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Upcoming Australian Shows

Evolution 23If you don't watch anything from the Australian kickboxing/Muay Thai scene, you are sadly missing out on some great action.  There are a number of great promotions running in Australia, and the shows consistently deliver top end fights with a combination of veterans like Paul Slowinski and John Wayne Parr, along with hot prospects like Thor Hoopman and recent K-1 star Ben Edwards.  It's a very busy scene, with multiple upcoming shows; here are four shows definitely worth a look:

Feb. 26 - Knees of Fury 32: This show is all about the main event, which is a great battle of old guard vs. new.  On one side is Paul Slowinski, who for years has been the top Australian representative to the international Heavyweight kickboxing scene.  He faces the young Thor Hoopman, a John Wayne Parr trainee who is on the cusp of big things.  Hoopman defeated Slowinski via decision in late 2009, and will look to score the 2nd victory here.  Hoopman is still developing, and is not yet perfectly consistent, but I have high hopes for his future, and would love to see him get another good win here.  The rest of the card includes: Kym Johnson vs Wes Capper; Myles Simpson vs Flip Street; Martin Olczak vs Jye Demmrich; Charlie Chau vs Hiki Hanui; Tenille May vs Sarah O'Connell; Steve Behan vs Cameran Murcott; and Tom Boyle vs Jun Lee.

April 2 - Kings of Kombat 3: More from the busy Slowinski, as this time he takes on the legend Peter Graham.  This is a sort of battle of generations, as Graham was one of K-1's main Australian representatives through the early 2000's, winning a number of big fights, including a defeat of Badr Hari, until he saw that spot taken by Slowinski in the middle part of the decade.  These two have met twice before, splitting the battles 1-1.  While neither man is at his peak any more, this will still be a battle that Australian fans are excited about, and it should be close.  Both men have had recent successes, including an MMA victory over Aleksander Emelianenko for Graham.  The semi main event is also a big fight, as reigning K-1 Oceania champion Ben Edwards faces the former K-1 Vegas champ Carter Williams, who continues to try and make a comeback after a lengthy absence from the ring. Also signed is Jordan Tai vs. Steve Moxon and Atal Kakar vs. Supi Lanumata.

April 9 - Evolution 23: In this crowded scene, Evolution is leads the way.  They put on shows featuring full Muay Thai rules that spotlight both local fighters along with some names from Thailand.  Their 23rd show is coming up, and the main event is a good one, as longtime Aussie veteran Bruce "The Preacher" Macfie faces Frank Giorgi.  This is a rematch from Evolution 22 where Giorgi scored the somewhat surprising win over Macfie, who at the time was riding high off a win over John Wayne Parr.  The other fight I'm really looking forward to is Michael Thompson vs. Flip Street.  Thompson is one of my favorite younger talents in this scene, and this is a good fight for him.  Also on the card: Leonard Sitpholek vs. Danny Derdowski; Dane Daddy Cool vs. Serrachino; and Eli Madigan vs. Jason Scerri.

May 27 - Payback Time 3: Finally, the first fight in John Wayne Parr's 2011 retirement tour sees him main event here against his longtime rival Mike Zambidis.  Zambidis is coming off his resurgent 2010 that saw him win the fight of the year against Chahid in K-1 MAX, while Parr has announced that 2011 will be his last year as a fighter. These two men are 1-1 against each other, with their fights held up as some of the greatest in the history of the Australian scene.  With Parr's career coming to and end, Zambidis on the comeback trail, and both men looking to definitively win the series, this could be the Fight of the Year.

For more on these shows and the entire Australian scene, check out International Kickboxer magazine.

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Hesdy Gerges to Be Released Within the Week, Says Thom Harinck

(C) Ben PontierThere have been some clouds over the kickboxing world of late, as the first big kickboxing event of the year, Fighting Stars presents It's Showtime on March 6 had its main event threatened when headliner Hesdy Gerges was arrested for involvement in possible drug trafficking. His half brother was arrested last May in a warehouse in Belgium that contained 128 kilos of cocaine. Hesdy was already out of the picture in the investigation last year, but for some reason the investigation had stalled and he was put back in the picture last week. There was no cocaine or any weapons found in Gerges residence, unlike you'll see reported or rumored, and I've believed the entire time that Hesdy would not be held for much longer as the timeline doesn't add up for his involvement in this.

