding rules. The rules are available to the athletes and it is the responsibility of the athletes to know and understand all rules of competition. If an athlete has a question about the referee or judging, there is a proper procedure in place for review after the bouts. One of the rules is that refusing to fight will result in a disqualification. That is what happened.

It remains to be seen whether Levin will in some way attempt to appeal the disqualification on some ground or if he will just prepare himself for Levin-Marcus IV.

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Artem Levin Talks Marcus Rematch, Vaseline and What Went Down Leading Into GLORY 25

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To many he's an enigma, quiet, stealthy and calculating. A man of few words outside the ring where afterall, he's let his knees, fists and elbows do most of his talking.  On the other side of the ropes Levin is relaxed with the disarming smile of a school boy and someone who would seem incapable of the brutality he often inflicts upon his opponents. With the precision of some of his idols, Artem Levin has taken the world of kickboxing and muay thai by storm and is preparing to indelibly leave his mark on the sport. Currently Levin is top man in the Middleweight division, a title he earned in 2014 and one which he is determined to maintain for years to come. On Friday, February 27th Levin will again defend his title as he for the third time faces Simon Marcus. In what is bound to be one of the most exciting face-offs of the year, Levin and Marcus will participate in an extremely emotional battle which most recently erupted at Glory 21 in San Diego. Ahead of this trilogy, I had an opportunity to pose some questions to Levin and find out what beats within the heart of "The Lion".

On his beginnings:

I was born in a small provincial town of Prokopyevsk. It’s a mine town. There were no other good professions other than coalminer in the 1990s. There were three ways to make living: be a coalminer, a criminal or a sportsman, so I joined my brothers at the gym. They were going in for boxing and then muay thai became my sport. My influence was the fact that there had been some muay thai fighters with world and European titles and golden medals at that time in town, and not any boxing champions.

What was your family's response to you pursuing kickboxing as a profession?

Definitely my parents and my family are my main fans, my support, my base of power. They support me and make me comfortable. My mother is distressed for me as any mother would be. She always waits for the ending of this “nightmare”, but at the same time she understands my choice and that it’s useless to dispute with me. I’m really proud of my family. They had waited for me to quit during the first years of my sports experience, but everyone knows that it’s my life choice now.

Had you not pursued a career in combat sports what other kind of career would you have chosen?

It’s hard for me to say. I’ve been in sports since I remember myself, I began with muay thai when I was 10. I always have seen myself with a career in sports. I see myself as comprehensive person: I read books and I have many hobbies. All that happens through sports. I guess, nothing good can come without sport, but I haven’t known another life.

Describe a typical training day when you are preparing for a fight.

It’s not exciting. My usual routine: wake up, have a breakfast, go to morning workout for an approximately 1.5-2 hour session of drills and techniques, speed or strength endurance exercises.  It depends on preparation stage but then lunch, sleep and on to a second workout which usually includes an intensive 3 hour session of sparring and using special equipment.  After training I usually take a walk, have dinner, do some reading before bed and then sleep and it all begins again.

You are becoming widely known for your boxing and defensive strategy, what do you feel are some of your other strengths as a fighter?

I don’t focus narrowly on one thing. Perhaps, I act instinctively in a fight and I’m training in all aspects. I try to become comprehensive. My work is based on defense firstly. I appreciate my health, that’s why I don’t want to join in an exchange of blows or to let a punch get through. It's my goal to keep being healthy during my entire career  so as to take more fights with sober mind, without injures, with fresh body.

Who inspires you as a fighter?

I’m inspired by legendary athletes, even though not martial artists, such as Mike Tyson and Muhammed Ali – they became iconic for thousands around the world. I admire Michael Jordan, Usain Bolte, Michael Phelps and others who became a hero in their sport. Those who proved that nothing is impossible.

Aside from fighting Joe Schilling and possibly Simon Marcus again, are there any other fighters with whom you'd be interested in being matched up against.

