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Fights To Watch In November: Part 2

Continuing on from Part 1 of "Fights To Watch In November," Part 2 includes ten more fights. Some of the fights included in this post are actually ones that are from the same event as fights highlighted in Part 1. Once again, the purpose of these posts is to highlight fights that go under the radar or ones that people might not know about, and to introduce other fighters to fans.

November 10: Pedro Felipe vs. Ruben Almeida - Urban KO III - Barakaldo, Spain

LiverKick's #8 ranked lightweight, Ruben Almeida, is pretty much there because of a win over Javier Hernandez in April that came in controversial fashion. Almeida will look to prove that he actually belongs on the rankings as he goes into enemy territory to fight Pedro Felipe. A loss for Almeida definitely drops him off the rankings and diminishes his stock. For Felipe, this fight will also be somewhat of a measuring stick and if he wins, you could throw his name in the mix. Almeida is still pretty young at 22 while Felipe is 31.

November 10: Raz Sarkisjan vs. Marcus Vinicius - It's Showtime Brazil - Sao Paulo, Brazil

Raz Sarkisjan made a name for himself this year when he went to Japan and beat Masaaki Noiri. He was a relative unknown before that fight and has since notched another win just a few weeks ago in Holland. The great thing about this fight is we get to see more of Sarkisjan. Vinicius has a style that should make for a very entertaining fight if he doesn't get stopped, and looks like the bigger fighter. He won three fights in a tournament to qualify for this fight last month. It's hard to gauge how he'll do against Raz, but this is his big opportunity to make a name for himself, so we'll just have to wait and see.

November 10: Koya Urabe vs. Hisaki Higashimoto - Krush.24 - Tokyo, Japan

This is the finals of Krush's Youth GP, with Higashimoto being a surprising opponent for Urabe. Higashimoto's two fights that he won on September 9 to qualify for this fight were the first two professional fights of his career, including a first round stoppage of HIROYA. Urabe is of course the favorite. A win for Urabe will probably set up another match-up against one of the better Japanese fighters of the division again. Higashimoto has nothing to lose. If he loses, it's only his third pro fight and to Koya Urabe. If he wins, it's a big upset and would move him up the ranks in Krush and Japan.

November 10: Benjamin Adegbuyi vs. Alexey Ignashov - SuperKombat Final Elimination - Craiova, Romania

Alexey Ignashov is trying to revive his career, with two wins in a week last month. Benny Adegbuyi is on the come up, coming off his short and anticlimatic win over Jafar Ahmadi at the K-1 Final 16 last month. While Ignashov definitely isn't in his prime, he can still trouble a lot of heavyweights and with a win here would get into the SuperKombat WGP Final in December. Despite Ignashov not being a top guy, he's still a big name in kickboxing, no matter how far down his career has dropped off since his prime. A win over Ignashov would be a nice feather in Benny Adegbuyi's cap.

November 18: Steve Moxon vs. Giannis Mixalopoulos - Brute Force 21 - Melbourne, Australia

Steve Moxon signed with GLORY this year and will make his debut for the promotion in 2013. For now, he's staying very active in Australia and his opponent is coming all the way from Greece. This is a fight where Moxon can showcase all his abilities. Mixalopoulos has a style that should provide for a fun fight, welcoming exchanges, and he can also counter punch but I would definitely expect Moxon to win here. Moxon is a fighter that I think would be a fan favorite if more fans worldwide knew him.

November 22: Bobo Sacko vs. Petasawin Seatransferry - Best of Siam 2 - Paris, France

Bobo Sacko is one of the many upcoming talents in France and recently suffered the first loss of his career last month to Aziz Hlali. Coming off his first loss, Petasawin isn't an easy fight at all, considering how much experience the Thai has. Though Petasawin is now probably past his prime, Sacko hasn't faced an opponent like him before and could have trouble. The background makes for an interesting fight, with Sacko looking to prove himself.

November 23: Michael Badato vs. Maseh Nuristani - Rumble in the Jungle 24 - Melton, Australia

Michael Badato and Maseh Nuristani are both Australian fighters that have had success fighting around the light heavyweight division, with Badato recently shining on JWP's Caged Muay Thai. Nuristani lost to Steve Moxon earlier this year but from all accounts gave him a good fight. Both guys have big power and go for the knockout so don't be surprised if there's a big KO from either side.

November 24: Emmanuel Payet vs. Stephane Susperregui - Nuit des Champions - Marseilles, France

This is a battle of tow men who have fought Nathan "Carnage Corbett. Both of them lost, but both of them also gave Corbett a lot of trouble. Payet hurt him with a high kick in the first round of their bout back in 2009. Susperregui fought Corbett in April and gave him a very tough fight over five rounds. Susperregui is a very awkward and unpredictable fighter but effective at the same time and is one of the better fighters at 95kg.

November 24: Karim Ghajji vs. Dmitry Valent - Nuit des Champions - Marseilles, France

Nuit des Champion on November 24 is just a really good card, and so is this match-up. Valent is a very unheralded but good fighter who's flown under the radar for a long time. He gave John Wayne Parr a very tough fight in 2009. Ghajji has been around for a while and while it seems that Valent has as well, he's only 24. The fight takes place at 76kg, a normal weight for these two fighters, and is also five rounds.

