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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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K-1The news released today by K-1 that the Final 16 would take place in China with It's Showtime's support was not a shock to those who have their finger on the pulse with K-1, at least partially. FEG producer Tanikawa has been saying for months and months that K-1 was going to promote a show in China, and many had simply written that off as Tanikawa-speak, as he has been known to say big things and deliver only in small doses. Then rumors came from fighters that K-1 would promote the World Grand Prix Final 16 in October, as well as K-1's rights being transferred to a real estate company in Japan. All of this came while there were incredibly strong rumors of a Dutch company outright purchasing K-1 for their own needs and completely transforming the whole business. What it came down to was there were a lot of rumors about K-1's future and not a lot of public movement until the past few weeks.

K-1 ultimately decided to move forward with the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16 in China in the month of October, and the talks of their new buyer went from very serious to people snickering at the concept behind the scenes as K-1 marched forward. K-1 and It's Showtime had a very public falling out during mid-2011, with Simon Rutz discussing how K-1 pulling out of their May Amsterdam ArenA event hurt his business, how K-1 owed him money and how they'd move on without K-1. Insiders with FEG claimed that Simon Rutz had "killed K-1" and Tanikawa decided to ban anyone who fought for It's Showtime's co-promoted events with REBELS and M-1 Muay Thai in Japan from competing in K-1 again. Eventually both sides backed down, but it was still a bombshell today when K-1 announced that It's Showtime was co-promoting the Final 16 with around eleven It's Showtime fighters being in the Final 16. A lot of the fighters have fight contracts with It's Showtime, but not management contracts, which makes it seem like the fights for K-1 will fulfill a part of their It's Showtime contract as opposed to a contract to fight with K-1. From an operational standpoint, that makes sense, as does It's Showtime taking proceeds from the show as It's Showtime is owed a good chunk of money from K-1.

This of course begs the very serious question of where do Golden Glory stand in all of this? Bas Boon's name was thrown around, but mainly when it came to bringing in Semmy Schilt to the tournament, as there are a host of other top names from Golden Glory who should by all means be competing in the Final 16 including Gokhan Saki, Errol Zimmerman and the freshly-signed Mark Miller. From what it appears, K-1 is working with It's Showtime as their premier partner from Europe, with Golden Glory as an afterthought. K-1 owes money to both Golden Glory and It's Showtime, so it isn't clear what kind of financial gain It's Showtime makes from this show, if any, or if simply moving the brand into a new market is a driving factor

The other big issue is that K-1 will be promoting in China, where they usually promote the Final 16 in Seoul, Korea. They also made mention of the Final 8 happening in China or another asian country, not specifically ruling out Japan, but not mentioning it, either. That is of course curious as Japan has been the home of the K-1 World Grand Prix since its inception in 1993. A revealing factor is their partnership with a Chinese television network and that there is still no word on a Japanese television deal as of press time. This is not a bad idea, though, as China is an emerging market in the global economy, taking a stance as a clear-cut leader and the entertainment world should not be left out.

Japan on the other hand is in a state of extreme decline following a slump and the devastating earthquakes and tsunamis that left the country in disarray earlier this year. There are signs in many facets of the entertainment industry to Japan being considered less and less of a major player where as it has traditionally been one of the few hubs for the entertainment world. The Mixed Martial Arts world has officially moved on from Japan, with UFC's global footprint growing all the time and promotions popping up in other asian countries like Road FC and One FC that are primed to take the spotlight from Japan. Another industry that has been scaling back in Japan has been surprisingly the video game industry, once a juggernaut in Japan. There was a decision over the summer to pull Microsoft's Xbox 360 consoles from shelves due to slow sales and Microsoft's response was one of indifference, claiming that Japan is inconsequential in the global market right now. As early as ten years ago a game console selling poorly in Japan, like Sega's Dreamcast, meant an absolute death, and now it means a small profit margin loss that can be made up for in other places.

K-1 has taken some heavy losses over the past few years doing business in Japan, but markets like China and Korea have been reaching out to them and providing them with healthier profits. It does not come as a shock that K-1 would shift its focus, especially for Heavyweights to other parts of the world. Japan has always been weak in the Heavyweight division, with only Kyotaro fighting for K-1 currently in that division and Japan being a culture that tends to look for national heros in all of their forms of entertainment.

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K-1 Event Producer Sadaharu Tanikawa held a live U-Stream press conference today regarding the 2011 World Grand Prix FINAL 16 in Nanjing, China on October 29th.

Regarding China and the venue, Tanikawa announced that K-1 has plans to return for the WGP Finals later this year in China or another area in Asia. FEG has a joint deal with regional broadcasting company Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation. From what I've gathered, this station only broadcasts in the Jiangsu province, so I'm not sure if there will be any way for the rest of the country to watch it. The venue for the event is the Nanjing Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium which holds 13,000.

Tanikawa also announced that It's Showtime's Simon Rutz is going to cooperate with K-1, and has made Badr Hari, Tyrone Spong, Daniel Ghita, Hesdy Gerges, Ruslan Karaev, Melvin Manhoef, Ben Edwards, Sergeii Lascenko, Rico Verhoeven, Anderson "Braddock" Silva, Paul Slowinski, Dzevad Poturak, Mourad Bouzidi and Rustemi Kreshnik available to K-1 for the Final 16. K-1 also mentioned they have been in talks with Jerome LeBanner, Peter Aerts and Bas Boon. Unfortunately, defending champion Alistar Overeem will be unable to compete due to his UFC contract.

