|Heavyweight (Per 4/15)|
|Light HW (per 4/15)|
|Middleweight (per 4/15)|
|Welterweight (per 4/15)|
|4.||Marc de Bonte|
|70kg (Per 4/15)|
|3.||Robin van Roosmalen|
|65kg (per 1/20)|
According to Dutch site at5, Badr Hari has made claims in his upcoming autobiography that Ernesto Hoost had attempt...Read more
So, I've been sat spinning tales around the campfire for a while now, and I've got a couple of recent ones from the interviews that I've been fortunate enough to conduct in the past week or two. From the Slamma at BAMMA to chatting to Mike Passenier and Paul Daley, to James McSweeney and last night down at Bad Company gym in Leeds, me and my trusty iPod emerged from our dingy basement and got out in the world to ask questions. So, here's a couple of the nuggets of info I retrieved:
*James McSweeney (the now 4-7 win/loss BAMMA Heavyweight) was offered a shot at the It's Showtime 95MAX (Cruiserweight, 95kg) world title.
The belt was vacated after Tyrone Spong failed to defend it within two years, and was contested for on Sunday by Wendell Roche and Danyo Ilunga. It makes me wonder what the deal is - McSweeney had a degree of success in Muay Thai, winning British and European titles and even a 'world' title, but surely there were more deserving candidates for a shot at what is - in the absence of Light-Heavy/Cruiserweight divisions in K-1 - perhaps the most prestigious and important 'world' title in kickboxing between 90-95kg? For the Americans, that is roughly 198-210lbs.
*Stefan "Blitz" Leko is retired ~ Mike Passenier.
What can I say? Ever the professional, I blurted out "no!" and audibly groaned when Mike let slip during our interview that my joint-favourite thai-boxer (with Manhoef) had finally called it a day. If so, I mourn the loss of a man who seemed destined to achieve K-1 greatness at the level of Aerts (who he beat twice), Bonjasky (who he beat), Hoost (who he took the distance) and teammate Semmy Schilt, only to seemingly miss his big window of opportunity when - as the-then #1 ranked K-1 heavyweight on a hot streak - he was axed from K-1 just prior to the 2003 World Grand Prix Final, which he was being widely tipped to win.
Still, the resume that includes being K-1 European Grand Prix champion, K-1 Dream tournament champion, two-time K-1 World Grand Prix USA winner, two-time World Heavyweight Thai-boxing champion and three-time World Super-Heavyweight kickboxing champion, is a C.V that 99% of all fighters would die to retire with, not to mention holding wins over Peter Aerts (x2), Alexey Ignashov (x2), Badr Hari, Remy Bonjasky and many more. Leko retires after a glorious career. Legend, yes or no? He is to me.
*Melvin Manhoef has not defended his It's Showtime 85MAX (Light-Heavyweight) world title, because there are no fighters at 85kg willing to face him for the belt.
It is likely he will end up being stripped, as Tyrone Spong was. Manhoef won the belt against relative unknown Denes Racz, on an It's Showtime card in August 2009 that took place in Hungary. Racz is Hungarian. A low key title win, and then no defences in nearly two years. Such a shame, as to me, Melvin in near unbeatable at his own weight class in stand-up fighting, and it is hard to envision anyone upwards of 77MAX and even up to the best at 95MAX being able to beat him. As my next point will highlight, Melvin wont be competing for the title at 95kg anytime soon, but even in that division he looks pretty strong, in the absence of Saki and Spong. So, in terms of 85kg... what could have been the most dominant, destructive, brutal kickboxing world championship reigns of all time will be cut short after two years of non-activity, due to lack of opposition. As a Manhoef fan, it's sad.
*Nenad Pagonis of Mike's Gym is in line to face Danyo Ilunga for the It's Showtime 95MAX title.
Mike Passenier told me a week prior to the vacant belt being fought for by Wendell Roche and Germany's Ilunga, that "Pagonis will fight the winner". He added that for this reason, Manhoef would not be competing for the 95MAX world title in the near future, as Pagonis and he are teammates.
*Liam Harrison of Leeds will get a rematch with Saenchai Sor Kingstar.
