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Kickboxing and the Curious Case of Eternal Fatalism

  • Published in News

We are, as they say, at a bit of an impasse in the sport of kickboxing right now. It’s difficult to avoid, difficult to make eye contact with and not look away. We’ve been at this place before, though, which is why it feels so awful this time around. Back in 2010 it looked like the sport of kickboxing was heading for imminent doom and destruction. FEG was a sinking ship and they were taking on water -- fast -- faster than they ever wanted to publicly admit. 

Things were looking bleak for the sport of kickboxing at that time, but there was still hope. There were still people who were passionate about the sport, who wanted to do everything that they could for it. You had Simon Rutz and Bas Boon at each other’s throats, but both men were passionate and willing to do what it took to keep the sport afloat. You had Romanian promoter Eduard Irimia ready to expand beyond Romania. You had men with vision. Followed by the men with money to go with that passion.

As I stated before, we are at an impasse at the moment. The Japanese fight market has shrunk, shrunk to the point of almost being dead, but not quite. It doesn’t exist like it did what feels like a lifetime ago. What exists now is a facsimile of the grandeur that we knew before. Simulacra, a copy of a copy of a copy with adjustments made for degradation. Europe and America were always the wild west for kickboxing; that was clearly where the money was, but would it be able to reach the great heights that were achieved in Japan and Asia? 

Enter GLORY. GLORY took a gamble, filtering millions of dollars into the sport that was on its knees after losing its king. Without a doubt the K-1 name held the prestige, it had done things that no one thought possible with the fringe sport of kickboxing. The rise of K-1 meant making the rest of the sport of kickboxing look silly in the process. The end result is that kickboxing rules aren’t kickboxing rules anymore, they are K-1 Rules. The name K-1 is intrinsically linked with the sport of kickboxing even to this day, for good or for bad. 

So GLORY was set to fill the hole that was left by FEG’s bankruptcy with big promises, fireworks and a roster of capable production crew and the best fighters in the world. Sights were set on America, on taking on the leviathan market where the UFC rose from obscurity into a sport appearing regularly on Fox programming and had weaseled its way into becoming a household name. This was kickboxing’s white whale and, for a while, things were looking good.

Spike TV was hungry for the next big combat sport after they lost the UFC to Fox Sports, scooping up Bellator and then K-1. K-1 withdrew their name from the hat to restructure, leaving Spike TV ready to accept GLORY into the fold. Kickboxing had finally made it, it was on cable television in the United States. The first show happened and the ratings were in. They weren’t great, but they weren’t bad, either. There was promise. 

Since then there have been the good times and the bad times, but what became increasingly clear was that there was no competition for GLORY anywhere out there. GLORY was doing things right, it was paying the fighters what they deserved to be paid, treating them with respect and doing everything right. Growing pains are real, though, especially when the anticipated growth doesn’t live up to the reality. Kickboxing was, for all intents and purposes, a new sport to many fans out there. It was a part of the whole that is Mixed Martial Arts, thus, it was fringe. There has been growth, but the growth is slow, it is costly and it is frustrating. 

GLORY’s last event was GLORY 17/Last Man Standing on June 21st, which, as of the time that I write this, was two months ago. Since then there have been rumors, whispers and public decrees from fans; GLORY is dead. If you read forums or comment sections on websites you’ll hear all about it, you’ll hear that so-and-so’s trainer said that the company is bankrupt, you’ll hear that shows have been canceled, that members of the board are ready to depart, that payments have been filtering in late. For the kickboxing faithful these are all triggers, things that will bring back that long-forgotten PTSD that came with the dissolution of FEG’s K-1 back in 2010 and 2011.

Then there are those that like to watch the world burn, who are calling for the end. These are the fatalists. We’ve had private assurances from many within GLORY that right now is simply a time of restructuring, of regrouping, of changing strategies. Yesterday’s announcement of a new CEO was the first step. But, let’s give in to hysteria, to fatalism. Let’s say that GLORY has a few shows left and then, just as quickly as they emerged, they disappear into the ether of kickboxing history.