It doesn’t matter who’s the opponent. If you want to be the best, to leave a mark in kickboxing or muay thai history, it doesn’t matter who you fight against. You don’t choose opponents, you just defeat the best and prove that you are the best. The question: who I’d be interested in fighting against? I don’t have any preference. I want to fight no matter against who.

How many years have you've been living in San Diego? How did you choose that city? Has the transition between the two countries been difficult?

Well I can’t say I’ve moved here yet. I still live in Russia. One of my training camps is here and there are valuable opportunities here to develop and work on my career. The transition was quite easy, my friends from The Boxing Club in San Diego have helped. I chose San Diego as it is a warm city by the ocean with a mild climate and beautiful places to live in. It’s a simple choice after cold Siberia.  

Your fight with Simon Marcus in San Diego was a bit controversial. Both of you felt that you had won the match. Additionally during the post-fight press conference, you expressed a concern that he had not been called on excessive holding. Can you talk more about that fight from your perspective in terms of the calls by the referee and how the match was scored. How do you feel it should have been scored.

Definitely I won the fight. As for Simon Marcus, he played foul. He was slippery with vaseline. I guess it was a trick to rub on the vaseline a few hours before the fight, for skin to dry and then to become slippery with sweat. We are not allowed to apply anything besides vaseline to our face. As for points, I wonder why a point was reduced from my score and none from Simon’s, the clinch was mutual. Thus I think I won three rounds undoubtedly at least. If I gave away two rounds to him, I still don’t think that I lost them.  A draw is a gift to him from the judges and referees. From the referee especially, I’d say. He can thank the referee personally.

Also you have been highly criticized by Joe Schilling. Most recently following the Glory 25 event Schilling stated that he feels that you are in fact avoiding him. You were set to face Schilling for the third time in Denver this year but had to withdraw due to injury. Can you talk about what happened and where you are with your recovery?

I was injured during training camp before the amateur world championships in Thailand in August. The injury was not severe but it was such that it could keep me from proper preparation for the fight.  I was informed about the fight six weeks before it was scheduled and it was to be held in a high mountain region. I am the champion of the promotion. It would be foolish to go on with that risk and to demonstrate disrespect in that way to Schilling. If I took a fight as insignificant and began preparation within 6 weeks, and taking into account that I had  been to Thailand at that time, then - 5 weeks, and I could take normal proper workout sessions in a week after then perhaps. That’s why I did not and I also saw the prospect of coming to a fight with an injury and without proper preparation as disrespectful to GLORY’s executives. I won a WKN title bout recently and I am recovered and  motivated.  I’m ready to fight anywhere. I’d rather watch Joe Schilling fight outside  the USA. Is he able to fight outside California or USA? He needs helpful judges.

I know that continuing to defend your title is a priority for you in the coming year. Do you have any other plans for 2016?

The main priority is my title defense obviously, but also to fight more, in any promotion, even if it would be not GLORY.  I took the WKN muay thai belt and now my aim is leave a mark in muaythai and kickboxing, for people to remember me even after the my career is finished.

Any message to your fans?

Enjoy spectacular fights. Thank you for your support. Follow me on Instagram and watch my career. I will try my best to reward you with my victories.

Reminiscent of the Thrilla in Manila, Glory 27 is expected to bring the drama from which only one man can walk away victorious.  Levin has the confidence and the experience -- Marcus, the determination and the desire to bring to fruition a lifetime of dedication.  Friday night at the Sears Centre it will be time.  

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Steven Banks on His Time in Kunlun Fight and How Phuket Top Team Transformed Him as a Fighter

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Before GLORY came to America and helped to bring kickboxing back into the discourse of the average combat sports fan kickboxing in America was a very different beast. There was a small cluster of names that you'd hear all of the time who would be fighting throughout the country without a lot of fanfare, one of those was Steven Banks. Banks, a larger heavyweight was doing his best to capture the attention of bigger international leagues but it has always been a bit of a slow road for Banks.

This included fighting in shows in Europe on short notice for bad pay, taking fights that weren't going to be good for his career because it was worth a shot and everything else in between. Things finally seem to be turning around for Banks and a lot of that he credits to his time training in Thailand at Phuket Top Team. His time in China has helped to give him a new perspective on fighting and on October 31st he'll return to China for Kunlun Fight 33. We caught up with Banks to talk to him about the past, the present and the future.

