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Enfusion Live #30 This Weekend in Dublin

  • Published in Kickboxing

This weekend in Dublin, Ireland Enfusion returns to your screen with Enfusion Live #30. There are two title fights on this show, including the women's -54kg Enfusion World Title with Iman Barlow fighting Samantha van Doorn. The main event sees the Men's Enfusion World Title at -67kg between Ilias Bulaid and Simon Santana. The event can be viewed on EnfusionLive.com for free with registration.

1. 3X3-75Kg

Karl McCallig (Ireland) Vs Mateusz Janik (Poland)

2. 5X3Enfusion World Title-54Kg

Iman Barlow (England) Vs Samantha van Doorn (The Netherlands)

3. 3X3-70Kg

Connor White (Northern Ireland) Vs Antonio Gomez (Spain)

4. 3X3-85Kg

Conor Cooke (Northern Ireland) Vs Ibrahim El Boustati (Morocco)

5. 3X3-67Kg

Paul Norton (Ireland) Vs Tomasz Marcisauskas (Lithuania)

6. 5X3Enfusion World Title-67Kg

Ilias Bulaid (Morocco) Vs Simon Santana (Norway)

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Liam Harrison vs. Singdam Kiatmoo9 Scheduled for Yokkao 15

  • Published in Muay Thai

If you've been following muay thai and kickboxing for a while you definitely know the name Liam Harrison. Harrison, based out of the UK, has been one of the best non-Thai fighters to compete in the muay thai ring over the past few years and has built up quite a name for himself. Over that span of time he has fought a whopping 99 times and his 100th fight will not only be a big deal, it'll be a huge deal. At Yokkao 15 on October 10th he will face multiple-time Lumpinee champion Singdam Kiatmoo9.

Singdam is revered as one of the top fighters in the world at 135lbs, trading wins with the best fighters in the world over the past few years at Lumpinee Stadium, the mecca for muay thai. This headlining bout will be joining the other headlining bout from Yokkao 14 on the same night between Greg Wootton and Saenchai in what should be another crazy double header of a night for the fans in the UK.

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Full Card for WGP 25 Featuring Alex Pereira vs. Cesar Almeida

  • Published in Kickboxing

WGP will return with WGP 25 on July 25th in Sao Paulo, Brazil featuring GLORY standout Alex Pereira vs. Cesar Almeida for the WGP 85kg Championship. Also on the card is a 71.8kg tournament featuring K-1 veteran Wallace Lopes.

Super Fight 1 
K1 Rules - 60 Kg 
Felipe Suekuni (Inside Munil Adriano) x Hector Santiago (Santiago Team / Seven Fight Team) 
 
Super Fight 2 
K1 Rules - 78 Kg 
Michel Pope (UFT) x Thiago "Golden Boy" Conception (Thailand Top Team) 
 
Super Fight 3 
K1 Rules - 66.8 Kg 
Maycon Oller (ABKB / Serginho Team) x Johnny "Kabeça" (TCT) 
 
Super Fight 4 
K1 Rules - 94kg 
Wallyson "Magilla" Carvalho (A2F Arena / Yoshinaga Team) x Thiago "Beowulf" (China Team) 
 
Co-main event: Challenger GP 
Semifinal 1 
K1 Rules - 71.8 kg 
Bruno Gazani (ABC Union) x Alex "Kangaroo" Alves (Corinthians Kickboxing) 
 
Co-main event: Challenger GP 
Semifinal 2 
K1 Rules - 71.8 kg 
Marcelo "Zika" Dionysius (San Martino Team) x Wallace "Negão" Lopes (FX Fight Team) 
 
Super Fight 5 
K1 Rules - 75 Kg 
Alvaro Gonzalez (Uruguay) x Tadeu San Martino (UFT / San Martino Team) 
 
Super Fight 6 
K1 Rules - 69.1 Kg 
Damian Segovia (Argentina) x Munil Adriano (Inside Munil Adriano) 
 
Co-main event: Challenger GP 
End 
K1 Rules - 71.8 kg 
Winner of semifinal 1 semifinal 2 x Winner 
 
Main Event: WGP Kickboxing Championship
K1 Rules - 85 kg 
Cesar "Cesinha" Almeida x Alex "Po Atan" Pereira 
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VIDEO: Mike Zambidis Victorious Against Steve Moxon in Retirement Bout

  • Published in Kickboxing

Well damn. Sometimes the good comes with the bad. This weekend was the retirement of one of the all-time greats in the sport of kickboxing in Iron Mike Zambidis. Zambidis had endeared himself to fans all across the world with his explosive and exciting fighting style and never-say-die attitude, but it was time for him to hang up the gloves. Zambidis had to make the tough decision but in pure Mike Zambidis fashion he decided to go out on his own terms. Most fighters would have fought in front of their hometown against someone that would be a pushover to create a memorable last victory. Zambidis is not that guy. 

Oh no, Mike Zambidis wanted to fight a top-ranked Steve Moxon who had laid out a challenge to him last year. It was a title vs. title affair and it was Mike Zambidis's retirement. How did it go? Well, Zambidis goes out with a huge victory and you can watch the fight here.

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Joe Schilling Hit With 90 Day Suspension After Bellator Loss

  • Published in Glory

If you were looking forward to seeing Joe Schilling in the ring wearing bigger gloves at the Bellator/GLORY Dynamite event in September it looks like you are out of luck. On Friday evening he competed within the Bellator cage against a Japanese karateka Hisaki Kato. Kato, who was a virtual unknown to most was thought to be simply a guy being fed to Schilling but he has an extensive history of competing within the world of karate and had racked up four knockouts for four wins in his MMA career prior in Japan. Needless to say the guy is no can and Schilling found out the hard way just how good he was, Kato scoring a brutal knockout over Schilling in the second round.

Schilling was originally scheduled for the September 19th Dynamite event on Spike TV but it came out today that the Kansas commission has handed out a 90-day medical suspension for Schilling, which takes him to the end of September before he's allowed contact. Clearly that means he won't be able to compete on the Dynamite card, which is a bummer. For now we still know that Paul Daley is scheduled to participate on the Dynamite card and he's been calling out recent-Bellator signee Josh Koscheck. I'm not sure that I want to see Kos's brain get scrambled in a kickboxing ring, but that could be interesting. 

Scott Coker also made mention of wanting to have a GLORY title fight on the card, so there is hope yet. 

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GLORY Announces Hayabusa as Official Glove Provider

  • Published in Glory

There has been a lot of movement on the sports apparel and gear front over the last few months in the world of combat sports after the UFC struck an exclusive arrangement with Reebok that prevented other companies from having their usual pull inside of the octagon. From there we saw TapouT get partially bought out by the WWE and will be launching a co-branded initiative in 2016, Venum is sponsoring a kickboxing series in Europe called Venum World Series and now gear company Hayabusa will be providing GLORY with gloves for the next three years.

This is a switch from Leone, which provided gloves in the past for GLORY. Starting at GLORY 23 on August 7th Hayabusa's new World Class Competition Gloves will be used by GLORY competitors. The gloves are set to be unveiled during GLORY 23's fight week.

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GLORY 23 Card Details Begin to Emerge

  • Published in Glory

GLORY 23 Las Vegas is GLORY's next big event happening on Spike TV and we'll see a new Welterweight Champion crowned on this night. Unfortunately due to ongoing effects from a concussion the champion Joseph Valtellini was forced to vacate the title and now Nieky Holzken will get his chance at the title against a man that he defeated just a few months prior in the ever-evolving Raymond Daniels. Daniels holds a rare knockdown over Holzken from their last fight and has been evolving and growing as a fighter steadily, making the rematch between the two in a five-round affair an interesting spectacle for both old and new fans.

The co-main event of the show has been announced as American Heavyweight hopeful Xavier Vigney taking on one of his biggest challenges to date in the UK's Daniel Sam. Sam serves as a gatekeeper to the realm of the international elite for Vigney and while a win over Sam won't thrust him into the top ten, it will help to legitimize his ascending the ranks and prove that he's ready to take a big step up in competition. 

The show will also feature a Middleweight Qualifying tournament and thus far we only have two names associated with it, which are Casey Greene on one side of the bracket and Dustin Jacoby on the other. We aren't exactly holding out hope for this tournament involving many bigger names, but it should serve the same purpose that the recent Heavyweight Qualifying tournament did, at least.

Perhaps one of the best fights on the card is on the SuperFight Series right now, which is Murthel Groenhart vs. Chad Sugden. 

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Enfusion Releases the Rest of Their 2015 Schedule

  • Published in Kickboxing

In the sport of kickboxing it is difficult to not appreciate it when a promotion thinks ahead to the future, which is what makes Enfusion Live a delight at times. Enfusion Live have released the remainder of their 2015 schedule and it's just nice to see a road map being released by a promotion that takes a lot of the guesswork out of it for fans. The next Enfusion event, Enfusion Live #30 takes place in Dublin on July 11th, from there this is what 2015 looks like;

#31 Malaga, Spain 19.09.2015

#32 Gent, Belgium 10.10.2015

#33 Martigny, Switzerland 07.11.2015

#34 Groningen, The Netherlands 21.11.2015

#35 A Christmas Edition (to be announced)

Enfusion Live #31 will also include fights to determine who moves on to the quarterfinals of their big 70kg tournament next year, the names participating in this are Christopher Mena, Adam Martins, Phillipe Salmon and Beau Superpro Samui. Their 70kg title has been declared vacant and they will be looking for a new champion. They will also look to crown a 72.5kg champion in the near future, with that being one of their new weight classes.

They've promised bigger and better shows in 2016 and have also decided a slight overhaul of their rules starting on the Spain card, which will see changes to how throws are counted. 

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Bellator Announces Dynamite!! September 19th in San Jose with GLORY Participation

  • Published in Glory

Yesterday there was a spark of this potentially huge event happening in September featuring Spike TV's premier combat sports brands of Bellator and GLORY. While there was some trepidation throughout the industry everything fell into place and today Bellator announced that Dynamite!! will happen on September 19th in San Jose at the SAP Center. GLORY's participation in the event will be a three-fight offering featuring fights from Joe Schilling, Paul Daley and more to be announced.

It will be interesting to have the Bellator cage set up in the arena as well as an area for a kickboxing ring as well, with Spike TV looking to present what should be their biggest combat sports card to date. In addition to the three-fight GLORY card there will be a lot of big stuff from Bellator, including a Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship bout between champion Liam McGeary and UFC legend Tito Ortiz. In addition there will be a one-night tournament at Light Heavyweight featuring King Mo Lawal, Phil Davis, Linton Vassal and Emanuel Newton, the winner challenging the winner of McGeary and Ortiz at a later event.

This should be a big deal for both MMA fans and kickboxing fans alike and is a very good thing for GLORY to be associated with Bellator like this. While Dynamite!! was a Japanese tradition that blended together DREAM and K-1, it will be interesting to see what a night of "Dynamite" featuring Bellator and GLORY can be.

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The Yokkao Factory in Bangkok is Open for Business

  • Published in Muay Thai

The Yokkao factory in Bangkok had its soft-opening last week for the public, meaning that if you are in the area you can go and check out the Yokkao Shop that has opened up inside of the new factory. To celebrate this Yokkao is pushing out a line of leather and denim Yokkao gloves and released a pretty awesome video highlighting the making of these gloves. 

It's pretty cool to see how far Yokkao have come over the past few years and how seriously they are taking their quality control and craftsmanship. Check out more details on Yokkao's site.

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Creativity in Kickboxing; or, K-1's Forgotten Formula to Building the Future

  • Published in News

The sport of kickboxing is one that has been around for a while under different rules, names and appearances, but has gone through periods of interest and disinterest alike. Without a doubt kickboxing was at its highest point in Japan from the mid-90’s through the late 2000’s under the K-1 banner. K-1 was an undeniable force in combat sports that wowed fans all over the world and kept up its level of mystique. K-1 was a monolith in the combat sports world, a Japanese organization that seemed to always have a small stable of fighters that it promoted while rarely swapping them out for newer, younger talents.

Throughout the years K-1 earned some scorn and derision from fans and insiders, claims of corruption, fight-fixing and organized crime ties behind the scenes would eventually tear the organization apart, yet fans still came out in droves right up until the final gong. Now here we sit, just shy of five years after FEG’s K-1 imploded and we are watching organizations like GLORY, K-1 Global, K-1 Japan, Enfusion and SuperKombat struggle to gain traction in their respective markets. To many, it is a mystery to mull over why brands like GLORY haven’t caught on with more fans, but it seems clear as day what the key differences were between K-1’s glory days and the current marketplace is; creativity. 

If you go back and watch the first K-1 World Grand Prix that was won by Branko Cikatic you can see the roots of what would become the K-1 that we knew and loved, yet something was missing. Branko was a fine fighter, but he wasn’t the type of fighter that the Japanese audience would fall in love with or be featured on television like many future K-1 champions would be. Everything from the lighting to the stage setup and presentation was good but not quite there yet. Then professional wrestling god Akira Maeda helped K-1 founder Kazuyoshi Ishii to meld professional wrestling ideals into the sport and everything changed. 

Akira Maeda (L) and Kazuyoshi Ishii (R)
Akira Maeda (L) and Kazuyoshi Ishii (R)

Looking back at K-1’s list of champions and fighters that endured the passage of time as icons you’ll always find something to latch onto about these fighters. A young Peter Aerts was called the Dutch Lumberjack, entering the ring wearing a flannel vest and hat. Ernesto Hoost was called Mr. Perfect because of his immaculate technique and lived up the gimmick whenever he was on camera as the perfect fighter. Andy Hug was the karateka with a profound love and admiration for the Japanese culture so he was always seen in his signature gi in promotional videos and so on.

What I’m trying to say is that K-1 had characters. These characters were of course real-life fighters and maybe just small exaggerations of the fighters’ personalities, but each fighter that K-1 sunk considerate amounts of time and energy into marketing had a larger-than-life personality that when placed on a large stage was able to enthrall fans. Many have written off such things as simply “Japanese” and that they wouldn’t work anywhere else, but a cursory look around the world at the legions of fans of K-1 and those fighters shows just how effective that was. 

