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New Fight Announcements

  • Published in Kickboxing

Explosion Fight Night 3There has been an onslaught of fight announcements in the past few days.  To keep you up to speed, we're putting them together here in one story, so let's get to it.

Feb. 19 - Shootboxing act.1: We previously announced that UFC veteran Kuniyoshi Hironaka would be on this card against an opponent TBA.  His opponent is now set, and it's Satoru Suzuki.  The Japanese ex-boxer had a good year in Shootboxing in 2010, but ended the year breaking his arm and being forced out of the S-Cup.  This is his first fight back from the injury.

Feb. 26 - Golden Glory Eindhoven: Top 10 fighter Nieky Holzken is in action, facing Thilo Schneider in a Golden Glory sponsored event.  Holzken is moving back and forth between the 70 and 77kg limits these days - hopefully he can settle down and find where he fights best this year.

Feb. 27 - RISE 74: A few good fights set for the latest edition of Japan's RISE promotion.  The show will feature two title fights: 60kg champion Kan Itabashi faces Kousuke Komiyama, while 63kg champion Koji Yoshimoto meets Yusuke Sugawara.  The show will also include the retirement of former K-1 MAX fighter Tatsuji.  Full card at HeadKickLegend.

March 6 - It's Showtime Amsterdam: IS added a pair of interesting fights to their first show of 2011.  First, Wendell Roche fights Danyo Ilunga for the vacant IS 95kg title.  We'll have more on this fight in the coming weeks.  Plus, Chahid Oulad El Hadj vs. Robin van Roosmalen in what should be an exciting match up.

March 12 - Fight Nights: Battle of Moscow: Top 5 MW Albert Kraus headlines this show against Batu Khasikov.  Kraus is a busy fighter who takes a fair number of these smaller fights, typically knocking his opponents out.  But as Souwer showed us this weekend - anything can happen.

April 2 - Explosion Fight Night 3: This French Muay Thai event is notable for a 4 man K-1 rules tournament that will feature Sudsakorn.  The Thai fighter is popping up everywhere these days, already having turned in two high profile fights in 2011 against Khem Sitsongpeenong and Giorgio Petrosyan.  He's also entering a lot of tournaments, which is a smart move for the experience.  The other participants are Michael Piskitello, Michale Lallemand, and Mohammed Rahoui.

April 24 - REBELS 7: Former K-1 MAX Korea GP champion Chi Bin Lim meets Daiki Watabe.  Good to see Chi Bin Lim here, as he looked very good at the K-1 MAX Final 16 last year, but has seemingly been passed in the MAX pecking order by his countryman Su Hwan Lee.

May - Local Kombat: This one is not 100% confirmed yet, but Local Kombat revealed that their May event will likely be headlined by Daniel Ghita vs. Alexey Ignashov.  Ignashov is notoriously hard to stop or even knockdown, but he's not looked good lately, and I have to think Ghita may be the man to finally stop him here.

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LiverKick Talks With K-1's Jarrell Miller Week 1: The Introduction

  • Published in Interviews

Jarrell Miller

K-1 returns on September 8th with the K-1 U.S. Grand Prix in Los Angeles, with an American line up of both old stars and new, K-1 looks to make its biggest impact yet on the United States with its own unique brand of fighting. LiverKick has the pleasure of bringing you, the reader, insight into the mind of one of the newer fighters to the K-1 ring, Jarrell Miller. Over the next four weeks we will be talking with Jarrell and bringing you his thoughts and preparations leading up to his fight against another newcomer to K-1, Jack May.

“Daniel Ghita,” Jarrell told me, without a hint of hesitation in his voice. “If I were looking forward to fighting one guy in this K-1 tournament, it would be Daniel Ghita. I want to whoop Daniel Ghita’s ass, that’s for sure.”

