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Tatneft Cup: The Best Thing You've Never Heard Of

In the world of kickboxing, most of the focus is on K-1. Over the years, K-1 has in some cases made itself synonymous with the sport of kickboxing. With the recent downtime of K-1, It's Showtime has stepped up and garnered much attention. SuperKombat and Fight Code have gotten a bit of exposure too. What about the smaller shows though? Every weekend there are many small kickboxing events around the world. It's not uncommon in kickboxing for a world class fighter to be fighting on a smaller event. Kickboxing, compared to boxing and MMA is very hard to keep track of and follow.

Now, onto the Tatneft Cup. The Tatneft Cup is a kickboxing tournament held every year in Kazan, Russia. The tournament is spread over many events, with four rounds of the tournament. The first four events are labelled "1/8 Final" and feature opening round tournament matches within the different weight divisions. The tournament advances on to two 1/4 Final events, one 1/2 Final event and the tournament final at the very last event.

In hindsight, the Tatneft Cup would be labelled a smaller show. In terms of who is taking part in the tournament though, it's anything but that. The 2010 Tatneft Cup saw names such as Artem Levin, Ismael Londt, Sergei Lascenko, Dzhabar Askerov and Dmitry Shakuta. The tournament also showcases some of Eastern Europe's top kickboxing talent, who are otherwise unknown to most kickboxing fans. Enriko Gogokhia, Alexander Stetsurenko, Armen Israelyan, Uranbek Esenkulov and Alexander Oleinik are all very good kickboxers who have yet to get any exposure on the big shows.

Enriko Gogokhia lost to Mike Zambidis in April but was very competitive in the fight. He recently lost another competitive fight to Dzhabar Askerov at the Tatneft Cup 2011 1/2 Final. At only 20 years old he is giving widely renowned kickboxers all they can handle. Good things can only come for him. Alexander Oleinik won a K-1 KOK Grand Prix tournament in Moldova in December, stopping Sem Braan, a top fighter in the first round and then winning his other two matches to win the tournament. He just beat Alexander Stetsurenko who I mentioned above, at the Tatneft Cup 2011 1/2 Final, advancing to the final. Oleinik is a very good fighter, and if he can make 77kg, could probably make some waves in It's Showtime.

The Tatneft Cup 2011 Final will probably be in October. The finals are Dzhabar Askerov vs. Maxim Smirnov (-70kg), Alexander Oleinik vs. Dmitry Shakuta (-80kg) and Dmitry Bezus vs. Hicham Ashalhi (+95kg).

The Tatneft Cup is like many in kickboxing, a great show but struggles to get any recognition within the kickboxing world. Kickboxing just isn't that popular and most shows will be lucky to get any mentions.

You can watch all matches from every Tatneft Cup from the Tatneft Arena website. It's in Russian, but a simple run-through Google Translate will make it easy to navigate. All the fights are action packed and showcase some great kickboxing talent that you might not have seen before.

Here's a great fight from the recent Tatneft Cup 2011 1/2 Final featuring Dzhabar Askerov taking on Enriko Gogokhia:

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Bas Rutten Lays Down the Law in the Zuffa/Golden Glory Situation

BasIf one thing can be said for the Dutch outside of their acumen for kickfighting, it is their loyalty and how forthcoming they can be. Bas Rutten's reputation is one of the few truly sterling reputations in the MMA world, he was able to retire as a legend and a hero and is better known by modern MMA fans as the "voice of PRIDE" and now co-host of Inside MMA on HDnet. When it comes down to it, Rutten is one of the few voices in the MMA world that comes from experience, often goes against what most of the media are selling, and also has a wealth of personality and knowledge to back up whatever he claims.

There is no secret that Rutten is close with a few members of the Golden Glory team, and sees a certain level of respect for what his fellow Dutch fighters are doing long after he has retired. So there is no surprise that when he finally decided to speak out about the Golden Glory purge from Zuffa, that it was going to be good. Bas made a rather long post to his Twitter (not a fan of 140 characters, I suppose) where he gives a very in depth rundown of how Golden Glory treat their fighters and explaining their business practices. Read it.

Some will ask, “Why does GG do business like this?” Well, it’s for their own protection of course, but it probably started because some checks from Japan started to bounce from some organizations. And if they didn’t bounce, the fighters would be able to get them cashed 6 or 8 weeks later. Since fighters want their money right away, and GG loves their fighters, they said “No problem, we pay the fighters from our OWN money, pay their trainers and sparring partners, and then when the money comes in, we simply deduct everything from the check that is paid, this way everybody get’s paid”. I know for a fact, 100% true, that they STILL need to get money from some organizations. The fighters got paid, but GG didn’t because they paid the fighters out of their own money. And some people say that they are crooks? Please explain this to me, who else, what management, give me one name, does this?
As a fighter, this would be something really cool, but even more for the trainers, because, ask trainers how many times they get paid by their fighters? You will be amazed with how many do NOT. I know fighters who became World champion in big organizations, even the UFC, and they never, yes, you read this good, NEVER, paid their trainer (OK, I might be wrong 1 or 2 times from the at least 10 or 15 times, but I am pretty sure I am not wrong). It sickens me and I would love to mention names, but out of respect of their coaches, I won’t. I hope those fighters read this, so they know that I know.
Anyway, these problems don’t exist at GG, at least not when the management is taking care of this.

If what Rutten is saying is true, it turns out that Golden Glory pays their fighters what they are owed by an organization, regardless of the promotions status, then waits for the money to come in from the promotion. That means in the K-1 fiasco that Golden Glory has fit the bill for their inability to pay up. He also talks at length about Alistair Overeem and the criticism he receives. [source]

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Yodsanklai Fairtex vs. Artur Kyshenko, Chahid vs. Askerov, Ray Sefo Returns - November 26

Swedish promotion Rumble of the Kings has a huge card set for November 26 in Stockholm, Sweden. So far they've got three pretty big name match-ups set and they're all ones that everyone can look forward to.

First, in a huge fight, Artur Kyshenko takes on Yodsanklai Fairtex at 72.6kg. Kyshenko is one of the top kickboxers in the world at 70kg and he'd probably be around the top at the 72.5-73kg if he fought there more. Yodsanklai Fairtex or "Yod" for short, has reigned supreme over the area of 72.5kg for quite a long time. He's long been subjected to fantasy match-ups with the cream of the crop at 70kg and now one of them has finally come to fruition. Many people, including myself have thought for a while that Kyshenko would be much better off fighting higher than 70kg and he proved it by looking great in defeating Nieky Holzken in May. It's not clear what ruleset these two are fighting under as it's listed as "K-1/MT Rules 3x3" but I'd think that they would be K-1 rules.

In another great fight, Chahid Oulad el Hadj takes on Dzhabar Askerov. This fight is all but guaranteed to be a slugfest similar to the likes of Chahid vs. Mike Zambidis from last year. Both guys bring it every single time and love to slug it out in the middle of the ring. Expect fireworks.

Ray Sefo also makes his return..but not to kickboxing. Sefo will be taking on Jorgen Kruth in an MMA bout. It's somewhat of a strange match-up as both of them are kickboxers, both having fought numerous times in K-1. Kruth is 3-0 in MMA, having fought MMA twice on Rumble of the Kings cards. Sefo has a 2-1 record in MMA, where he last fought and lost to Valentjin Overeem in Strikeforce. [source]

 

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