I’ve heard the arguments as to why this current crop of kickboxing stars can’t be presented in that way, everything from “well, they aren’t as charismatic” to “fans want real, not manufactured hype,” but the proof is in the pudding. Chi Lewis Parry has been one of the fighters that GLORY has been heavily marketing in part due to just how much he can talk. When Chi Lewis Parry opens his mouth people listen, which is part of the magic of Chi Lewis Parry. I’m not sure that he’s ready for Rico Verhoeven just yet, but he’s found himself an audience much like Chael Sonnen did years ago and how Conor McGregor has done in the UFC recently. Chi Lewis Parry’s talent hasn’t been nurtured or curated, though, just thrust at the screen once discovered without much thought put into it. 

A large part of what made K-1 so successful has to be on the shoulders of Kazuyoshi Ishii, who had the vision and talent to find these personality traits in his fighters and to amplify them. Peter Aerts was nowhere near the level of a talker as a Chi Lewis Parry or a Conor McGregor, yet he made a ton of money for K-1 and became a world famous personality off of being the “Dutch Lumberjack” and later “Mr. K-1.” In fact, Aerts is rather soft-spoken and is one of the kindest guys that you’ll ever talk to who enjoys laughing and not taking himself too seriously, yet fans were always invested in Aerts.

That was the magic of K-1. You didn’t need to be Bob Sapp to become a star. In fact, while fighters like Bob Sapp who could talk and looked imposing did great business for K-1, they wouldn’t last because of the lack of talent. Where K-1 really shined was finding legitimately talented fighters and building them into something special. In fact, there was one great project near the end of K-1’s run that deserves special attention; Alistair Overeem.

Overeem was a moderately successful MMA fighter with an imposing physique, vicious knees and a great standing guillotine that never seemed to really catch on with fans. Yet, somehow, in 2008 after wins over Paul Buentello, Mark Hunt and a draw against Mirko Cro Cop he was brought into K-1 to fight their golden boy Badr Hari on New Year’s Eve. Badr Hari was coming off of a rather embarrassing display where he essentially imploded under the pressure during the K-1 World Grand Prix Finals against Remy Bonjasky and got himself disqualified, so K-1 thrust him into a New Year’s Eve freakshow fight to defend the honor of K-1 against the MMA world’s Overeem. The thing is, Overeem knocked Badr Hari out and all hell broke loose.  

Alistair Overeem is a relatively quiet, soft-spoken guy. In fact, he’s a pretty nice dude for a guy who is as muscular and scary in the ring as he is. The cocky Badr Hari who had just earlier in the month lost the K-1 World Grand Prix via disqualification was there to get his win back, to get back on track and regain face after his in-ring meltdown, but instead a new star was born in Overeem. Overeem tried his hand against the K-1 World Grand Prix Champion of Remy Bonjasky a few months later and looked scary, but ultimately lacking experience against a tactician like Bonjasky and dropped a decision. That wasn’t the end of Overeem in K-1, oh no, not by a longshot.

The K-1 marketing machine quickly went to work with Overeem, producing perhaps one of the most amazing hype videos that I’ve ever seen for a fighter leading into the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16. This video showed Overeem on the streets of Holland with his signature mallet that he used to bring to the ring with him smashing a bike into pieces. It encapsulated the fury that we saw in the ring from Overeem, the raw power and emotion that he brought into fights without him having to cut an eloquent interview. After smashing a bike and a camera tripod he pointed to the camera, took a few deep breaths and uttered “Everybody’s gonna die.”

It was beautiful. I remember seeing it at the time and just being awestruck by it. Alistair Overeem held a victory over Badr Hari and nearly defeated then-champion Remy Bonjasky and was going to fight the legend Peter Aerts in the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16. Overeem was being billed as the outsider, the invader who was looking to usurp the throne that was always held by the best kickboxers in the world for his own. It was a simple, effective narrative that was only exacerbated when he defeated Peter Aerts in the Final 16, securing his spot in the K-1 World Grand Prix. 

K-1 did a series of vignettes with Overeem leading up to his entry into the K-1 World Grand Prix, focusing on his raw strength and his crazy, unorthodox training in Holland. While all of that was good, perhaps what was the most effective was showing him eat. Sounds weird, right? But Alistair Overeem is a huge dude who needed a lot of protein and when they sent a camera crew to show him cooking his own food and talking about how he ate horsemeat for its protein value, well, everyone went nuts. Alistair Overeem filmed inside of a tiny Dutch kitchen that he could barely fit inside of cooking horse steaks to prepare for the K-1 World Grand Prix was an image that endures to this day as one of the defining moments in the career of “Ubereem.”

His first fight was to be against the Kyokushin fighter from Brazil that was popular in Japanese karate circuits in Ewerton Teixeira. Teixeira was always a skilled guy who wasn’t the most exciting fighter to watch, but he connected well enough with fans and filled an important role for the organization by representing Kyokushin. The video package that they created leading into that fight hammered home their narrative of Overeem being an “invader” from MMA, showing highlights from his fights with Badr, Remy and Aerts. The visual of Overeem literally bullying around the K-1 legend Peter Aerts and tossing around Remy Bonjasky was a powerful one, so was the interview footage of Badr Hari talking about his loss to Overeem. They also sowed the seeds of Overeem vs. Badr Hari meeting again in the tournament in a rematch for the ages, which played a big role in the 2009 K-1 World Grand Prix. 

Overeem scored an absolutely brutal knockout on Ewerton Teixeira with a clinch knee, which helped to lead to the legend of the UBERKNEE and only made Overeem look that much stronger heading into the semifinals against Badr Hari. The rematch with Badr Hari was the story of the show, by far, which overshadowed what would become another Semmy Schilt victory. The real story of the show was that Alistair Overeem’s stock was on the rise and that it was part skill and talent and part marketing and narrative-building. This fight was the culmination of a lot of work and storytelling where a lot of credit should go to Michael Schiavello’s absolutely brilliant narrative-driven call throughout this event.

I’ve heard many a fan decry Schiavello, Sefo and Kogan’s call during that match, or their celebration on-camera after the fight as “cheesey” or “unprofessional,” but the reality was that they were genuinely excited and engaged in the narrative, as was the entire crowd. That finish still gives me chills to this day because of just how perfect of a moment it was. The thing is, I’ve heard a lot of people say that narratives in combat sports are “impossible” because of the unpredictable nature of people getting hit in the face, but the truth is that a deft storyteller will find a way to weave a complex narrative that can be altered along the way to be just as effective.

Due to Badr Hari once again losing his cool in the ring in 2010 he was on a bit of a sabbatical from the sport, leaving the 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix wide open for new blood. The tournament saw a lot of top names involved, including newer names like Tyrone Spong and Gokhan Saki becoming dark horses to win the entire tournament and to bring new blood into the K-1 lineage. K-1 continued their push for Overeem, though, pushing the narrative of Overeem more focused than ever on K-1, but still slightly arrogant and the outsider heading into the 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix.

They focused on his raw strength as one of his selling points. We know in combat sports that raw strength and physique aren’t what makes a fighter “good,” but by pushing this narrative they kept building up Overeem as a larger-than-life character, even having him talking about how he grew up watching Hulk Hogan in WWF. 

Overeem, of course, would go on to win the K-1 World Grand Prix, becoming one of the most famous fighters in Japan. His stock also rose within the United States as well, with more and more fans calling for him to step back into the Strikeforce cage to defend the Strikeforce Heavyweight Championship, maybe even go to the UFC and challenge Brock Lesnar in a dream match. In fact, Overeem now had an aura about him when he stepped into the ring. He was the K-1 World Grand Prix Champion and that not only meant something, it meant everything at the time.

Regardless of your opinion of Alistair Overeem, K-1 took a fighter that was talented and driven and helped to push him beyond the level that he was at the time. They helped to make him a star and a featured attraction that they were drawing money off of up until scandal struck and the company lost their television deal and ultimately disintegrated. 

Alistair Overeem is simply the last example of starbuilding that K-1 did and how that work that they did on pushing Overeem’s larger-than-life character was able to carry over after his K-1 career and help to build him up to be a living legend in combat sports. Anything that happened after is immaterial, of course, but he was still elevated in part by K-1’s huge push that endeared him to fans across the world. If you were to ask me what is missing from modern kickboxing that K-1 was able to do the answer is simple; they built stars. They made fans care about their fighters while transforming them into characters and building narratives around their fights. 

It didn’t matter if these characters won or lost, they were still verifiable draws for K-1 and vital parts of the K-1 ecosystem. Peter Aerts, Ernesto Hoost, Jerome Le Banner, Andy Hug, Ray Sefo and many other fighters won and lost in the K-1 ring but it never mattered because they’d come back and get another chance. They’d get another chance and K-1 would weave stories about these fighters and their upcoming fights that made fans genuinely interested in seeing what came next. These narratives didn’t need to be perfect, they just needed to exist.

That doesn’t exist today. Instead we get training footage, cut-and-dry interviews and a focus on who won and who lost, not the humanity behind who won or lost. Not the story. If you treat a fighter who lost like a human being and tell their story the chances of fans being interested in their next fight is only going to increase. This is why fighters like Aerts and Hoost could have thirty year long careers that included crushing losses but still attract fans to this day. 

The sport of kickboxing drew on not just the physical aspect of the sport, but it drew and thrived off of the creativity of the sport. Kickboxing thrived not just by having a good, rock ‘em, sock ‘em product, but by molding fighters into larger-than-life characters that played off of their personalities. It thrived by created narratives for each and every fight to appeal to fans and didn’t rely on fighters to sell their own fights. Kickboxing helped to build these fighters into box office and television attractions and was never left with cards that delivered in action but drew no eyes. 

So my answer to the question that is floating around right now as to “Why aren’t fans attracted to kickboxing?” Simple, nobody is doing anything to make fans care. 

 

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Exclusive Interview with Mike Zambidis Prior to June 27th Retirement Bout

  • Published in Interviews

On June 27th in Greece the K-1 legend that is Mike Zambidis will step into the ring one last time in his retirement fight. The 34-year old fighter will cap off a long and storied career by fighting one of the world's toughest Lightweights in Steve Moxon. In a way, Zambidis fighting Moxon for his retirement fight is a very Zambidis thing to do; he didn't have to fight someone as tough and relevant as Moxon. Zambidis is going out on his own terms, which is rare for many fighters, it also meant that he could choose someone that he could just easily plow through for a memorable knockout for his retirement. Instead Zambidis chose a challenge.

I think when we all look back on Mike Zambidis it should be that fighting spirit that we all remember. We had a chance to talk to Zambidis prior to his big fight this coming weekend and a reflecting Zambidis had a lot to say about his career, his fans and even his most memorable fights. Mike Zambidis fights Steve Moxon on June 27th in Athens, Greece under the Iron Challenge banner.

LK: First of all, thank you for all of the great memories in the ring. I'm not sure that there are many fighters out there as entertaining and full of heart like you. 

MZ: Thank you very much for your kindness.  It is very important for an athlete to be respected by the audience and especially by the insiders of his field with such great experience.

LK: After a successful 15-plus-year career you are retiring, what was the decision making process like for this? What finally pushed you to move into retirement?

MZ: I am involved in kick boxing for 24 years and in times that kick boxing was not popular in my country but I dreamed and looked up with my head down and after huge sacrifices and endless hours of training, I have achieved 178 fights, 155 wins and 87 Kos. I had the honor to compete during the golden years of kick boxing in major events and with the best athletes worldwide.

After all this wonderful and demanding journey , I feel enormous gratitude that I manage to finish my career healthy and in high competitive level. Now, I feel full inside so as to go on with the next chapters of my life. 

LK: How important is it for you to be able to retire in front of your friends, family and fans in Greece?

MZ: There is nothing better than to give my last battle in Greece, although there have been ​​several interesting proposals by others countries, but my decision was the only way.

The Greeks support me in many ways, either daily out on the street, on social media, or filling each stadium where my battles are organised and transfer their energy, which is very valuable for me.

LK: Reflecting back on your career, what was your favorite fight?

MZ: I have many favorite fights … But I will pick the first that came to my mind.  It was the first time I stepped my foot in Japan and my first battle there with the champion of K-1 in 2003. For a long time, I was dreaming to participate in K-1. I won the eight-fold in the K -1 Oceania Australia and John Wein Parr in the finals and so I found myself opposite to the Dutch Albert Kraus.  In the beginning of the second round, I managed to knock him out, diving in the deep sea of K-1. A shocking experience for a young unknown Greek athlete back then.

LK: What made you select Steve Moxon as a final opponent? Moxon is an incredibly tough, top-ranked opponent. Is this just the Mike Zambidis warrior spirit that wouldn't accept an easy fight for his retirement?

MZ: I respect Steve Moxon and he has provoked me many times in the past. As he said in the past, I was his idol due to the similar fighting style and I think that it is very interesting for the audience to see. The experts of martial arts predict a spectacular battle between two strong athletes that are chasing the knock out.  As you said, I could accept an easy fight at this moment but I love challenges a lot. I am not just an athlete, I am a warrior and I learned in my life to fight, aiming high. This is a challenge I would like to take, as I think it will be a Titans’ battle.

LK: What do you think that your legacy will be on the sport after you retire?

MZ: The fights I have given in K-1, my wins over the world’s greatest champions of kick boxing, my «iron» fists and my fighting style, I think will be my legacy. Also, the fact that I was a Greek warrior fighting alone in the biggest kick boxing events worldwide, I think is going to be a nice thing to remember about me.

LK: What kind of plans do you have for your retirement? Do you plan on working with fighters and training them, running events, running a business or are you just planning to relax?

MZ: In Greece I own two fighting clubs where I give kick boxing lessons, so I will continue to run them giving more time and train athletes. In parallel,  I plan to offer kids seminars for nutritional education, sports education, self-defense, in order to strengthen their self-confidence and any other important experience I can offer.