This is how I want to introduce fans to Jarrell Miller. To many, this would seem like an empty boast, part of pre-fight preparations and the process of psyching up to take on the world. Jarrell Miller, though, is a bit of a different case. Jarrell is only 23 years old, and already packs a 19-0 record in Kickboxing and Muay Thai as well as a professional Boxing record of 3-0. There is something to be said for remaining undefeated early on in a professional career, but it isn’t like Jarrell has been without challenge. Jarrell is a man with many nicknames, and if you were lucky enough to catch the WCL - World Combat League - when it was running, you’ll remember him as the 19 year old kid named Achilles King who defeated UFC superstar Pat Barry. That was Jarrell.

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Keys to Victory: Hesdy Gerges

  • Published in Kickboxing

On March 6th, Daniel Ghita will take on Hesdy Gerges in the main event of It's Showtime Sporthallen Zuid. This is the second in a two-part series where I will lay out the keys to victory for each fighter. Today, we'll look at Hesdy Gerges. You can find the first part of this series here.

Strengths:

Athleticism - Hesdy is the taller and slimmer fighter and he'll have to use that to his advantage against Daniel. Gerges doesn't carry the kind of knockout power that Daniel does in his hands or kicks so he will have to rely on his ability to put combinations together and move in and out of Ghita's range to avoid his big punches and leg kicks. There are times in the past where Daniel has tired in the later rounds of a fight so that's somewhere Hesdy can capitalize if his stamina keeps up.

Range - When a fighter has a reach advantage and has the ability utilize it to their advantage, they often control the standup and dictate the pace. This is an area where Gerges can really control Ghita if he can enforce his will. If Hesdy can keep Ghita at the end of his jab, straight right, and leg kicks, it will pay big dividends as the fight progresses.

Kicks - Though not as devastating as Ghita's kicks, Gerges' kicks are effective and have won him fights in the past. Daniel's legs are like mighty Redwood trees and very durable but well placed kicks will have negative effects on any fighter if they are landed repeatedly. With Ghita relying on his kicks as much as he does, if Hesdy can slow them down even a little bit, that's a big plus for him.

Weaknesses:

Size - It sounds odd to list size as a weakness for the taller fighter but Gerges doesn't carry a lot of mass. Mass that can go a long way in absorbing the brutal body kicks and punches that Ghita brings to the table. We saw what those dangerous strikes did to Gokhan Saki in the 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix Quarterfinals. Saki's body was so wrecked that he could not continue for more than a moment against Alistair Overeem in the semifinals. This makes Gerges being able to stay out of Ghita's range even more important.

Complacency - When you have nearly half of your wins by way of decision, it can be argued that you should place a bigger emphasis on finishing a fight. Of course, there are a lot of tough fighters out there and you can't finish every fight by brutal KO, but allow a fighter of Daniel Ghita's caliber to hang around and it can cost you in a big way.

Keys to Victory:

For Hesdy Gerges to go home victorious on March 6th, he'll need to use his reach to stay outside of Daniel's range, pepper him with shots, and wear him down. A knockout is always a possibility in kickboxing but with Ghita only being finished by KO once in his career, I wouldn't rely on that. Hesdy needs to avoid Ghita's leg kicks in the early stages of the fight when Daniel is fresh and carrying big power in his legs.

If Hesdy Gerges can apply this gameplan against Daniel Ghita, I believe he can be victorious on March 6th.

Who are you picking to win? Leave me a comment and explain why.

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Glory 17 and Last Man Standing Live Results

  • Published in Glory

Glory 17 Feather weight tournament Live on Spike

Gabriel Varga Vs. Yodkhunpon Sitmonchai - Gabriel Varga Wins by Unanimous Decision (30-27 all 3 judges) 

Shane Oblonsky Vs. Marcus Vinicius - Shane Oblonsky Wins by Unanimous Decision (Shane scored 2 knockdowns throughout the fight)

Andy Ristie Vs. Ky Hollenbeck - Andy Ristie Wins by KO 35 seconds into Round 1 (He landed 1 left hand, wobbled Ky then finished with another left hook)

Featherweight Tournament Final - Gabriel Varga Wins by Unanimous Decision and is the Featherweight Tournament Champion (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Mirko Crocop Vs. Jarrel Miller - Mirko CroCop Wins by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Last Man Standing PPV card

Artem Levin Vs. Alex Pereira - Artem Levin Wins by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Melvin Manhoef Vs. Filip Verlinden - Filip Verlinden Wins by Majority Decision (28-28, 30-27, 30-27. Filip scores a head kick knockdown in Rd 1)

Joe Schilling Vs. Simon Marcus - Joe Schilling Wins by KO in the last 20 seconds of the EXTRA round (Right hook CRAZZZZY FIGHT!!)

