|Heavyweight (Per 10/13)|
|1.||Semmy Schilt (?)|
|7.||Mirko Cro Cop|
|Light HW (per 10/13)|
|Middleweight (per 11/25)|
|Welterweight (per 10/13)|
|70kg (Per 11/25)|
|2.||Robin van Roosmalen|
|65kg (per 10/6)|
The news about Badr Hari, Gokhan Saki and Tyrone Spong’s imminent departures from the sport of Kickboxing behind to pursue other interests in the combat sports world has had the world talking about Heavyweight Kickboxing, but most of the discussion has not been complimentary, instead it has been gloom and doom. It is understandable to be upset over three big stars departing the world of Kickboxing; Saki and Hari for Boxing and Spong for MMA, because over the past few years they have been the golden standard of “young fighters” and shown a strong future for the sport. Yet the talk is that the well has gone dry, that there is no money in Kickboxing because of K-1’s financial distress and that elite talent will no longer look to Kickboxing as a viable career.
This is incredibly inaccurate and echoes a lot of the same sentiments that were heard about Boxing when MMA began to rise into prominence. Many were quick to declare Boxing as a dead sport or at least on a steady enough decline to where within a matter of years Mixed Martial Arts would completely over take it and no more young talent would turn to Boxing. Instead we’ve seen Boxing continue to march forward, new stars being developed and dominant fighters like Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, the Klitschko brothers and more steal headlines and attract more and more fans. MMA enthusiasts will argue that there are so few big Boxing PPVs that of course the big fights drawing in the million buys or more range makes sense, that UFC’s business model is to get consistent buys for lesser fights. Boxing fans would note that no UFC fighter outside of Brock Lesnar has the ability to draw mainstream interest or PPV buys like a Floyd Mayweather or a Manny Pacquiao can.
The truth is somewhere in the middle, where both sports are entirely different sports and can easily co-exist with there still being a wealth of talent in each sport. For Kickboxing the same is true. There is no doubt that as MMA grows it will attract some talented fighters who could have otherwise made a successful career in Kickboxing, Boxing or Muay Thai, but that does not mean that any sport will be run out of business or talent because of it. Each sport is distinctly different and some fighters find their calling and stick with it. Not every fighter has a passion for grappling like they do for stand up fighting, why would they jump to a sport like MMA where in the United States traditional wrestling dominates a lot of where the fights take place and how they are paced?
In Europe and Asia there is still strong support for Kickboxing and Muay Thai, with it built into the culture much like in the Midwestern United States strong wrestling programs are built into the culture and in urban areas of the United States youth Boxing programs are there. Children grow up learning how to Kickbox in the Netherlands, UK, Australia and many other countries, it is hard to imagine a sport like Kickboxing simply dying off because of a predominantly American sport like MMA is finally starting to create “millionaires” as Dana White has gone on record stating.
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Fight Code returns this Saturday, October 15th with one of their better cards of the year. The card will play host to the Dragons 72.5kg Final 8 featuring Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee and Armen Petrosyan to name a few, along with a couple single fights. Fight Code has also partnered with TK2 for this event, who will host a one night, eight man tournament featuring the likes of Yohan Lidon and Leroy Kaestner. Now, here's who you should keep a watchful eye on this weekend:
Allazov has all the makings of a future star and elite fighter. He's been fighting way above the level of competition he's been facing in Fight Code, destroying everyone. He's only 19 years old and the level of skill and fighting prowess he's shown so far is pretty unbelievable. He fights around 63-67kg and at only 19 years of age, I would not be surprised at all if he grew into a legit 70kg fighter. He trains at the Chinuk Gym that has produced notables such as Alexey Ignashov, Zabit Samedov and Vitali Akhramenko. He's shown tons of potential so far and I'd expect another destruction against French fighter Raouf Beliouz on Saturday.
Permanently in his brother's shadow, Armen Petrosyan is probably the best fighter that no one really thinks about. Armen, despite not being as good as Giorgio (Who is?), has solid skills and a resume to back it up. His biggest win to date was over Yoshihiro Sato in April and if he can win the Dragons tournament, it should really get him some recognition. He's ranked #9 on our Liverkick.com rankings yet barely anyone knows much about him. He'll be facing Belarussian fighter Yuri Bessmertny on Saturday, who is pretty decent himself.
Another young fighter at 22 years of age, Gogokhia has come up short against good competition but he's shown he can hang with some of the best. He was very competitive with Mike Zambidis and Dzhabar Askerov this year. He's fighting in the TK2 tournament and I think there's a good chance he can string together some wins. Yohan Lidon and Leroy Kaestner are the toughest opponents in the tournament and anything can happen in a tournament. Gogokhia will fight a familiar face from It's Showtime, Mohammed Medhar in the quarter finals.
