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LiverKick.com Rankings

Heavyweight (Per 4/15)
1. Rico Verhoeven
2. Daniel Ghita
3. Gokhan Saki
4. Tyrone Spong
5. Peter Aerts
6. Errol Zimmerman up
7. Benjamin Adegbuyiup
8. Ismael Londt up
9. Hesdy Gerges up
10. Ben Edwards up

Light HW (per 4/15)
1. Gokhan Saki up
2. Tyrone Spong down
3. Danyo Ilunga
4. Nathan Corbett down
5. Saulo Cavalari

Middleweight (per 4/15)
1. Wayne Barrett
2. Joe Schilling
3. Artem Levin
4. Steven Wakeling
5. Franci Grajs

Welterweight (per 4/15)
1. Nieky Holzken 
2. Joseph Valtellini 
3. Simon Marcus
4. Marc de Bonte
5. Aussie Ouzgni


70kg (Per 4/15)
1. Davit Kiriaup
2. Andy Ristiedown
3. Robin van Roosmalendown
4. Giorgio Petrosyandown
5. Murthel Groenhart
6. Buakaw Banchamek
7. Dzhabar Askerov
8. Ky Hollenbeckup
9. Aikprachaup
10. Enriko Kehlup

65kg (per 1/20)
1. Masaaki Noiri
2. Mosab Amraniup
3. Yuta Kubo down
4. Sagetdao
5. Liam Harrison

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Krush starts 2012 off with a bang with Krush.15 on January 9th at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. The card is headlined by two title fights which happen to be rematches where 60kg champion Hirotaka Urabe defends his title against Naoki "Naokick" Ishikawa and 55kg champion Shota Takiya defends his title against Nobuchika Terado. Krush also kicks off its -63kg WILDRUSH League with all 6 fighters competing. Matchups for the first leg of the WILDRUSH League are Yukimitsu Takahashi vs NOMAN, Hideaki Yamazaki vs Hitoshi Tsukagoshi and TaCa vs Naoki Terasaki. Also featured on the card is the flashy Keiji Ozaki taking on Hironori Hattori in a 64kg fight. Check back for previews of the two title fights and a preview of the -63kg WILDRUSH League as Krush.15 gets closer. Add a comment

That Tatneft Cup kicked off their 2012 season on Saturday with the first installment of their 1/8 finals, featuring two fights each at 70kg, 80kg and 91kg+. Among the fights that took place was Artur Alimirzoev against Umyut Demirors at 70kg. Neither of these two fighters are known at all, and it's always nice to see a fight between two fighters you've never seen before. Alimirzoev ended up scoring a devastating knockout, with Demirors doing a slow motion faceplant. Chalk up another candidate for KO of the year? Check out the video:

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The first two kickboxing matches have been added to Antonio Inoki's Genki Desu Ka!! (How Are You?!) DREAM New Year's Eve event and unfortunately they appear to be more or less squash matches showcasing two of Japan's top talents.

In the first bout, 2011 K-1 -63kg Japan Tournament champion Yuta Kubo will look to extend his win-streak to 8 against Swedish Sanshou fighter Nils Widlund. Kubo is arguably the hottest fighter in Japan right now, going 14-2 over the past 3 years with his only losses coming in tournament finals to Masahiro Yamamoto and Tetsuya Yamato. His most recent victory was a one-sided beating over French fighter Tristan Benard at Krush.13. While it's hard to find much information about Widlund in kickboxing, he has represented Sweden in Sanshou at the World Wushu Championships in the past, losing in the quarterfinals in both 2007 and 2009. I could not find any information regarding the 2011 World Championships. He has taken a few fights under K-1 rules under the Rumble of the Kings banner, as well. While Widlund is an unknown and certainly has skill, I do not think his Sanshou skills will do much under K-1 rules against someone with the skill of Kubo.

The other fight announced is 2009 K-1 Koshien and 2011 Krush Supernova Tournament champion Masaaki Noiri taking on fellow Supernova Tournament participant Kengo Sonoda. Noiri is fresh off his Supernova Tournament win in which he defeated HIROYA by decision in the semis and KO'd Koya Urabe in the finals in the same night. He was bested in the semifinals of both the Krush 60kg Tournament and the K-1 -63kg Japan Tournament this year, but showed significant defensive improvements in the semifinals and finals of the Supernova Tournament. Sonoda has put together a pretty decent year for himself as well. A fellow product of the K-1 Koshien system, Sonoda never made it past the round of 16. However, when he was placed into the Supernova Tournament, he scored an upset over J-Network Flyweight champion Tsukasa Fuji, the favorite to win his block, but was knocked out by Yukimitsu Takahashi in the quarterfinals. He was given a reserve bout against Daizo Sasaki which he won by decision. While Sonoda proved this year that he's improved from his Koshien days, Masaaki Noiri has improved tenfold and with his improved defense, shouldn't have much trouble with Sonoda.

