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Video: Artem Levin vs. Kaoklai

  • Published in Kickboxing

Here is a fight from last weekend that slipped under the radar: It's Showtime 77kg champion Artem Levin vs. WBC Muay Thai World Light Heavyweight champion Kaoklai Kaennorsing.  The fight was 5 rounds, full Muay Thai rules for Kaoklai's WBC title and took place at an event in Russia.

Levin came in off a career best year in 2010 that saw him quickly rise up the ranks.  In the last year, Levin claimed both the It's Showtime title and the Gold medal at the SportAccord Combat Games. Along the way he defeated two men who could each make a solid claim for being #1 at 77kg: Yodsaenklai Fairtex and L'houcine Ouzgni.  He's on a 12 fight win streak, and has to be considered the top man at 77kg at this point.

Kaoklai is a Muay Thai legend who K-1 fans may best know for his surprising 2004/2005 K-1 Grand Prix runs.  He's in the twilight of his superb career, although he did put together a 5-0 record in 2010 and is not yet completely finished.

Analysis after the jump.

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LiverKick.com Exclusive Andy Souwer Interview

  • Published in Interviews

Andy Souwer (C) Susumug.comThere aren't many kickboxers in the world that are as decorated as Andy Souwer is. Andy Souwer is a three time Shootboxing champion and a two time K-1 World MAX Champion, which in the world of Middleweight kickboxing is tremendous. Souwer is one of the few dominant fighters of the division, with his name forever etched in stone alongside the likes of Buakaw Por. Pramuk, Masato and most recently Giorgio Petrosyan. LiverKick caught up with Andy Souwer to discuss his relationship with K-1, what his future plans are in kickboxing and if he has his sights set on the world of MMA at all.

A big thanks to Team Souwer's manager Eddy Coutinho for setting up the interview as well as helping with the translations.

LiverKick.com: Have you ever had issues being paid by K-1?

Andy Souwer: K1 has paid everything they owed me. There are rumours about K1 not paying me, but that is not true. There was some delay in payment, but it happened.

LK: Were you surprised not to be invited to the MAX GP this year and how do you feel about K-1's future?

AS: I was very surprised not to be invited by K1. I won it twice and fought 4 finals. Very strange.

LK: What are your thoughts on his recent Pajonsuk fight?

AS: The fight was not exciting for the spectators. I was not totally recovered from my back injury and I had the feeling Panjunsuk did not really want to fight.

LK: How do you feel about facing Aussie Ouzgni?

AS: Aussie is the darkhorse in this fight, but he is very, very dangerous. He is very tall and has good knees and kicks. Aussie is not my favourite opponent, but to be the best you have to beat every opponent.

LK: How has your putting on mass in the past 3-4 years affected the way you train and prepare for fights? In particular, is it a large weight cut?

AS: Normally I walk around at 75 kg., so I only have to drop 5 kilo's. I am used to losing weight without losing strength, so it is no problem for me. I have a good team who helps me with training and advice.

After the break Souwer discusses his roots and future...

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Photo of the Day: Badr Hari Preparing for War

  • Published in Kickboxing

We just passed the halfway point of March, which means that the return of Badr Hari is just under two months away. He is preparing vigorously for the challenge of French Muay Thai fighter Tony Gregory (yes, this is correct, it is how It's Showtime, K-1 and his website list him). It isn't that anyone is giving Gregory a lot of a chance as much as we all have high hopes for Badr Hari's first fight in a year.

Mike's Gym on Facebook just posted an album of photos of the Bad Boy himself training with newer Mike's Gym recruit, Sergei Laschenko. [source]

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Shin on Shin Series: Episodes 1 - 4

  • Published in Kickboxing

Our bud Steven Wright has always made it clear how much he loves the sport of kickboxing. He makes his money by helping out some of the best MMA fighters in the world to hone their standup, but his passion has always been kickboxing. For about as long as I've known Steven he has been talking about his documentary. Steven is a lot like me in the regards of he always has a lot going on, but he always stuck to his guns; he was going to release his epic kickboxing documentary at some point. 

So we waited and waited and I at times wondered if he had forgotten about it. He hasn't, not at all. Here is the first four episodes of Shin on Shin Series, with the focus on Europe. 

