In 1998, a young Jerome Le Banner took on Brazilian, Espidito "The Black Panther" Da Silva in a W.K.N. World Heavyweight Muay Thai Championship Fight. The fight took place on the undercard of "Evander Holyfield vs. Vaughn Bean" in Atlanta, Georgia and was promoted by the boxing icon Don King.
There may not be another time in history where a high-profile kickboxing/muay thai match takes place on the same card as a boxing world heavyweight championship fight. It's a little surreal seeing King and Le Banner together at the end of the video, and it's definitely worth a watch just to witness a pretty momentous occassion in kickboxing history. The knockout is pretty awesome too (But don't take my word for it).
With this current weekend coming to an end shortly, we can see that it was a big weekend in Russia, with three notable events.
First on Friday, February 22 was a show put on by Octopus Fight Clib in Moscow. It featured a battle of two of the biggest prospects in kickboxing between Chingiz Allazov and Alim Nabiev. Allazov is the slightly older fighter at just 19 years old compared to Nabiev's age of 18, but it showed in the ring. Despite being the smaller and shorter fighter, he controlled the range and got in and out with his offense. Nabiev got dropped in the second round with a left high kick and didn't have much for Allazov until the dying seconds of the third round.
Also on the card was Alexey Ignashov, who fought Martynas Knyzlis. In typical Ignashov fashion, it was a stale fight that saw him win a decision over an overmatched opponent.
71kg: Chingiz Allazov def. Alim Nabiev by decision. HW: Alexey Ignashov def. Martynas Knyzlis by decision. HW: Igor Bugaenko def. Vladimir Oleinik by decision. HW: Valentin Slavikovsky def. Dmitry Bezus by decision. 81kg: Pavel Turuk def. Vladimir Idranyi by decision. HW: Roman Kriklya def. Yuri Dobko by TKO in Round 3.
Yesterday on Saturday featured two events, one in Moscow and one in Kazan. In Moscow, Fight Nights returned with another big show full of over the top theatrics. The only notable kickboxing fight on the card was between rising star in Russia, Vladimir Mineev and Revanho Blokland of the Netherlands. Mineev didn't have a hard time and he finished Blokland in the second round with a left hook. It was an alright performance after being pushed to the limit by Ali Cenik in December, but Mineev is going to have to step it up when he faces that level of competition again.
The last leg of the Tatneft Cup qualifier to the quarter finals of the tournament took place in Kazan. At 70kg, Enriko Gogokhia and Maxim Smirnov both qualified to the quarter finals once again. Gogokhia beat Bruno Gazani by decision and Maxim Smirnov defeated Ajay Balgobind by decision.
Another fighter who qualified to the quarter finals once again was Hicham El Gaoui at 80kg as he defeated Brazil's Anderson Arcanjo by decision. Also at 80kg, Sergei Papusha defeated Peter Romankevich by decision.
At heavyweight, Jan Siersema beat Vugar Kazimov by decision, scoring a knockdown in the second round. The second heavyweight bout saw Brazil's Vitor Miranda beat last year's Tatneft Cup winner Tsotne Rogava by decision.
70kg: Enriko Gogokhia def. Bruno Gazani by decision. 70kg: Maxim Smirnov def. Ajay Balgobind by decision. 80kg: Hicham El Gaoui def. Anderson Arcanjo by decision. 80kg: Sergei Papusha def. Peter Romankevich by decision. HW: Jan Siersema def. Vugar Kazimov by decision. HW: Vitor Miranda def. Tsotne Rogava by decision.
The first A1 World Combat Cup event of the year took place on Friday in Melbourne, Australia, and atop the card was an A1 middleweight title fight between Yohan Lidon and Steve Moxon.
Moxon fights Jordan Watson at 70kg at GLORY 5 London on March 23, but this fight was against the much bigger Lidon at 73kg. The fight went the full five round distance and Lidon won a split decision in what has been described as a close fight.
Lidon rebounds from a loss in another close fight to Karim Ghajji on February 2. Next for him is a rematch against Yodsanklai Fairtex on March 2 in France. Moxon had his four fight winning streak snapped, and as aforementioned, steps into the ring again on March 23 at GLORY 5 London against Jordan Watson.
The first Shootboxing event of the year kicked off last night in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall. The show featured a variety of good fights with a few of the normal Shootboxing faces, headlined by a match between Yoshihiro Sato and the 2012 S-Cup runner-up, Henri Van Opstal.
In the main event event Sato emerged victorious, defeating Van Opstal by decision with scores of 30-29, 30-29, and 29-29. It was a desperately needed win for Sato, who had already dropped his last three fights to Shemsi Beqiri, Sanny Dahlbeck, and Kenta, respectively. A win over Van Opstal puts him back into the ranks of contender. However, as close as the scores were we may need to hold out until a video surfaces before we claim that the Infinity Sniper is back in full form.
In the other big fight on the card Warren Stevelmans beat Bovy Sor Udomson by decision with scores of 29-29, 29-28, and 30-28. This will be Stevelmans' third consecutive victory, coming off wins over Dzhabar Askerov and Hinata. Stevelmans is set to face Johann Fauveau at GLORY 5 London.
Also on the card, Joachim "Hellboy" Hansen won his first Shootboxing match against Kenji Kanai, after being defeated in his debut by Hiroaki Suzuki. It's good to see Hansen taking Shootboxing seriously, and hopefully we'll see him in more events in the future.
Yoshihiro Sato def. Henri Van Opstal by Decision
Warrens Stevelmans def. Bovy Sor Udomson by Decision