LK: So you’ve done both MMA and kickboxing in your professional career, what is it about kickboxing and muay thai that has drawn you in as a fighter as opposed to focusing solely on MMA like so many fighters today?

SB: I love the art of striking. I enjoy every bit of it, the culture and the tradition... my 1st love was and will always be Muay Thai... I think the reason that I prefer to do Muay Thai or kickboxing over MMA is because alot of fighters will go out there and get a takedown, and cuddle for a win... I actually still train for MMA as well...I will be fighting in MMA again soon...

LK: You are an American living and training in Thailand right now. What prompted that move and what kind of results have you seen?

SB: When Phuket Top Team offered me the chance to train full time,  I had to take it! Best decision I have ever made... I have seen amazing results... it was really hard to try and train effectively while having a full-time job, competing against the best in the world is tough already... most of the guys I have been fighting were training full-time already... I decided that if I wanted to go out and become one of the best American heavyweights I needed to go and train with some of the best... training full-time and having a camp that pushes you to become better and better each day is incredible... my head trainer Neung pushes me everyday, Neung took me under his wing as soon as I got to PTT... no day is easy...its put all the effort in it... getting to train everyday with world class trainers is a great way to spend your time...

LK: You’ve gone through your share of a transformation when it comes to your body, from what I understand losing a great deal of weight. How has that impacted your career?

SB: Oh yes... since I have been training at PTT... I have dropped over 60 pounds... I have been told by promotions that I didnt look "pretty" enough for the sponsors of the show.  As a heavyweight, I have always been one of the heavier fighters... I'm a fighter, not a model... I love food... since dropping this weight I have noticed my cardio is 100 times better than ever... when I finished my last fight, I walked over to my coach and told him I felt like I could go a couple more rounds and that I felt great... my coaches at Phuket Top Team have made it a point to push me to become one of the best...

LK: I’ve gotta ask -- the fight with Lungu where you guys spilled out of the ring. What went through your mind at that moment and when the fight was declared a loss for you?

SB: Oh man... I wish I could get that changed on my record... that accident should have been called a no contest... we knew he was going to try and take me to the ground from the very beginning of the fight... just wasn't expecting the ropes to be so low...  the ropes were at the correct height, but when you have almost 700 plus pounds moving in 1 direction its hard to stop... I didnt understand why they gave Lungu the win. I have asked for several rematches to set the record straight... but to no luck...

LK: You’ve seen some success of late in Kunlun Fight in China and are currently preparing to fight in a few weeks time here, how has your experience fighting in China been thus far?

SB: Yes, I fight again for Kunlun Fight October 31st against another Chinese fighter...I absolutely love fighting in China... they treat every fighter with so much respect. I have fought in China 6 times... and every time I have, it has never been a bad experience...I got my nickname from fighting in China... I have so much respect for the fans. I will stay after the fights to meet as many fans as i can... I wamt them to know how much I respect them as a fighter...

LK: Your success in China has been interesting, with your only loss to the guy who beat Rico Verhoeven, do you see yourself as a threat to these guys on the top tier of the division?

SB: That loss was my 1st loss in China... he caught me with a great jumping knee to the ribs... I really believe I can beat many of the guys on the top tier of the division...  I was able to compete against top level guys with part-time training. Now its time to show everyone what I can really do... I see guys fight and I feel that I can trade with the best there is... I might not be pretty, but I will give the crowd a show they will never forget...

LK: Do you think that kickboxing or muay thai will ever really take off in the United States, especially after seeing China of late and how it’s growing there?

SB: I really hope it does take off in the United States... I know that it is currently growing... I think the reason more fighters choose to go to MMA rather than kickboxing or Muay Thai is because they have a background in wrestling... not like most of the dominant countries in the world of Muay Thai or kickboxing...

LK: You started off in football and transitioned to fighting, have you been able to take anything from your time in football with you into combat sports?