Wayne Barrett Vs. Bogdan Stoica - Wayne Barrett Wins by KO 58 seconds into Round 3 (Left hook counter while Stoica came in with a flying knee)

Marc De Bonte Vs. Joseph Valtellini - Joseph Valtellini Wins by Unanimous Decision and is the new Glory Welterweight World Champ. (47-46, 47-46, 47-46)

Semifinal #1 - Levin Vs. Verlinden - Artem Levin Wins by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Semifinal #2 - Schilling Vs. Barrett - Joe Schilling Wins by Split Decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)  

Daniel Ghita Vs. Rico Verhoeven - Rico Verhoeven Wins by Unanimous Decision and is the new Glory Heavyweight Champ (49-46, 49-46, 48-47)

Final - Schilling Vs. Levin - Artem Levin Wins by Unanimous Decision and is the new Glory Middleweight Tournament and World champion (29-26, 29-26, 29-26)

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Semmy Schilt Wins Over Daniel Ghita to Claim GLORY Grand Slam Crown

  • Published in Glory

Schilt

A picture says a thousand words and Semmy Schilt was able to hold onto the top spot in Heavyweight Kickboxing as he wins his fifth major Kickboxing tournament with a win over tough challenger Daniel Ghita. Daniel Ghita and Semmy Schilt were the favorites heading into the event and it was no surprise when both men found themselves standing toe-to-toe in the finals. This was a rematch from 2009 where Semmy Schilt was able to dominate Ghita to take a decision victory in the K-1 WGP Final 16 and since then Semmy has aged and Daniel Ghita has evolved into a more complete fighter.

Schilt's night included knocking out Brice Guidon, taking Rico Verhoeven to a decision and going the distance with Gokhan Saki while Daniel Ghita never quite looked like himself as he struggled with Jhonata Diniz and edged out Mourad Bouzidi who fell victim to a freak accident. Things turned around for Ghita when he knocked out Jamal Ben Saddik with one kick to the gut, leading into the biggest fight in Heavyweight Kickboxing today. The Finals started off with both men feeling each other out, Semmy fighting like Semmy and Ghita getting off a few good shots before a huge head kick connected from Schilt and Ghita went down like a sack of bricks. Ghita looked stunned but pulled himself up and looked composed before referee Joop Ubeda decided to call the fight in a controversial decision even though Ghita was fine and we usually see Finals go until only one man can stand.

Schilt walks away with the $400,000 USD grand prize and Daniel Ghita gets $100,000 as a consolation. No doubt that Schilt had a good night and deserves his due, but there are going to be a lot of questions surrounding Joop Ubeda's decision to call the fight that early.

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Re-Evaluating the K-1 and Glory Split

  • Published in K-1

K-1/Glory

I think it is time to start looking, critically, at the Kickboxing world and where it is right now. We’ve seen that both Glory and K-1 are capable on their own of producing an entertaining, professional event with solid matchmaking. This is vital for either promotion, regardless of the name fighters involved in either promotion. Glory held their “First 16” for the 70kg class in May, while K-1, with the assist from It’s Showtime, held a coming out party event before It’s Showtime packed up and sold to Glory. This weekend, K-1 finally put on their first event, sans-It’s Showtime, and for a K-1 USA show it demonstrated exactly what this K-1 is capable of doing in the future.

Basically, we’ve reached a point to where both companies have established their brand identities, shown the world what they are going to present, and how they are going to present it. Initially, the idea of a split Kickboxing world, with the talent not being able to fight each other, with derogatory, inflammatory press releases flying out and accusations being made left and right, things looked grim. What went down earlier this summer was essentially terrible for the already hurting sport of Kickboxing. I’m not going to point fingers or name names, but if you’ve been following the sport -- or even involved in it -- you know what I’m referring to and what I’m talking about. We at LiverKick saw traffic drop off, saw fans lose interest and care less about who came out on top. They wanted fights, they wanted announced fight cards, they didn’t want to see people in the sport trying to handicap each other.