November 24: Enriko Gogokhia vs. Berneung Topkingboxing - Thai Boxe Mania - Torino, Italy

Enriko Gogokhia is another up and coming talent at 70kg, who I thought should've gotten a decision over Mike Zambidis last year. Berneung is a tough test and can still beat and trouble a lot of fighters. Gogokhia's main flaws have been defense and cardio, and Berneung can wear fighters down, so Gogokhia will need to be in top condition to make this fight competitive.


Batu Khasikov Destroys Gago Drago With First Round KO


Batu Khasikov returned to the ring today on quite an impressive Fight Nights show in Russia, with a big crowd and very professional production in Moscow. He faced Gago Drago, the K-1 and It's Showtime veteran who has fallen from grace the last couple of years. Drago had finally snapped an eight fight losing streak in September with a win.

Drago's wasn't able to find a win this time though. Khasikov stormed him from the opening bell and battered him with power punches and just real mean intentions that we haven't seen out of him in a long time. He backed Drago up into the corner and teed off on him, showing punches power that I didn't think he had. The end of the fight came in the first round when a right cross from Khasikov dropped slumped Drago into the ropes.

This was an important fight for Khasikov, who hadn't looked great in his last two fights, especially the one with Warren Stevelmans where Warren should've won. Though Drago is by no means a top opponent or anything nowadays, what matters is that Khasikov showed a real determination and intensity that hadn't been seen this year. He stormed onto the scene last year with big wins over Albert Kraus and Mike Zambidis but so far had underperformed this year.

Lately there's been a lot of talk among some kickboxers, most notably Artur Kyshenko, that Khasikov is being protected fighting at home on his own shows in Russia. I don't know for sure, but it really looked like Khasikov was very motivated to prove some people wrong here. Kyshenko said that Batu must fight outside of Russia to prove himself. A fight between Kyshenko and Khasikov would be something I'd love to see, especially with the somewhat animosity between them.

As for Khasikov, his team said that there is a tentative agreement in place for him to fight Buakaw Por Pramuk in Moscow in spring 2013. Whether it will happen or not isn't certain but that would also be another great fight. Here's a video detailing what Artur Kyshenko said about Khasikov and about the potential Buakaw fight.


Bogdan Stoica Back In Training After Injury


Bogdan Stoica was involved in a motorycle accident earlier in the year and as a result was injured and not able to train for a while.

Motorcycle accidents have severely hindered the careers of many professional athletes but it's great to bring everyone news that Bogdan Stoica is back in training and going towards a full recovery.

Stoica is the SuperKombat 91kg World Champion and regarded as one of the best kickboxers in the world around that weight. He's still only 22 years old. Before his injury, he was on a four fight win streak.

Bogdan wants to return to fight in December but will probably return at SuperKombat's first event of 2013. It's great to have one of the sport's rising stars back.


S-Cup Update: More Fights Announced and Tournament Field Confusion

With the S-Cup just 2 weeks away, Shootboxing has begun announcing fights for the event, as well as tournament reserves. However, there has also been some questions regarding the tournament field.

The other day, two interesting pieces of news had surfaced. First, Albert Kraus, who is suffering from the flu, was replaced in his reserve fight by Warren Stevelmans, who is set to participate at the S-Cup. Shortly before that, Yokkao had announced via Twitter and Facebook that Kem Sitsongpeenong would be fighting Andy Souwer at the S-Cup, but that news has since disappeared from Yokkao's social media outlets. Add in that Henri van Opstal still isn't officially listed as a participant and the S-Cup field becomes quite confusing. Check back to LiverKick in the coming weeks as we try to clear up some of the confusion.

Moving on to announced fights, perhaps the biggest super fight announced so far is RISE 60kg champ and LiverKick #10 ranked Lightweight Kosuke Komiyama taking on Shootboxing Featherweight champion Naguranchun Masa M16. Komiyama had his first fight in Shootboxing in September, taking a unanimous decision against Shootboxing Super Featherweight champion Akifumi Utagawa and looks to push his win streak to 9 with a win here. Naguranchun has a 9-fight win streak of his own that he is looking to preserve, going undefeated since a pair of losses to Pajonsuk Por Pramuk and Mamoru Yamaguchi in 2009, avenging the loss against Yamaguchi back in April.

Also added to the card is MA Kick Heavyweight champion Magnum Sakai vs MMA fighter Shunsuke Inoue. Sakai had a 3-fight win streak snapped back in June in HEAT while Inoue lost to Soa Palelei in MMA, snapping a 2-fight win streak, before picking up a win in Shootboxing in September. Both men have fought under Shootboxing rules before, with Inoue fighting in September and Sakai fighting in Shootboxing last July. 

Finally, Shootboxing has announced 3 reserve fighters for the tournament field: Satoru Suzuki, Hinata and Akihiro Gono. Each man was unsuccessful in earning a spot in this year's S-Cup with losses in S-Cup Qualifiers at Shootboxing act.4 in September. I assume there will be a 4th reserve fighter announced, meaning 2 reserve fights.


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