SB: One of the biggest things that I have been able to take to fighting from football has been the will not to give up. With all sports comes injuries... I played football for many years, I finally started to listen to my body on recovery and injuries...I think that has helped me to stay active in fighting over and over...

LK: What can we expect in the future from Steve Banks?

SB: Keep your ears and eyes open... I am planning on dominating the heavyweight division... I want to take on everyone... I will be fighting in Muay Thai,  kickboxing, boxing,  and MMA in the very near future...  to be the best, you got to take on the best... I'm here to do that... we make our own future... I'm here to show everyone that America does have great heavyweight Muay Thai and kickboxers... and we will be taking on all...

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Wayne Barrett Ready to Return to Greatness at GLORY 24

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This Friday at GLORY 24 Wayne Barrett is set to return from an absence from the ring to fight recent GLORY tournament winner Dustin Jacoby. For many, Wayne Barrett is one of those raw talents in kickboxing who could easily become a major player for years to come, which is especially rare considering that he is an American. Perhaps the feather in the cap of his relatively young kickboxing career is a win over Joe Schilling. The Schilling win came at a time when many saw Schilling as unstoppable, putting a considering dent in the armor of the myth that was Joe Schilling at the time. The win over Bogdan Stoica that came at GLORY’s Last Man Standing tournament was purely academic at that point.

After that, though, things haven’t been all sunshine and happiness for Wayne Barrett. On a three fight skid right now, Barrett elected to take time off to get his head back into the game. “You know, they offered me fights, man. They offered me fights to get myself a win, to build my confidence up and everyone thought that I should do it, but I turned them down. What’s the point if I’m not the Wayne Barrett that I truly believe that I can be? I took time for myself,” he explained. “And let me tell you, I feel incredible right now. This fight is all about me, it’s all about Wayne and getting everything right.”

What he means is that during his time away from the ring he made sure that everything was in order in his personal life as well as his professional life. As a father it was important to him to feel that he was doing his best and to set the right kind of example. A lot of that had to do with how he was training, as well. “I went through so many coaches at this point, I’ve had coaches telling me what to do, trying to change me and make me more of an orthodox fighter. But that isn’t who I am. I’ve got, for lack of a better word, a sort of swagger to me and how I fight. I’m unlike anyone else in the world in the ring and that’s what I bring to the table, so I’m not trying to be someone else anymore, I’m just being me right now.”

I brought up a young Rico Verhoeven, who at the time was incredibly talented with a ton of potential, but if you would go back and watch Rico’s early fights you’ll see a stiff, rigid and uncomfortable Verhoeven. The confidence to be himself wasn’t quite there yet compared to the Rico Verhoeven of today. “Oh man, absolutely,” he was getting excited now. “I love Rico, man. He’s just incredible. He’s his own man out there. Does he honor the whole Dutch style? Of course he does, but he’s making it his own, what he’s doing is an evolution. That’s how I view myself. They wanted me to do this you kick-I kick thing and that wasn’t who I am so it just didn’t work.”

Barrett, while in his late 20’s, is still relatively fresh into his professional career. “My second professional fight,” he said, “that was in the GLORY ring against a guy like Mike Lemaire.” Indeed it was his second professional fight, that fight being a knockout of Lemaire. What is astonishing about Barrett’s professional career is that upon joining GLORY he was immediately thrust into the spotlight, fighting some of the biggest names in the world. He stepped into the ring for his fourth professional fight against Joe Schilling, arguably the top dog in the division at that time, and he didn’t only handle himself well, but he won. There was no carefully curated career here, Barrett was simply there, with a rocket strapped to his back going full steam ahead.

When it came time for him to step into the ring with the notorious Romanian slugger Bogdan Stoica he felt ready, although the more that we talked about how kickboxing worked overseas, the more he opened up about how different his career has been. “There is no padding on my record,” he laughed. “I remember looking at Stoica’s record and thinking -- as a fan -- that I had no clue who some of these people that he was crushing were. Even some of the guys who beat him I had never heard of before.” The fight ended with Stoica going down to a left hook, Barrett moving forward in the tournament only to meet Joe Schilling. When I brought up the decision and how there was controversy over it he quickly interjected, “You could say that again.” 

