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Chris Ngimbi: "I Will Retire After My Title Defense Against Andy Souwer in June."

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Chris Ngimbi was scheduled to defend his title on December 17 against Giorgio Petrosyan in Amsterdam. The fight was cancelled though, It's Showtime stating that there was not enough time to get a permit from the city of Amsterdam for the event. Now Ngimbi is left to find another fight, with the January 28th card being full.

Chris took to his Facebook to tell the world that he has a fight scheduled in Japan on January 23. There is no opponent set yet. No details were given, but I could see this possibly being an It's Showtime Japan event. The plan for It's Showtime Japan was to hold countdown shows this year, which they did, and then officially begin It's Showtime Japan in 2012. Again, I'm just taking a wild guess.

What Ngimbi also said was that he'll be defending his It's Showtime title against Andy Souwer in June. The fight would be Ngimbi's second title defense, and against a top opponent this time. What he also added after the Andy Souwer fight was that it would be his last fight and last title defense. Upon further investigation, I asked him if this meant retirement and he responded: "Indeed. Looking forward to the new challenges in my life." Ngimbi recently had his first child last year and with the uncertain, low-paying nature of kickboxing, appears ready to move on. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.

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It's Showtime Set For Success As Tenerife Event Nears

As It's Showtime's return to action on November 12th in Tenerife, Spain nears, it's time we all took a closer look at the event. This will be It's Showtime's second venture into Spain, with success being achieved at their first event in Madrid back in June. The atmosphere was one of the best in It's Showtime's history and the card drew an estimated 8000 which is pretty good for a first time in the country.  It's Showtime used familiar strategies that they've used for past events to ensure that the event was successful. Among these strategies are co-promoting with local promotions and placing local talent on the card.

For this card on November 12th, It's Showtime will be utilizing many fighters from the Canary Islands, of which Tenerife is a part of. The Canaries have a pretty strong kickfighting following and the turnouts for events there are generally good. Two of the top draws for the card will be Loren Javier Jorge and Moises Ruibal, both fighters who have risen up from the kickfighting scene in the Canaries and achieved success on a grander stage. You may remember them from when they put in great efforts on It's Showtime's Madrid card. Fans show up for in droves for their fights and both and most of the crowd will be there supporting them. Loren recently beat Rodney Glunder in Tenerife on October 8th in Tenerife, giving him some nice hometown momentum leading into his title fight against Danyo Ilunga. Moises Ruibal also just split two fights against top Dutch 85kg fighter Fred Sikking, losing a close first fight that demanded a rematch in which he won. These two fights with Sikking also took place in Tenerife recently, the first being in August and the second being in September, also adding some steam to the event lead-up.Loren and other local fighers draw strong crowds.

Other fighters on the main card that should be taken note of are Carlos Reyes, Zeben Diaz and Jonay Risco. Reyes beat It's Showtime's 61MAX World Champion, Javier Hernandez in April and will actually replace Hernandez to fight Sergio Wielzen. Although It's Showtime's champion is out of the fight, it's probably even better for the card that Reyes is in, being that he's another local talent that can help to fill seats. Zeben Diaz put in a good performance at It's Showtime's Madrid event and was featured in local newspapers. Diaz is again another local talent and it's telling of his status that he's being featured in newspapers. Jonay Risco is also fighting William Diender on the card, and you probably get it by now that he's another local fighter that will help to draw attention to the event. Add an undercard that's filled with more local fighters, including Loren's brother and I think the event will have a solid attendance.

It's Showtime has made it a habit to co-promote with local promotions and it really helps them with their local advertising and event awareness. For this Tenerife event, they've teamed with the Canary Kickboxing Federation, Fightclub Group and Street Culture. The Canary Kickboxing Federation is responsible for most shows in the Canaries and should ensure that this event has a solid backing. Fightclub Group is a familiar partner for It's Showtime and they've co-promoted numerous events, mostly in Belgium and Holland.

The event is supported by the government of the Canary Islands, the Santa Cruz City Council and the Autonomous Sports Organization of La Laguna. The event is also officially backed by local newspaper Diario de Avisos and local radio station Teide Radio-Onda Cero who will be providing coverage. There have already been stories in the newspaper about the events and individual fighters. Tickets are even being sold at stores like Jack & Jones.

With all the local backing, fighters and coverage, I'd say the event is set up for success. The event takes places in the Pabellon Insular Santiago Martin, which holds 5100 people. I have no doubts that the arena will be full. It's Showtime is taking a smart approach to international expansion and with the way this event has been put together, I think it's safe to say we can expect more in the future.