Cooler heads have prevailed and it seems like the battles will remain in the ring, with both sides having their talent signed and booked to fights in the future. The only downside is that some of the bigger, more hotly-anticipated fights might not happen immediately, but as was demonstrated this weekend by K-1, there are currently two big Kickboxing promotions able to produce entertaining and professional events that Kickboxing fans deserve. The split right now reminds me of around 2004 when UFC was pushing forward on national cable in the United States and was doing so while the consensus of the diehard fans on the internet was that PRIDE in Japan had a majority of the top talent in most weight classes. You’ll hear a lot of the same talk of K-1 right now, with Glory having most of the top talent and K-1 having whatever is left over. Much like with UFC, I predict that over time we’ll see talent cultivated in K-1 and they’ll build their own stars.

I’m not sure who will win the battle -- if anyone -- but what I’m sure of is in the coming months there are numerous big Kickboxing events scheduled, and that after a “down” 2011 and a slow start to 2012, this year will be the year that Kickboxing re-emerges as a global spectator sport.


 

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Its Showtime Warsaw Card Announced

  • Published in Kickboxing

Daniel GhitaThere's no rest for It's Showtime.  Just days removed from a successful event in Brussels, the fast growing company announced the line-up for their June 11 event in Warsaw, Poland.

In the main event, newly crowned IS 95kg World Champion Danyo Ilunga will make his first defense of the belt as he faces Nenad Pagonis.  Ilunga, a Remy Bonjasky protege, made a name for himself earlier this month when he defeated Wendell Roche for the vacant title - it's good to see he will be back and making a defense so soon.  Pagonis is a Muay Thai fighter and multiple time WAKO champion.  He competed at last year's It's Showtime Athens show, where he defeated the tough Rustemi Kreshnik via decision.

The fight that will likely draw the most attention pits top 10 Heavyweight Daniel Ghita against Ehren Deniz.  Ghita is coming in off two loses, so a win here will be a help for him.  Deniz is an experienced fighter with bouts against Sebastian Ciobanu, Mourad Bouzidi, and Catalin Morosanu, although he has not seen much success against this level of opposition.  He should provide a decent, but relatively easy opponent for Ghita.

Also on the card is Murthel Groenhart.  The Mike's Gym fighter looked to be heading towards a 77kg title shot last year when he was defeated by Khalid Bourdif in December.  He looks to get back on the title path against Errol Koning.

The complete line-up so far is as follows:

Danyo Ilunga vs. Nenad Pagonis (95kg World Title)

Daniel Ghita vs. Ehren Deniz (HW)

Murthel Groenhart vs. Errol Koning (77kg)

Sonny Dagraed vs. Piotr Woznicki (73kg)

Rafal Dudek vs. Nikos Papadimitriou (70kg)

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It's Showtime: Why This Show Matters

  • Published in Kickboxing

It's ShowtimeThis Saturday marks the start of the 2011 It’s Showtime season, and in many ways, the start of the major international 2011 season. There have been a few notable fights already this year (Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Sudsakorn and Andy Souwer’s upset loss both come to mind), but this will be the first major top-to-bottom event. So, why should you care about this show? Well…

1. It’s Showtime might very well be the future of kickboxing. This coming year is going to be a big one in determining the future of our sport. With K-1 in serious trouble and the European hotbed of Amsterdam causing headaches for promoters, we could see a drastic reduction in the international scope of professional kickboxing. It’s Showtime is doing everything they can to fight against that tide. By running more and more shows in an increasingly diverse market, they are continuing the steady expansion plan that has brought them success so far. Of course, with expansion there is always a fear that you will overextend yourself, creating a company too large for the resources in hand. So far, It’s Showtime has been very strategic in their expansion, and I think that will continue this year – but there’s no doubt 2011 represents a key moment in the history of kickboxing.