LK: Is there a fighter out there that you believe could help the Mike Zambidis legacy continue on, or do you think that you are retiring as a one-of-a-kind talent?

MZ: I believe that every athlete is unique; no one can be the same with the other. Of course nowadays, there are many good athletes in the world who can offer many things to kick boxing and achieve great things. On the other hand, I believe that the Golden Era of kick-boxing has ended and strong teams like the ones gathered in Japan or in heavyweights like Peter Aerts, Ernesto Hust, Le Banner, Bernado, Loginidis, Andy Hug and in K-1 max 70 kg with Masato, Kraus, Kyshenko, Drago, Buakaw, Souwer and many others won’ t exist again for 2 reasons: Firstly, it is rare to have good fighters in their best physical condition to compete in the same event and secondly the global economic crisis which dissolves dreams and shrinks everything. 

LK: Are there any regrets from your career, or are you satisfied with your accomplishments?

MZ: After 178 fights, 155 wins and 87 KOs, I would be ungrateful if I said that I am not satisfied with my accomplishments. Thank God,  I don’t have second thoughts and I am happy. I would be ungrateful if I was not happy with what I have accomplished. Definitely, there were a lot of difficulties, frustrations , injustices and  injuries during all this wonderful trip but I keep the good moments, that were definitely more and I am glad because I used all the bad ones to become more mature and get myself in the next battles more «angry» in a creative and investing way and complete human and fighter.  

LK: Is there anything that you'd like to say to your fans and supporters all throughout the world?

MZ: I would like to thank them personally, one by one. Their support, energy and love are precious for every step I take. I’ ve always felt very honored for the  people who supported me in my fights around the world. That’s why I was training and I gave 100% of  my soul and body in my battles so that I could please them.

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Video: Behind the Scenes of Glory 22 by Benini Stephane

  • Published in Video

I was lucky enough to actually be behind the scenes at Glory 22 in Lille so watching this video made by Benini Stephane just brought back the intensity in Stade Pierre-Mauroy that evening. It was a beautiful venue and Glory did a great job dealing with its size. Each dressing room only had about 4 fighters in it, and they were chosen appropriately according to when they were fighting so that everyone had time and space to warm up.

Stephane has made a black and white and a color version of the video and he really captured some wonderful moments.

GLORY 22 from Stephane B on Vimeo.

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Video: Robin Van Roosmalen vs. Steve Moxon for Happy Hearts Fund.

  • Published in Video

We had been waiting to see this video of Glory lightweight champion Robin van Roosmalen vs "Stone Cold" Steve Moxon which took place on June 3rd in New York. This was a charity black tie event for the Happy Hearts Fund, as you can see by the poster the co-main event featured Pierre Andurand, one of Glory's biggest shareholders. I personally think its really great of Pierre to get in the ring and try at least one fight, it really shows that he is a huge kickboxing fan and just an overall good guy, maybe we will get to see that video soon.

Van Roosmalen vs Moxon was a much more competitive fight than I had anticipated considering Moxon has been a little bit off his game lately. Moxon fought really well and showed great head movement and footwork avoiding Robin's hooks early. Eventually Robin started with the leg kicks and that's when the tide changed in the Glory champions favor. This was just a very fun fight to watch with two very similar style fighters.

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VIDEO: Buakaw vs. Yi Long From WLF

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This weekend WLF ran what they had been billing as the fight of the century. No, not Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather (although they did promote it as on part with that), but instead Buakaw Banchamek vs. Yi Long. It was muay thai legend vs. kung fu legend and of course, only in China. China has seen a steady rise in interest in kickboxing over the past few years, helped in part by Wu Lin Feng, K-1 and Kunlun airing on national television there. 

So this fight happened and I dunno, take from it what you will.

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Jason Andrada Dishes on Rematches, Lion Fight 22 and how Kevin Ross is the Keanu Reeves of Muay Thai

  • Published in Interviews

Lion Fight 22 is on Friday evening on AXS TV, live from Las Vegas and as always, they are promising a night of high octane muay thai action. They’ve yet to fail to deliver since they’ve gone live on AXS TV and even though there was a last minute change to the main event, the show is still primed to deliver a lot of full rules muay thai action. A part of that action is Jason Andrada vs. Anthony Castrejon at 122lbs.

When it came time for me to decide who to focus on for this event, as much as I respect Kevin Ross and Tiffany Van Soest or the main eventer Jo Nattawut, it was hard not to be drawn to Jason Andrada. Andrada is not the most experienced fighter on the card -- even though he had a long, storied amateur career before turning pro -- but he’s been featured on Lion Fight events for a while now. He’s coming off of a tough loss to John Nofer that came via an elbow TKO but he was all smiles after that loss, showing more character in loss than most show in victory. 

Andrada is one of those guys that you might not see main eventing Lion Fight events, but more often than not you see him on the card and when you see him, you know to expect a fun fight and for him to leave it all in the ring. It’s not a coincidence, either, because his disposition is that of a laid back guy that is always looking to put on a show. Andrada sees himself as one of the many guys who is just trying to make an impression.

“You know, I think for some guys, guys like the ones that I’ve been fighting like Nofer, they’re all looking to make a name for themselves just like I am. There are a lot of guys out there that aren’t getting featured on TV like I am and they are clawing for those spots,” he explained. “All of these guys out there they go out there swinging, not many fighters that I’ve encountered are gonna take a shot and not want to go down swinging. Look at a guy like Pedro Gonzalez, for example. A lot of people in muay thai want to see someone demonstrating their perfect muay thai technique, but he’s more of a brawler, an MMA guy. I like watching him fight and so do a lot of other people, if that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes.”

He was quick to point out some of the more established names in the world of muay thai like Kevin Ross, Chad Mulkey, Joe Schilling and Tiffany Van Soest earned their spots through not only being skilled, but through their humility, personalities and experience. Andrada is quite accomplished in his own right, but he’s quick to point out those that have accomplished more than him and how he strives to be better and achieve what they have. 

Muay Thai might be a career for Andrada now, who spends most of his time at the gym training for fights or holding classes, but he likes to get some distance sometimes as well. “I love fighting, of course,” he said. “But sometimes I need time away from it, so I’m not one of those guys that has to watch every fight ever. I’ll watch my friends, you know? If Kevin, Chaz, Joe, any of my friends are fighting I’ll watch it and look, I could read off a pretty long list of fighters that I’m friends with and watch them fight, but I’m not a junkie for it anymore or anything. It’s nice to take time away. You know, I come home, I watch TV, watch Netflix, just relax sometimes and get some distance. It keeps the passion there.”

His fight on Friday is a rematch with Anthony Castrejon, the two of them meeting a few years back when they were both amateurs in a bout that Castrejon won via a head kick knockout. Andrada is open to any and all challenges, but was not really looking for this rematch. “I mean, we’ve fought before, he landed a nice head kick, which was good for him, but we are professionals now. A few of my recent professional fights have been rematches from my amateur days, which is fine,” he explained. “But look, like 1/3rd of my pro fights have been rematches from my amateur days. He’s been calling me out since before he fought Victor Saravia, so he’s wanted this for a while. I’m looking to grow as a fighter and be ready to challenge these international guys. I’m not saying that I’m looking past anyone,” he said. “I’m really not, I just want to be fighting guys from all over the world now. I want to be fighting guys from Japan, Europe and Thailand, I want to be ready to be able to go overseas and make a big impression. I don’t know if these rematches are going to really prepare me for that.”

He goes on to explain that it isn’t a great fight for either of them, considering that a loss for either guy could be the end of their Lion Fight careers. “I look at how UFC handles losses and you know, once you start racking up a few in a row they tend to cut a guy. I don’t want to be that guy and I’m sure that Castrejon doesn’t want to be that guy, either. Two straight losses wouldn’t be a good thing.”

Andrada is a guy that isn’t afraid to talk about his shortcomings, although he admits talking about losses can be tough. “Man, it sucks when I meet somebody new and they are like; ‘what do you do?’ I tell them that I’m a fighter and they ask about my last fight and it’s like, you gotta tell them that you came in second place,” he joked. “Nobody wants to have to say that, to say that you lost, but you gotta look forward.”

When it comes to Kevin Ross, it’s hard for Andrada to not talk about his friend and cohort with nothing but respect. “Kevin is a great guy, really. I mean, I learn so much from him still and no matter how much success he has, he’s always the same guy,” which spiraled into us discussing how Ross handles himself in the ring, how he’s always entertaining and composed, but always easy to talk to and deal with. “Yeah, I mean, he’s like the Keanu Reeves of muay thai in a way. He has all of this success and he hasn’t changed, he’s still the same guy. At the same time, he’s been through a lot of tough stuff in his life and he doesn’t let it drag him down. He’s always that guy that I like to be around.”

It should be noted that Andrada himself is heading down that same path right now; the amiable guy that seems always cool to be around. He loves to eat and is eagerly awaiting his favorite part of his post-fight life; feasting on some pizza. What struck me the most was that I was talking to him while he was gearing up to head out to the weigh-ins for Lion Fight 22, him just having stepped out of an epsom bath and he was not only in good spirits, but exhibited the same easy-going, friendly demeanor that Ross always projects while still focused and prepared for his fight. 

Becoming a star in any sport is difficult, there will be setbacks, there will be moments of glory and there will be those quiet, contemplative moments. Andrada has experienced many of these throughout the span of his professional and amateur career thus far and tomorrow night looks to be another in those collection of moments that will make up his career while he continues to strive for greatness and move up the ladder. What we know is that no matter what Andrada is looking to put his body on the line and to entertain us and that he’ll do it with a smile. Because he’s that ridiculous.

Lion Fight 22 airs tomorrow night, May 22nd on AXS TV at 10:00pm Eastern time.

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May 2015 LiverKick Rankings Update

  • Published in Rankings

Finally, right? Here we are with the every few monthly update to the LiverKick rankings. These rankings are updated when there is the most movement across divisions, which now seemed like a good time considering some of the recent shakeups across multiple divisions. As always, I will explain that our rankings are tabulated on who beats who, not on talent, not on flair of wins or even past success. If you were a monster three years ago but lost to a few guys in the top ten and got squeezed out then you got squeezed out. A win over a top ten fighter will get you a spot, but if you aren't fighting anyone in the top ten it'll be pretty tough to get in unless someone drops out due to inactivity. After one year of inactivity a fighter will be dropped from the rankings and upon return will need to compete at the top ten to regain ranking.

So let's get right to May, shall we? At Heavyweight there wasn't much movement at all. Within the ranks of the top ten nobody within the top ten has lost to a top ten opponent or beaten a top ten opponent above them. The only omission is a sad one in Ben Edwards, who has focused on boxing instead. Samedov moved up because of this and Ismael Londt made his return to the rankings after an absence had knocked him off a few years ago. It was down to him or Pavel Zhuravlev and it was heavily weighed before we decided to add Londt back.

For Light Heavyweight there was a similar situation of a few fighters being considered inactive and were forced to be removed. In this case it was two of the best in the world in Tyrone Spong and Nathan Corbett. In turn GLORY's Zack Mwekassa made his rankings debut and Reduon Cairo gets the nod for all of the good work that he's been doing around the world. Not much has changed at Middleweight, outside of Simon Marcus bumping up to #2 due to the draw with Artem Levin and everyone else shuffling down. After careful consideration we decided that Robert Thomas should remain unranked until he scores a top ten win and after much deliberation decided to give the man who beat Simon Marcus earlier this year, Fang Bian, a nod. 

Welterweight remains untouched. Lightweight had a bit of shuffling, including Enriko Kehl moving up, Souwer moving down and more. Aikpracha after a few losses has been removed and Dylan Salvador, who holds impressive wins over a few in the top ten, has been added. 

Now Featherweight. Oh Featherweight, how do we even explain your existence right now? After a long study of the division we came to the conclusion that if GLORY had really moved on from the Japanese talent in this weight class that it was difficult to hold their division as the gold standard as with every other division. A division without Masaaki Noiri or Yuta Kubo is difficult. Right now there is so much talent within that division all fighting each other in Japan that their omission feels tough to justify. K-1 Japan, KRUSH and ShootBoxing have been pumping out fights between the best in the world and we could not ignore it. 

So we poured over the division and came to a rather shocking conclusion; Yasuomi Soda was the #1 Featherweight in the world. How? He beat Minoru Kimura and then Minoru Kimura beat Kaew Fairtex. From there it'll all make sense. 

Heavyweight (Per 5/15)

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

Light

Heavyweight (Per 5/15)

1 Gokhan Saki
2 Saulo Cavalari
3 Danyo Ilunga
4 Artem Vakhitov
5 Mourad Bouzidi
6 Igor Jukovic
7 Michael Duut
8 Andrei Stoica
9 Zack Mwekassa
10 Reduon Cairo
Middleweight (Per 5/15)

1 Artem Levin
2 Simon Marcus
3 Joe Schilling
4 Filip Verlinden
5 Jason Wilnis
6 Alex Pereira
7 Wayne Barrett
8 Sahak Parparyan
9 Israel Adesanya
10 Fang Bian
Welterweight (Per 5/15)

1 Nieky Holzken
2 Joseph Valtellini
3 Artur Kyshenko
4 Karapet Karapetyan
5 Raymond Daniels
6 Karim Ghajji
7 Paul Daley
8 Alexander Stetsurenko
9 Jonatan Oliveira
10 Francois Ambang
Lightweight (Per 5/15)

1 Robin van Roosmalen
2 Davit Kiria
3 Andy Ristie
4 Giorgio Petrosyan
5 Sitthichai
6 Murthel Groenhart
7 Marat Grigorian
8 Enriko Kehl
9 Andy Souwer
10 Dylan Salvador
Featherweight (Per 5/15)

1 Yasuomi Soda
2 Minoru Kimura
3 Kaew Fairtex
4 Massaro Glunder
5 Masaaki Noiri
6 Yuta Kubo
7 Gabriel Varga
8 Mosab Amrani
9 Hiroaki Suzuki
10 Zakaria Zouggari

 

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Simon Marcus is Ready for GLORY 21 and the Responsibilities of Being a Champion

  • Published in Interviews

"You're always training to fight someone who is training to fight you..."  That is a fighter's life according to Simon Marcus, and that's a very accurate portrait when you think of it. Simon Marcus, is not an enigma, he's not one for shadow games or deception.  Who he is however, is a man of ordinary means and on Friday, May 8th, a man with an incredible opportunity, the chance to become the middle weight champion of GLORY, the world's premier kickboxing association.  Ahead of this event, I had to opportunity to speak with Simon about what we can expect on Friday night as well as a peek into the life of the "Bad Bwoy".