Who is there to pick up the pieces this time? Where are the Bas Boons looking to find anyone, to compromise his own visions and brands, to make things work? Where are the Simon Rutz’s running the #2 promotion and ready to take on the financial burden of being the de facto #1? Where are the Pierre Andurands, Ivan Farnetis, Scott Rudmanns and others who are willing to take a risk with their own personal money to invest in the sport? Where are your GLORY replacements where these now out-of-the-job fighters have to find work with?

The market right now is a mess. In a way, you can blame GLORY for the mess. GLORY was looking to be the alpha and omega in kickboxing, which meant exclusive contracts, which meant paying what others couldn’t pay, treating fighters unlike they were used to be treated. So you’ll tell me LEGEND Fight Show, the same promotion that put on three events thus far, only one in 2014 with nothing scheduled yet. So you’ll tell me GFC, the guys that are paying Badr Hari a mint to compete for them, because you were able to watch that last show from your couch, right? Because outside of Badr Hari they are stacking cards with expensive talent, right?

So you’ll say Enfusion, K-1 or SuperKombat. I’ll say that all three are great promotions in their own right, each one growing in their own way, with their own unique business plans and markets. How many of them see a broad market as their audience right now? K-1 is focused on Asia, Enfusion is focused on the UK and SuperKombat is focused on Romania. You might say that if GLORY simply disappears like Criss Angel in a stunt that they’ll be able to bolster their rosters with big names, but where does that money come from? The end of It’s Showtime came from overreaching and hiring top talents. 

Right now nobody has what FEG’s K-1 had in a television partner that was willing to sink millions of their own money into each event and, realistically, we might never see that again. GLORY doesn’t even have that right now. Instead, GLORY has a good deal with Spike TV, but one that bears little fruit for either side right now and might take years to build up properly, to build an audience and really start making money. 

The rise of GLORY was both beneficial and detrimental to the sport of kickboxing. If GLORY ceases to be, then the sport of kickboxing is set back even further than when FEG’s K-1 ceased to be. If you consider yourself a fan of kickboxing then at this moment the sport will require something of you. The sport will require your faith. If GLORY says that they aren’t done yet, then, well, they aren’t done yet. In the meantime we can only hope that Enfusion, K-1, SuperKombat and others continue to grow and find themselves in better positions to provide stability for both fans and fighters alike.

For now, let's save our eulogies and instead focus on the sport that we all love. 

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SuperKombat Holds Local Kombat Bodyguard - Special Forces Finals This Friday in Romania

  • Published in Kickboxing

SuperKombatSuperKombat continues their quest to find the next great talent in Romania as they head to the Stadium Ion Oblemenco in the city of Craiova. The stadium holds a whopping 30,000 fans and the show is the finals of their tournament to find new, up and coming talents for the world of Kickboxing. Of course, being in such a large arena it shows just how popular the sport of Kickboxing is in Romania right now, so while the world is watching we can only hope that we find another Daniel Ghita from Romania eventually.

They'll even have a special guest by the way of Remy Bonjasky and a WAKO Pro Intercontinental 64.5kg title bout thrown in to the mix!

The fight card is as follows;

Final, 85 kg: Alexandru Nedelcu (Galaţi) vs Daniel Mocanu (Găeşti)

Final, 95 kg: Gabriel Flutur (Deva) vs Daniel Hurduc (Iaşi)

Final, +95 kg: Răzvan Ghiţă (Buzău) vs Mihăiţă Golescu (Râmnicu-Vâlcea)

Final, +95 kg: Răzvan Benche (Cluj-Napoca) vs Leonid Tcaciuc (Iaşi)

Superfight, 85 kg: Cristian Ristea (Găeşti) vs Daniel Alexandru (Iaşi)

Superfight, +95 kg: Marian Iurchevici (Bucureşti) vs Zsolt Bala (Oradea)

Superfight, +95 kg: Marian Iordan (Bucureşti) vs Florin Boboc (Craiova)

Superfight, 75 kg: Miodrag Olar (România) vs Darryl Sichtman (Olanda)

Intercontinental WAKO Pro Championship, 64.5kg: Ionuţ Atodiresei (România) vs Saşa Jovanovic (Austria)

The show will be available via PPV on voyo.ro as well as on Romanian television if you happen to live in Romania!

