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Prize Fighter Ben Edwards Ready for GLORY 24 Heavyweight Tournament

GLORY 24 will see a new heavyweight contender crowned, the winner moving on to fight champion Rico Verhoeven for the top spot in the world of heavyweight kickboxing. Over the past year we’ve seen Verhoeven fight Errol Zimmerman and Benjamin Adegbuyi, defeating both to retain his title. Fans have been starved for a good heavyweight tournament from GLORY, the last one at GLORY 16 Denver.

Interestingly enough, a man that we last saw at GLORY 16 Denver will be making his return to the GLORY ring at GLORY 24 looking for another crack at the GLORY Heavyweight Championship. That man is Australia’s own Ben Edwards. We caught up with Ben Edwards as he finishes up his preparations for the tournament and will be heading back to the United States.

Edwards had announced that he was leaving kickboxing after his loss last year, but the return is a welcome one for fans of the Aussie slugger. For Edwards, it is about making a living. “With kickboxing the last 3 of my last 4 losses were to guys pretty much the top 3 in the world (Rico, Errol and Overeem the year he won) and they are the guys that were at least making a living. If I couldn't crack that top tier I couldn't make a living and kickboxing is very hard to train for in Canberra so I decided to concentrate on boxing which is easy to train for in my home town. I won the national title 2 fights in returning to the sport so it wasn't a bad decision,” he explained. The offer from GLORY took him by surprise, actually. “The offer from Glory was unexpected and appreciated and I am very much looking forward to making the most of this second chance.”

Heavyweight kickboxing has seemed to be less of a focus of late, with the lighter weight classes taking a lot of the spotlight and there being a lot of fighters -- much like Edwards -- looking for opportunities outside of kickboxing. “As a hard-core combat sport fan I really feel kickboxing is the most exciting format. Its sad the sport has lost some of the bigger names but I still feel the sport has a healthy future.”

As for this tournament especially, Edwards seems ready to finally show the world what he’s made of after what he considered disappointments before. “The main difference in training is I've been spending a lot of time in Sydney, I've don't 6 trips in 5 weeks to train with Stu McKinnon and the boys at Castle Hill Bulldog,” he explained. “It’s world class padwork and sparring there and for the first time in  long time I am excited to fight. I had a lot of personal problems going into the last fight and I have fixed every single one and I am looking forward to being back to my best. I'm sick of feeling disappointed and letting people down, being considered a journeyman etc. Those days are over.”

When it comes to the first opponent for the night, Jahfarr Wilnis, Edwards seemed more focused on himself and his preparations, instead. “I only ever watch a little bit of footage on my opponent when the fight gets signed, get a feel for them, come up with a game plan then I don't think about them anymore. He appears to be a busy fighter with not much power which should leave plenty of openings to land one of my ghetto whoppers.”

Edwards has been a busy guy of late if you follow him on Facebook, taking a few acting gigs and looking happy to be going outside of his comfort zone. He explained to us how he found himself in front of the camera without gloves on. “I trained a guy who ended up being a producer on a local film that ended up starring Billy Zane, they have finished filming but they were running short on money to finish the production. Blue World Order is the film's name and they have a website to visit. This latest project stemmed from people I met on that, this one is called Tech Noir and the director is attempting to get it into the aussie short film festival Tropfest. I had a great experience on both films and definitely look forward to participating in more projects.”

What does the future hold for Edwards? Only time will tell. Edwards has done it all from boxing to kickboxing to even dog walking, but will he keep fighting even if he loses? “There will be plenty of dog walking, I can't express how much I enjoy doing that and I am a prize fighter, whatever the rules if there is a prize I'll be there.”

Any man who loves dogs is okay by me. The same with any man who genuinely loves fighting and Ben Edwards fits that bill. Ben Edwards is participating in the GLORY 24 Heavyweight tournament, facing Jahfarr Wilnis in the first round.


Robin van Roosmalen Reveals More on Upcoming MMA Debut

Robin van Roosmalen recently revealed that he'd be dipping his toe into the MMA waters after two years of training in the sport, all with the blessings of GLORY. Today, thanks to an interview from the Blackzilians website, there are more details on his pending debut. 

Van Roosmalen will be making his MMA debut on January 16th in Italy for the promotion FFC. FFC, run out of Croatia, runs events that are a mix of MMA and kickboxing. This seems like an interesting promotion to fight for considering they do have a kickboxing connection, but this is apparently all done with GLORY's knowledge. He had an exclusive contract with GLORY, but the promotion gave him the go ahead to pursue MMA as long as it didn't interfere with his GLORY obligations. 

