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Heavyweight (Per 4/15)
1. Rico Verhoeven
2. Daniel Ghita
3. Gokhan Saki
4. Tyrone Spong
5. Peter Aerts
6. Errol Zimmerman up
7. Benjamin Adegbuyiup
8. Ismael Londt up
9. Hesdy Gerges up
10. Ben Edwards up

Light HW (per 4/15)
1. Gokhan Saki up
2. Tyrone Spong down
3. Danyo Ilunga
4. Nathan Corbett down
5. Saulo Cavalari

Middleweight (per 4/15)
1. Wayne Barrett
2. Joe Schilling
3. Artem Levin
4. Steven Wakeling
5. Franci Grajs

Welterweight (per 4/15)
1. Nieky Holzken 
2. Joseph Valtellini 
3. Simon Marcus
4. Marc de Bonte
5. Aussie Ouzgni

 

70kg (Per 4/15)
1. Davit Kiriaup
2. Andy Ristiedown
3. Robin van Roosmalendown
4. Giorgio Petrosyandown
5. Murthel Groenhart
6. Buakaw Banchamek
7. Dzhabar Askerov
8. Ky Hollenbeckup
9. Aikprachaup
10. Enriko Kehlup

65kg (per 1/20)
1. Masaaki Noiri
2. Mosab Amraniup
3. Yuta Kubo down
4. Sagetdao
5. Liam Harrison

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As 2011 started, I embarked on a new personal mission - to train Muay Thai.  It's been a personal goal of mine for some time now, and with the site taking off and more of my time committed to writing about the world of kickboxing and Muay Thai, I figured there was no time like the present.  And so I've found my gym, signed up for classes, and I am on my way.  But I'm still a writer, so, as I train, I'll present some thoughts on my experiences here.  I don't mean this to be a definitive tale of Muay Thai training - far from it.  I know there are many regulars here who have far (FAR) more experience than me.  But I'm sure there are also some who have not yet taken that plunge.  So perhaps this little online diary will provide a glimpse into learning more about Muay Thai and kickboxing the best way you can - by getting out there and doing it.  And if you're on the fence about taking classes yourself, maybe I can help nudge you into that local gym.

As I prepared for classes the first step was obvious - I needed a gym.  On the plus side for me, I live in Chicago, and as a major metropolitan area, there's no shortage of gyms around.  After hunting around a bit online and in the city, I opted for Conviction Fitness - a newer gym with an ever expanding martial arts program and a friendly, locally owned kind of vibe.  It's the kind of place where, if you are trying to buy a drink but realize you're short a dollar (and I was) the owner just waves a hand and says "Get us back next time."  It's the little touches.

Of course, I'm not here for the drinks or the vibe - I'm here for the training.  And so far, that training is working.  One month in, and to date I've worked on kicks, punches and knees.  No elbows.  Yet.  A few random observations so far:

-Our instructor, Andre Madiz, is vigilant about keeping your hands tight to your chin and your elbows tucked to protect your ribs.  This is a constant point for him. As a result, I've noticed that, quite frankly, a lot of professional fighters suck at this.  It's amazing how often fighters fail to get their guard up, and how often they pay for it.  You see this more in K-1 style kickboxing than in Muay Thai, but there is a trend to give up on your defensive posture when you start throwing more punches - a move that often costs you the fight.

-The front kick is a criminally underutilized technique.  Particularly in MMA, I can't think of more than a handful of fighters who consistently use this strike effectively (Josh Thomson comes to mind as an excellent front kick practitioner).  MMA enthusiasts - any thoughts on why this is?

-While checking out the front kick online I came across this gem on Wikipedia: "The modern incarnation of the front kick was perfected by Steven Seagal, who was taught a primitive version circa 1970 in Japan. The exact date is unknown. He secretly developed the technique over several decades before teaching it to UFC Middleweight champion Anderson 'The Spider' Silva".  Wow.

-My conditioning is not bad (which is a surprise to me) but my technique so far is... lacking.  If I could have a fight with nothing but right front kicks and superman punches, I'd be fine.  But until I can get someone to agree to these rules, I'm in trouble.

-Things to work on: left kicks, inside kicks, throwing multiple knees.

Next time, the hunt is on for some quality, but affordable gear.  Until then, I'd love to hear any experiences you have in training.  Let's share and get the discussion going.

 

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(C) SusumuDon Quijote is a clothing company based out of Japan, that through the support of such DQ board members like former professional wrestler and MMA fighter Tadao Yasuda, has supported kakutogi (martial arts) in Japan in various forms. The most obvious form was their support for MMA promoters WVR, who hosted SRC/Sengoku events. Don Quijote was one of the premier supporters for such a promotion, and over the past few weeks the top foreign fighters from SRC have been in mass-exodus mode. Usually, that is not a good thing.

NOB had a translation up from a Japanese publication, and apparently DQ had made up it's mind; it will continue to support martial arts in Japan. The bad news? They might pull support for live events, such as Sengoku events, which if you'll remember correctly, the Sengoku NYE martial arts festival featured a lot of kickboxing bouts on top of MMA fights. This was just a few weeks ago and now at this point, it appears that DQ has officially pulled their support and Sengoku is freaking out, claiming that they are as good as dead.

Apparently, Don Quijote's support of Sengoku was wholly, everything from Sengoku's offices, fighter contracts and event bookings were at the good graces of Don Quijote, thanks to Tadao Yasuda. For Japan, this means that Sengoku, easily the #2 MMA promotion to come out of the ashes of PRIDE is appearing to be going under. On top of that, there is a whole slew of uncertainty behind the future of their top rival, DREAM, which just compounds how crummy of a situation this is (of course, at the time of this article I'm watching the news showing the aftermath of the Japanese Earthquake, rated at 8.8, as well as a possible tsunami) for the Japanese fight industry.

