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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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maratgrigorian

In the fourth bout on the main card, another title is up for grabs as Yohan Lidon and Marat Grigorian battle it out for the vacant It's Showtime 73MAX World Title.

The winner will be the first ever holder of the It's Showtime 73MAX World Title as the division was just introduced this year. Fighting it out for the title are Frenchman Yohan Lidon and 19 year old rising star Marat Grigorian. Lidon is a veteran of the game while Grigorian is one of the rising stars of It's Showtime. Despite only being 19 years old, Grigorian already has 35 fights of which only 3 he has lost. Grigorian has been fighting for It's Showtime since he was just 17 years old.

Making his home at the Bulldogs Gym under trainer Daniella Somers, Grigorian is relentless in his attack. He'll hunt down his opponents and punish them until they can no longer fight back. Possessing heavy hands, Grigorian loves to bang to the head and body with combinations of hooks and uppercuts. Many fighters just cover up and wilt when faced with Grigorian's onslaught of non stop pressure.

Grigorian's opponent, Yohan Lidon has other plans in mind. Lidon likes to take a more technical approach to a fight. While a semi-aggressive fighter, Lidon will pick his shots with every one of them having a calculated purpose. Lidon will go forward on his opponents but nowhere near as much as Grigorian does. Lidon also likes to throw hands, but takes a more crisp approach throwing straight punches as well as mixing in hooks. He uses his kicks to find the range on his opponent before he can move in and start doing some damage.

One of the keys for Lidon in this fight will be the teep. Lidon frequently uses the teep to establish his range and set up his strikes. Grigorian will be coming forward all night long so it's essential for Lidon to throw out the teep to stop Grigorian's forward movement for a moment that Lidon can use to set up strikes. Grigorian will be looking to just walk Lidon down and bludgeon him with punches and knees inside.

I see this being a very close fight that has a good chance of going the full five round distance. Both fighters will have their moments as they go back and forth with exchanges. If Lidon can throw straight punches then he can tag Grigorian coming in with wide punches but I expect Grigorian to walk through a lot of shots to deliver his own.

I think Grigorian's relentless pressure will give him a slight edge but if Lidon can land clean punches consistently then he has a chance to stop Grigorian. It'll be tough to get Grigorian out of there. Lidon would have to pounce on Grigorian right away after hurting him. In the end, I believe this fight will go to a decision. Don't be surprised if one of or both of them get dropped in the fight. Lidon's more diverse arsenal will help him come cleaner in the exchanges and edge out a close, hard fought decision that is likely to have the crowd on the edge of their seats.

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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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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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hesdygerges
Hesdy Gerges has been released from authorities for the second time this year. Amsterdam news source AT5 confirmed the news today.

Back in February, Gerges was arrested in the Netherlands on suspicion that he was part of a cocaine trafficking ring. He was released and went on to still fight and beat Daniel Ghita. This time he was extradited to Belgium to be dealt with as the Belgian authorities suspected that the trafficking ring was going through Belgium. Gerges was released again today and stays with his claim that he is 100% innocent.

Recently Gerges was pulled from the May 21st It's Showtime card in Amsterdam due to these issues but now that he's been released, will he be able to pull off what he did last time against Daniel Ghita? It'll be interesting to see if he is indeed put back on the card in the main event against Englishman Chris Knowles.

Here's the full news report, translated:

This confirms his lawyer Sander Janssen AT5. Gerges was earlier this month handed over to Belgium . Justice having suspected him of involvement in cocaine trafficking. Gerges will immediately travel to the Netherlands after his release. He must still be available for the Belgian judiciary.

The kick boxer in February for the first half was arrested in the case. A SWAT team charged him into his home in Noord. After nine days he was allowed to go home, pending the surrender request. Gerges denies anything to do with drug trafficking have.

http://www.at5.nl/artikelen/62191/kickbokser-hesdy-gerges-vrij

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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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ngimbiknee

The second bout on the card features a -70kg championship match, pitting champion Chris Ngimbi against challenger Willy Borrel.

