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GLORY CEO Andrew Whitaker Talks SuperFight Series and More

GLORY

When it comes to Kickboxing, there is nothing hotter right now that GLORY Sports International, best know for the GLORY Kickboxing events. GLORY houses some of the Kickboxing world’s greatest talents and have been putting on some of the best shows in the sport for over a year now. GLORY began when Pierre Andurand and Marcus Luer teamed up with Golden Glory, who had some success with their own Ultimate Glory and Glory World Series events, to make the promotion that we know now, and since then it has been growing rapidly into one of the top combat sports leagues in the world.

LiverKick sat down with GLORY Sports International’s CEO, Andrew Whitaker, to discuss all things GLORY and what is in store for the promotion in the near and far future. Whitaker initially served on the board of directors for GLORY Sports International before transitioning to the CEO position this January and it has been an interesting transition for him, coming from a background in entertainment and sports entertainment, previously working at Kings Highway Media and most notably for WWE. His career within the WWE spanned many years and many positions, placing him in a rather unique position when it comes to producing sports entertainment television and expanding a business on an international scale.

The transition for Whitaker was one that forced him to get down and really learn about the business before he took the reins of the company this year. “Obviously there was a period of immersion to all things GLORY kickboxing. As you know, I obviously worked in entertainment for many years, albeit working with the sports business as well with my former employer. It was more the sports and entertainment businesses, as it was more efficient to do so. In that sense, the licensing people in sports, the live events people in sports on a global basis, the media rights people in sports on a global basis are all people that I’ve been working with for a very, very long time. While I come from what is a very successful entertainment brand and helped grow a global entertainment brand, the transition for me to sports was more about me learning about the specific sport of kickboxing than it is on a business-to-business basis, or a business-to-consumer basis that we have here in America and globally.”

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Daniel Ghita is Prepared for Glory 9 New York

Ghita

The sport of Kickboxing is one that is still growing and evolving every day, even if it has been around for quite a while now. If you need proof of that, look no further than Daniel Ghita, who fights this weekend at Glory 9 New York against Brice Guidon. Ghita, a Romanian fighter, began as a bruiser whose kicks were his best weapon. Since then Ghita has evolved not only as a fighter but as a sportsman as well. He shows a media savvy and professional attitude at all times.

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Discussing the Future of K-1 With Ned Kuruc

K-1

K-1 has seen some tumultuous times over the past few years, as we saw the FEG era come to an end in 2011 and saw former EMCOM/Jaleco bigwig Mike Kim step in and purchase the assets to K-1, creating K-1 Global. It has been an interesting ride since then, as we’ve seen the formation of GLORY, the absorption of It’s Showtime into GLORY and seen regional promoters like Eduard Irimia try to break through with brands like SuperKombat. In a way, the market is wide open while still living in the shadows of K-1’s past.

K-1 Global is probably the one who has the most work to do when it comes to overcoming the shadow of K-1’s past, as they are carrying the torch for the K-1 brand and for the sport in general after there were some major issues with K-1’s former management. Then, to top it all off, K-1 Global has seen a revolving door of failed partnerships, which shows how unstable the Kickboxing world can be as well as how K-1 Global boss Mike Kim is not looking to accept subpar deals or excuses, he just wants to put on good shows.

We sat down with a guy whose name you might not know -- but you should -- in Ned Kuruc, who serves as the Director of Regional Development & Fighter Acquisition for K-1 Global, which is a fancy title for saying that Ned works on developing events and signing fighters. If you stop to think about what goes on with the fight world, that is a pretty hefty job. Who better to talk about K-1 Global and where things are headed?

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Daniel Ghita is Ready to Do Battle With Gokhan Saki

Ghita

Daniel Ghita is one of the fastest rising stars in Heavyweight Kickboxing of the past few years, he was well on his way to being a star in 2010, but the right that really propelled him to international fame was his battle with Gokhan Saki at the K-1 World Grand Prix Finals. It was a classic bout between the two men, with Saki taking the win that time and moving on to the semifinals. Of course, he moved on to the semifinals with injured ribs and a broken arm, the fight with Ghita leaving its mark.

In the past few years Daniel Ghita has worked tirelessly to become a better fighter, and under the tutelage of Anil Dubar he has become a force to be reckoned with. Ghita was always known for his deadly kicks, especially his low kicks, but over the past few years he has brought a new understanding of the complete Kickboxing game to the ring with him, including a deadly right hand which has earned him the new nickname of “The Sniper,” a much more refined nickname than his past one of “The Savage Samurai.”

LiverKick caught up with Daniel Ghita as he prepared for his fight for Gokhan Saki this weekend to see how this fight will be different from the last and what Ghita expects out of this fight and the future.

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