To pull this all together, consider how this also hurts the kickboxing world. At first glance, losing the #2 MMA promotion shouldn't hurt the kickboxing world, but after Sengoku's New Year's Eve event, it was clear that Sengoku was looking to support kakutogi as a whole, including muay thai and kickboxing. Sengoku's martial arts festival was a lot more than MMA and showed promise for a positive impact in the world of fighting.

This was another bigger promotion willing to promote kickboxing who has fallen by the wayside, this isn't a good day for Japan.

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gonokickAkihiro Gono held a public practice today as he trains at the Saenchai Muay-Thai Gym in preparation for his upcoming March 19th Krush match against K-1's Yuya Yamamoto.

Don't think that the longtime staple of Japanese MMA is totally out of his element when it comes to kickboxing, he is a former All-Japan Kickboxing Heavyweight champion.

Last year in MMA, Gono defeated Sweden's Diego Gonzalez at Sengoku 12 and and then dropped down to Lightweight for Sengoku 14 only to lose to former K-1 veteran and SRC training player Jadamba Narantungalag.

It'll be fun to see Gono return to kickboxing, the question is can he hang in with the much more experienced Yamamoto? Either way this is great exposure for the Krush promotion as they continue to roll out quality events.

 

Here's the video of Akihiro Gono's AJKF Heavyweight title fight against Kazushi Nishida.

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It's ShowtimeTo become a global kickboxing promotion, you have to promote all over the world. That includes going to some of the true hotbeds of the sport, which includes Western European countries and countries in the Pacific. For It's Showtime, they have most of Europe covered, with relationships spanning most of the major European countries, from their home in the Netherlands to Italy, the UK, Belgium, France and Poland. Hell, they are even running a show in Russia. Japan is currently in a state of turmoil, and is probably not safe for any outsider to be doing business in, especially with It's Showtime's relationship with K-1, which leaves a Muay Thai and Dutch kickboxing haven of Australia.

Well, say no more, as today on It's Showtime's Simon Rutz's Facebook page, Rutz indicated that within the next month they should have details ironed out for an Australian show. Rutz indicated that he had his sights set on Canberra or Sydney to run a show, but has no promotional partner of late. If you've wondered about It's Showtime's international shows, you'll notice that another person or entity will "present" It's Showtime shows. The last show was presented by promotional company Fighting Stars and their big France show is hosted by famous international kickboxer Kader Marouf.

It's Showtime's expansion plans are smart; they work with local names and form strong alliances with them to make doing business in foreign countries easier. You'll notice that the name Fighting Stars pops up often when it comes to It's Showtime, as they have strong bonds. That is what they look for in promoting kickboxing (American kickboxing promoters, are you listening to this? If you want to work with Rutz contact us and we'll hook you up).

A show in Australia would be a very good idea, as Australia is known for having some great kickboxing and muay thai talent due to its location, being in close proximity to Thailand and having strong European influences throughout the nation. There are a few high profile names from Australia that still compete today; Ben Edwards, Peter Graham, Nathan Corbett, Paul Slowinski and John-Wayne Parr. For a nation not Thailand, Japan or the Netherlands, that is a high concentration of strong names and there are plenty more within the Australian scene.

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Colossa vs. ParrThe next fight on the 2011 John Wayne Parr farewell circuit has been announced - on July 30 Parr will face Vuyisile Colossa.  The fight will be the main event at Capital Punishment 4 in Canberra.

Colossa is perhaps a bit of a surprise as most were expecting Parr's final fights to be against old rivals, such as his May 28 fight with Mike Zambidis.  But Colossa will make for an excellent opponent.  Those who have been following us since our HKL days know we have been covering Vusi since last year's shocking upset win over Yodsaenklai Fairtex - ending Yod's two year undefeated streak.  Since then, Colossa has won a Wu Ling Feng world championship in China, competed at the prestigious Muay Thai King's Cup (where he lost to Yodsaenklai), and started his MMA career with a record of 3-1.  He's a busy fighter who takes challenges in all sorts of different styles, but he will need to be focused here to defeat Parr.  The Gunslinger may be facing retirement, but he's still a relevant factor in the Middleweight scene, and will be a tough challenge for the younger Colossa.  Should make for a great fight.

Also announced for the card: 2010 K-1 Oceania champion Ben Edwards will compete in the semi-main event.  His opponent is not yet announced.  Check out more details at TheScienceof8Limbs.

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Crusher/YuyaIn April, Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez squares off with Japanese powerhouse Tatsuya Kawajiri. This is a big fight for Kawajiri and for fans of Japanese MMA, as Gilbert Melendez absolutely crushed Shinya Aoki last year in Strikeforce, sending every website's Lightweight Rankings into disarray.

For Kawajiri, it is a big fight as he will get introduced to a wider American audience, and is coming off of a big win over former Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Josh Thomson. Kawajiri brings an entirely different skillset to the table than Aoki, including a very strong wrestling and judo game with good takedowns and the ability to hold down and pound out opponents. On top of that, he also possesses formidable stand up skills. While Shinya Aoki was taken down at will and kept at bay by Melendez's hands, with Kawajiri it will be a whole different ballgame.

It turns out that Crusher isn't just doing his normal training for this fight, he is training with K-1 MAX and KRUSH competitor, Yuya Yamamoto. Yamamoto is best known to recent fans as the guy that Petrosyan absolutely annihilated in 2009. Outside of that, Yamamoto is a strong fighter and does have some good ability on top of heavy hands. [source]

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