Chris Ngimbi is coming off the biggest win of his career, a bout against Murat Direkci in which he won the It's Showtime 70MAX World Title with a 5 round unanimous decision. And while myself and some other disagree on the decision, he can prove himself as a champion by defending his belt this Saturday. Some say that you're not a proven champion until you defend your belt and I think that saying could apply here. Despite being the -70kg champ of It's Showtime, many don't consider Ngimbi to be one of the top -70kg fighters in the world. A win and successful title defense here could help him inch closer to getting more recognition, especially on a card as big as this one.

Chris Ngimbi over his career has been a very inconsistent, hot and cold, hit or miss type fighter. There would be periods where he would lose to in a row, win a few fights after and just when you thought he was resurging, he'd lose again. Well as of late that has changed. Since late 2009, Ngimbi has won four fights in a row. He's gotten through some tough competition in Chahid Oulad El Hadj, Hafid El Boustati, Anthony Nekrui and Murat Direkci whom he won the title from in December. While those fighters aren't considered the top fighters at -70kg, they're very solid wins.

Looking to take the title from Ngimbi is Willy Borrel, a 35 year old fighter from France. Many in the kickboxing community as well as myself are questioning why Borrel is getting this chance at a title shot. He's never fought in It's Showtime before. I wouldn't even consider Borrel the top -70kg fighter in France. Mickael Piscitello and Johann Fauveau out of France have beaten him quite decisively yet they're fighting on the undercard. I think it's very likely that if this card wasn't in France that he wouldn't even be on the card. Nevertheless, he's getting a shot at Chris Ngimbi's title.

Borrel is a fighter that likes to come forward and attack with a lot of kicks to the legs and body, work his way inside and bomb away. He's built like a brick shithouse and will try to use every bit of that frame to muscle his way in and pound away with hooks to the body and head. What he has shown is that he is very suscepitable to knees and that just happens to be Ngimbi's specialty. Opponents have used Borrel's aggression against him to time knees right into the midsection, which clearly have shown to be effective against him. Johann Fauveau especially did this well. Another flaw I've noticed in Borrel is that when backed up and pressured, he tends to go into a defensive shell. Now Ngimbi isn't the type of fighter who will relentlessly pressure someone but this could make it interesting if he's able to hurt Borrel and go after him.

While lackluster at times, Ngimbi finds a way to get the job done. I agree with the It's Showtime commentary crew in that Ngimbi seemed visibly nervous against Direkci. The nervousness seemed to make him much more hesitant to strike than usual. It was his first title fight in a big organization so I can understand but the fact that he seemed nervous like that for the whole fight does make you wonder. Hopefully for this fight he can have some confidence knowing that he's the champion and most people are picking him to win. A Chris Ngimbi with confidence is a very dynamic fighter.

Ngimbi has two keys to win this fight. Use his footwork to stay just outside of Borrel's range while staying off the ropes and utilizing his knees to hurt Borrel and keep him away. Ngimbi has to keep Borrel just outside of his range so he can tee off with counters to disrupt Borrel's aggression. A confident Ngimbi counters effectively. Ngimbi can't let himself get caught up on the ropes because that's where Borrel will use his frame to bully Ngimbi. The one think that Ngimbi has that can change the fight are his knees. Ngimbi throws his knees on the inside from positions that opponents aren't expecting. Chahid Oulad El Hadj and Murat Direkci were both dropped by a knee from Ngimbi and Anthony Nekrui was stopped by one. If Ngimbi can get one off while Borrel doesn't expect it, it could be nighty night for Borrel.

At 35 years old, you have to wonder how much punishment Borrel can take. He might be able to get some good shots off on Ngimbi but then again can he survive the shots of Ngimbi, especially the knees?

Expect Ngimbi to be countering and Borrel to be coming forward with it being even or slightly in Ngimbi's favor for the first few rounds before Ngimbi starts to get the better of Borrel and finishes him with a knee to the chin in the championship rounds.

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