For people who are unaware, Levin and Marcus have faced each other before.  During that bout that was conducted under Muay Thai rules, Marcus was the victor.  While he admits that a previous win over an opponent may inspire some level of confidence knowing that you have previously beat that person.  Today,  Marcus chooses to focus on the task at hand and what it will take to be victorious again. Marcus has also made the choice not to focus on the what ifs, especially 'what if he loses'.  He stated that in his life, he continues to strive and even in those instances when a fight does go his way he has a desire to continue to improve and get better as a person. Of the things that has striven to improve in the ring, Simon stated that he has upped his cardio which he demonstrated during open work outs at The Boxing Gym on Wednesday as well as during his hard fought victory during the middleweight tournament last month in Dubai.   Marcus also stated that he has challenged himself in improving his conditioning, strength and overall pushed himself to his limits in preparation for GLORY 21. He states that even on the winning side he is never satisfied with his performance and is always looking for ways he can improve. While he is highly critical of himself, Marcus also expressed that he is attempting to learn how to enjoy those successes.

Coming into the world of a disciplined fighter at age 18, as in the case of many other fighters, provided an outlet and an opportunity for him to turn a negative into a positive.  Instead of getting into trouble for fighting, it has now become his passion and something for which he now receives praise.  As for his personal road to GLORY, Marcus stated that he trained as hard as he could, fought as much as he could and believed in himself.  In addition to that Marcus stated that he travelled and made a lot of sacrifices.  He also stated that many times he fought for free and did everything he could to get experience, good training and anything he could to get better, not necessarily looking at the immediate pay out but his long term goal of getting to the top.

What does he bring to the ring?  Simon Marcus brings a warrior spirit and an intellectual mentality, not to mention a lot of power and heart.  Additionally Simon Marcus brings excitement and a willingness to pull out all the stops to get the win.

As for the future, Marcus plans to completely focus on GLORY and winning/defending the title.  His vision does not stop there.  Simon Marcus would like to be a person who will take GLORY to another level and having people interested and seeing what the best striking in the world is about. 

To anyone who might be interested in embarking on a journey such as this, Simon Marcus stated that he would not discourage anyone from pursing a fighter's life, but he quickly differentiated between having a calling vs. having an interest. He stated if a person is just interested in being a fighter for the accolades or whatever comes along with it, that might not be the way to go.  He added that if someone has a love for fighting or a person has fighting in them, and they feel that fighting brings out the best in them or develops them, then that would be a more satisfying path to take.  Fighting as a career and as a lifestyle is difficult emotionally and physically.

After retirement, which Marcus stated at this point he doesn't know when that will occur, his love of fighting, teaching and martial arts directs his future to remain on its current path, in the realm of combat sports entertaining options of possibly promoting or opening a gym and in that way continuing to pass the tradition on.  If we hadn't met Simon Marcus as the Muay Thai/kickboxing practitioner that we see today, Marcus stated that it's very difficult to guess where he'd be today as he was always fighting and getting in trouble doing it.  He admits that when he was younger he had an interest in basketball and was a good player in high school but didn't have the focus on school to continue on this path. From where he sits now Marcus appears to be happy, he is an accomplished fighter, a father and fighting in an organization that he feels is right on the cusp of becoming something huge!

Beyond Friday night, Marcus has no one in particular on his radar, stating that he believes his greatest fight is with himself because he has the belief that in anything you do, there is a constant inner battle to become the best version of you.

So while on Friday night at GLORY 21 we won't get to see Simon Marcus vs. Simon Marcus, we will witness a continuation of this young man's journey to champion status in a battle between two of the best middleweights in the world.  On Friday night, Simon acknowledges that he has tremendous opportunity and when it's one man's time, it's his time and critics can say what they like, but Friday is his time.  He feels he has done the things necessary to have earned this opportunity.  To his fans, Simon Marcus sends out a sincere and heartfelt thanks.  To those who have supported him and all the friends and family who have traveled to San Diego he expresses sincere gratitude.

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A Look Behind the Scenes of the GLORY 21 Open Workouts

  • Published in Interviews

Today we were granted a sneak peak of the firestorm to come this Friday, May 8th in San Diego, also known as GLORY 21.  The location was The Boxing Club, the current training home of  middleweight champion Artem Levin and the event was open workouts. 

The first participant on deck for today's event was one of GLORY's newest finds, Andre Walker.  Walker who is set to face another newcomer to the GLORY stage, Manny Mancha, exuded confidence in the ring demonstrating high energy with kicks and punches that may just surprise his opponent.  The second fighter up was the always exciting, "Human Highlight Reel", Raymond Daniels.  Despite having suffered a loss at GLORY 19 in Virginia, Daniels came to the ring to show that he remains in it to win it!  High flying as ever, Daniels demonstrated the determination to, if nothing else, make it exciting and keep his opponent guessing! The final two participants at the open workout event were the two men scheduled to bring the house down as the finale of GLORY 21 card in a battle for the middleweight title, Artem Levin and Simon Marcus.  Marcus, who was without his trainer, gave attendees a taste of what a work-out is like in his world! STAMINA is what he's obviously about in training.  Marcus took the crowd through a series of sit-ups, push-ups, kicks and other combinations that left us all sweating as we watched.  Levin then took center ring in the finale of the open workouts and gave the crowd a taste of his ever increasing agility, power and flexibility.  Levin also gave the crowd a sneak peak at some of his combinations as well as how he maintains his reputation for not only throwing a punch, but evading the strikes of his opponents. The outcome of this bout will be very interesting as it will not be the first time these two have faced off in the ring. Marcus has previously defeated Levin in a Muay Thai rules bout. So, may the best man win on Friday night!

While the event was short but sweet, Tim Hughes kept the crowd entertained with his amazing commentary and introductions. Also on deck for weigh ins was the newest member of GLORY's commentary team, Goldberg! 

Look out folks!! It's happening in San Diego, Friday, May 8th at the Valley View Casino Center!  Watch it on Spike or see the event live, GLORY always aims to please and match-ups feature here will keep fans satisfied!

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A Look at Xavier Vigney Heading Into GLORY 21's Heavyweight Tournament

  • Published in Interviews

Do you remember September 28th 2013? I remember that day, okay well I don't really, but thay sounded really good, didn't it? I actually do have a very vivid memory of one thing from that date, GLORY 10: Los Angeles and the impression one fighter left on me. Who is that fighter you might ask? The up and coming, Northern California heavyweight Xavier Vigney. It wasn't his first day on the job, but it was my first opportunity to witness a talent on the rise. The LA event was Vigney's debut with GLORY and by knocking out his opponent, Hyunman Myung, Vigney demonstrated that he had arrived and was ready to climb the ranks in the world's best kickboxing organization. Following GLORY 10 I anxiously awaited another opportunity to see more, at GLORY 19, I got my chance. At GLORY 19: Virginia, the 6'8" Vigney was matched against Everett Sims in a battle which would end with Vigney's TKO victory. Following this second GLORY win, I also had an opportunity to talk with Vigney, get a little history and find out what's next for him.

Hailing from Northern California, Vigney reports an early interest in boxing, but actually spent much of his youth on the football field. Naturally athletic and no stranger to spending hard days training, Vigney walks around normally at a svelte 109-113kgs. Making his pro debut in 2012 at a K-1 event, Vigney faced Seth Petruzelli. It was druing this event that Vigney proved that he was ready for the big stage as he repeatedly dropped Petruzelli throughout the first and second rounds. In K-1, Vigney also faced Zabit Samedov. While not victorious in this match-up, he has continued his pursuit of kickboxing glory. Vigney joined GLORY via their eight-man ‘Road to GLORY’ tournament. He took this tourney by storm, with three KOs in one night and thereby earning a coveted GLORY contract. he won by stopping three opponents in one night, one after another, earning himself a contract.

While he continues his rise in GLORY, Vigney has dabbled in boxing, a sport in which he's also had some success. He also voices no opposition to the prospect of MMA. And so at a youthful 24 years of age Xavier Vigney has gone from gridiron superstar to hot prospect in K-1 to rising star in GLORY. What's next? More hard work and GLORY 21: San Diego where he will face GLORY newcomer, Maurice Jackson. On Saturday, May 8th we will see what Xavier Vigney has in store for his opponent. Win or lose without a doubt those watching will be able to witness an exciting fight where Vigney will bring the strength, power and agility he has cultivated over the years.

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K-1

K-1 World Amateur Championships in November, Plus K-1 Japan 70kg in July is Amazing

  • Published in K-1

After a bit of radio silence from K-1 over the past few months K-1 has announced that they will be holding a world amateur championship this November in Italy. It will run on November 13-15th in Tuscany and if you are an amateur fighter interested in testing your mettle and being crowned as an amateur world champion you can contact them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

On the K-1 Japan front they are still gearing up for the K-1 Japan 70kg Championship tournament on July 4th. It features a one-night tournament featuring eight 70kg fighters, one could even argue some of the best in the world, while the rest of the card is up to the usual K-1 Japan standards of excellence. Seriously, I dare you to find a better card than this from this year. You won't.

70kg Tournament

Reserve: Sergey Adamchuk vs. Kazuya Akimoto

Quarterfinal: Marat Grigorian vs. Yoichi Yamazaki

Quarterfinal: Dylan Salvador vs. Makahira Keita

Quarterfinal: Hiroki Nakajima vs. Sanny Dahlbeck

Quarterfinal: Daiki Watanabe vs. Jordan Pikeur

Super Fights

Hirotaka Urabe vs. Toshi

Minoru Kimura vs. Massaro Glunder

Takeru vs. Hakim Hamech

Koya Urabe vs. Konstantin Trishin

Kaew Fairtex vs. Yasuomi Soda

 

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Peter Aerts Officially Retires

  • Published in K-1

After perhaps one of the most legendary careers in the sport of kickboxing, the trailblazing Peter Aerts has finally hung up the gloves. Aerts, originally promoted to be retiring at GLORY 13 wasn't too pleased with being pushed into retirement when he didn't quite feel ready for it just yet. Aerts has been aware of father time since at least 2012 when he first started planning his retirement, with the bout against Tyrone Spong being his "BeNeLux retirement."

Since then it has all been about winding down and while Aerts was scheduled to participate in the BLADE.2 event in Japan on August 1st, yesterday at a press conference in Japan he instead sent along a video announcing his retirement. He had sustained a few injuries after his last fight with Ernesto Hoost and has had difficulties getting back into fighting shape and recovering, which has pushed him to finally retire. He will now focus on training fighters and building up the next generation of kickboxers.

For me, personally, it is tough to see the end of the Aerts era considering he was the first fighter that really caught my eye as a kid. After watching Aerts' first K-1 World Grand Prix victory I was hooked for life. That being said, it is all about safety and health. Aerts has a family and a gym right now and leaves behind a legacy as one of the all-time greats of the sport. My favorite memory of the past few years will still be Aerts making it to the finals of the 2010 World Grand Prix against Alistair Overeem and having that feeling that anything could happen, that Aerts could win it one last time. That was the kind of magic that Peter Aerts brought to the ring with him.

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Video: Noiri vs Glunder and Hiroya vs Minoru

  • Published in K-1

During the 55kg tournament K-1 held on April 19th in Japan there were a few big upsets in the super fights and K-1 has just released the videos. 

First of all Kimura "Phillip" Minoru vs Hiroya, since I didn't get to watch this event live I have to say it was pretty surprising to read that Minoru KO'd Hiroya in 1 round even though Hiroya can be hot and cold sometimes. Now after watching the fight, honestly Minoru looks really damn good. He has improved leaps and bounds, his timing, speed and power all looked amazing, very impressive.

Next we have Massaki Noiri vs Massaro Glunder, Glunder looks so much like a mini Andy Ristie its crazy and even has a similar style but i think hes a little bit less awkward. When I read that Noiri had lost by cut the first thing I thought was that it must have been lucky but after watching the fight Glunder not only beat Noiri but he did it in Japan, and on short notice, I definitely do not think Glunder was losing the fight. Great breakthrough win for a young up and comer in Massaro Glunder.

 

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

  • Published in K-1

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

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

60kg Tomohiro Kiyai vs. Wu Ze
63kg Keisuke Nakamura vs. Wang Zhiwei
65kg Kuji Yoshimoto vs. Hanji
70kg Hideaki Kikkawa vs. Tien Xin
70kg K-Jee vs. Zang Lei
70kg Jungle Koki vs. Ba Te Er
53kg Syuri vs. E Meidie
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Final Card for K-1 Japan on January 18th

  • Published in K-1

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

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

HW: Manabu vs Fujita Tomoya
60kg: Yuma vs Kanbe Shota
65kg: Goto Masanobu vs Saito Yuta
65kg: Hiramoto Ren vs Ishikawa Yuki
60kg GP Reserve Fight: TOSHI vs Kim Hun Jae
60kg GP: Shimano Kotaro vs Javier Hernandez
60kg GP: Urabe Hirotaka vs Karim Bennoui
60kg GP: Yamamoto Masahiro vs Gagny Baradji
60kg GP: Urabe Koya vs Denis Puric
65kg: Kaew Fairtex vs Kimura Minoru
70kg: Sato Yoshihiro vs Sanny Dahlbeck
55kg: Takiya Shota vs Shou Rong
55kg: Tobe Ryuma vs Horio Ryuji
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Gabriel Varga Out of K-1 USA vs. China Event

  • Published in K-1

GLORY fighter Gabriel Varga was set to compete at the K-1 USA vs. China event on January 1st in China but it looks like all of that has gone up in smoke over the past day. Varga is reporting on having visa issues. Upon entering China they found that he did not have the proper paperwork to enter the country, which meant that he had to turn around and go right back home to Canada. 