The competitors that K-1 has announced for the event so far are Badr Hari, Hesdy Gerges, Tyrone Spong, Ruslan Karaev, Daniel Ghita, Ben Edwards, Melvin Manhoef, Dzevad Poturak, Sergii Lashchenko, Rico Verhoeven, and Anderson “Braddock” Silva. There's video of the press conference, with English subtitles, after the break.


UPDATE: Hesdy Gerges said on Twitter that he's set to face Errol Zimmerman.

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K-1There is always an ominous shadow that lurks over the kickboxing world like a storm cloud ready to burst, and that is K-1 and when things will get announced, if ever. K-1 has the Japan MAX tournament coming up later on this month, but that still doesn't explain the heavyweights. There have been many rumors, mainly from fighters who have been contacted about the event, that K-1 will indeed put on a K-1 World Heavyweight GP. It's Showtime head Simon Rutz confirmed this by not planning a show for late November/early December featuring big heavyweights as he had planned and pushed the show back to January.

K-1 will have an announcement on their UStream page (http://www.ustream.tv/channel/k1-Channel) on the 15th at GMT+9/PDT+16.

There have been no hints from K-1 as to what the subject matter will be, but the background of their UStream profile is photos of Badr Hari and Semmy Schilt, which could indeed be a hint.

UPDATE: K-1 just posted that they are announcing details about the World Grand Prix Final 16 in Nanjing, China tomorrow. The press conference will stream live at 7:00 PM Japan time, 6AM EST for those in North America. Among the details are the participants and the venue being used. Huge news!

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its showtime

After a very successful Spanish debut back in June, It's Showtime is set to once again hold an event in Spain on November 12th. This time, It's Showtime will stray away from the mainland and hold the event in Tenerife. Tenerife is the largest and most populous of the Canary Islands.

It's a good strategic move on behalf of It's Showtime, as kickboxing has quite strong support in the Canaries. Local fighters like Loren Javier Jorge and Moises Ruibal have strong followings that will most definitely draw interest towards the event. It's Showtime utilized Spanish fighters for their Madrid show back in June, and they had quite good showings. The atmosphere at the Madrid event was among the best that It's Showtime has had at their events and I'd expect this one to rival that.

Most notably on the card, the pound for pound best kickboxer in the world, Giorgio Petrosyan returns to action after once again injuring his hand against Hinata. Petrosyan will take on the hometown favorite Zeben Diaz. Diaz took a win over Yavuz Kayabasi at It's Showtime's Madrid event in June. A month after, Diaz fought Warren Stevelmans and lost on a questionable referee stoppage. Diaz isn't really the ideal opponent for Petrosyan, but it looks like the fight is more of a tune up for him, with all due respect to Zeben Diaz (Petrosyan is just that good.). There were rumors that Petrosyan would've faced the top 70kg fighter in Spain, Abraham Roqueni at this event but it turns out they were just that - rumors. A win for Giorgio opens up the possibility of a fight against the winner of the upcoming Fast & Furious 70MAX Tournament on It's Showtime's January 28th card in Amsterdam.

Other names on the card include It's Showtime 95MAX World Champ, Danyo Ilunga who faces Loren Javier Jorge in a title fight. Loren fought Tyrone Spong at Super Heavyweight but -95kg is much more suited to him. Ilunga may be forced to pull out of a planned tournament in Germany in October because of this. Another It's Showtime titlist on the card is Javier Hernandez at 61kg, who fights former champ Sergio Wielzen in a non title bout. To round out the card, Moises Ruibal fights Amir Zeyada and Murthel Groenhart takes on Santi Gonzales.

Here's the full fight card so far:


-70kg: Zeben Diaz vs Giorgio Petrosyan

-85kg: Moises Ruibal vs Amir Zeyada

-70kg: Jonay Risco vs William Diender

-95kg: Loren Javier Jorge vs Danyo Ilunga (IT'S SHOWTIME 95MAX World Title)

-61kg: Sergio Wielzen vs Javier Hernandez

TBA: Santi Gonzales vs Murthel Groenhart

The full release from It's Showtime's website can be viewed here.

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Today at Lumpinee Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, Saenchai Sinbimuaythai took on Petboonchu F.A. Group for the fifth time.  In the four prior meetings, Saenchai had three wins, while Petboonchu had one that came on June 4th of last year. The two were ranked in the top two at Lumpinee stadium, right below current champion Sagetdao Phetphayathai.

Saenchai took a unanimous decision over five rounds, with the scores being 49-47 across the board. Saenchai's effort was hailed as a "classic performance" by Rob Cox of muaythaifocus.com. The win moves Saenchai to 4-1 against Petboonchu. Saenchai's lone loss this year came to Sagetdao Phetphayathai and I'm sure he would like to get that back.

It's unknown what is next for Saenchai. He's still scheduled to fight for Yokkao Boxing in Italy in January. I'd expect to see him fight once or twice before then, whether it be abroad or in Thailand.

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The Challenger Muay Thai debuts on AXN in Asia on September 15th. The show pits 16 Muay Thai fighters from around the world against each other, for the ultimate goal of winning The Challenger Muay Thai belt. Among the fighters featured are Marco Pique and the recently featured Vuyisile Colossa. The video briefly profiles each fighter and gives a nice preview of the show. It's not known if this will ever air in North America but if videos fo find their way online, we'll be sure to post them up.

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