Even if his next two fights were indeed losses, one to Jason Wilnis and one to Simon Marcus, they were still against two of the top fighters within the division. While most would look at that, shrug and take an easy fight, Barrett decided to go back to the drawing board and wait for another opportunity down the line. Now, though? “I’m going full force now,” he said. “I want to fight again this year, as long as they’ll let me. I think they probably will. Then next year I want to stay as active as I can.”

Tournaments, though, don’t seem to be in the immediate future for Wayne Barrett. “Nah,” he said. “Just single fights for me right now. Too much is out of your control in those tournaments. In the future? Yeah, if there is a big tournament I’ll be a part of it, but I want to focus on one opponent for right now and I want to prove to everyone that Wayne Barrett really is as good as everyone thinks that he can be. Man,” he laughed. “Now I’m talking in third person about myself. I still can’t believe that I’m at that point where I can talk to people about myself in third person.”

What I took away from my time talking to Wayne Barrett is that he’s in a very, very good place right now. He’s both mentally and physically ready for the road ahead and understands that while it was sort of shocking to initially see himself on a list as a top middleweight that he has to keep proving himself and earn his top spot. We’ll see what he brings to the table against Dustin Jacoby at GLORY 24 on Friday night in Denver.

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Joe Schilling Talks Once Again Chasing Artem Levin for Rubber Match and GLORY 24

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(C) Glory Sports International/James Law

Few names have become as synonymous with the American kickboxing movement within GLORY over the past few years like Joe Schilling. Schilling was originally a standout muay thai fighter who made a name for himself taking on all comers within his division and rising among the ranks until it was time to fight the top dogs in the world. There may have been some bumps, bruises and cuts along the way, but when it comes to Joe Schilling the word “pretty” isn’t often in the vocabulary. With a nickname like “Stitch ‘em Up” due to his proclivity for throwing lacerating elbows one can quickly understand why Joe Schilling rose up from being a cult favorite to one of GLORY’s American poster boys. 

This Friday evening at GLORY 24 he returns to the GLORY ring to face top middleweight Jason Wilnis. Originally Schilling was going to get his chance at a rubber match with career-adversary Artem Levin and his GLORY Middleweight championship, but an injury forced Levin off of the card and left Schilling with a tough, young and hungry Jason Wilnis looking to make a name off of one of the men who earned his spot on the Mount Rushmore of the division. For Schilling there is a lot riding on this fight outside of just another kickboxing fight, this is his first kickboxing fight since two back-to-back losses in Bellator, the latter being via knockout.

“You know, people have been talking a lot of shit, saying a lot of things, but really, I’m a multi-sport athlete,” he explained to us. “How many fighters can say that? I got caught in MMA, it happens, but now I have to show the world what I can and always have done in the ring and too bad for Wilnis, it’s going to be against him. I’m in demand right now, like they wanted me for the Dynamite show but the medical suspension got in the way of that happening.”

For a time the fight with Artem Levin was Schilling’s white whale, the one fight that eluded him. Scheduled and rescheduled a number of times in their respective pre-GLORY careers, their clash finally happened at GLORY 10 in the middleweight tournament that saw Schilling pull off the victory in an extension round of the finals. Once again Schilling finds himself frustrated with Levin pulling out of a fight with him. “I feel like I’m chasing him all over again. GLORY called me up and said they wanted me to fight Levin in Denver and, you know, this was the fight that I was asking them for, so I took it. Then a few weeks later they call and tell me that Levin was out and Wilnis is in and I was really pissed off.”

Schilling doesn’t seem certain that he’ll get that third fight with Levin any time soon, that he’ll be able to settle the score and have one man walk out victorious in their series, but he seems dead set on moving forward. As for where that future will be for Schilling, it seems to be on Spike TV for now. “I signed a new deal with Bellator, for MMA and kickboxing on Dynamite shows. I know not everyone loved that show, but it was incredible, a lot of vision went into that. There are going to be more and I’m gonna be fighting on them, be it kickboxing or MMA.”

