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Hiroya off to MMA

HiroyaHiroya, the one time "next Masato" of K-1, is planning a move to MMA.  Nightmare of Battle reports that Hiroya will begin training MMA this year, possibly traveling overseas to train starting in the summer.  The 19 year old will not entirely give up on his K-1 aspirations for the moment, but will look to broaden his options by taking part in MMA.

If you've only recently started watching K-1, you may not even know Hiroya, but the young fighter was, just a few years ago, a major part of the company's plans.  At just 15 he started competing in various special rules fights for K-1 MAX.  The plan was for fans to watch this young fighter develop from a very early age so that by the time he was older and a champion, fans would be strongly connected with him and he would be able to step into Masato's shows as the face of K-1 MAX.  It didn't work.  As Hiroya continued to fight in K-1, it became clear he was having trouble against his increasingly hand selected opponents.  The result was an increasing sense of annoyance from international viewers, and apathy from Japanese fans.  In 2008, Hiroya won the Koshien tournament, but when he failed to repeat that accomplishment in 2009 (losing to Masaaki Noiri, who has since proven to be a legitimate, top level talent), it effectively ended both his run, and K-1's promotion of Koshien.  Hiroya took time off to finish high school, and in the 15 months since that loss has only taken one fight - a largely one sided decision loss to Yuta Kubo in November.

Hiroya has obviously been passed by many of his Koshien classmates including Noiri, the Urabe brothers, and Kizaemon Saiga - all fighters who now stand on their own as more than just teenage fighters, while Hiroya remains something of a spectacle name.  At 19, you certainly can't say his time in kickboxing is done, but for him to make a name in this sport, he will need to get clear of the stigma he currently has, and will need to reinvent himself somewhat.  A move to MMA could be a big help in that regard.

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StillWill Shows that Golden Glory is Full of Champions

Imagine, living in a world where people make epic football speeches, and during that epic football speech you are listening to 80's hair metal band The Scorpions, and the visual stimulus for this already incredible situation? Golden Glory's best fighters crushing the competition in a rather epic highlight video.

The scene I've just set for you is that of our friend StillWill's latest highlight package, this time for the Golden Glory camp. Take the Scorpion's "Winds of Change" with some text from Coach Flowers's stirring "I am a Champion!" and you end up with a rather fun four and a half minutes of your life to pump you up for this weekend's big United Glory show.

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The 10 Greatest Muay Thai Fighters According To Me: 6-5

6 Sakmongkol Sithchuchok: This might be a bit of a surprise to some Muay Thai fans, but since this is my list I get to be a little bit biased. Sak was a 3 weight champion at Lumpinee in the 90's, and multiple time world champion. (Not that, that matters) Known for his hard kicks and ultra tough body he has given us fans some of the most memorable battles in Muay Thai history. At the age of 17 he fought Ramon Dekkers at Lumpinee and absolutely outclassed the Dutch legend. But his most famous battles came against Jongsanan Fairtex. The most memorable of the fights (as many as 7, not sure of the exact amount of times they fought) was the fifth fight between the two. Round 1 was a typical slow paced feeling out process like most fights, but when round 2 came along all hell broke loose. Sak gave Jongsanan a count, but Jongsanan came right back and they traded punches, and elbows for the remainder of the round. The remaining 3 rounds were more technical, but still quite brutal. Another fight that sent Sak to legendary status was when he fought Perry Ubeda. In R2 Sak appeared to mess up his elbow, and or shoulder. The announcers say it was a dislocation, but Im not sure what the actual injury was, but it clearly caused a ton of discomfort and pain. He continued to fight and in the final round threw a brutal kick that broke Ubeda's arm forcing him to quit. Quite possibly the most durable fighter in history. Most guys who are involved in such brutality are washed up by there mid 20's. Sak only retired just 3 or 4 years ago. Today he teaches at Zingano BJJ in Colorado.

I strongly recommend you watch all 3 of these fights. Sorry Im too stupid to embed, hopefully I'll learn someday. :)

Sak vs. Dekkers:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xP8HtTJu4dU

Sak vs. Jongsanan:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3vrziWRjwY

Sak vs. Ubeda:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBVbppMcHXY

5 Kaensak Sor Ploenchit: Kaensak was the 1989, and 1990 fighter of the year, going a combined 15-0 in the 2 years. He held titles at both Lumpinee and Raja in multiple weight divisions, and was also involved in the 1993 fight of the year. Unfortunately he wasn't as big as fighters like Sakmongkol, Orono, Jongsanan, Den, etc... cause there would have been some epic fights between those guys. While well versed in all 8 limbs it was his strength that separated him from his foe's. He was given the name Kaensak because of that, which apparently translates into "core strength." Unfortunately there is very little video of him available on the internet. Had he been born a few years later, and a bit bigger, footage would be all over the place. He's the only fighter I know who's won fighter of the year 2 years in a row and not losing. Thats quite special. 

3 and 4 tomorrow. 

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It's Showtime Introduces 73kg Division; Grigorian vs. Lidon for Title May 14

Many have over the years complained about K-1's complete lack of weight classes. They knew what buttered their bread and by all means, that was Heavyweight and Superheavyweight competitors clashing in the ring against each other. When TBS saw dollar signs in Masato, all of a sudden the Middleweights had slick presentation and their own shows with their own unique look and feel that set them apart from the Heavyweights. For It's Showtime, expanding the sport has been important to them, from putting on fights on different continents to making sure there are adequate weight classes so that fighters can fight at their best.

Recently, we've seen a rash of 77kg fighters stepping up to fight some of the more elite fighters at 70kg, which means dropping a whopping 7kg, which translates to 15lbs. This creates a problem on both ends of the spectrum, for the 70kg fighters, it means fighting much larger opponents, for the 77kg fighters, it means a hellacious weight cut. On the last It's Showtime event, we saw L'houcine "Aussie" Ouzgni drop from a comfortable 77kg to 70kg to fight Andy Souwer without success, and this past weekend we saw Cosmo Alexandre drop in weight from 77kg to face 70kg king pin Giorgio Petrosyan, again, without success.

So, It's Showtime today introduced the 73kg division, or roughly 160lbs. Think EliteXC's Nick Diaz division. It provides a five pound gap between the 70kg class, and a 9lb gap between the 73kg division and 77kg division. This helps balance out the weight classes for smaller fighters looking to face top competition.

Never to disappoint, It's Showtime has introduced this 73kg division sooner rather than later. Starting May 14, It's Showtime will showcase this new division in a title fight, none-the-less. France's Yohan Lidon will take on Marat Grigorian from Armenia with both men vying for the 73kg Title. [source]

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