The K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16 is just over two weeks away now and there has been no card announced and from reports inside of fight camps from managers and fighters, there are no finalized contracts for the fights. It's Showtime's Simon Rutz made a deadline for K-1 to pay up, which was last Friday, when this came and went the deadline was apparently extended to Wednesday of this week. We've been in contact with Simon Rutz and other employees of It's Showtime who could confirm that were some financial problems and disagreements and were still waiting for their payments before they could move forward. There has been no word over the past two days from the It's Showtime camp, though. LiverKick.com reached out to some K-1 officials who had no further details for us other than thanking us for our patience and telling us just to wait a little bit longer and there should be an update.
Now there are reports coming out of the Netherlands that K-1 has been offering a "deal" that reads a lot like a settlement to fighters who would like to participate in the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16. The deal is for fighters to sign a contract by tomorrow, and that the contract waives a certain degree of K-1 and FEG's liability to fighters for past financial obligations. Signing this contract being offered by FEG assures the fighters a spot in the Final 16, but waives the fighter's right to half of the money that FEG owes the fighters, which in some cases will be hundreds of thousands of dollars. Only if those contracts are signed with FEG pay fighters any of the money that they owe, which begs the question of what happens to fighters like Ray Sefo and Alistair Overeem who are not looking to participate in the World Grand Prix this year but are owed a lot of money?
These reports line up with information that sources have told to LiverKick.com over the past few days, and it is not yet clear if this offer was extended to all fighters who were owed money, to just certain fighters or just to certain fighters that are part of management teams or fight camps that work with K-1. We'll provide more updates when they are available, but we could finally be getting some answers within the next few days.Add a comment
Badr Hari is steadfast in making his transition to the Heavyweight Boxing world, and it seems like Naazim Richardson has been chosen to be his main trainer by Mike Passenier and Hari himself. Yesterday we looked at an interview with Naazim where he talked about looking forward to working with Badr Hari, and it appears that FightHype has been busy working all sides of the spectrum as they put up an interview with Badr Hari himself. In the interview with Badr they discuss his yearly trip to Morocco, which is where he has been recently -- not with Brock Lesnar -- and how important his Muslim roots are to him. Badr also has a rather enlightened view of religion saying that it is a very personal thing that has been pushed upon other people and started wars.
Hari is looking forward to working with Naazim Richardson, though, and talks about how Naazim was selected as his trainer.
Hari also discusses his last fight in kickboxing with Gokhan Saki and dodges a lot of personal questions, read the rest of the interview here. Ominous by its absence is any discussion about fighting for K-1 again.Add a comment
Back in September, Shooto and Shootboxing announced that they were going to put on a 2-day event with the first day being an MMA card titled Shooto the Shoot on November 5th and the second day being a kickboxing card titled Shoot the Shooto on November 6th. Shootboxing announced Andy Souwer, Hiroki Shishido, Bovy Sor Udomson, Toby Imada and Hiroaki Suzuki would all participate on the Shootboxing card. Today, Shootboxing announced the first matchup for their half of the event and it is a cross-promotional tilt between Shootboxing mainstay Hiroki Shishido and former Shooto Lightweight (143-lb) champion “Lion” Takeshi Inoue.
Shishido hasn’t had the best luck as of late, starting with last year’s S-Cup where he faced eventual tournament champion Buakaw Por Pramuk in the quarterfinals, losing a unanimous decision. He managed a unanimous decision win over Bovy Sor Udomson in February, but ran into MMA fighter Toby Imada who was surprising everyone in Shootboxing and continued to do so with a decision win over Shishido. “Lion” Takeshi was one of the brightest prospects in Shooto and with his ascension to DREAM, I believe he’s shed the title of prospect. He originally won the Shooto Lightweight title in May of 2006 over Antonio Carvalho before losing it a year later to Akitoshi Tamura. Another loss to Savant Young seemed like a big setback, but Inoue bounced back with a win over Hideki Kadowaki to win the title back. Back to back TKO wins over lower weight legends Rumina Sato and Alexandre “Pequeño” Nogueira seemed like a big step forward for the fighter, but he ultimately lost his title in May of 2010 to consensus world #2 featherweight Hatsu Hioki. His first fight in DREAM ended up being a lackluster performance and decision loss to Kazuyuki Miyata in what could be seen as a bursting of Inoue’s prospect bubble. However the loss has seemed to motivate him, as he has scored 3 straight KO wins over fellow prospect Taiki Tsuchiya, DEEP champion Koichiro Matsumoto and legend Caol Uno. Inoue is primarily a striker, so this is a good matchup for Shootboxing to make, however he has a bit of an odd style and I see Shishido as a big favorite in this fight.
The MMA side of the event also has some good matchups for those interested. Shooto 115-lb champ 41-year old Junji Ikoma defends his title for the first time in his second straight fight against someone more than 15 years his junior in Mikihito Yamagami. Former 123-lb champ Shinichi “BJ” Kojima takes on Pancrase Flyweight champion Kiyotaka Shimizu and finally, Guy Delumeau takes on Issei Tamura while Tenkei Oda battles Wataru Miki in the semifinals of a tournament for the vacant Shooto Pacific Rim Lightweight title.Add a comment