Definitely a bit of a bummer for those looking forward to seeing Varga fight. The good news is that there are no other issues as of press time with the event and it should go off without a hitch. We'll keep you posted on any further news for the K-1 China vs. USA event.

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K-1 Signs Yodsanklai Fairtex to Two-Year Contract

  • Published in K-1

In an interesting twist of fate considering the recent events that unfolded in Thailand with Buakaw Banchamek and K-1, K-1 has been able to secure a two-year, kickboxing-exclusive deal with one of the best muay thai fighters who ventures outside of Thailand in Yodsanklai Fairtex. They announced the deal yesterday, which comes as a bit of a shock considering the shock and outrage we saw coming from Thailand after the last event. 

Then again, Yodsanklai has been angling with a fight with Buakaw for ages now and it has simply not materialized. Yodsanklai will be competing at 70kg, which places him within the MAX division. A potential fight between Yodsanklai and K-1 MAX Champion Enriko Kehl would be nothing short of awesome, that's for sure. 

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K-1 Announces Deal in China and Three 2015 Events

  • Published in K-1

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

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

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

K-1 has also announced two other events;

February 1st; China vs. Japan
March 28th; China vs. Thailand
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Kevin Ross Captaining K-1's Upcoming USA vs. China Event on January 1st

  • Published in K-1

Since K-1's event last December in China there has been a lot of hushed talk about the future of K-1 in China. The year 2014 has been a lot better to K-1 than other years and there have been a lot of deals talked about that could possibly make K-1 not only a major player in China, but huge in China. From what we've seen, K-1 has been training referees, judges and other officials on top of lending a hand to train fighters in China over the last year and on January 1st K-1 will make their return to China with a huge USA vs. China event.

It'll take place in Golden Eagle Culture City, Changsua, China and as I stated before, the theme will be USA vs. China. While we don't know all of the names just yet, we have heard that Kevin Ross has signed to be the Team Captain of Team USA and will be fighting, which is pretty big news considering that Ross was being courted by K-1 years ago and GLORY last year only for nothing to come of it. We've also been told that Canadian Gabriel Varga is scheduled to appear on the card, which is interesting considering there was talk of him competing for GLORY's Featherweight Championship soon. 

Tiffany Van Soest is also announced for the card.

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K-1 Japan 65kgs Tournament Results

  • Published in K-1

Last night the K-1 Japan 65kgs tournament took place including names like Yuta Kubo, Hiroya, and Michael "Tomahawk" Thompson. Overall I really enjoyed the fights, they all seemed well matched, with every fighter bringing their own unique style to the ring making the fights exciting.

We saw a wicked spinning back fist KO at the hands of Takeru in a fight that I thought he was losing. The return of Hiroya was great but once again he always seems to come up a bit short. There were two fighters that really stood out for me though, of course the tournament winner, southpaw from Thailand Kaew Fairtex, with his lightning fast head kicks, his huge upset over Kubo, and his ability to avoid punches even with the ref harassing him about clinching. Also we found out his father had passed away a week ago, he dedicated his win to him. It seemed to me that Fairtex hurt his left shin in his first fight, since he threw it a lot less in the 2nd and 3rd plus it all bandaged up, didn't seem to effect his performance too much though. Secondly a British fighter named Kerrith Bhella, I personally hadn't seen him fight before, and I half expected K-1 to give Yuya someone he could beat up in Japan. I was very wrong, Bhella's technique was some of the best I have seen, tight hands, fast powerful jab and combos followed by leg kicks, and an almost flawless defense. I really hope we get to see more of him after his defeat of Yamamoto last night.

Results

Tournament Reserve: Ilias Bulaid Defeats Taito (KO rd 3)

Tournament Quarter Final #1 - Hiroya Defeats Michael "Tomahawk" Thompson.

Tournament Quarter Final #2 - Soda Yasuomi defeats Kimura Minoru (KO rd 2)

Tournament Quarter Final #3 - Kaew Fairtex Defeats Yamazaki Hideaki (decision)

Tournament Quarter Final #4 - Yuta Kubo defeats Raz Sarkisjan (decision)

Superfight 70kgs - Matsukura Shintaro defeats Zhao Fukai (decision)

K-1 Koshien 2014 final - Hiramoto Ren defeats Sano Tenma (decision)

Tournament Semi-Finals #1 - Soda Yasuomi defeats Hiroya (decision)

Tournament Semi-Finals #2 - Kaew Fairtex defeats Yuta Kubo (KO Rd 2)

Superfight 55kgs - Takeru defeats Taiga(KO rd 2 wicked spinning backfist)

Superfight 70kgs - Kerrith Bhella defeats Yuya Yamamoto (decision)

 Tournament Finals - Kaew Fairtex defeats Soda Yasuomi (decision)

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Joe Schilling Hit With 90 Day Suspension After Bellator Loss

  • Published in Glory

If you were looking forward to seeing Joe Schilling in the ring wearing bigger gloves at the Bellator/GLORY Dynamite event in September it looks like you are out of luck. On Friday evening he competed within the Bellator cage against a Japanese karateka Hisaki Kato. Kato, who was a virtual unknown to most was thought to be simply a guy being fed to Schilling but he has an extensive history of competing within the world of karate and had racked up four knockouts for four wins in his MMA career prior in Japan. Needless to say the guy is no can and Schilling found out the hard way just how good he was, Kato scoring a brutal knockout over Schilling in the second round.

Schilling was originally scheduled for the September 19th Dynamite event on Spike TV but it came out today that the Kansas commission has handed out a 90-day medical suspension for Schilling, which takes him to the end of September before he's allowed contact. Clearly that means he won't be able to compete on the Dynamite card, which is a bummer. For now we still know that Paul Daley is scheduled to participate on the Dynamite card and he's been calling out recent-Bellator signee Josh Koscheck. I'm not sure that I want to see Kos's brain get scrambled in a kickboxing ring, but that could be interesting. 

Scott Coker also made mention of wanting to have a GLORY title fight on the card, so there is hope yet. 

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GLORY Announces Hayabusa as Official Glove Provider

  • Published in Glory

There has been a lot of movement on the sports apparel and gear front over the last few months in the world of combat sports after the UFC struck an exclusive arrangement with Reebok that prevented other companies from having their usual pull inside of the octagon. From there we saw TapouT get partially bought out by the WWE and will be launching a co-branded initiative in 2016, Venum is sponsoring a kickboxing series in Europe called Venum World Series and now gear company Hayabusa will be providing GLORY with gloves for the next three years.

This is a switch from Leone, which provided gloves in the past for GLORY. Starting at GLORY 23 on August 7th Hayabusa's new World Class Competition Gloves will be used by GLORY competitors. The gloves are set to be unveiled during GLORY 23's fight week.

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GLORY 23 Card Details Begin to Emerge

  • Published in Glory

GLORY 23 Las Vegas is GLORY's next big event happening on Spike TV and we'll see a new Welterweight Champion crowned on this night. Unfortunately due to ongoing effects from a concussion the champion Joseph Valtellini was forced to vacate the title and now Nieky Holzken will get his chance at the title against a man that he defeated just a few months prior in the ever-evolving Raymond Daniels. Daniels holds a rare knockdown over Holzken from their last fight and has been evolving and growing as a fighter steadily, making the rematch between the two in a five-round affair an interesting spectacle for both old and new fans.

The co-main event of the show has been announced as American Heavyweight hopeful Xavier Vigney taking on one of his biggest challenges to date in the UK's Daniel Sam. Sam serves as a gatekeeper to the realm of the international elite for Vigney and while a win over Sam won't thrust him into the top ten, it will help to legitimize his ascending the ranks and prove that he's ready to take a big step up in competition. 

The show will also feature a Middleweight Qualifying tournament and thus far we only have two names associated with it, which are Casey Greene on one side of the bracket and Dustin Jacoby on the other. We aren't exactly holding out hope for this tournament involving many bigger names, but it should serve the same purpose that the recent Heavyweight Qualifying tournament did, at least.

Perhaps one of the best fights on the card is on the SuperFight Series right now, which is Murthel Groenhart vs. Chad Sugden. 

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Bellator Announces Dynamite!! September 19th in San Jose with GLORY Participation

  • Published in Glory

Yesterday there was a spark of this potentially huge event happening in September featuring Spike TV's premier combat sports brands of Bellator and GLORY. While there was some trepidation throughout the industry everything fell into place and today Bellator announced that Dynamite!! will happen on September 19th in San Jose at the SAP Center. GLORY's participation in the event will be a three-fight offering featuring fights from Joe Schilling, Paul Daley and more to be announced.

It will be interesting to have the Bellator cage set up in the arena as well as an area for a kickboxing ring as well, with Spike TV looking to present what should be their biggest combat sports card to date. In addition to the three-fight GLORY card there will be a lot of big stuff from Bellator, including a Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship bout between champion Liam McGeary and UFC legend Tito Ortiz. In addition there will be a one-night tournament at Light Heavyweight featuring King Mo Lawal, Phil Davis, Linton Vassal and Emanuel Newton, the winner challenging the winner of McGeary and Ortiz at a later event.

This should be a big deal for both MMA fans and kickboxing fans alike and is a very good thing for GLORY to be associated with Bellator like this. While Dynamite!! was a Japanese tradition that blended together DREAM and K-1, it will be interesting to see what a night of "Dynamite" featuring Bellator and GLORY can be.

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Possibility of a Co-Branded GLORY/Bellator Event under Dynamite!! Banner on Spike TV

  • Published in Glory

In what I'd consider an interesting turn of events, there is a possibility of seeing the Dynamite!! brand revived yet again, only instead of being on New Year's Eve in Japan, in the United States in September on Spike TV. While Dynamite!! was synonymous with DREAM and K-1, this would be a co-branded event featuring Bellator and GLORY.

According to Ariel Helwani this is exactly the case and it will be announced tomorrow. What's interesting to note is that GLORY is reaching the end of their Spike TV deal which has some insiders a bit antsy, but cooperation on this level would mean a continued future with Spike TV and finally making use of the resources at Spike TV to help to push the GLORY brand front and center. More when we have it.

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Catch Full GLORY 22 Fight Videos Here

  • Published in Glory

We are just a week past GLORY 22 but it is still fresh in our minds. A lot went down at GLORY 22 and if you somehow missed it, well, you are in luck. As GLORY is prone to doing, they released the entirety of the show on YouTube for the world to watch and you can catch it here. The playlist below features all of the fights in their entirety. So check it.

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GLORY 22 Ratings Take a Hit From Afternoon Airtime

  • Published in Glory

By just about any metric GLORY 22 was a great event, both on paper and in execution. The Lightweight tournament featured some of the best and brightest in the Lightweight division and we walked away with Josh Jauncey looking like he's going to be a major player in the division for years and Sitthichai looking like he's marching to becoming a long-reigning champion. We also got some patented Zack Mwekassa violence and then we got to see Rico Verhoeven and Benjamin Adegbuyi stand toe-to-toe with Verhoeven walking away as champion still.

The issue, of course, came with GLORY 22 taking place in France. GLORY's main television contract is with Spike TV in the United States and while GLORY 22 did air on Spike UK, it aired on Saturday, when more people could be watching. One of the big complaints about past GLORY events emenating from Europe have been that Spike TV airs them on tape delay, which in a modern, internet-feuled age is liken to a form of self-sabotage. Spoilers are real and sporting events that you can DVR through the slower parts tend to lose the level of excitement that they bring when airing live. So Spike TV was going to make the "right" decision by airing GLORY 22 live. The problem here is that Spike TV opted not to air a replay of the event later on in the evening. 

The number being reported by SportsTVRatings is 152,000 viewers. This is of course excluding any possible DVR viewers that came afterwards, but is the raw, live number from Friday afternoon. It is, without a doubt, the lowest number that we've seen for GLORY programming on Spike TV. We spoke to GLORY officials who confirmed that while choosing France as the venue was their decision, when it aired on Spike TV was not under their control. GLORY was thrilled at the idea of airing the event live, but had begged for a replay later on in the evening due to 4pm Eastern and live at 1pm Pacific on a Friday seeming like suicide. 

One has to wonder why a network with the experience that Spike TV has with live combat sports and who seems dedicated to their Friday block of combat sports programming would make such an odd error. Spike TV has experience with the UFC, Bellator, professional boxing and now kickboxing to know how a show will fare at certain times and even the uninitiated saw 4pm Eastern as a bad time on a Friday. I have some serious questions here that there don't seem to be answers for as of press time and am starting to wonder if Spike has soured on the idea of partnering with GLORY or they are perhaps even looking to purchase the brand and "rehabilitate it" much like they did with Bellator years ago. 

GLORY 22 was a very, very good show that any combat sports fan should go out of their way to see. It's starting to look like Spike might not be overly enthralled with the brand that is still in its embryonic stages and if that is so, let's hope that GLORY does find a more commited partner in the future. 