In May of last year, Hesdy Gerges was fighting for It's Showtime in their big ArenA event, fighting the highest profile fight of his career against Badr Hari. He made a huge impression, holding his own against the fighter known to be one of the best, if not best in the world. He was so on his game that it frustrated Badr Hari to the point of kicking him after tripping him and making international headlines. Hesdy Gerges became a household name due to that fight, and was invited back to K-1. His career finally taking off, on top of a tough training schedule doesn't leave much time or reason to throw it all away with a risky drug endeavor.

His trainer, Thom Harinck spoke with the Dutch Metro News today, and outright said, "Gerges has been framed." Fighter Stars and It's Showtime believe that Gerges is innocent as well and have not gone ahead with an official replacement yet. Harinck discussed why he believes Gerges is innocent, outlining his schedule. "He wakes up at 7:30, at 10:00am he trains with me, rests in the afternoon, then in the evening does strength and conditioning and is in bed by 10:00 PM. I cannot imagine that he still would have time for things like this."

Fighting Stars representatives believe that Gerges will still be able to make the event, and Harinck believes that Hesdy should be released by the end of the week, putting this whole nightmare behind us. [source]

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Andy Souwer Training with Jose Aldo; Possible Entry into MMA?

Souwer Power (C) SusumuWhen worlds collide sometimes, it can make your head explode. Today, that occurred as Andy Souwer on his official Twitter made mention that Jose Aldo had just arrived in Holland to train with Team Souwer for three weeks in preparation for his April 30th UFC Featherweight Title defense against Mark Hominick. To understand the gravity of this, Jose Aldo, the beast of a striker from WEC's Featherweight division, now the UFC's Featherweight division, will be training in Holland with Andy Souwer and countless other names to prepare for his upcoming UFC Title Fight at UFC 129, the biggest show UFC has ever attempted.

There is a lot of awesome involved in that.

Jose Aldo's WEC career consisted of seven forms of KO or TKO and only one decision against the tough-as-nails Urijah Faber, where Aldo turned Faber's knee into hamburger meat but couldn't finish the California Kid. Aldo is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blackbelt, not that anyone gets to see his ground work in his MMA fights, who is well known for his Muay Thai, training with the Black House fighters in Brazil. Sharpening his skills with some of the best Dutch kickboxers is truly a great idea and can only help him to refine that raw striking talent he has.

The other news bit is that Andy Souwer made mention to possibly switching over to MMA. I'm not joking.

souwerpower82: k1 is game over so no changes for Jose, i hope i'll get the change in his discipline (UFC)!!!

The english isn't fantastic and you could read it a few different ways if you wish to, but it does indeed read like Andy Souwer has his eyes set on fighting in Mixed Martial Arts if his K-1 career is indeed over like he believes it to be. For now we know that Andy Souwer has a fight on March 6th with It's Showtime and is slated to participate in It's Showtime's Russian event, featuring an 8-man 70kgs MAX tournament, so I don't see Souwer going anywhere for the time being.

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The Bad Boy is Back: Watch Badr Hari on Dutch TV

Do you know how long I've been waiting to say, "The Bad Boy is Back?" It has almost been a year now, and finally we have good news about Badr Hari. There have been persisting rumors over the past few months that Badr Hari might have fractured from his training group at Mike's Gym, but the photos we posted the other day, along with this video we are posting (oh yeah) is enough proof that all is well in Mike's Gym and that Badr Hari is back in training.

The rumor, which was confirmed by Simon Rutz himself, is that Badr Hari will make his official return to action on May 14th in Lyon, France. The opponent is yet to be officially locked in as the sponsor was yet to be officially locked in. Well, that is, until today, as legendary Muay Thai fighter Kader Marouf will be presenting It's Showtime Lyon, featuring Badr Hari. This is huge, great news for It's Showtime and the kickboxing world.

Well, here is video footage of Badr Hari from his training session last week, as well as an interview, in Dutch. So, if you speak Dutch, please feel free to provide us with a gist of what is going on in the comments!

UPDATE: From Yari on the Team Takeover forums:

- He didnt want to give a scoop on his next opponent, and still claims he fights in May. I guess he wont replace Hesdy Gerges.
- He said he wants to stop surrounding himself with negative news, and be known as a athlete again.
- Didnt want to promise/guarantee he will never go beyond the ref's call again (ala Remy/Gerges).

UPDATE 2: Now with full translation courtesy of an anonymous friend through Bloodstain Lane.

 

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