Shin on Shin Series: EP1 The Fall, Hated Dominance, Unappreciated Brilliance

Shin on Shin Series: EP2 Alexey Ignashov The First Next Big Thing, Badr Hari The People's Champ

Shin on Shin Series: EP3 The Wages of the Wars, In Honor of those we lost...

Shin on Shin Series: EP4 They Call it a War

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Image of the Day: Badr Hari Back in Training

  • Published in Kickboxing

Images say a thousand words, and in that case I'm going to post an image instead of a thousand words. Badr Hari was filming for a Dutch sports program which will air on Monday today in Mike's Gym, alongside Mike Passenier and Melvin Manhoef. Of course, there is a whole album full of awesome stuff, so get at it. [source]

Badr Hari is Back

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Hesdy Gerges Arrested For Drug Trafficking

  • Published in Kickboxing

Hesdy Gerges Arrested on Drug ChargesThe kickboxing world suffered another huge blow today, as It's Showtime and K-1 fighter Hesdy Gerges was arrested for drug trafficking earlier today. The arrest of Gerges was in relation to a raid by Belgium officials in May, where Hesdy's half brother, Ashraf and his friend were caught with 128 kilos of cocaine in Antwerp, Belgium. Gerges, as well as four more suspects were arrested today at the behest of Belgium officials, who will demand extradition.

Hesdy was asked about this last year and vehemently denied having anything to do with his brother's drug smuggling operation. It is unclear what Hesdy's involvement is at this point, but according to at5.nl, during the raid computers, phones as well as weapons and ammunition were confiscated, but it was not clear what, if anything was taken from Gerges. This comes hot on the heel of Ashwin Balrak's arrest for drug possession in November, found with 82 kg of cocaine on him, as well as Badr Hari's sprawling legal problems involving assault on a bouncer last year.

To compound matters, Mayor Van der Laan of Amsterdam has been very vocal about kickboxing and martial arts events, and was looking to crack down on organized crime in Amsterdam. He believes that kickboxing events bring organized crime to the city and parade criminals around as VIPs. He is unhappy with the image the city has and is looking to clean it up. There was talk of outright banning events, but Van der Laan has recently went on record stating that is not his intention.

With It's Showtime's next event on March 6th, it appears that Hesdy Gerges will not be able to fight in the main event against Daniel Ghita, as a case like this will take a while to be sorted out, especially because it involves an extradition process. [source]

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Mohamed Khamal and Mosab Amrani Put on FOTYC at It's Showtime 45

  • Published in Kickboxing

Mosab Amrani and Mohamed Khamal went to war at It's Showtime - The Sands, It's Showtime's 45th show on December 18th. It was one of the most anticipated bouts of the evening and was for the "King of Amsterdam" crown. With all of the speculation and anticipation, it ended up being put in the main event slot for the It's Showtime broadcast, which was aired live on http://www.itsshowtimefights.com for around $10 USD. Basically, if you missed this show, make sure to catch the next one.

Mosab and Khamal put forth a battle that can easily lay claim to one of the greatest fights in combat sports all year, as both men poured everything into their three rounds with neither man giving an inch of being knocked down. The officials at ringside had no choice but to score the bout a draw and move on to an extension round.

The extension round was incredibly close, with both men standing toe-to-toe and both connecting with clean shots on each other. It was dead even until the last minute of the round where Khamal reached down deep and had Mosab on the ropes. This was enough to impress the judges and score him the big win, in what many might consider an upset with Mosab Amrani being a favorite going into the fight.

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Photo of the Day: It's Not Just Horse Meat for Badr hari

  • Published in K-1

Badr Hari's return to the ring comes this weekend at It's Showtime Lyon, and many fans are excited to see Badr Hari back in action. Many have taken note to Badr Hari's much-improved physique. Mike's Gym does a great job of keeping fans updated on their Facebook page; Facebook.com/MikesGym. Here is a photo of Badr Hari training for his comeback fight, showing how he got himself into tip-top condition.