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Storylines: A breakdown of Glory 22

  • Published in Glory

Glory 22 in Lille, France was a fantastic event that showcased top-tier kickboxing action before an enthusiastic and receptive audience of fight fans. Featuring a 4-man lightweight contender tournament as well as a heavyweight title fight between champion Rico Verhoeven and top contender Benjamin Adegbuyi, this fight card delivered on stoppages as well as tense technical battles which had fans on the edge of their seats. New chapters were written in the storylines for many fighters which will have a big impact on their future trajectories. In this article, I’ll break down some of these emerging developments:

1. A star is born: Josh Jauncey establishes himself as a top-10 fighter.

Josh Jauncey has been putting on impressive displays of kickboxing technique in each of his Glory fights, but he is very much an emerging talent on the scene who is relatively new to the professional tier of competition. I first became aware of him after his brother, our very own Jay Jauncey, uploaded videos of Josh’s amateur fights onto Youtube a few years ago. His skill was immediately apparent and he seemed destined for great things, exhibiting a style and proficiency that closely resembled that of his idol Andy Souwer. It subsequently came as no surprise to learn that Josh was going to Holland to train with Team Souwer, and he has only improved since then. Yet, Jauncey has been brought along slowly by Glory, and for all of the growing hype, he had yet to draw a top-10 opponent. That changed at Glory 22 as Josh deftly handled the veteran Djime Coulibaly and went three hard rounds with Thai phenom Sitthichai, who months ago bested Souwer and Murthel Groenhart in one night and who finished former champion Davit Kiria inside one round in the tournament semi-final. To say that Josh has arrived is a massive understatement. I believe his performance places him firmly in the top-10, and I believe his style and personality will make him a crowd favorite in the future. If you don’t believe me, then listen to that French audience chant his name again.

2. Sitthichai finally has the platform he’s needed.

Sitthichai is a top-2 lightweight. When he chooses to come out aggressively, there is very little that his opponents seem capable of doing to stop his onslaught of kicks and knees. Davit Kiria is one of the toughest, most durable lightweights in the world, and Sitthichai’s knees put Kiria in a world of pain that left the former champion unable to continue. Despite the variety of Josh Jauncey’s techniques and his craftiness in evading the full power and aggression of the Thai, Sitthichai thoroughly handled the Canadian, relentlessly chopping away with his tree trunk-sized legs. Mauro Ranallo aptly compared Sitthichai to fellow Thai kickboxing legend Buakaw Banchamek, and much like Buakaw, Sitthichai’s flaws mainly stem from pacing issues and an occasional lack of aggression. However, when Sitthichai is on point, he is an unstoppable force and a clear-cut world-beater, and Glory has finally given him the chance to face the world’s best lightweights. His coming title fight against Robin van Rosmalen will be the caliber of fight that Sitthichai has deserved for years as well as one of the toughest fights of Robin’s career.

3. Rico Verhoeven proves the doubters wrong.

If beating Gokhan Saki and Daniel Ghita (twice) isn’t enough to prove that Rico is a top heavyweight, than a completely dominating performance against Benjamin Adegbuyi should hopefully silence the critics. It has been a tough road for Verhoeven, who has been around the scene for years but who has always stood in the shadow of fighters like Saki, Ghita, Badr Hari, and Errol Zimmerman. He has demonstrated great ability but has also suffered from consistency issues, dropping a decision to Andrei Gerasimchuk in a fight that as the world champion he really shouldn’t have lost. Indeed, his performance during the opening round of this championship fight was similarly troubling with Verhoeven letting Adegbuyi control the round with his stiff jab. He came alive as the fight went on, putting on the performance that a champion should—using his low kick to punish Benny’s boxing and dominating the Romanian in the championship rounds. Rico described his performance as “okay,” and his perception is understandable—he is arriving at his best years but has by no means reached his peak.

4. Mourad Bouzidi belongs at light heavyweight.

Mourad Bouzidi could be one of the most overlooked fighters in kickboxing, and it’s easy to see why: for years Mourad competed as an undersized heavyweight who was bullied by the likes of Daniel Ghita and other giants. In spite of this, he holds wins against the likes of Anderson “Braddock” Silva and Hesdy Gerges. His victory over Filip Verlinden firmly establishes the weight class he needs to compete in; it is one of the biggest wins of his career, and for the first time, it puts him in a serious title conversation.

5. Other stories.

Zack Mwekassa picked up another KO win here, but this match-up really did nothing to further his place in the division. I think his place as #4 on the Glory rankings is completely absurd (#3 is Brian Collette—even more so). Zack is a nice guy with a great story who has awesome KO power, but we really need to see what Zack can do as a kickboxer. Drawing any of the guys who rank below him on the Glory rankings (c’mon!) will be a good test for him, but in particular, I would like to see him face Michael Duut, a Dutch kickboxer in need of a comeback fight.

Jamal Ben Saddik: what can I say, the heavyweight division is going to need more fighters for Rico Verhoeven to face, especially if Rico beats Braddock Silva. But is Ben Saddik really the right guy? After unceremoniously dismissing him following his disqualifying ground attack against Hesdy Gerges, Glory has taken him back, giving him an opponent to KO for his trouble. I don’t think that Glory should give unsportsmanlike conduct a bye. We’ve been down that road before with FEG rewarding Badr Hari’s repeated misconduct with the lightest of wrist slaps. I think Glory is far better off giving Ben Edwards a call next time.

Overall, it’s good to feel engaged with kickboxing again. Glory is producing events consistently now, and the narrative momentum is very palpable. The anticipation over Nieky Holzken’s return at Glory 23 is already building—as it should. The Hard Rock in Las Vegas is a tested venue for combat sports entertainment and is the home of Lion Fight, which regularly draws enthusiastic supporters to its Muay Thai events. Glory is putting together events which feature the right fighters in the right setting, and I look forward to Glory 23 with great anticipation.

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Rico Verhoeven Retains GLORY Heavyweight Championship at GLORY 22

  • Published in Glory

It was a monumental event for Heavyweight kickboxing at GLORY 22 when Rico Verhoeven defended his GLORY Heavyweight Championship against Benjamin Adegbuyi. It was the first real Heavyweight title bout for the new generation of heavyweights, accentuated by Semmy Schilt, Ernesto Hoost and Remy Bonjasky in attendance and presenting the winner with the belt. It was the battle of the knockout artist against the cardio and combination machine and it cemented Verhoeven's spot at the top of the food chain.

Many have been critical of Verhoeven in the past and he was looking to prove that he wouldn't be satisfied squeaking out a win, but instead wanted to dominate. Early on Adegbuyi came at him with everything that he had and most men would have fallen to those blows, but Verhoeven held steady. The Verhoeven that came back at Benny in rounds two and three was an angry one, highly motivated to not just let Adegbuyi tire out. Instead Verhoeven came at Adegbuyi with his fists flying and we had a war on our hands for a while.

Benny began to tire, though, and as the fight moved into the deep waters it was clear that Verhoeven was in the better condition and that his combinations were flowing just as easily as they were in the early rounds. It became a thing of beauty to watch Verhoeven slip strikes and land eloquent combinations against the Romanian slugger. Adegbuyi came back in the fifth round but it simply was too little, too late against the technical brilliance of Rico Verhoeven.

Verhoeven retains but Adegbuyi put on a valiant performance and shows that he belongs in the pantheon of top heavyweights right now.

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Rico Verhoeven Looks to Impress at GLORY 22

  • Published in Glory

At twenty-six he's on top of the world and not looking to step down soon. He didn't arrive there overnight, this achievement is the culmination of twenty years of hard work and dedication, not to mention the fact that it's in his blood. Rico Verhoeven, GLORY's current heavyweight champion is the son, of a black belt in karate, and no stranger to training and hard work. Today he reaps the benefits of those seeds that were sown so early in his life, but if you think that is all there is to Rico, that's where you're wrong. Besides maintaining his heavyweight champion status with GLORY, Rico is a father and a man who aspires to much more.

Currently Rico is set to face the Romanian Benny Adegbuyi at GLORY 22 in Lille, France. During the course of his career, however, he has faced a veritable who's who in kickboxing world among those names Aerts, Zimmerman, Ghita, Saki and Schilt are representative of the high level of competition he's faced. His career and rise to the top has not come without criticism. He has been criticized by people who say that his fights are not exciting and that the level of respect he brings to his opponents has also been lacking. This accusation has been especially prominent in his most recent fights with Daniel Ghita and Errol Zimmerman. Regardless, Rico has chosen to fight this battle in the ring by showing improvement in every aspect of his game and verbally with a maturity of man who truly embraces the term, 'sportsmanship'.

In his last bout at GLORY 19: Virginia, Verhoeven had less of an opportunity to showcase any improvements to his game. In this match, facing Errol Zimmerman a second round TKO stopped the match., the result of Zimmerman tearing his patellar tendon. In the ring, Verhoeven is best known as a highly technical fighter with strong boxing skills and a solid defense. In order to continue his eight fight winning streak in the face off against Adegbuyi, he will need those skills as Adegbuyi is well known for his aggression and heavy hands.

Whatever the outcome, the heavyweight championship at GLORY 22: Lille, promises to bring excitement with a clash of two titans.

If you're wondering about Verhoeven's other aspirations, I'll give you a clue... lights, camera, action, and I don't mean just inside the ring.

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Exclusive Interview with Mike Zambidis Prior to June 27th Retirement Bout

  • Published in Interviews

On June 27th in Greece the K-1 legend that is Mike Zambidis will step into the ring one last time in his retirement fight. The 34-year old fighter will cap off a long and storied career by fighting one of the world's toughest Lightweights in Steve Moxon. In a way, Zambidis fighting Moxon for his retirement fight is a very Zambidis thing to do; he didn't have to fight someone as tough and relevant as Moxon. Zambidis is going out on his own terms, which is rare for many fighters, it also meant that he could choose someone that he could just easily plow through for a memorable knockout for his retirement. Instead Zambidis chose a challenge.

I think when we all look back on Mike Zambidis it should be that fighting spirit that we all remember. We had a chance to talk to Zambidis prior to his big fight this coming weekend and a reflecting Zambidis had a lot to say about his career, his fans and even his most memorable fights. Mike Zambidis fights Steve Moxon on June 27th in Athens, Greece under the Iron Challenge banner.

LK: First of all, thank you for all of the great memories in the ring. I'm not sure that there are many fighters out there as entertaining and full of heart like you. 

MZ: Thank you very much for your kindness.  It is very important for an athlete to be respected by the audience and especially by the insiders of his field with such great experience.

LK: After a successful 15-plus-year career you are retiring, what was the decision making process like for this? What finally pushed you to move into retirement?

MZ: I am involved in kick boxing for 24 years and in times that kick boxing was not popular in my country but I dreamed and looked up with my head down and after huge sacrifices and endless hours of training, I have achieved 178 fights, 155 wins and 87 Kos. I had the honor to compete during the golden years of kick boxing in major events and with the best athletes worldwide.

After all this wonderful and demanding journey , I feel enormous gratitude that I manage to finish my career healthy and in high competitive level. Now, I feel full inside so as to go on with the next chapters of my life. 

LK: How important is it for you to be able to retire in front of your friends, family and fans in Greece?

MZ: There is nothing better than to give my last battle in Greece, although there have been ​​several interesting proposals by others countries, but my decision was the only way.

The Greeks support me in many ways, either daily out on the street, on social media, or filling each stadium where my battles are organised and transfer their energy, which is very valuable for me.

LK: Reflecting back on your career, what was your favorite fight?

MZ: I have many favorite fights … But I will pick the first that came to my mind.  It was the first time I stepped my foot in Japan and my first battle there with the champion of K-1 in 2003. For a long time, I was dreaming to participate in K-1. I won the eight-fold in the K -1 Oceania Australia and John Wein Parr in the finals and so I found myself opposite to the Dutch Albert Kraus.  In the beginning of the second round, I managed to knock him out, diving in the deep sea of K-1. A shocking experience for a young unknown Greek athlete back then.

LK: What made you select Steve Moxon as a final opponent? Moxon is an incredibly tough, top-ranked opponent. Is this just the Mike Zambidis warrior spirit that wouldn't accept an easy fight for his retirement?

MZ: I respect Steve Moxon and he has provoked me many times in the past. As he said in the past, I was his idol due to the similar fighting style and I think that it is very interesting for the audience to see. The experts of martial arts predict a spectacular battle between two strong athletes that are chasing the knock out.  As you said, I could accept an easy fight at this moment but I love challenges a lot. I am not just an athlete, I am a warrior and I learned in my life to fight, aiming high. This is a challenge I would like to take, as I think it will be a Titans’ battle.

LK: What do you think that your legacy will be on the sport after you retire?

MZ: The fights I have given in K-1, my wins over the world’s greatest champions of kick boxing, my «iron» fists and my fighting style, I think will be my legacy. Also, the fact that I was a Greek warrior fighting alone in the biggest kick boxing events worldwide, I think is going to be a nice thing to remember about me.

LK: What kind of plans do you have for your retirement? Do you plan on working with fighters and training them, running events, running a business or are you just planning to relax?

MZ: In Greece I own two fighting clubs where I give kick boxing lessons, so I will continue to run them giving more time and train athletes. In parallel,  I plan to offer kids seminars for nutritional education, sports education, self-defense, in order to strengthen their self-confidence and any other important experience I can offer.

LK: Is there a fighter out there that you believe could help the Mike Zambidis legacy continue on, or do you think that you are retiring as a one-of-a-kind talent?

MZ: I believe that every athlete is unique; no one can be the same with the other. Of course nowadays, there are many good athletes in the world who can offer many things to kick boxing and achieve great things. On the other hand, I believe that the Golden Era of kick-boxing has ended and strong teams like the ones gathered in Japan or in heavyweights like Peter Aerts, Ernesto Hust, Le Banner, Bernado, Loginidis, Andy Hug and in K-1 max 70 kg with Masato, Kraus, Kyshenko, Drago, Buakaw, Souwer and many others won’ t exist again for 2 reasons: Firstly, it is rare to have good fighters in their best physical condition to compete in the same event and secondly the global economic crisis which dissolves dreams and shrinks everything. 

LK: Are there any regrets from your career, or are you satisfied with your accomplishments?

MZ: After 178 fights, 155 wins and 87 KOs, I would be ungrateful if I said that I am not satisfied with my accomplishments. Thank God,  I don’t have second thoughts and I am happy. I would be ungrateful if I was not happy with what I have accomplished. Definitely, there were a lot of difficulties, frustrations , injustices and  injuries during all this wonderful trip but I keep the good moments, that were definitely more and I am glad because I used all the bad ones to become more mature and get myself in the next battles more «angry» in a creative and investing way and complete human and fighter.  

