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The Reality of a Fractured Kickboxing Scene

  • Published in K-1

K-1Today’s announcement from It’s Showtime about K-1 contracting some of their top fighters confirms months upon months of rumors and discussion about what would happen with K-1. There has been a behind-the-scenes war of sorts between two factions; Golden Glory and It’s Showtime. Without a doubt both factions are where the power lies within the Kickboxing world right now, with top names working on both sides and there being some crossover when at all possible.

A good example of crossover would be Robin van Roosmalen, the It’s Showtime Fast and Furious 70kg MAX 2011 Champion. In a world without K-1, the Fast and Furious tournament was without a shadow of the doubt the biggest tournament for 70kg fighters. Van Roosmalen worked his way through the most prestigious tournament possible while representing Golden Glory. On top of that, Errol Zimmerman and Gokhan Saki appeared on It’s Showtime’s latest card, with the rumor being that both men worked out their own deals in the fall to participate on the card.

Both factions have the very best talent in the top weight divisions in the world, making cards featuring both fight camps imperative to see the best competition and best fights in the world. When talks surfaced of both sides looking to become closer to the troubled K-1 over the past six months or so, it was clear that whomever won the race to latch onto K-1 would leave the other one in a predicament. It turns out that Golden Glory lost their bid for K-1, but with the help of investor and partner Total Sports Asia, have been assembling three huge tournaments at Heavyweight, 85kg and 70kg, with a total of $1 million as a prize.

This announcement of K-1 working with It’s Showtime to help acquire talent for K-1 events comes and it appears that the rumors of It’s Showtime working with Mr. Kim to help rebuild K-1 seem to be true. That comes along with Golden Glory talking about their extreme displeasure with Mr. Kim, who bought K-1 out from under their noses, which leads the reality to Golden Glory probably not looking to work with Mr. Kim any time soon.

The reality of these announcements is that unless both sides can work together, a fractured Kickboxing scene is looking to come to fruition within short order. For the Glory World Series tournaments, it could mean that Daniel Ghita, Hesdy Gerges, Tyrone Spong, Melvin Manhoef, Sahak Paparyan, Andy Souwer and many more might be off-limits. For K-1, it could means that in the World Grand Prix and World MAX Tournament we could be looking at tournaments that do not include Semmy Schilt, Errol Zimmerman, Gokhan Saki, Sergei Kharitonov, Mark Miller, Robin van Roosmalen, Nieky Holzken and others.

The other reality is, for fighters who have fallen out with It’s Showtime, it could mean a hard time working with K-1. The big name that I am thinking about here is Giorgio Petrosyan, who recently broke away from It’s Showtime over monetary disputes. We do know that K-1 has been in talks with fighters outside of It’s Showtime’s management, and for now we can only speculate and hope that K-1 is able to bring in the other big names in the Kickboxing world and is willing to come to an agreement with Golden Glory, and vice versa, for the Glory World Series.

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K-1 News and Notes, Fueled by Tanikawa and K-1's New Investors/Buyers

  • Published in K-1

Watch the above video and note some of the key words that Tanikawa uses and that he does seem dead set that not only will K-1 continue on, but that K-1 will be fine. While in the past I've felt that those were empty words, I can confirm now that things are indeed looking up. The PUJI deal has actually yielded some capital for K-1 and there are some investors (or possibly even buyers) who are serious about K-1 continuing and becoming a worldwide force. The show in China that Tanikawa mentions is currently airmarked for October and does indeed seem like a reality as opposed to "Japanese Grandstanding" that we hear about.

LiverKick.com has been made aware of who some of the investors are, and confirmed through a number of sources the accuracy of the information, but will continue to keep it under wraps until the deals are finalized on all sides and the exchange of money and power have been made. What we can say is that the companies investing in K-1 are very serious about kickboxing and K-1 and have the money to make sure there are not as many hurdles. It also means that K-1's typical Japan-centric approach will be compromised as it is not a viable business model, nor is it one these new investors would support. K-1 putting on one show is a big deal, as will be paying fighters who are owed money. For all the talk of Japanese television deals, while those will be important for K-1, they will no longer be the driving force of revenue and motivation like they once were if these deals go according to plan.

K-1 is lucky that they made themselves the undeniable brand in kickboxing, mainly by establishing a set of rules that were universally adopted and by running worldwide tournaments on a yearly basis to determine who the best are. Many promotions are able to book some of the top talent from K-1, but it seems like no one can pull in all of the exact names (granted, some like It's Showtime have their own pool of talent and exclude some headscratchers of names like Teixeira and Jaideep) and pit them against each other successfully.

A K-1 looking to take a global scale seriously is a K-1 that will have multiple revenue streams and actually build up its name internationally, with a focus on Japan as a homebase but not its only base there is a greater chance for the company to succeed and prosper. Expect big things to come from K-1 if things go according to plan.

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New Trailer for K-1 Rising on May 27th

  • Published in K-1

K- is back and the time is drawing increasingly near. On May 27th the K-1 World MAX Final 16 goes down after a year's absence, and on top of that, two big heavyweight bouts including some of the biggest names like Daniel Ghita and Badr Hari. After a few weeks of radio silence, we are treated to a trailer which seems official but sounds and looks a lot like an It's Showtime promo video.

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Iron Mike Zambidis Announces Participation in K-1 World MAX Final 16

  • Published in K-1

ZambidisPart of the fun of the upcoming weeks will be watching, one-by-one, to see which fighter picks what side in the ongoing battle between K-1 and GLORY. Yesterday we announced that former World MAX Champion Albert Kraus has chosen to sign with GLORY Sports International, making him the second-biggest name in their tournament, and today Iron Mike Zambidis made an announcement on his official Facebook page saying that he will be participating in the K-1 World MAX Final 16 on May 27th in Madrid, Spain.