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Official LiverKick Rankings Update (1/20)

Just in time for (read: a few weeks after) the New Year the Official LiverKick Rankings have [finally] been updated! There hasn't been a ton of movement in the rankings of late, but there has been enough going on to justify a long, hard look at each division and for some reshuffling to happen. Perhaps the biggest thing to take away from the Rankings update for today is that Semmy Schilt is no longer the #1 Heavyweight after one year of inactivity. There have been rumors of Schilt having a retirement fight some time this year but it has yet to materialize just yet. While Gokhan Saki is rumored to be moving to Light Heavyweight it has yet to be confirmed with an actual fight just yet, so he's still ranked at Heavyweight. This makes Rico Verhoeven the undisputed king of the Heavyweight division right now. Filling in the missing spot is Hesdy Gerges coming in at #10.

Not a lot of movement at Light Heavyweight, but Saulo Cavalari did move into the #5 spot after his big win over Filip Verlinden back in October. Middleweight also saw everything remain quiet after the shocking upset victory of Wayne Barrett over Joe Schilling. Welterweight perhaps saw the most movement where the GLORY 13 Welterweight tournament secured the #1 spot for Nieky Holzken and the #2 spot for Joseph Valtellini after an amazing display from both men. This moves the Kickboxing-shy Simon Marcus down to #3, but there have been serious talks of him showing up in a major Kickboxing organization in 2014.

Lightweight (70kg) has been quiet, as K-1 has held the K-1 World MAX Quarter Finals but unless Buakaw loses or Andy Souwer comes back quickly after his appendicitis there won't be much movement until the end of the tournament or a big upset happens. There was some movement at 65kg, though, as Mosab Amrani picked up a big win over Yuta Kubo, securing the #2 spot for him.

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LiverKick.com Heavyweight Rankings: January 2013

Welcome back to the LiverKick.com rankings. These rankings are an attempt to break down the top 10 fighters in three different weight classes - Heavyweight, for fighters above the 85kg limit, Middleweight, for fighters at the 70-72.5kg limit, and Lightweight, for fighters under 63kg. 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.

Heavyweight

1. Semmy Schilt
2. Daniel Ghita
3. Gokhan Saki
4. Rico Verhoeven up
5. Jamal Ben Saddik up
6. Tyrone Spong
7. Hesdy Gerges
8. Errol Zimmerman down
9. Pavel Zhuravlev up
10. Freddy Kemayo up

Sem SchiltHeavyweight - January 2013

There is a phrase when it comes to Heavyweight Kickboxing and that phrase is "Heavyweights gonna Heavyweight," and that is exactly what we have seen over the past few weeks. There has been a lot of movement in the Heavyweight rankings due in part to the SuperKombat World Grand Prix Finals and then of course the Glory World Series Grand Slam tournament.

#1 Semmy Schilt once again cemented his spot at the very top of the sport by defeating four men in one night to take home yet another tournament crown. As always, our rankings tend to favor the tournament format for rankings as that is the standard for which Heavyweight kickboxing is weighed. That is the easiest way to explain that #2 Daniel Ghita holds steady at the number two spot. Ghita worked through three opponents in one night and lost to Semmy Schilt in the finals in a disputed decision. Surely there are lots of fans of #3 Gokhan Saki upset that Saki is not in the second spot, but the reality is that he did not make it to the finals, but was very close indeed. Saki put up a very good fight against Semmy Schilt and is slated to fight Daniel Ghita in April.

#4 Rico Verhoeven earned his spot over the past year, where his inclusion on the rankings was always based on a win over Hesdy Gerges, who was ranked due to a DQ win over Badr Hari. Verhoeven has without a doubt proven his mettle and was only ousted by Schilt. #5 Jamal Ben Saddik is the guy who really threw a wrench in everyone's plans by making it to the semi-finals. There will be some dispute that he belongs above Rico, but the loss to Jafhar Wilnis does weight heavily on him right now. He still has shot onto the rankings in a heartbeat and should be here to stay.

#6 Tyrone Spong actually opted not to participate in the tournament for whatever reason, so he does not move, but he faces a still unranked Remy Bonjasky soon, which could change things. #7 Hesdy Gerges is in the same boat, except he is fighting for K-1 and no one is clear when his next high level fight will be. The big upset was for #8 Errol Zimmerman who went from being in the top 5 to slipping to the eighth spot after his loss to Jamal Ben Saddik. The next two are courtesy of the SuperKombat WGP where #9 Pavel Zhuravlev made sure that Benjamin Adegbuyi was knocked out of the rankings and secured himself a spot in the top. Then came #10 Freddy Kemayo who won a reserve fight over the formerly ranked Sergei Laschenko who continues his downward spiral.

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