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LiverKick.com Heavyweight Rankings: April 2011

  • Published in Rankings

Heavyweight

1. Alistair Overeem
2. Peter Aerts
3. Semmy Schilt
4. Badr Hari
5. Gokhan Saki
6. Ewerton Teixeira
7. Hesdy Gerges
8. Kyotaro
9. Daniel Ghita
10. Tyrone Spong
11. Jerome Le Banner
12. Nathan Corbett
13. Brice Guidon
14. Errol Zimmerman
15. Ashwin Balrak
16. Zabit Samedov
17. Pavel Zhuravlev
18. Mourad Bouzidi
19. Anderson Silva
20. Melvin Manhoef
21. Ruslan Karaev
22. Paul Slowinski
23. Rico Verhoeven
24. Freddy Kemayo
25. Dzevad Poturak

Welcome back to the LiverKick.com rankings. These rankings are an attempt to break down the top 25 fighters in two different weight classes - Heavyweight, for fighters above the 77kg limit, and Middleweight, for fighters at the 70-72.5kg limit. Our rankings are based on in-ring accomplishments and recent wins and loses. We hope they reflect where these fighters currently stand, although we recognize that all rankings are inherently subjective.

April 2011

Kickboxing continues on in the face of K-1's silence, but the Heavyweight division has definitely felt the blow.  Only a handful of ranked fighters saw action since our last rankings, and the top 25 remains essentially the same.

The biggest mover this month was Brice Guidon, who jumped up two spots to #13 with a win over #18 Mourad Bouzidi.  Guidon will next face #5 Gokhan Saki at the United Glory final round on May 28.

Also moving up were #24 Freddy Kemayo and #25 Dzevad Poturak - both men returned to the rankings after wins in Romania.

The rest of April doesn't hold too much more Heavyweight action.  Next weekend, #12 Nathan Corbett faces Tomasz Nowack at Domination 6 in Australia, and... that's it for the top 25 for April.  Like I said, there's definitely been a Heavyweight slowdown.

That will change in May, as a number of big fights are set to go down.  And none are bigger than #4 Badr Hari making his return against Tony Gregory at It's Showtime Lyon.  Also on that card is #10 Tyrone Spong vs. Igor Mihaljevic and #9 Daniel Ghita vs. #19 Anderson Silva.  Then on May 21, It's Showtime returns with #7 Hesdy Gerges vs. Chris Knowles in Amsterdam.

Also in May is the United Glory finals previously mentioned, headlined by Saki vs. Guidon.  A few other top 25 clashes are on that show including #14 Errol Zimmerman vs. #18 Mourad Bouzidi and #17 Pavel Zhuravlev vs. Igor Jurkovic.

The #1 Ranked Alistair OvereemOne other scheduled fight to take note of: we've known for awhile that the next appearance of #1 Alistair Overeem will be in an MMA cage, likely against Fabricio Werdum in the opening round of the Strikeforce Grand Prix.  That fight is now set for June 18 in Dallas, TX.  Sad to see The Reem likely gone from kickboxing for awhile, but we'll be cheering the K-1 champ on in his quest to dominate the US MMA landscape.

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Badr Hari to Return to Action in May

  • Published in Kickboxing

After a year of inactivity, Badr Hari will make his return to action in the It's Showtime ring. With K-1 on a hiatus for the moment, and nothing planned or announced as of yet, It's Showtime has been reeling off the show announcements, with a tentative plan for ten or more shows within 2011. In May It's Showtime will make their way to Lyon, France, where Badr Hari will make his return to action against a to-be-decided opponent.

According to Dutch newspaper, De Telegraaf, Simon Rutz has gotten a verbal agreement for the bout and the opponent should be decided within the next two weeks.

"Badr makes his comeback in May," Rutz commented to De Telegraaf. "Hopefully Badr will be doing what he does best: fighting in the ring. He must show that he is among the best fighters in the world."

The fight that fans want to see the most would be against Hesdy Gerges, who is currently booked to fight on March 6th, taking on Daniel Ghita. At It's Showtime's christmas show at the Sands, they also announced that he would be defending his title, most likely at the ArenA show. With the ArenA show not happening, one can only speculate that they will try to assemble a rematch between the two a year later.

There are a plethora of match-ups involving Badr Hari that fans would love to see, including a rubber match against current K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, Alistair Overeem, but Overeem might be tied up in the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP and be unable to make a fight in May. Nod to Simon Raedts for diligently reading de Telegraaf and alerting us to the news.

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