2. The main event is a beautifully matched top 10 showdown. It’s rare in any combat sport that we get two fighters so closely matched, but Daniel Ghita vs. Hesdy Gerges is a perfect match-up. Both men are young fighters who look to be the future of the sport. Both are in the top 10, with Ghita just one spot ahead of Gerges. Both had break-out years in 2009 and 2010, but neither man has yet scored that one major win that propels them to the next level. Most are favoring Ghita here (including a massive 70% of LK readers), which is understandable, but this is a very close fight that Gerges has every opportunity to win. One tough hurdle for the It’s Showtime champ could be his recent arrest for suspected drug trafficking. That case seems to be dropped, but the interruption to his training and the mental stress of being incarcerated can’t be good for a fighter heading into such a serious challenge.

3. Both men in the semi-main event need to win. Andy Souwer vs. L’houcine Ouzgni could easily headline a show. Two technical marvels, this is a fight that will be pure candy for fans of the precise art of stand-up. That’s reason enough to be excited for this one, but there’s an extra element to this fight given where each man stands in his career. Souwer’s last year was not exactly a career highlight for the decorated veteran. After suffering an eye injury and finding himself inexplicably on the outs with K-1 MAX, Souwer has since lost 2 of his last 3 fights – both against unranked opponents. He really needs to win here, but he has a tough task ahead of him. Ouzgni meanwhile had a tremendous 2010... almost. He made huge waves in his It’s Showtime debut, and looked poised to win the company’s 77kg title and start a dominant run as champion. Instead, in the year’s last show, Ouzgni was stopped by Artem Levin. In that fight, Ouzgni seemed to give up both size and strength to his opponent. Now, he’s dropping down to 70kg. He’ll have a massive size advantage here, but will it come at the expense of a too severe weight cut? Hopefully not, as Ouzgni could end up a man lost between two divisions.

4. Gago Drago vs. Artur Kyshenko. Not too much to say here, except that this match will be fun. Drago always brings the excitement, and I expect Kyshenko will match him. This one has kind of been lost in the shuffle, but it’s another excellent, very evenly matched fight that could steal the show. Along those same lines, look for exciting fights from William Diender vs, Rachid Belaini and Chahid Oulad El Hadj vs. Robin van Roosmalen.

5. The return of the 95kg title. Former champ Tyrone Spong has kept this division on ice for the last few years as he has made the move up to Heavyweight. Now, with Spong out of the picture, It’s Showtime looks to crown a new champ between Wendell Roche and Danyo Ilunga. Their inclusion of different weight classes is one of the things that makes IS unique, and it will be exciting to see how this division grows in 2011. Last year, Cosmo Alexandre’s title run brought the 77kg division to the spotlight – can either Roche or Ilunga do the same for 95?

Don’t forget, the show is tomorrow and is available for purchase at showtimefights.com for 10 euro. Start time is 2:00 p.m. Eastern.

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Wendell Roche Headed to Madrid to Fight Daniel Ghita

  • Published in K-1

Wendell RocheDaniel Ghita's original opponent, Paul Slowinski, was looked upon as a gimme fight for Daniel Ghita, and then Slowinski had to pull out of the fight on short notice. The word was circulating that Daniel Ghita's opponent would be Spanish fighter Damian Garcia, but it appears that as the time approached, Garcia backed out for one reason or another. We've spoken to Ghita's camp and can confirm that the situation is a bit frustrating for them at this point, as there have been many possible opponents for Ghita, lots of talks over the past few days, and that nothing has worked out.

Sometime late last night here in the States, early morning in Europe, talk emerged that Wendell Roche was headed to Madrid to fight Daniel Ghita. As of about five hours ago we could confirm that from the perspective of Ghita's camp, Roche was indeed a possibility, but with how this week has shaped up, they do not feel that anything is certain until the bell rings for the fight. That being said, Roche is in Madrid and It's Showtime staffers have been pushing this video from 2010 on their Facebook profiles, of Roche talking about the Heavyweight division and how he'd fight anyone.

It is safe to say that as of right now, Wendell Roche is on deck for Ghita, but this has been quite a disaster.

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