LK: Is there anything that you'd like to say to your fans and supporters all throughout the world?

MZ: I would like to thank them personally, one by one. Their support, energy and love are precious for every step I take. I’ ve always felt very honored for the  people who supported me in my fights around the world. That’s why I was training and I gave 100% of  my soul and body in my battles so that I could please them.

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Jason Andrada Dishes on Rematches, Lion Fight 22 and how Kevin Ross is the Keanu Reeves of Muay Thai

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Lion Fight 22 is on Friday evening on AXS TV, live from Las Vegas and as always, they are promising a night of high octane muay thai action. They’ve yet to fail to deliver since they’ve gone live on AXS TV and even though there was a last minute change to the main event, the show is still primed to deliver a lot of full rules muay thai action. A part of that action is Jason Andrada vs. Anthony Castrejon at 122lbs.

When it came time for me to decide who to focus on for this event, as much as I respect Kevin Ross and Tiffany Van Soest or the main eventer Jo Nattawut, it was hard not to be drawn to Jason Andrada. Andrada is not the most experienced fighter on the card -- even though he had a long, storied amateur career before turning pro -- but he’s been featured on Lion Fight events for a while now. He’s coming off of a tough loss to John Nofer that came via an elbow TKO but he was all smiles after that loss, showing more character in loss than most show in victory. 

Andrada is one of those guys that you might not see main eventing Lion Fight events, but more often than not you see him on the card and when you see him, you know to expect a fun fight and for him to leave it all in the ring. It’s not a coincidence, either, because his disposition is that of a laid back guy that is always looking to put on a show. Andrada sees himself as one of the many guys who is just trying to make an impression.

“You know, I think for some guys, guys like the ones that I’ve been fighting like Nofer, they’re all looking to make a name for themselves just like I am. There are a lot of guys out there that aren’t getting featured on TV like I am and they are clawing for those spots,” he explained. “All of these guys out there they go out there swinging, not many fighters that I’ve encountered are gonna take a shot and not want to go down swinging. Look at a guy like Pedro Gonzalez, for example. A lot of people in muay thai want to see someone demonstrating their perfect muay thai technique, but he’s more of a brawler, an MMA guy. I like watching him fight and so do a lot of other people, if that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes.”

He was quick to point out some of the more established names in the world of muay thai like Kevin Ross, Chad Mulkey, Joe Schilling and Tiffany Van Soest earned their spots through not only being skilled, but through their humility, personalities and experience. Andrada is quite accomplished in his own right, but he’s quick to point out those that have accomplished more than him and how he strives to be better and achieve what they have. 

Muay Thai might be a career for Andrada now, who spends most of his time at the gym training for fights or holding classes, but he likes to get some distance sometimes as well. “I love fighting, of course,” he said. “But sometimes I need time away from it, so I’m not one of those guys that has to watch every fight ever. I’ll watch my friends, you know? If Kevin, Chaz, Joe, any of my friends are fighting I’ll watch it and look, I could read off a pretty long list of fighters that I’m friends with and watch them fight, but I’m not a junkie for it anymore or anything. It’s nice to take time away. You know, I come home, I watch TV, watch Netflix, just relax sometimes and get some distance. It keeps the passion there.”

His fight on Friday is a rematch with Anthony Castrejon, the two of them meeting a few years back when they were both amateurs in a bout that Castrejon won via a head kick knockout. Andrada is open to any and all challenges, but was not really looking for this rematch. “I mean, we’ve fought before, he landed a nice head kick, which was good for him, but we are professionals now. A few of my recent professional fights have been rematches from my amateur days, which is fine,” he explained. “But look, like 1/3rd of my pro fights have been rematches from my amateur days. He’s been calling me out since before he fought Victor Saravia, so he’s wanted this for a while. I’m looking to grow as a fighter and be ready to challenge these international guys. I’m not saying that I’m looking past anyone,” he said. “I’m really not, I just want to be fighting guys from all over the world now. I want to be fighting guys from Japan, Europe and Thailand, I want to be ready to be able to go overseas and make a big impression. I don’t know if these rematches are going to really prepare me for that.”

He goes on to explain that it isn’t a great fight for either of them, considering that a loss for either guy could be the end of their Lion Fight careers. “I look at how UFC handles losses and you know, once you start racking up a few in a row they tend to cut a guy. I don’t want to be that guy and I’m sure that Castrejon doesn’t want to be that guy, either. Two straight losses wouldn’t be a good thing.”

Andrada is a guy that isn’t afraid to talk about his shortcomings, although he admits talking about losses can be tough. “Man, it sucks when I meet somebody new and they are like; ‘what do you do?’ I tell them that I’m a fighter and they ask about my last fight and it’s like, you gotta tell them that you came in second place,” he joked. “Nobody wants to have to say that, to say that you lost, but you gotta look forward.”

When it comes to Kevin Ross, it’s hard for Andrada to not talk about his friend and cohort with nothing but respect. “Kevin is a great guy, really. I mean, I learn so much from him still and no matter how much success he has, he’s always the same guy,” which spiraled into us discussing how Ross handles himself in the ring, how he’s always entertaining and composed, but always easy to talk to and deal with. “Yeah, I mean, he’s like the Keanu Reeves of muay thai in a way. He has all of this success and he hasn’t changed, he’s still the same guy. At the same time, he’s been through a lot of tough stuff in his life and he doesn’t let it drag him down. He’s always that guy that I like to be around.”

It should be noted that Andrada himself is heading down that same path right now; the amiable guy that seems always cool to be around. He loves to eat and is eagerly awaiting his favorite part of his post-fight life; feasting on some pizza. What struck me the most was that I was talking to him while he was gearing up to head out to the weigh-ins for Lion Fight 22, him just having stepped out of an epsom bath and he was not only in good spirits, but exhibited the same easy-going, friendly demeanor that Ross always projects while still focused and prepared for his fight. 

Becoming a star in any sport is difficult, there will be setbacks, there will be moments of glory and there will be those quiet, contemplative moments. Andrada has experienced many of these throughout the span of his professional and amateur career thus far and tomorrow night looks to be another in those collection of moments that will make up his career while he continues to strive for greatness and move up the ladder. What we know is that no matter what Andrada is looking to put his body on the line and to entertain us and that he’ll do it with a smile. Because he’s that ridiculous.

Lion Fight 22 airs tomorrow night, May 22nd on AXS TV at 10:00pm Eastern time.

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Simon Marcus is Ready for GLORY 21 and the Responsibilities of Being a Champion

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"You're always training to fight someone who is training to fight you..."  That is a fighter's life according to Simon Marcus, and that's a very accurate portrait when you think of it. Simon Marcus, is not an enigma, he's not one for shadow games or deception.  Who he is however, is a man of ordinary means and on Friday, May 8th, a man with an incredible opportunity, the chance to become the middle weight champion of GLORY, the world's premier kickboxing association.  Ahead of this event, I had to opportunity to speak with Simon about what we can expect on Friday night as well as a peek into the life of the "Bad Bwoy".

For people who are unaware, Levin and Marcus have faced each other before.  During that bout that was conducted under Muay Thai rules, Marcus was the victor.  While he admits that a previous win over an opponent may inspire some level of confidence knowing that you have previously beat that person.  Today,  Marcus chooses to focus on the task at hand and what it will take to be victorious again. Marcus has also made the choice not to focus on the what ifs, especially 'what if he loses'.  He stated that in his life, he continues to strive and even in those instances when a fight does go his way he has a desire to continue to improve and get better as a person. Of the things that has striven to improve in the ring, Simon stated that he has upped his cardio which he demonstrated during open work outs at The Boxing Gym on Wednesday as well as during his hard fought victory during the middleweight tournament last month in Dubai.   Marcus also stated that he has challenged himself in improving his conditioning, strength and overall pushed himself to his limits in preparation for GLORY 21. He states that even on the winning side he is never satisfied with his performance and is always looking for ways he can improve. While he is highly critical of himself, Marcus also expressed that he is attempting to learn how to enjoy those successes.

Coming into the world of a disciplined fighter at age 18, as in the case of many other fighters, provided an outlet and an opportunity for him to turn a negative into a positive.  Instead of getting into trouble for fighting, it has now become his passion and something for which he now receives praise.  As for his personal road to GLORY, Marcus stated that he trained as hard as he could, fought as much as he could and believed in himself.  In addition to that Marcus stated that he travelled and made a lot of sacrifices.  He also stated that many times he fought for free and did everything he could to get experience, good training and anything he could to get better, not necessarily looking at the immediate pay out but his long term goal of getting to the top.

What does he bring to the ring?  Simon Marcus brings a warrior spirit and an intellectual mentality, not to mention a lot of power and heart.  Additionally Simon Marcus brings excitement and a willingness to pull out all the stops to get the win.

As for the future, Marcus plans to completely focus on GLORY and winning/defending the title.  His vision does not stop there.  Simon Marcus would like to be a person who will take GLORY to another level and having people interested and seeing what the best striking in the world is about. 

To anyone who might be interested in embarking on a journey such as this, Simon Marcus stated that he would not discourage anyone from pursing a fighter's life, but he quickly differentiated between having a calling vs. having an interest. He stated if a person is just interested in being a fighter for the accolades or whatever comes along with it, that might not be the way to go.  He added that if someone has a love for fighting or a person has fighting in them, and they feel that fighting brings out the best in them or develops them, then that would be a more satisfying path to take.  Fighting as a career and as a lifestyle is difficult emotionally and physically.

After retirement, which Marcus stated at this point he doesn't know when that will occur, his love of fighting, teaching and martial arts directs his future to remain on its current path, in the realm of combat sports entertaining options of possibly promoting or opening a gym and in that way continuing to pass the tradition on.  If we hadn't met Simon Marcus as the Muay Thai/kickboxing practitioner that we see today, Marcus stated that it's very difficult to guess where he'd be today as he was always fighting and getting in trouble doing it.  He admits that when he was younger he had an interest in basketball and was a good player in high school but didn't have the focus on school to continue on this path. From where he sits now Marcus appears to be happy, he is an accomplished fighter, a father and fighting in an organization that he feels is right on the cusp of becoming something huge!

Beyond Friday night, Marcus has no one in particular on his radar, stating that he believes his greatest fight is with himself because he has the belief that in anything you do, there is a constant inner battle to become the best version of you.

So while on Friday night at GLORY 21 we won't get to see Simon Marcus vs. Simon Marcus, we will witness a continuation of this young man's journey to champion status in a battle between two of the best middleweights in the world.  On Friday night, Simon acknowledges that he has tremendous opportunity and when it's one man's time, it's his time and critics can say what they like, but Friday is his time.  He feels he has done the things necessary to have earned this opportunity.  To his fans, Simon Marcus sends out a sincere and heartfelt thanks.  To those who have supported him and all the friends and family who have traveled to San Diego he expresses sincere gratitude.

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A Look at Xavier Vigney Heading Into GLORY 21's Heavyweight Tournament

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Do you remember September 28th 2013? I remember that day, okay well I don't really, but thay sounded really good, didn't it? I actually do have a very vivid memory of one thing from that date, GLORY 10: Los Angeles and the impression one fighter left on me. Who is that fighter you might ask? The up and coming, Northern California heavyweight Xavier Vigney. It wasn't his first day on the job, but it was my first opportunity to witness a talent on the rise. The LA event was Vigney's debut with GLORY and by knocking out his opponent, Hyunman Myung, Vigney demonstrated that he had arrived and was ready to climb the ranks in the world's best kickboxing organization. Following GLORY 10 I anxiously awaited another opportunity to see more, at GLORY 19, I got my chance. At GLORY 19: Virginia, the 6'8" Vigney was matched against Everett Sims in a battle which would end with Vigney's TKO victory. Following this second GLORY win, I also had an opportunity to talk with Vigney, get a little history and find out what's next for him.

Hailing from Northern California, Vigney reports an early interest in boxing, but actually spent much of his youth on the football field. Naturally athletic and no stranger to spending hard days training, Vigney walks around normally at a svelte 109-113kgs. Making his pro debut in 2012 at a K-1 event, Vigney faced Seth Petruzelli. It was druing this event that Vigney proved that he was ready for the big stage as he repeatedly dropped Petruzelli throughout the first and second rounds. In K-1, Vigney also faced Zabit Samedov. While not victorious in this match-up, he has continued his pursuit of kickboxing glory. Vigney joined GLORY via their eight-man ‘Road to GLORY’ tournament. He took this tourney by storm, with three KOs in one night and thereby earning a coveted GLORY contract. he won by stopping three opponents in one night, one after another, earning himself a contract.

While he continues his rise in GLORY, Vigney has dabbled in boxing, a sport in which he's also had some success. He also voices no opposition to the prospect of MMA. And so at a youthful 24 years of age Xavier Vigney has gone from gridiron superstar to hot prospect in K-1 to rising star in GLORY. What's next? More hard work and GLORY 21: San Diego where he will face GLORY newcomer, Maurice Jackson. On Saturday, May 8th we will see what Xavier Vigney has in store for his opponent. Win or lose without a doubt those watching will be able to witness an exciting fight where Vigney will bring the strength, power and agility he has cultivated over the years.

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A Look Behind the Scenes of the GLORY 21 Open Workouts

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Today we were granted a sneak peak of the firestorm to come this Friday, May 8th in San Diego, also known as GLORY 21.  The location was The Boxing Club, the current training home of  middleweight champion Artem Levin and the event was open workouts. 