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The Wonderful World of Kickboxing

  • Published in News

650

As those of us who’ve been around for a while might say, when it comes to the sport of kickboxing, no news is typically bad news. We’ve been hearing a lot of rumors about Glory in the past few months--from murky accounts of an organization on dire straits to assurances by some of our professional kickboxing journalist pals that they have the exclusive scoop on BIG NEWS which has simply been embargoed by Glory for the time being. The fact remains that we haven’t heard anything substantive from Glory since July. There was talk of more SpikeTV content and of an event to be held at the end of October--we’re still waiting for any of these things to materialize. This behavior is worrisome for those of us who followed the scene as recently as 2012, when K-1 made promise after promise of a big comeback that ultimately never took place. It would be sad to see Glory succumb to the same fate as its ambitious predecessors, with K-1 and It’s Showtime telling the tale of how unforgiving the fight business can be.

Kickboxing in particular is a very strange industry, one that appears very active at a glance but which tells a far more sobering story beneath the surface. If we judged the scene solely on the number of events held annually, we might think that things look pretty good, with organizations like LEGEND, Global FC, Top King, A-1, and SuperKombat making news on sites like this one with fight cards featuring big name talent. While the accessibility of this content is highly variable, from robust TV broadcasts to mislabeled camera phone footage posted on YouTube, there are nevertheless fights happening all over the world and subsequently news and results which we can report to you.

But the difference between offering you a survey of sundry action from around the globe and a developing narrative that you can follow and become engrossed in is the difference between Kickboxing as a mere curiosity and as a sport in its own right. There are plenty of Kickboxing and Muay Thai videos that show up on MMA sites, but as much as their readers might appreciate them, they will never get the same first person experience of being there when iconic and spectacular moments unfold--memories of being glued to your TV when Andy Hug landed that spinning back kick or when Joe Schilling knocked Simon Marcus out cold. These moments were real, and they made us believe in this sport and dream about the possibilities. Call it a pet peeve, but I find it a little heartbreaking when brilliant retrospectives of great kickboxing moments wind up on MMA sites under “look at what this might teach us about MMA technique!” headings.

No one in particular is to blame for how things have turned out for kickboxing. Ultimately the success of any venture depends on the convergence of talent, a solid product, proper promotion, and a receptive market at an opportune moment in time. Kickboxing had various combinations of these things at different points in time, but the times and circumstances changed. The downfall of K-1 had as much to do with its management as it did with evolving trends in the Japanese entertainment market. Many factors came into play, but unfortunately, things ended for K-1 in an ugly way, leaving fighters with substantial outstanding earnings which they may never be able to fully collect. However, let us not kid ourselves about what it takes to build a real professional sport league. We’ve seen plenty of flamboyant millionaire playboys from around the world blow their money to party with celebrities and to book their favorite kickboxers for an evening of entertainment. Some of these mysterious rich dudes will even slap a label on their “organization” and take lots of photos with kickboxing bigwigs to make things look legit, but we all know that trying to produce a sustainable sports entertainment venue for the masses takes a lot more vision and tenacity than that. No matter how flashy their shows get, the playboys are not going to save Kickboxing, and neither will the small promotions like Top King (although we’ll give it a chance, just like we always do--that’s the story of Kickboxing, right?) that seem to come and go every year.