The future within the GLORY ring seems to be less certain for Schilling, though, although he does seem open to more fights in the future. “Kickboxing is always my preference and if the offer is there and it’s the right offer I’ll take it without a second thought. The fights that I want are in GLORY right now.”

There has been a lot of talk about the future of kickboxing in America as well as GLORY’s future, which Schilling of course has had on his mind of late. His thoughts on the matter diverge from the common line of thought, though. “I never buy this line of bullshit about how you need an American champion to make it big here in the US. GLORY has been diluting their product in the name of finding this big American star and it has meant putting on weaker cards not featuring the top talents in the world. Put on big fights between the best fighters and the fans will react to that, who cares if they speak english or if they don’t? What matters is what happens in the ring, not the post-fight interviews.”

Schilling himself is of course one for leaving it all in the ring, with some of the most exciting fights in GLORY’s history under his belt, including the two dramatic fights with Artem Levin that have helped to define GLORY’s middleweight division. That doesn’t mean that he’s overlooking Wilnis on Friday at all, though. “Wilnis is a tough guy, he’s hungry and a win over me would mean a lot for his career. In no way am I overlooking Wilnis, though, I think that I’m on a mission here to prove those doubters wrong. That’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

Joe Schilling makes his return to GLORY on Friday at GLORY 24 against Jason Wilnis live on Spike TV in the main event.

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Prize Fighter Ben Edwards Ready for GLORY 24 Heavyweight Tournament

  • Published in Interviews

GLORY 24 will see a new heavyweight contender crowned, the winner moving on to fight champion Rico Verhoeven for the top spot in the world of heavyweight kickboxing. Over the past year we’ve seen Verhoeven fight Errol Zimmerman and Benjamin Adegbuyi, defeating both to retain his title. Fans have been starved for a good heavyweight tournament from GLORY, the last one at GLORY 16 Denver.

Interestingly enough, a man that we last saw at GLORY 16 Denver will be making his return to the GLORY ring at GLORY 24 looking for another crack at the GLORY Heavyweight Championship. That man is Australia’s own Ben Edwards. We caught up with Ben Edwards as he finishes up his preparations for the tournament and will be heading back to the United States.

Edwards had announced that he was leaving kickboxing after his loss last year, but the return is a welcome one for fans of the Aussie slugger. For Edwards, it is about making a living. “With kickboxing the last 3 of my last 4 losses were to guys pretty much the top 3 in the world (Rico, Errol and Overeem the year he won) and they are the guys that were at least making a living. If I couldn't crack that top tier I couldn't make a living and kickboxing is very hard to train for in Canberra so I decided to concentrate on boxing which is easy to train for in my home town. I won the national title 2 fights in returning to the sport so it wasn't a bad decision,” he explained. The offer from GLORY took him by surprise, actually. “The offer from Glory was unexpected and appreciated and I am very much looking forward to making the most of this second chance.”

Heavyweight kickboxing has seemed to be less of a focus of late, with the lighter weight classes taking a lot of the spotlight and there being a lot of fighters -- much like Edwards -- looking for opportunities outside of kickboxing. “As a hard-core combat sport fan I really feel kickboxing is the most exciting format. Its sad the sport has lost some of the bigger names but I still feel the sport has a healthy future.”

As for this tournament especially, Edwards seems ready to finally show the world what he’s made of after what he considered disappointments before. “The main difference in training is I've been spending a lot of time in Sydney, I've don't 6 trips in 5 weeks to train with Stu McKinnon and the boys at Castle Hill Bulldog,” he explained. “It’s world class padwork and sparring there and for the first time in  long time I am excited to fight. I had a lot of personal problems going into the last fight and I have fixed every single one and I am looking forward to being back to my best. I'm sick of feeling disappointed and letting people down, being considered a journeyman etc. Those days are over.”

