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The 10 Greatest Muay Thai Fighters According To Me: 10-9

In my last piece I tried my shot at exposing the Buakaw, and Ramon Dekkers myth. Someone replied and asked if they weren't the best, than who was?

If you ask Muay Thai fans that question, every top 10 list will be different. These are strictly my opinion

10 Namsaknoi Yudthagarngamtorn: A long time training partner of Buakaw Por.Pramuk, Namsaknoi can be credited to some of the success Buakaw got in K-1. Its widely believed and often said that he dominated Buakaw in training. He held Lumpinee titles at 4 different weight classes for more than a decade. In 1996 he was voted fighter of the year and for the next 10 years stayed incredibly consistent until he retired to become a trainer. He came back several times over the last few years, but it finally appears age has caught up with the "Emperor." With multiple wins over Samkor Keatmontep, and Saenchai Sinbimuaythai formerly known as Saenchai Sor. Kingstar its impossible for me to leave him off this list. Im unsure of his actual record, but he rarely lost in the late 90's, and early 2000's. I don't doubt that he won at least 90% of his fights. Which is is phenomenal when you consider even the top Thai's fight 8-12+ times a year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xf6x-4yQ-uc&

On top of being an all time great fighter he has the most beautiful Wai Kru I've ever seen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VC6_-xhBv54

9 Sangtienoi Sor. Rungrot: "The Deadly Kisser" (He apparently kissed his opponents on the cheek before he stopped them) was not very fast, nor was he too physically gifted in general, but he made up for it with amazing heart, and absolutely phenomenal technique. He's known for his kicks, and knees, but also has good hands, and good elbows, which make him one of the most complete fighters I've seen in Muay Thai. A long time champion at Rajadamnern Stadium he made the move to Lumpinee for better competition. Soon after he became lightweight champion, and beat all the best fighters of that era (90's) which is considered to be the greatest era of fighters ever. Today Sangtienoi is retired and is not only a trainer, but one of the best ambassadors for the sport. His son Moses, though not nearly as good as his father has followed in his footsteps and is ranked in the top 10 middleweights at Rajadamnern Stadium. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mvsve-Sy6KQ

#8-7 Tomorrow

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Weekly Poll Results

Last week's question: How did you score Daniel Ghita vs. Hesdy Gerges?

48% - Even and should have gone to an extra round

23% - Gerges won fair and square

17% - Ghita should have had the decision

12% - Didn't see it

This week: The big fight from this weekend was Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Cosmo Alexandre, and there was no doubt who won there.  Giorgio Petrosyan continues to dominate the sport with his superb technique.  He's clearly the top kickboxer in the world, and at this point, you have to ask...

Is Giorgio Petrosyan the #1 fighter in the world in any combat sport?

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Why You Need to Push for Kickboxing to Rise in Your Home Country

Peter AertsAs I was typing in that headline, I initially had put "in the United States" for the simple fact alone that I live there, as do virtually all of the contributors on LiverKick.com, outside of EKP who is in the Toronto area, Fletch in the UK and Traveler who is heading to Thailand and China shortly to cleanse his person and kick things.

Yesterday it was announced that Zuffa had purchased UFC's top competitor, Strikeforce. This caused many, many reactions sweeping across the world for MMA fans and pundits. It has become a polarizing topic and has effectively split a community that was merely on the way to being fractured over the course of a few hours. In between anti-Zuffa war cries, pro-Zuffa, anti-free market rants, comparisons to major league sports teams that don't seem to stick and some wait-and-see attitudes, it is clear that something very big happened yesterday. What I really find funny is that somewhere in between all of that, we saw a show happen in Italy that featured four top 25 70kg Middleweights and the rest that are well on their way to being on that list in the world of kickboxing.

On top of that, the #5 and #11 fighters, respectively, were competing in different parts of the world as well. It feels like a foolish distraction to get caught up in MMA while kickboxing makes such a great showing, internationally. Admittedly, I saw Royce Gracie in UFC before I saw Peter Aerts throw the head kick that turned me into a lifelong kickboxing fan. The issue with MMA will sort itself out, that I'm sure of, there needs to be a focus on Kickboxing and Muay Thai right now.

As of me writing this, in the United States there is no one Kickboxing or Muay Thai promotion that promotes on a national basis. To me, that is almost mind-boggling, as there are promotions that run regionally, in areas like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas that all draw incredible crowds for what they do, but there is next to no overlap outside of a few top prospects like Kevin Ross who actually leave their region to fight in other ones as well as other countries.

This is unacceptable by any stretch of the imagination. It isn't like there aren't gyms and there aren't people training kickboxing and muay thai every day in the United States, and not just for self defense, either. There are people training for combat. Then there is talk about why there is no major Muay Thai or Kickboxing promotion, the lack of star power. I've seen local shows and seen the top talents, if they were promoted correctly on a national level, who says that they wouldn't catch on like MMA fighters have? People purchase shows headlined by fighters like Frank Edgar, who by all means does not live up to the tough guy stereotype image of what a fighter should be, nor does he give the most rousing, interesting interviews.

Someone needs to step up to the plate already and take the fractured scene and make something of it. Everyone can keep complaining or being condescending that there is "no market for kickboxing" as long as no one is out there trying and proving the doubters right. K-1 isn't going to do it, they are a Japan-centric promotion, always have been and always will be. Their monopoly on the sport has been both good and bad for it; good as in it created a yearly tournament that shows who is the best in the world, without a doubt, the bad is that no matter where they promote, the end game is to make good television for Japanese audiences, not local audiences. When K-1 promoted in the United States they never bothered localizing the product beyond using a select group of American fighters. The local promoters and men in charge like Scott Coker and Mike Kogan are the whim of what the Japanese promoters and producers want, leaving a scene that I've heard from a few fighters was disarray and confusion for K-1's USA shows.

Keep reading.

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Oktagon results: Andrei Kulebin cuts Angelo Campoli for the Win

In the lone Full Muay Thai rules fight of the night, it's decorated veteran Andrei Kulebin vs. the significantly less experienced, late replacement Angelo Campoli.  Five rounds here, and right off the bat, they're doing it right with live Thai music and Wai Khrus.  Very cool.

And from there, sadly, there's not a ton going on.  Kulebin is clearly the better fighter, but Campoli is staying close.  With every round, Kulebin takes a bit more of a lead, using superior clinch work to gain the advantage throughout rounds 1-3.

In the 4th, Kulebin scores with a nice slicing elbow, catching Campoli above the right ear coming out of a clinch.  There's definitely blood, but it's nowhere near the eyes, but the ringside doctor waves it off anyway.  Kulebin takes the 4th round TKO win in, while not a bad fight, nothing particularly memorable.

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