We really hope that Glory will actually make it. It seems like the formula’s been there--Glory had enough money, the right talent, the right TV deal, and an ostensible understanding of the business startup process (God knows there are enough smart-sounding former hedge fund/venture capital people on board--how many of them does it take to screw in a light bulb?). Where do things stand now? We really don’t know. We do know that there have been no shows in three months, and if it is indeed true that Glory is coming to Oklahoma on November 7, then that will make four months since its last show. We really hope that the lights will stay on at Glory because as kickboxing fans, we’ve looked forward for a long time to not living in the dark of the sports world. 

 

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SuperKombat Notes; Results and Nov. 9th Fight Card

  • Published in Kickboxing

SK

Man, there really has been a lot going on over the last few days and SuperKombat has been keeping rather busy as well. Over the weekend they held their New Heroes 6 event in Italy and this coming weekend plays host to bigger and better things by the way of their SuperKombat WGP Final Elimination event. So without further ado, here is the card for this weekend's event, which will be aired on Epicentre.tv for $9.95 starting at 3PM Eastern.

1. SUPERKOMBAT® New Heroes Middleweight Title Eliminator – Middleweight Bout (-71.00kg)

Amansio Paraschiv (Romania) vs. Mohamed Ben Ali (Morocco)

2. Final Elimination / Spot 1 – Heavyweight Bout (+96.00kg)

Mathieu Kongolo (Belgium) vs. Giannis Stoforidis (Greece)

3. Final Elimination / Spot 2 – Heavyweight Bout (+96.00kg)

Muamer Tufekcic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) vs. Frank Munoz (Spain)

4. Final Elimination / Spot 3 – Heavyweight Bout (+96.00kg)

Jegish Yegoian (Armenia) vs. Redouan Cairo (Suriname)

5. Final Elimination / Spot 4 – Heavyweight Bout (+96.00kg)

D’Angelo Marshall (Suriname) vs. Pacome Assi (Cote D’Ivoire)

6. SUPERKOMBAT® Super Cruiserweight Title Eliminator / Spot 2 – Super Cruiserweight Bout (-95.00kg)

Massinissa Hamaili (France) vs. Ondrej Hutnik (Czech Republic)

7. SUPERKOMBAT® Cruiserweight Title Eliminator – Cruiserweight Bout (-92.00kg)

Igor Bugaenko (Belarus) vs. Jorge Loren (Spain)

8. Super Fight – Heavyweight Bout (+96.00kg)

Ricardo Van Den Bos (Netherlands) vs. Raul Catinas (Romania)

9. Super Fight – Heavyweight Bout (+96.00kg)

Daniel Lentie (Cameroon) vs. Catalin Morosanu (Romania)

Now here are the results from this weekend's New Heroes 6 event in Italy.

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Mike Zambidis Wins at SUPERKOMBAT VIP Edition

  • Published in Europe

Zambidis

This weekend was a double shot of SUPERKOMBAT, with the first event being of the SUPERKOMBAT New Heroes persuasion, while the second night was a bigger event by the way of SUPERKOMBAT VIP Edition, featuring Mike Zambidis in a SUPERKOMBAT Championship fight. It was a big weekend for the SUPERKOMBAT crew as they announce that they are on Fight Now TV here in the United States as well as the signing of K-1 Heavyweight Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller, as well as crowning Mike Zambidis as their 71kg Championship.

Here are the results from SUPERKOMBAT VIP Edition;

  • Mike Zambidis def Harun Kina via UD
  • Miodrag Olar (Romania) def Alexandros Chatzichronoglou (Greece) via UD
  • Cedric Manhoef (Suriname) def Alexandru Popescu (Romania) via UD
  • Bogdan Stanciu (Romania) def Kevin Heselink (Holland) via UD
  • Cristian Spetcu (Romania) def Florin Abrudan (Romania) via TKO 2

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Final Card for SUPERKOMBAT WGP in Botsani

  • Published in Kickboxing

SK

SUPERKOMBAT marches forward their 2013 WGP season this weekend with their SUPERKOMBAT WGP event in Botsani, Romania. The event sees a lot of SUPERKOMBAT staples by the way of Benjamin Adegbuyi, Ionut Atodiresei and Andrei Stoica, while also running another elimination tournament, with the winner moving on to the next round. The tournament bouts are Gaetan Sautron vs. Dangelo Marshall and Leroy Johnson vs. Giannis Stofordis.