When it comes to the first opponent for the night, Jahfarr Wilnis, Edwards seemed more focused on himself and his preparations, instead. “I only ever watch a little bit of footage on my opponent when the fight gets signed, get a feel for them, come up with a game plan then I don't think about them anymore. He appears to be a busy fighter with not much power which should leave plenty of openings to land one of my ghetto whoppers.”

Edwards has been a busy guy of late if you follow him on Facebook, taking a few acting gigs and looking happy to be going outside of his comfort zone. He explained to us how he found himself in front of the camera without gloves on. “I trained a guy who ended up being a producer on a local film that ended up starring Billy Zane, they have finished filming but they were running short on money to finish the production. Blue World Order is the film's name and they have a website to visit. This latest project stemmed from people I met on that, this one is called Tech Noir and the director is attempting to get it into the aussie short film festival Tropfest. I had a great experience on both films and definitely look forward to participating in more projects.”

What does the future hold for Edwards? Only time will tell. Edwards has done it all from boxing to kickboxing to even dog walking, but will he keep fighting even if he loses? “There will be plenty of dog walking, I can't express how much I enjoy doing that and I am a prize fighter, whatever the rules if there is a prize I'll be there.”

Any man who loves dogs is okay by me. The same with any man who genuinely loves fighting and Ben Edwards fits that bill. Ben Edwards is participating in the GLORY 24 Heavyweight tournament, facing Jahfarr Wilnis in the first round.

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Zack Mwekassa Promises That His Fight Will be Epic

  • Published in Interviews

"It's going to be epic!" That is Zack Mwekassa's prediction for the rematch between he and Saulo Cavalari and at the event called 'Dynamite' .With an event name like that, it's only natural to expect to see some bombs being dropped in the ring. Zack Mwekassa promises you will not only get bombs but some drama as well! If you're curious about what bombs and drama means and the hashtag (#bombsanddrama) that has captivated fans of Mwekassa around the world, the originator explained, "A lot of people think my punches are like bombs and they believe the whole persona of Zack Mwekassa with the bombs just makes it spectacular and just brings the drama. Look at the fight with Pat Barry, when I walked in people booed me, I walked in the ring thinking what have I done to these people, they don't know me, but I stopped him and they played my entrance song, 'There is Power in the Name of Jesus', and that was the drama. I walked in with the bombs and that was drama. When Pat Barry walked in they all were shouting 'HD, HD, HD!' but booing me, but again that was drama too". In fact bombs and drama is one of Mwekassa's goals as a fighter, to give a spectacular performance to his fans during every fight. Mwekassa stated that he doesn't come to win fights, he comes to bring emotions. He makes a distinction between simply winning and trying to offer more. Mwekassa stated that trying to win fights is easy to do, but his overall goal, is to give fans something they can talk about, and that is the drama side of it. If his past is any prediction of his future Zack Mwekassa will definitely bring both bombs and drama to the SAP center.

Taking a look back, you will recall Cavalari and Mwekassa first met in November 2014 during the light heavyweight qualifying tournament in Oklahoma at Glory 18. Mwekassa's first opponent in the tournament was Brian 'The Lion' Collette. Mwekassa easily dispatched Collette with a devastating blow that left Collette dazed and down for the count. Phase two of the tournament brought together Cavalari and Mwekassa. In was beginning the bout seemed to be an unending slugfest but ended with Mwekassa getting caught and knocked out. Since that time Mwekassa has made a commitment to step up his level of training and stretch the boundaries of his performance as an athlete. Chiefly among the changes Mwekassa has made was his decision to spend time in Holland at Hemmers Gym to give himself exposure to different fighting styles, higher level sparring partners and other things that had been unavailable to him while training in Africa.