The first participant on deck for today's event was one of GLORY's newest finds, Andre Walker.  Walker who is set to face another newcomer to the GLORY stage, Manny Mancha, exuded confidence in the ring demonstrating high energy with kicks and punches that may just surprise his opponent.  The second fighter up was the always exciting, "Human Highlight Reel", Raymond Daniels.  Despite having suffered a loss at GLORY 19 in Virginia, Daniels came to the ring to show that he remains in it to win it!  High flying as ever, Daniels demonstrated the determination to, if nothing else, make it exciting and keep his opponent guessing! The final two participants at the open workout event were the two men scheduled to bring the house down as the finale of GLORY 21 card in a battle for the middleweight title, Artem Levin and Simon Marcus.  Marcus, who was without his trainer, gave attendees a taste of what a work-out is like in his world! STAMINA is what he's obviously about in training.  Marcus took the crowd through a series of sit-ups, push-ups, kicks and other combinations that left us all sweating as we watched.  Levin then took center ring in the finale of the open workouts and gave the crowd a taste of his ever increasing agility, power and flexibility.  Levin also gave the crowd a sneak peak at some of his combinations as well as how he maintains his reputation for not only throwing a punch, but evading the strikes of his opponents. The outcome of this bout will be very interesting as it will not be the first time these two have faced off in the ring. Marcus has previously defeated Levin in a Muay Thai rules bout. So, may the best man win on Friday night!

While the event was short but sweet, Tim Hughes kept the crowd entertained with his amazing commentary and introductions. Also on deck for weigh ins was the newest member of GLORY's commentary team, Goldberg! 

Look out folks!! It's happening in San Diego, Friday, May 8th at the Valley View Casino Center!  Watch it on Spike or see the event live, GLORY always aims to please and match-ups feature here will keep fans satisfied!

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Exclusive "Chopper" Chi Lewis-Parry Liverkick Interview

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We had the pleasure to interview none other than Mr. "Chopper" Chi Lewis-Parry today. Definitely one of the best interviews I've ever had the opportunity to do, his charisma and humor really makes our job easy. We spoke about everything from how he got his nickname to, wedgies, to what he likes to eat and I just had to add some of his voice notes because writing it out just doesn't do it justice. **sorry but audio won't play on mobile devices**

LK: Lets Start with Fight Stats. Height, Weight, Fight Record, Nicknames Etc?

Chopper: 
Record audio or upload mp3 >>

LK: How did you get your nickname or many names? 

Chopper: 
Record audio or upload mp3 >>

LK: When did you start martial arts/kickboxing and why?

Chopper: 
Audio recording software >>

LK: Was that when you stopped basketball then and what made you stop and start knocking people out?

Chopper: 
Audio and voice recording >>

LK: So, you used to bounce at nightclubs? Give us one of your best stories from those days.

Chopper: 
Audio recording >>

LK: How was the experience with Glory in Dubai?

Chopper: 
Record music with Vocaroo >>

LK: What about the upcoming tournament? What do you think of your first opponent Everett Sims and also who you will face in the final?

Chopper: I'm stoked about the tournament! Really looking forward to showing what I have to offer & to get 2 more scalps to my name! Wooha! Everett looks the part but he ain't the part! There's only enough cash in the budget for 1 leading man in this epic motion picture and that's me! Whoever I face in the final is fine with me but I'd prefer to face Vigney so I can show him who's the boss man!

LK: What do you think of Maurice Jackson he says he's also 6 foot 9 but his record on the glory site is 31-0?

Chopper: 
Audio recording software >>

LK: What do you like to do other than training and fighting? Like on your free time?

Chopper: 
Record and upload voice >>

LK: Food you say? What's your favourite food? How about before fights anything specific to eat?

Chopper
Record and upload voice >>

LK: How about after a fight once you win, what does the rest of the night look like?

Chopper: 
Record music with Vocaroo >>

LK: I forgot to ask you about ethnicity, I've had probably 10 people ask me what your background was, so I figured this was a good time to ask.

Chopper: I'm like Perseus, the son of a beautiful mortal & a god, haha. My mother is Welsh/Israeli/English. My father is straight up Guyanese. So that makes me some kinda super shit!

LK: One last question and we are done but its 4 questions in one.

1. Hardest puncher you've fought? 

2. Hardest kicker?

3. Hardest fight?

4. Favourite fighter (can be anyone real or fake)

Chopper: 1. Alistair Overeem (technically it was sparring but it may aswell have been a fight lol he goes hard)

2. Alain Ngalani. The guy had rhino legs attached to a gorilla lol.

3. Probably my debut. I completely snapped my 1st & 2nd metacarpal in my hand in the first exchange so I had to fight with a completely fucked hand (haha still won tho)

4. Favourite fighter has gotta be "The Rock". It's fake and all but we all know it's fake yet we STILL watch it. The Rock just has that wow factor.

LK: HAHA perfect anything else you would like to add for fans, sponsors, other fighters etc?

Chopper: Shout out to you guys for having me! My very loyal supporters, nothing but love back at ya. My newly aquired haters, hahaha get used to me, I'm just getting started! My loving family & friends for unrivaled support. My sponsors Golds Gym, Hooligans United & I'm a beast apparel. If you hadn't heard.... "Chopper's Coming!"

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Five Questions With Lion Fight 21's Tiffany Van Soest

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This Friday evening on AXS TV Lion Fight 21 will be airing live from Los Angeles. The event is set to feature some of Lion Fight's top talents including a co-main event bout between Tiffany Van Soest and Chajma Bellekhal. We spoke with Tiffany during her busy week and got to ask her a few of the burning questions, from talk about the fight this weekend to her last fight in Enfusion.

LK: Women’s fighting has really taken off in a big way over the past few years thanks to the UFC, Invicta and even yourself in Lion Fight, how does it feel to be one of the more-talked about women in combat sports? 

VS: I really don’t feel that Muay Thai gets as much recognition as it deserves. MMA is HUGE and only getting bigger so it tends to cast a shadow over Muay Thai, however it is an honor to be considered one of the best at what I do. I don’t really think that I am talked about that much since I am a Muay Thai fighter and if I am talked about, it is usually about my transition to MMA. To be honest, it’s quite frustrating because although I have poured my heart and soul into Muay Thai. I appreciate that my skills are respected, but I wish people would appreciate Muay Thai for Muay Thai instead of thinking about how I would do in MMA.

LK: How important is it to you to get your rematch down the line for a shot to get your Lion Fight championship back? 

VS: I’m just taking it one fight at a time for now. I know Scott and Christine at Lion Fight will give me my title shot back when they feel the time is right. I know I have already earned it with 4 (soon to be 5) not only wins, but dominant performances since losing my title. It’s only a matter of time.

LK: How was your experience fighting Denise Kielholtz in Enfusion? They use really interesting and different rules compared to most Dutch kickboxing with there being a focus on throws, did it throw you off at all? 

It was a great experience. I got to kickbox in the mecca of kickboxing. And being of Dutch descent, it was really cool to see Holland and meet some of my extended family. The rules of Enfusion totally favored Denise’s style and judo background, but it made no difference to me. I went to her home country and fought under her rules. The throws did throw me off a little (no pun intended). I was hesitant to close the gap because I knew she would try to grab me and throw me when I got close enough. No losses though, just lessons. Of course i’m disappointed I walked away without the title or the win, but overall it was still a great experience. Denise is an amazing fighter.

LK: Where would a win over Bellekhal place you in the division right now, you think? 

VS: I already know I’m at the top of the division. A win will just solidify that even more.

LK: After your experience with Enfusion are you looking to try fighting outside of muay thai again any time soon in kickboxing or MMA, or sticking to muay thai for now? 

VS: Muay Thai it is. My commitment and contractual obligations are with Lion Fight right now.

 

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Ten Questions with Lion Fight 21's Kevin Ross

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This Friday evening on AXS TV we'll get the pleasure of watching one of the biggest rematches in Lion Fight history at Lion Fight 21. Kevin Ross and Tetsuya Yamato had a knock down, drag out brawl at Lion Fight 11 and on Friday evening they will have a rematch that has the muay thai world buzzing. We asked Kevin Ross ten questions before his big fight and got his opinion on time off, the rematch and how Joe Schilling is doing.

LK: The first fight with Tetsuya Yamato saw a lot of action, a lot of blood and both of you looking fantastic regardless of who won or lost. Since the last fight you’ve both been on a winning streak, Yamato defeating Sagetdao and Masaaki Noiri, you Embree, Mauceri and Thompson. The big difference is that his fights were in kickboxing, do you think that gives you an edge?

Yamato has more of a kickboxing style anyway so it's not really that big a deal to go back and forth, although he does like to fling those elbows hahaha

LK: The Yamato loss ended 2013 for you as 2-2, but 2014 saw you go 3-0, was that important for you to have such a streak before fighting Yamato again?

KR: Not really, I don't dwell on wins/losses, I'm more concerned with the improvements I've made and the performances I've put on

LK: Who had the idea to fight again, was it you, Yamato or Lion Fight who pushed for it?

KR: I'm sure it was a bit of all 3. It was a great fight and good for everyone so we all want to do it again 

LK: Is it possible for this rematch to live up to the hype, or are you kind of hoping to have an easier time with this fight and less of a knock-down, drag-out, grueling affair?

KR: I want all my fights to be ones that go down in history as great, I always want people to be entertained and as long as they are than I'm happy. I don't think you can ever really compare fights, as they are so unique and different in their own ways 

LK: You’ve had some time off since your last fight, was it important for you to get some rest after being as busy as you were after you returned from your injury?

KR: No, I hate time off and never want it, it was out of my hands unfortunately. I'm sure that my body and brain were happy to have a break but I always want to be as active as possible 

LK: How does it feel to see one of your good friends in Joe Schilling having the level of success that he’s had both in the kickboxing world and MMA arena over the past few years?

KR: I couldn't be happier for him! I'm a Muay Thai purist and will always prefer it but seeing him active and doing so well is wonderful 

LK: Do you still have the itch to try out kickboxing now that it is taking off a bit more in the United States or are you focused on muay thai for now?

KR: I've been focused on Muay Thai since day one, it's my true love, it's my passion and will always prefer it to any other type of fighting but as long as I'm in there than that's good enough for me

LK: What’s the most valuable lesson that you’ve learned fighting over the past few years since your return from your knee injury and your profile being on the rise like it is?

KR: I'd say that no matter what struggles lay in front of you they can either be set backs or set ups for further progression, it's just a matter of how you look at them. When bad things happen I view them as tests to see if I really want something. You either overcome them or quit. They show you who people truly are. That's something I've always known, these last few years just instilled those things in me further. 

 

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Exclusive Liver Kick Interview with Nieky Holzken

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Nieky Holzken has not only been an unstoppable force in Glory lately but also was a big part in the two most viewed Glory cards to date. So it seemed only natural that we should sit down and have a little talk with him about all his recent success.

LK: Hello Nieky, thank you for taking the time for this interview. How has everything been since we saw you last in Virginia?

NH: hello yeah I'm fine training is going well.

LK: Lets start from the beginning, what age did you start Kickboxing, where did you start and what made you start?

NH: i start when i was 10 because of the movie Kickboxer in a gym called Yamaneko.

LK: What are your Current fight stats height, weight, record, etc?

NH: im 183cm 77 kg 103fights/92/11/53ko's

LK: How and who gave you the Nickname "The Natural"?

NH: Mike Passenier from Mike's Gym after a fight in England.

LK: What do you like to do during your time away from the gym?

NH: gaming, watching movies

LK: Even though you had a few Pro boxing fights last year, and a kickboxing fight in December, you said you still felt a bit rusty against Stetsurenko can you explain this?

NH: yeah he was a strong guy and i keep in mind that i have to fight a final

LK: How nice did it feel to get back in the Glory ring after one year, not only once but twice in one night so you could totally knock off the ring rust?

NH: yeah it feel great, I did what I had to do.

LK: Give me your honest opinion, did Raymond Daniels get up from your knockdowns more times than you expected? Also how did you feel about the ref giving you an 8 count in that fight?

NH: yeah he has good heart to come up every, time respect for him. But I don't deserve the 8 count I slipped and stand up very fast and it didn't hurt me.

LK: I'm sure you heard that both the #1 and #2 most viewed Glory events are Tokyo, and Virginia which both included you, what do you think about this?

NH: its luck i'm guessing haha

LK: One thing i've been wondering lately about your career is what is the difference between the Nieky Holzken at 70kgs as opposed to 77kgs, I've always noticed you are much more dominant at the heavier weight, is it the weight cut?

NH: yeah its the weight cut that was my biggest fights

LK: We all know that your next Glory fight will be against Valtellini, we just aren't sure when yet. Do you have any other fights planned in the meantime?

NH: yeah two fights in boxing april 19 and 24 may

LK: Valtellini has been very outspoken about fighting you on social media since his close victory over Mark De Bonte even though you have already knocked him out. I spoke to some of your family about this in Virginia, but I think you should tell all the fans how you feel about Valtellini, don't hold back.

NH: yeah Valtelinni says hes the champ and that he expects more from the next time we meet so he will get more much more.

LK: How was training in America with the Blackzillians compared to training in Holland?

NH: yeah the same because I train only with my trainer.

LK: What does the future hold for "The Natural"? Possible Pro boxing career? have there actually been talks with Showtime signing you?

NH: I concentrate a lot on boxing. I didn't hear anything about showtime I wish haha.

LK: Last question is 4 questions I ask everyone, Hardest Puncher you've fought? 

NH: I don't now really i fought so much 

LK: Hardest Kicker you've fought? 

NH: Buakaw

LK: Hardest Fight? 

NH: It was a B class amatuer fight against Ali Mogtagari I won by KO but got two eight counts myself haha

LK: Your favourite fighter? 

NH: Ramon Dekker/Mike Tyson

LK: Thank you so Much Nieky for this interview is there anything else you would like to say to your fans, sponsors, etc?

NH: I want to thank all the fans for support, love you all and my family and sponsor they will keep me going ush.

LK: Well I can't begin to tell you how excited I am to watch your next fight for the Glory title and I wish you all the best for the future.

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Exclusive Liver Kick Interview with Gabriel Varga

  • Published in Interviews

We caught up with Glory's #3 ranked featherweight Gabriel Varga after a sparring session at WKX with fellow Glory fighter Josh Jauncey. He is deep into his training camp for his Glory featherweight title fight against Mosab Amrani at Glory 20 in Dubai and is feeling great. Gabriel is always a man of few words and attracts all his fans with his exciting style in the ring but it was great to hear him open up to us more than usual.

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