It's Showtime is nothing short of a juggernaut in 2011. The next It's Showtime event is May 14th in Lyon, France, being headlined by Badr Hari vs. Gregory Tony in Badr's big comeback fight. Then, mere days later on May 21 it is back to Amsterdam in the Sand for another big event headlined by Hesdy Gerges against Chris Knowles. That is it for the month of May, then June happens and they head to Poland on the 11th for Danyo Ilunga's first 95kg title defense.
With a show planned for July in Russia with Hesdy Gerges defending his Heavyweight title, you'd think they'd slow down, but they don't. Today it was announced that It's Showtime will head to Madrid, Spain on June 18 for a big show headlined by the King of the Ring himself, Tyrone Spong.
This is good news for kickboxing fans as It's Showtime is not only picking up the slack left by K-1, but putting on way more shows than we got from K-1 last year with the second half of the year yet to be announced yet. Keep an eye on this space for card updates, as there is still a lot yet to be announced.
A few bits of juicy news coming out of the It's Showtime camp on this rather gorgeous (at least where I am) Friday afternoon. The first bit of news comes in the form of Paul Slowinski having to withdraw from the big It's Showtime card in Lyon, France on May 14th. We saw this coming from a mile away as Slowinski had to pull out of a fight a few weeks ago due to injury and there was no way he'd be OK in time to square off against a beast like Daniel Ghita.
Ghita just came off of a hard-fought loss against Hesdy Gerges on March 6th in a bout that is still disputed by fans across the globe. We are all hoping to get an eventual rematch on that bout, but for now we'll see Ghita back in action in May. This is hard luck for Slowinski, a fighter who has always just been out of reach for being one of the top Super Heavyweights in the world. Slowinski always strings together impressive wins before putting on disappointing performances against fighters he should be beating or top of the food chain competition like Badr Hari and Melvin Manhoef. One man's loss is another man's gain, though, as Anderson "Braddock" Silva has been pulled from his bout with Jamal Ben Saddik on May 21, with Saddik now looking for a new opponent and Braddock replacing Slowinski.
Silva had a rough 2010, racking up 3 of his career 5 wins, with two of them against Mourad Bouzidi. Braddock made an exclamation point for the year of 2010 with an amazingly brutal head kick knockout on Freddy Kemayo that made a few highlight reels so far. This proves as another chance for Braddock to prove himself against top competition against a K-1 Final 8 competitor in Daniel Ghita. [source]
This weekend's big kickboxing action comes from Moscow, as the city hosts the W5 Grand Prix. Highlight of the show is the 4 man 70kg tournament featuring Mike Zambidis, Dzhabar Askerov, William Diender, and Enriko Gogokhia. Now we've got good news for fans - the show will be streamed live online. Visit http://allboxing.tv/en where the show can be purchased for just 99 rubles - that translates to roughly $3.50 US (2,50 Euro). That's a great price to see these fighters in action. Show starts at 6:00 pm Moscow time on Saturday - 10:00 am EST in the US, 2:00 pm GMT.
Although this is a smaller show, this is definitely a strong four man field for a tournament. The semi-final round will feature Zambidis vs. Gogokhia and Askerov vs. Diender. Both are excellent fights in their own right, but the big money fight is definitely the potential Zambidis vs. Askerov final. Both men are aggressive and have been knocking out opponents lately. Their clash would be two heavy hitters coming at each other, and could be a very exciting showdown. It seems likely that this is where the tournament will go, but in this format you never know how it will play out. If there's a spoiler here, I'd say it's Gogokhia, who has been under the radar, but looked great in two 8 man tournaments last year. I still think Zambo will take him, but he's a tough challenger to watch out for.
One other fighter to watch on the card is Alexander Stetsurenko. The talented Russian fighter holds a 2009 win over It's Showtime champion Artem Levin, and is deserving of a high profile international fight.
The complete line-up:
MIKE ZAMBIDIS vs. ENRIKO GOGOKHIA (71 kg)
DZHABAR ASKEROV vs. WILLIAM DIENDER (71 kg)
ROMAN MAYILOV vs. RAMIL NOZRUZOV (63.5 kg)
VLADIMIR MINEEV vs. VITALY SHEMETIV (91 kg)
ALEXANDER STETSURENKO vs. VASSILY TERESHONOK (81 kg)
ALIM NABIEV vs. VYACHESLAV BORSCHEV (67 kg)
VLADIMIR SHULIAK vs. PETR VOSNITSKI (71 kg)