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RISE has announced the first matchup of its 2012 year for RISE 86 on January 28th and it will be Super Lightweight champion Koji Yoshimoto defending his title for the second time against unbeaten Silver Wolf prospect Yasuomi Soda. At 31, Yoshimoto boasts a 24-13-3 (3 KO) record against some of the best fighters in Japan and South Korea at his weight including wins over Son Hyun Lee, Rashata, Ryuji Kajiwara, Hiromasa Masuda, Kanongsuk Weerasakreck, Shunsuke Inoue and Yusuke Sugawara. He has moved from J-Network to the now defunct AJKF into RISE where he captured the Super Lightweight title in a 4-man tournament, defeating Yusuke Sugawara in the finals and defending his title against Sugawara with a draw. He is currently on a 3-fight win-streak which includes a win over Shohei Asahara in a reserve fight for the K-1 2011 -63kg Japan Tournament and most recently, a close win over surging Korean prospect Son Hyun Lee. Soda has had a bit of a breakout year in 2011, going 4-0 with a pair of knockouts to improve his spotless record to 11-0 (4 KO) which included a knockout win over Masaru to earn him his shot at this title and back to back decisions over veteran Tomo Kiire and Shingo Yokoyama, brother of Go Yokoyama, in an opening fight at the K-1 2011 -63kg Japan Tournament. A win for either fighter could vault either man into a qualifying tournament spot for FIKA in 2012.

RISE also announced two additional participants for the event and they are Middleweight champion Takafumi Morita and recently crowned Bantamweight champion KENJI. Morita also had a breakout year in 2011, defeating Soichiro Miyakoshi by decision then knocking out former RISE Middleweight champion Yukihio Komiya to capture the title. He was then selected as a participant for the 2011 K-1 MAX 70kg Japan Tournament where he upset fellow prospect Hiroki Nakajima before losing a close decision, his first professional loss, to tournament champion Yuji Nashiro in the semis. KENJI, brother of K-1 star Yuta Kubo, has had a pretty good year, too. He started the year having his 4-fight win-streak snapped in the semifinals of the Krush 55kg tournament against Shota Takiya, but put on a great showing, forcing an extension round against the red hot Takiya. Since, he has put together another 4-fight win-streak which saw him capture the vacant RISE Bantamweight title against Dyki back at RISE 85 in November. RISE did not indicate whether either fighter would be in a superfight or defending their title, though superfights for both would be likely. 

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A few weeks ago Lumpini held its birthday show, and now its time for Rajadamnern to do the same. It will mark the 66th year of the stadium and they'll be celebrating it by putting together a very good night of fights. 

The Main event will pit two of the better fighters in all of Thailand against each other when Kongsak Sitboonmee takes on 130 pound champion, Jomthong Chuwattana. Kongsak has had a fight or 2 down in Southern Thailand recently where beat Pakon Sakyothin for the 2nd time this year. On the other hand, Pakon has handed Jomthong his last two defeats. Since then he's fought a pair of Japanese opponents in Hiromasa Masuda, and Tetsuya Yamato who we're really nothing more than fodder for him. Jomthong usually wins when his opponents aren't primarily strong clinchers. Kongsak is not a fighter who prefers to clinch, but rather stay on the outside and pound away with kicks, which is good news for Jomthong. However, Kongsak has shown he has little weakness and can fight well against any style. On paper this is a true coin flip.

In the fight prior to the main event the aforementioned Pakon Sakyothin will take on Wanchalerm Aoddonmuang. Most people know Pakon from his brawl in the Lumpini fight of the year from 2010 with Ponsaneh Sitmonchai. However that was not a good representation of him as a fighter. He's actually very strong in the clinch, which is also Wanchalerm's specialty. Wanchalerm will be the bigger fighter, but should be outgunned by Pakon who will have more options. 

Next up long time veteran Singthongnoi Por. Telakoon will take on Saeksan Or. Kwamuang. Saeksan was already involved in this years Rajadamnern fight of the year when he came back from multiple knockdowns to stop Kaimukkaw Chuwattana in the 4th round in an epic fight. Singthongnoi is also known as a tough fighter who isn't afraid to mix things up. This could very well be fight of the night. 

Noppakrit Kor. Kumpanart is back down to a much more suitable weight of 132 pounds. He recently took part in an Isuzu tournament at 145 where he looked rather pedestrian. In 2010 he had a handful of performances where he looked like a world beater. Now he takes on Petek Aikbangzai who is naturally too small for Noppakrit. If Noppakrit can handle the weight cut he should win and look like the fighter he was last year.  

Finally Wanchalong Sitzornong will fight Rataket Tedet99. These two have been scheduled to fight for some time now but the fight has always fallen apart. Rataket's key to victory will definitely be to use his size and wear Wanchalong out in close, but it will be tough as Rataket has questionable stamina himself. Wanchalong will probably look to keep this fight on the outside to land kicks and maybe catch Rataket off guard with an unconventional strike. 

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The K-1 World Grand Prix will not happen for the first time since 1993 this year. Sometimes you have to make a sacrifice for the good of the sport and a promotion like K-1, and having this time to re-organize and re-group and kick off next year with FIKA is vital. This, of course, means that over the past week or so many of us who have been following K-1 for years were sorely missing the K-1 World Grand Prix. If you are like me, then go ahead and watch the Finals to the very first World Grand Prix, held in 1993. If you have the time, check out K-1's official YouTube channel that still features the 1993 - 1999 World Grand Prix events, which you should be studying for the holidays.

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