Mwekassa makes no excuses about his loss to Cavalari despite any training disadvantages he might have had prior to the bout. This however is the nature of Zack Mwekassa and the basis of his #Mwekassance. Anyone who has ever had the opportunity to talk to Mwekassa, fighters and fans alike, I'm sure can testify to his character and his desire to strive, on a daily basis, to be a better man. Mwekassa is both a fighter and a business man, at this time in his career seeing fights not just on the basis of what stylistically or intellectually makes sense but also as opportunities to continue to hone his craft and to build the means to give back to his family. Like most fighters, Mwekassa laments the grueling amount of time and energy the life of a fighter requires. It's however, a sacrifice he's willing to make for achievement of his ultimate goal, light heavyweight champion. Stylistically, Mwekassa mentions Gokhan Saki as an opponent with whom he could have had a very interesting and challenging fight. He is also, however, quick to add that he is willing to take on whoever Glory places in front of him and that he feels very fortunate to have arrived at his current place in life. For that he gives glory to God.

When it boils down to it both he and Cavalari are similar in nature. Both men arose from very humble beginnings in their respective countries and both had achieved a certain level of success in their combat sports careers prior to their Glory debuts. Both have made it their life's goal to be the best. Now both men have set their sights on the light heavyweight title which on Saturday, September 19th only one man can be victorious, but if nothing else we can all expect some bombs and drama until the end.

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New challenges - An interview with Gábor Görbics

  • Published in Interviews

For the first time in Muaythai Mania's history the event will not be at it's usual location of Szentendre but Budapest. Looking at the card fans can expect some great fights in a guise of women's and a man's tournament with four participants in each and some superfights.

In the female fights Irén Rácz, Alexandra Kovács, Tímea Bélik and Fruzsina Nagy will clash in 63,5kg (~140lbs) while Roland Berényi, Dániel Bodnár, Ádám Gaál and Krisztián Kovács will meet in the 71kg (~156lbs) category. The organizers are looking for a fourth member in full swing as aninjury left Daniella Éltető without an opponent.

As it was revealed earlier in the men's superfight freshly crowned Venum Fights world champion Gábor Görbics will meet none other than Phetsangkhat "Check Bin" Deo, a former Rajadamnern champion, Russian K-1 Grand Prix tournament champion thai fighter with nearly 200 muay thai fighst under his belt.

Without further ado Gábor Görbics on his last fight, trying muay thai, his preparation and more!

Q: - How was the Debrecen show from the inside? Can you talk about the fight and your opponent a bit?

A: - I knew that I'm going to go in there with a very confident, tough opponent who has solid skills, a nice record and that according to the books I'm not the favorite so I went in there with the underdog's calmness. I trusted myself although I knew that anything can happen. I have tons of experience against good fighters in boxing, K-1, so I have plenty of experience but this was certainly something different. I was really focusing on this one and managed to pull it out.

Q: - We knew that for some time now you've been thinking about giving muay thai a try but it has been quite a busy year for you so far. How did you get to the decision to jump into it right now with the Venum show just behind your back?

A: - You know I always try to get better, focus on my kickboxing a bit more and fill some gaps while boxing still remained my big love, because it is my base, where I'm coming from . If I'm on my phisycal and mental game, I'm ready for anything.

Q: - You have quite the dance partner for your debut. Did you want your hands that full yourself by picking a guy like Phetsangkhat "Check Bin" Deo?

A: - I look at muay thai as a brother to kickboxing and I really don't have anything to lose here. I want to test myself and obviously I'm going in there to win. It is an honor for me and I want to give fans a great fight!

Q: - How do you prepare for the fight? To what extent is it different than a usual fight camp? Do you visit muay thai gyms or bring in people to work with you?

A: - I have a number of days at our gym, Titan, but I try to visit a few guys who have plenty of experience and work with them. Also my head coach Gábor Juhász is trying to add his insights to the whole so I feel we'll bring an A game and make a fun fight for everyone.

Hereby I would like to thank Gábor Juhász, Gábor Kádár, Csaba Lelekács, Jenő Svasznek, Zsolt Erdei, Zsolt Bedák, Benji Bacskai, Norbert Szentkúti and everyone else who has added to my game, my training or results and helped ous out along the way. It would be way too much to mentione them all. This is a result of teamwork. And the team includes my wife and child as well, who always support me and endure when times are tough or when I'm cutting weight.

Thank you for the interview! Wishing you best of luck in your preparation and for the fight!

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