Zambidis might be one of the fighters who has never won a K-1 World MAX Championship, but in 2010 the world saw a resurgence of sorts that culminated in a loss to Giorgio Petrosyan in the World MAX semi-finals, but continued his tear through the world in 2011 in a world without K-1. Zambidis went 4-2 in 2011, with a loss to John Wayne Parr as well as a controversial loss to Batu Khasikov, losing his W5 title which he had won from Dzabar Askerov earlier on in the year in a four-man Grand Prix.

This leaves the projected World MAX field featuring names like; Zambidis, Chahid, Andy Souwer, Gago Drago, Artur Kyshenko, Harut Grigorian, Yasuhiro Kido, Yuji Nashiro, Su Hwan Lee, Abraham Roqueni, Longern Samui Pro (rumored) and Chris Ngimbi. One could argue that so far it is a better field than the field that GLORY has produced, but both still have open spots for fighters and there are still a few x-factors in the wild.

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Abraham Roqueni vs. Albert Kraus Promo Video

  • Published in Kickboxing

While there is a lot of buzz around the upcoming K-1 and Glory tournaments, there is still a ton of great fights going on elsewhere. On April 28th K-1 mainstay Albert Kraus takes on another big name in the world of 70kgs in Abraham Roqueni. Hopefully we have easy access to the fight as it will be a great test for seeing where Albert Kraus is right now and if we expect him in the K-1 tournament what to expect from him.

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Weekend Results: Thai Fight and MAX Muay Thai

  • Published in Asia

MAX Muay Thai

Man, I picked a pretty packed weekend to go on vacation, didn't I? Then again, most of the weekends are packed and I've been working 60 hour weeks for the past few months, so maybe any weekend would do in that case, right? I kind of agree, just because I needed to not do any work for an extended period of time or else I was fearing that I'd be seeing my walls made out of gold bricks because the Federal Reserve is a conspiracy and driving axes through doors while my girlfriend looks not-so-pleased.

So this weekend there were two bigger events, Thai Fight and MAX Muay Thai, both of the Muay Thai persuasion and both featuring some solid names and solid fights. Thai Fight was the standard Thai Fight fare of bigger name Thais against some okay competition which sees the Thais walk away with some cool looking wins and everyone goes home happy.

MAX Muay Thai gave a bit more by the way of competitive fights to fans, including a one night, four man tournament. There were some legitimately interesting bouts on the card such as Aikpracha against Warren Stevelmans as well as Sitthichai against Juri Jehl and already fans went home with a bit of a better feeling than they did from the Thai Fight card, or, well, at least we all did.

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Did You Miss the K-1 World MAX Show? Watch it Here

  • Published in Video

Look, we were watching live and we know that a lot of you guys might have missed the K-1 World MAX tournament this weekend, but that is alright. We have you covered because you'll want to see this event. Sure, the marketing leading up to it was kind of lackluster, but the event itself was pretty awesome. So thanks to our buddy ZombieProphet, there is the whole event in all of its glory for all to watch.

So watch it while you can, alright?

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More Changes to It's Showtime 57&58 on June 30th

IS

The It's Showtime card on June 30th has been a victim to the summer injury bug that MMA fans know all too well, especially Canadian UFC fans looking forward to UFC 149 (like Rian Scalia). A number of fighters on the It's Showtime event have had to drop out due to injuries or recent knockouts and being unable to receive medical clearance to fight. Then there is the case of Jerome Le Banner, who has been removed from the event completely due to some contractual situations, rumored to be his exclusive contract with Glory Sports International.

Rustemi Kreshnik will be filling in for Le Banner against Mourad Bouzidi, in a rematch where Bouzidi got the better of Kreshnik last time. We've already reported that Daniel Ghita's new opponent is Dzevad Poturak, in another series of unfortunate replacements for Ghita over the past few months. They have met twice before, with Poturak getting the better of a younger Ghita years ago, but many are sure that Poturak will not have that same luck again. Harut Grigorian was unable to receive medical clearance to fight, so he will be replaced by Hafid el Boustati against Robin van Roosmalen.

You can see the rest of the finalized card here.

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LiverKick Throwback: Buakaw vs. Masato K-1 World MAX Finals 2004

  • Published in K-1

The world of kickboxing has a rich history to fall back upon so we here at LiverKick figure, why not? Why not give a glimpse into some of the fights from the past that have made up this wonderful sport and tie it all in to the present. The kids on the Instagram and Twitter like to call Thursdays "Throwback Thursdays," I'm just going to say that this is a LiverKick Throwback.

Let's travel back in time now, all the way back to 2004. Yes, 2004, almost exactly ten years ago to the day, on July 7th, 2004. The K-1 World MAX Finals were the hottest ticket in town since Masato's win in the first ever tournament back in 2002 and Buakaw Banchamek (formerly Por. Pramuk) vs. Masato was the fight that everyone was clawing to see. They were the best of the best; Masato representing the Japanese bushido spirit and Buakaw the best that Thailand had to offer (regardless of your opinion, he was the best in kickboxing at the time). 

This fight was everything that K-1 was meant to embody; Japan vs. Thailand, the foreigner vs. the hometown hero and it delivered in spades. We can look back upon this fight and marvel at the display, the heart and fortitude shown and how K-1 saw Buakaw as a threat to their Japanese-centric MAX brand. This fight was the poor kid from Thailand against the groomed mega-star of Japan and it is beautiful. 

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