As for the weight class? Robin fights at Lightweight in kickboxing but due to how much weight-cutting happens in MMA he has decided to fight at Featherweight in MMA. When asked about a possible future in the UFC, which doesn't allow for their fighters to participate in other sports, he said that he'd like to reach the highest level at some point, but that would be far down the line for him. There was a push to get van Roosmalen involved with Bellator (which we've known for a while), most recently a push for him to fight on the Bellator MMA Dynamite 1 card but Bellator didn't seem keen on it and those talks went nowhere. 


The 20 Greatest Kyokushin Karate Fighters of All Time: #16-13

The 20 Greatest Kyokushin Karate Fighters of All Time was first published by Liver Kick in 2013, with #20-17. It has taken us some time to get around to completing that list, but finally we have done it!

As mentioned in the first installment, Kyokushin Karate was founded by Masutatsu “Mas” Oyama, and considered to be the first and most influential style of full contact karate, and one of the most hard-hitting, brutal, and intense forms of organized combat in the world. A style that has spawn fighters the likes of Andy Hug and Georges St. Pierre, to name just a couple. But aside from the big name kickboxers and mma stars there lays an array of combat sports athletes whose neither names nor accomplishments often see the light of day. This is the reason the "Top 20 Greatest Kyokushin Fighters of All-Time" was first started.

As stated before, this is by no means the definitive list, and I am sure there are names missing, but I have done my best to complete the list with fighters based mainly on impact, achievement, quality of competition and technical skill. The list is in no particular order, as it’s next to impossible to select one fighter over another, and further, it is something that no one would agree on. But I am sure we can all agree that the names on this list deserve recognition.

A little information on the different types of tournaments before we begin: A World Tournament includes every weight class. There are no divisions and no upper weight limit. Any Weight Tournament splits fighters into one of three weights: Lightweight (Under 70 kg) Middleweight (70 kg to 80 kg) and Heavyweight (Over 90 kg). That's it. Pretty simple, right?


So without further ado, here are #16 - 13 on our list....

#16: Makoto Nakamura

Nationality: Japanese


  • 3rd World Tournament – 1st place 1984
  • 2nd World Tournament – 1st place 1979
  • 13th All Japan Tournament – 2nd place 1981
  • 12th All Japan Tournament – 2nd place 1980
  • 11th All Japan Tournament – 1st place 1979
  • 10th All Japan Tournament – 3rd place 1978
  • 9th All Japan Tournament – 3rd place 1977

Makoto Nakamura is the only winner of two Kyokushin World Open tournaments and was known for his power style of karate. He is the epitome of “power karate” and truly represented the old guard of Kyokushin. At 110 kg (245 lbs) he was large man be any accounts, let alone against usually much smaller Japanese. He used his size and power to full advantage.

After competing, winning or always placing in the top 3 in the All Japan Tournaments, Nakamura was selected to be on the Japanese team for the 2nd World Tournament in 1979, where he would win first place, but not without controversy.

In that 2nd World Tournament he would face 18-year-old Dolph Lundgren from Sweden. Then only a green belt, Lundgren had to borrow a brown belt (one level higher) to be able to fight. As he recounts, "Full-contact-karate was something new at the time. Nobody really knew a lot about it, and neither did I." Held at the Japan Metropolitan Gymnasium, Nakamura was the favourite to win. When he faced Lundgren, who weighed 93 kg (205 lbs) Nakamura (a 2nd degree black belt at the time) attacked immediately and Lundgren caught him with a mawashi-geri (roundhouse kick) to the head. It is reported the crowd gasped and Nakamura probably thought he had more on his hands then he had bargained for. The fight went the distance; plus two extensions and Nakamura was awarded a controversial decision. This proved to be the eventual world champions hardest fight.

Nakamura would go on to compete in the 3rd World Tournament 1984 and win 1st place as well.


#15: Sam Greco

Nationality: Australian


  • K-1 World Grand Prix 3rd Place1999
  • W.A.K.O. Pro World Muay Thai Super Heavyweight Champion1999
  • The Best of the Best Tournament Champion1995
  • W.K.A. World Muay Thai Super Heavyweight Champion1994
  • Karate World Cup Champion1994
  • Commonwealth Karate Champion 1989-1991
  • 6 time Australia Full Contact Karate Champion

Sam "Slam 'em" Greco trained in Kyokushin Karate from a young age and started competing in full contact karate tournaments at age of 21. He is a retired super heavyweight fighter, who fought in Kyokushin Karate, Professional Kickboxing, K-1 tournaments and MMA. To put it simply, Sam Greco is a legend. He was an aggressive fighter who epitomized raw physical power and technical precision. Greco was an absolute dream to watch in the ring, as he would bring punishment forward and raining down. 