The event will be broadcast in over 70 countries through Eurosport International and Eurosport Asia-Pacific. If you live in the greater New York area you'll be able to catch it on Fight Now TV, or you can get a stream via http://www.epicentre.tv for $9.99.

  • Superkombat World Grand Prix
  • 28th September 2013
  • Polivalent Hall, Botosani, Romania
  • Tournament Final
  • Winner Semifinal 1 vs. Winner Semifinal 2
  • +96 kg: Reamon Welboren (Netherlands) vs. Benjamin Adegbuyi (Romania)
  • -65 kg: Calogero Palmieri (Italy) vs. Ionuţ Atodiresei (Romania)
  • -95 kg: Dzenan Poturak (Bosnia&Herzegovina) vs. Andrei Stoica (Romania)
  • -95 kg: Vinchenzo Calvin (Netherlands) vs. Dănuţ Hurduc (Romania)
  • Tournament Semifinals
  • +96 kg: Gaetan Sautron (France) vs. Dangelo Marshall (Suriname)
  • +96kg: Leroy Johnson (USA) vs. Giannis Stoforidis (Greece)
  • -91 kg: Romy da Silva (Brazil) vs. Cristian Ristea (Romania)

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Ben Edwards Bests Catalin Morosanu in Australia

  • Published in Australia

Morosanu/Edwards

This weekend might have been a bit slow when it comes to Kickboxing news, but in Australia there was a battle between two big name Heavyweights by the way of Catalin Morosanu from Romania squaring off against Australia's own Ben Edwards. The two were competing for the Kings of Kombat Heavyweight Championship, but I think most importantly, for standing in the Heavyweight division across the world. Morosanu has been trying to make his way into the elite for a while now, somewhere that Edwards has had experience.

It turned into a slugfest early on, according to reports that we've received, with Morosanu fighting the way that we all know he fights; heavy hands, looking for the knockout blow. Edwards, on the other hand, who hasn't always been known as a technician, fought a smarter fight by going after Morosanu's legs throughout the bout. Morosanu was focused on knocking Ben's head off, which meant that he was not of the mind to check the leg kicks, which was his undoing when it came time for the judges to deliberate.

Edwards won the Majority decision over Morosanu, but it sounds like it was a very entertaining and exciting fight.

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SuperKombat's 2011 Awards

  • Published in Kickboxing

Without a doubt, 2011 has been the year that promotions outside of K-1 have stepped up, big time. This includes Romanian promoter Eduard Irimia's SuperKombat. It felt like it came out of nowhere, but came out of a network of local events promoted within Romania successfully by Irimia over the years to build to the formation of SuperKombat. SuperKombat held a World Grand Prix for Heavyweights this year in a world where the only other promotion doing a big Heavyweight tournament was Fight Code. Errol Zimmerman walked away with the SuperKombat One Night WGP, while Sergei Laschenko won the World Grand Prix Championship this year while Vitali Akhramenko walked away with the Fight Code championship. To say that this was interesting would be an understatement.

Over the weekend SuperKombat held an awards ceremony to commemorate their first year of existence in Romania. Of course, it is telling that some of the bigger names in Kickboxing were presented with awards in front of a giant screen that read "EDUARD IRIMIA PRODUCTIONS" on it, but I guess being on the cover of Forbes in Romania is a big deal. Outside of some of the beautiful cities all that I know about Romania is what I learned about the prostitutes that died in a crate container on the way into the Baltimore port in season 2 of HBO's "The Wire." So it is safe to say that Irimia is a big deal in his hometown, big enough to have his name on a board.

