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It's Showtime Lyon: Daniel Ghita vs. Fikri Ameziane Preview

danielghitaThe third bout on the main card features a heavyweight class between world class heavyweight Daniel Ghita and a man looking to make a name for himself, Fikri Ameziane.

First, let's get straight to the backstory of how this fight came to fruition. Daniel Ghita was originally supposed to be facing Paul Slowinski. Slowinski got injured and was forced out of the contest. In stepped Anderson "Braddock" Silva. Just last week, Silva had gotten injured and once again, Daniel Ghita was left without an opponent. It's Showtime frantically searched for an opponent on 9 days notice and Fikri Ameziane was the man who stepped up to the challenge.

Facing Daniel Ghita just in itself is a tall task but on 9 days notice it's unheard of. Ghita has risen to the top of the sport in the last few years, starting with his dominant run-through of the K-1 World Grand Prix 2009 in Tokyo Final 16 Qualifying GP. Since then he's been battling it out with the top fighters in the sport making a name for himself. Fans have started to associate him with the upper echeleon of the Super Heavyweight division alongside names such as Semmy Schilt and Badr Hari. Ghita is doing the right thing in staying active, with another fight on It's Showtime's June 11 card in Warsaw, Poland against Erhan Deniz on his schedule. A win over Ameziane just means it's on to the next one for Daniel Ghita.

Fikri Ameziane is fighting out of the Siam Gym, alongside It's Showtime 70MAX World Champ Chris Ngimbi and trainer Mekki Benazzouz. Ameziane is young at the age of 22 and this will by far be his biggest and toughest test to date. Up until now, his biggest fight has been against Nikolaj Falin which he won via third round knockout from a high kick. You might remember Falin as being the guy Gokhan Saki absolutely destroyed. The fight was mostly even with it looking like Ameziane was hurt by Falin in the second. In the third, Falin gassed and Ameziane took advantage and got the finish. With Daniel Ghita infront of him, Ameziane can't afford to get hurt in this fight as it's likely Ghita will be quick to end his night.

Ameziane is a small heavyweight and sports a lot of fat on him, especially in the midsection. Ghita has shown time and time again that his kicks are absolutely vicious and if he can repeatedly hit Ameziane there for a round, I think Ameziane will be done by the second. Ghita's hands have been improving also and look for him to set them up while Ameziane anticipates incoming kicks.

And then comes the question. Has Ameziane been training? Is he in shape? We don't know but to be honest I don't think Ghita would have any trouble with a 100% ready Fikri Ameziane. While Ameziane's physique is deceiving, I expect Ghita to wear him down in the body and legs while finding a place for the hands in the second round where Ameziane is overwhelmed by Ghita's power and gets stopped.

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UPDATE: HDnet and It's Showtime Ink Deal; K-1 Soon to Return

It's ShowtimeWith K-1's stunning silence throughout the year 2011 there is no doubt that Dutch promotion It's Showtime has picked up the slack that K-1 left and then some. It's Showtime has grown from a smaller organization that promoted a few scattered events, which from 1999 until 2004 involved one big event a year, which eventually turned into one big event at the Amsterdam ArenA until 2005 when the promotion decided to branch out and run more events. In 2005 they held a series with Gentlemen's Promotion that revolved around a massive 75kg tournament. The next year saw them co-promote with K-1 for the first time in what turned into a longstanding and beneficial relationship for both sides until recently, when K-1 fell upon massive financial woes and It's Showtime decided to move forward in the wake of K-1's absence.

This year is primed to be It's Showtime's biggest year yet, with last year holding 7 events and this year having 6 events already on their calendar and another three to four events in the works, but it doesn't stop there. LiverKick.com has been speaking with It's Showtime officials for a while now, and have understood that It's Showtime was not just happy with European expansion and was indeed looking to expand into the United States. This led to talks with a few television stations and promotional partners, some deals falling apart and then some rumors over the past week of big things brewing for It's Showtime.

Simon Rutz is no fool, as can be seen with the gradual growth of It's Showtime over the past 12 years. It's Showtime was not simply looking for a television deal for the United States, they were looking for promotional partners. Like we've seen with all of It's Showtime's recent events, they partner up with another company for all of their shows; BFN Group, Fight Group, Fighting Stars, Oktagon and even individuals like Yiannis Evgenikos and Kader Marouf. They wanted nothing different when it came to the United States and would not even think about promoting shows here without strong support from another promotion or entity, the same goes with television. They simply did not want to be on television, they wanted a working partnership that would expand the company.

We've dug pretty deep and found out that It's Showtime and HDnet finalized a deal earlier this week that will change the kickboxing world as we know it. It's Showtime has been added to HDnet's fight library, starting as soon as the May 14th Lyon, France show. That event will be aired on the following Friday at 11pm Eastern time. It is not airing live because of the short notice for the deal working itself out. We do know that Michael Schiavello is in Lyon, France right now most likely to commentate live on the event. To say that HDnet is going to give It's Showtime the "K-1 treatment" is an understatement.

Multiple sources have claimed that HDnet actually went and bought It's Showtime, or at least bought into the company. It was announced today that HDnet will begin airing It's Showtime immediately, through an agency called Fighting Spirit. LiverKick.com has also learned that HDnet is very interested in possibly purchasing K-1 to add to their stable of original programming. HDnet has aired K-1 in the past, but this would be different. K-1 has been having financial problems and many have been critical of their management, HDnet would look to have the legendary promotion turn a corner and help fully realize its potential in the United States.

UPDATE: Andrew Simon clarified that HDnet has only purchased the rights to It's Showtime in the U.S., not outright purchasing the promotion. They will work with the promotion to promote the shows, but won't hold an actual stake in it. As for K-1, HDnet will look to possibly further air their programming when live programming is available.

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Photo of the Day: Badr Hari at It's Showtime Lyon Press Conference

There is something to be said for a sharply-dressed man, and that man is Badr Hari. Badr Hari makes his return to the ring tomorrow, May 14th for It's Showtime. Today's photo of the day is a no-brainer, a photo of Badr Hari from the presser It's Showtime held today in Lyon. Photo courtesy of our friends at Staredown.nl.

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Preview of Inside MMA Featuring King Mo and Mark Miller

It's not every day that you get to see a world famous kickboxer on a MMA program, but that is exactly what we got this week with HDnet's Inside MMA. On this week's Inside MMA Josh Thomson fills in for Bas Rutten to host a panel of Bigfoot Silva, King Mo and Mark "Fightshark" Miller. Miller is, of course, making his return from open heart surgery a few years ago, and doing so in grand fashion at the Glory World Series on May 28th.

Here is HDnet's latest preview of this week's show, which airs on Friday night (external link, the embed isn't friendly).

 

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