After winning the Australian Full-Contact Karate title six times Greco would meet the founder of Kyokusin, Mas Oyama and eventually the founder of Seidokaikan Karate, Kazuyoshi Ishii. Ishii himself was a student of Mas Oyama’s Kyokushin under Hideyuki Ashihara. 

Greco would go on to have an impressive career, 147 fights overall, and holds notable victories over many of the greats of kickboxing, like Branko Cikatic, Ernesto Hoost, Mike Bernardo, Stefan Leko, and Ray Sefo.

Greco is quoted as saying "My biggest achievement to date was taking on all the best fighters in the K1 world. Fighters that I would only read about and thought one day I will get to fight them. I never took a back step on anyone."


#14: Takashi Azuma

Nationality: Japanese


  • 1st place at the 9th All Japan Tournament 1977
  • 3rd place at the 8th All Japan Tournament1976
  • 6th place at the 1st World Tournament1974
  • 2nd place at the 6th All Japan Tournament1974

Azuma Takashi was born in 1949, began martial arts through the practice of Judo and in 1971 discovered Kyokushin Karate. He became a student of the founder, Mas Oyama. Azuma was a fiercely dominant fighter in the early days of Kyokushin and stood out among other fighters not only because of his physical strength, but also his strength of spirit, which never accepted defeat. A true warrior in every sense of the word, who encompassed Budo, or the Japanese Martial Way.

Azuma Takashi is the founder of the martial art Daido Juku, also known as "Kudo", and the President of the Kudo International Federation. Daido Juku is a martial art group practicing Kudo, a strike-based Mixed Martial Art/Budo. Noticeable by the use of a helmet that sort of looks like a space helmet, which allows fighters to strike to the head and not impede vision. Daido Juku introduced "Kakuto Karate (Combat Karate)" a safe, practical and popular form of tournament karate using the face protector and allowing attacks to the head level attack, throws, grabs, joint locks and chokes. Essentially, it’s like Japanese Budo MMA. 


Photo Credit WKO Shinkyokushinkai

Photo courtesy of WKO Shinkyokushinkai

#13 Norichika Tsukamoto

Nationality: Japanese


  • All Japan Weight Division Tournament: The 11th all Japan weight division heavy weight 4th place, The 15th all Japan weight division heavy weight 1st place, The 21st all Japan weight division heavy weight 1st place, The 25th all Japan weight division heavy weight 3rd place
  • All Japan Tournament: The 28th all Japan 1st place, The 29th all Japan 1st place, The 34th all Japan 3rd place, The 36th all Japan 6th place, The 38th all Japan 1st place/Mas Oyama Award, The 41st all Japan 1st place, The 42nd all Japan 1st place
  • Karate World Cup: The 1st karate world cup heavy weight 1st place, The 3rd karate world cup heavy weight 4th place, The 4th karate world cup heavy weight 2nd place
  • World Tournament: The 6th world championship 1st place, The 7th world championship Japan national member, The 8th world championship 7th place, The 9th world championship 7th place, The 10th world championship 1st place/technique award
  • Tsukamoto was part of the new breed of Kyokushin fighters, known for his innovative and progressive fighting style. 

In the earlier days of Kyokushin, fighters were recognized for their “stand and bang” style of fighting. Pitting strength and brawn against one another. As the sport evolved you began to see fighters becoming more intelligent in their training practices and fighting. Fighters probably began to realize the old style of training and fighting would not have much longevity on the body. So, as fighters became smarter with their conditioning, the styles of fighting became smarter as well. Tsukamoto was one of the first in Full Contact Karate that began to apply new ways of thinking and new performing techniques, and we began to others changing and adapting. Marius Ilas is another one of this new breed of fighters.

Tsukamoto has proven that his unconventional way of fighting works, based on the many championships he has won, and the way fighters have a hard time dealing with and defending his approach. From unorthodox kicking methods to his use of hiza geri jodan (knee kick to the head) to KO opponents, Tsukamoto has influenced a whole new generation of Kyokushin fighters.

Tsukamoto is now part of the World Karate Organization - Shinkyokushinkai, the Kyokushin offshoot led by former world champion, Kenji Midori. We’ll be visiting him on the list shortly! 

Click here for #20-17 and tune in soon for fighters #12-09. 


Singdam Tells Liam Harrison He Has No Chance at Yokkao 15

Yokkao 15 is quickly approaching, part of the big double header in Bolton in the UK with one of the feature attractions being Singdam Kiatmoo9 squaring off with the UK's own Liam Harrison. In this interview conducted by Yokkao's Stefania Picelli she talks about this being Liam's first fight and Singdam brings the heat. Singdam is of course a veteran of over 330 fights and isn't impressed with Liam's 100 fights, not even a little bit.

Oh yeah, he goes as far as to tell him that he has no chance on October 10th. Watch the interview below.


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