Knockout of the Year Errol Zimmerman (vs. Roman Kleibl)
Fight of the Year Russian Cornelius vs. Slavo Polugic
Special Fight of the Year Alexandru Longu vs. Bob Sapp
Best Evolution in 2011 Bogdan Stoica
Newcomer of the Year Benjamin Adegbuyi
Most Popular Fighter Catalin Morosanu
2011 SuperKombat WGP Winner - Sergei Laschenko
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Weekend Results: SuperKombat WGP Final Elimination

  • Published in Kickboxing

SK

SuperKombat continued their deluge of events with this weekends SuperKombat World Grand Prix Final Elimination event in Romania. This event saw four spots for SuperKombat's World Grand Prix tournament solidified as winners of tournaments past squared off for a spot in the SuperKombat World Grand Prix Finals. Of course it wouldn't be a big SuperKombat event without some big Romanian names thrown into the mix, with both Raul Catinas and Catalin Morosanu in action, picking up solid wins.

  • 1. SUPERKOMBAT® New Heroes Middleweight Title Eliminator – Middleweight Bout (-71.00kg)
  • Amansio Paraschiv (Romania) won by TKO in Round 2 (0:00) against Mohamed Ben Ali (Tunisia)
  • 2. Final Elimination / Spot 1 – Heavyweight Bout (+96.00kg)
  • Giannis Stoforidis (Greece) won by TKO in Round 3 (2:58) against Mathieu Kongolo (Belgium)
  • 3. Final Elimination / Spot 2 – Heavyweight Bout (+96.00kg)
  • Frank Munoz (Spain) won by Split Decision against Muamer Tufekcic (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • 4. Final Elimination / Spot 3 – Heavyweight Bout (+96.00kg)
  • Redouan Cairo (Suriname) won by Unanimous Decision against Jegish Yegoian (Armenia)
  • 5. Final Elimination / Spot 4 – Heavyweight Bout (+96.00kg)
  • D’Angelo Marshall (Suriname) won by KO in Round 2 (0:20) against Pacome Assi (Ivory Coast)
  • 6. SUPERKOMBAT® Super Cruiserweight Title Eliminator / Spot 2 – Super Cruiserweight Bout (-95.00kg)
  • Ondrej Hutnik (Czech Republic) won by TKO in Round 2 (2:05) against Massinissa Hamaili (Algeria)
  • 7. SUPERKOMBAT® Cruiserweight Title Eliminator – Cruiserweight Bout (-92.00kg)
  • Igor Bugaenko (Belarus) won by Unanimous Decision against Jorge Loren (Spain)
  • 8. Super Fight – Heavyweight Bout (+96.00kg)
  • Raul Catinas (Romania) won by KO in Round 1 (1:40) against Ricardo Van Den Bos (Netherlands)
  • 9. Super Fight – Heavyweight Bout (+96.00kg)
  • Catalin Morosanu (Romania) won by KO in Round 1 (2:20) against Daniel Lentie (Cameroon)

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Eduard Irimia Explains that SUPERKOMBAT Fighters Can Fight for Anyone

  • Published in Kickboxing

SuperKombat

SUPERKOMBAT has an interesting stable of fighters at its disposal, guys like Benjamin Adegbuyi, Bogdan and Andrei Stoica, Catalin Morosanu, Raul Catinas and Sebastien Ciobanu. While lots of promoters force fighters into exclusive contracts, Eduard Irimia would like to make it clear that fighters under the employ of SUPERKOMBAT are not held to those kinds of restrictions. In fact, he encourages fighters under the SK banner to gain experience outside of the SUPERKOMBAT organization.

In the article, which was posted to Romanian luptatorii.ro, Irimia talks about his "gentlemen's agreement" with Pierre Andurand and GLORY, stating that they are not rivals and that he would be happy to send some of his fighters to GLORY. There is also a brief mention that Irimia would allow fighters to fight for K-1 as well.

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