The p4p God of Thailand gave a recent interview in which he stated Harrison was "his favourite opponent. Everything I do to him, he imitates and does back to me. It is fun." Richard Smith of Bad Company says that Liam "is a different fighter now" to what he was when he faced Saenchai the first time around. That could spell trouble for the flashy Thai, as while he is a prodigious, mercurial talent, with 40losses on his record he is not infallible to losing to top competition. (I should point out that nearly all the losses occurred above his natural weight, as no one his size will fight him). The rematch is scheduled for April 9th.
*Jordan Watson, also of Bad Company gym in Leeds, was offered a shot at p4p kickboxing king Giorgio Petrosyan, according to Richard Smith, who is head and founder of the camp.
Watson, 22 from Leeds, rose to world prominence last year when he faced off with 2x K-1 World MAX champion Buakaw Por.Pramuk, whom he took to a close decision over 5rds, and then Watson topped off a great year by winning the ISKA World title at welterweight (70kg). While Smith said he witheld the youngster from the Petrosyan fight for now, the name 'Watson' certainly appears destined to rank alongside those of the other power names at 70kg, such as Petrosyan, Buakaw (who he already almost beat) Souwer, Kraus, Zambidis and Kyshenko.
Check LiverKick in the coming days for my video interviews of Richard Smith, Liam Harrison and hopefully Jordan Watson too.
FletchAdd a comment
Brothers Koya Urabe and Hirotaka Urabe along with fellow Team Dragon member Ryuji Kajiwara held a public workout today in Japan as they prepare for next weekends Krush Triple Final Round 2011. The event will feature the conclusion of the 63kg, 60kg and 55kg tournaments.
20-year old Koya Urabe defeated South Korean Sung Hyun Lee in the 63kg quarterfinals January 9th and will now face 2009 Krush Rookies Cup winner Takuya Shirahama in the semi's. The youngest of the Urabe brothers, Koya has an impressive 6-1 K-1 record and was the 2008 K-1 KOSHIEN runner-up.
In the other 63kg semi-final, teammate Ryuji Kajiwara will face Kizaemon Saiga. If both Koya Urabe and Kajiwara win their respected matches we'll have an all Team Dragon 63kg final.
The eldest Urabe brother, 21-year old Hirotaka Urabe, will meet Dynamite Yuta in the semi-final at 60kg. Hirotaka was the 2007 All Nippon Shinkarate Light & Middle Weight Tournament Champion and holds a 2-2 record in K-1.
The March 19th Korakuen Hall event along with the tournament fights will also be highlighted by the 70kg Superfight between between K-1 MAX fighter Yuya Yamamoto and MMA veteran Akihiro Gono.Add a comment
Usually by this time in the year, we'd have a K-1 show to kick off the Heavyweight season, or at least be preparing for one. This year is different, as instead It's Showtime stepped up to the plate and has taken that top position by promoting a big card over the weekend that proved to be the first big kickboxing card of the year on an international level, and it was great. The show's headliner was two young European heavyweights squaring off against each other.
The fight wasn't about titles or a tournament, instead it was two young heavyweights jocking for position and showing the world what they are capable of. Neither men have the hype behind them that a fighter like Badr Hari does, nor did they have the opportunities that he was given. They had to fight for their positions.
Daniel Ghita is the elder of the two, clocking in at 29. Ghita meddled in his home of Romania for a full ten years, until 2009 when It's Showtime gave him a shot on their biggest show of the year, the Amsterdam ArenA show against the Czech Republic's Thomas Hron. Ghita came in with a fire lit from under him and stopped the fight in the second round with his deadly leg kicks that he is known for. Then in August he entered K-1's Final Qualifying tournament in Tokyo and blew through it with all first round knockouts.
Hesdy Gerges (pronounced 'Hell-heth' if you didn't know, how bad ass is that?) is 27 and worked his way up the ultra-competitive circuit in Amsterdam, as well as through personal issues. Thom Harinck has discussed Gerges troubled past and how if people thought Badr Hari was a bad boy, if they knew about Gerges it would blow them away. Gerges was invited to K-1 in 2009 to take on the giant, Semmy Schilt in what should have been a feature bout for Schilt in the March opening of the K-1 season show. Gerges fought hard and was able to hold on for all three rounds before the bout was decided for Schilt. Gerges fought his way back up and caught the eye of It's Showtime, who the next year felt like they had gold putting him up against Badr Hari. It has all been upward from there, as he proved just how tough he is and made an impact on K-1 as well in 2010.
Neither man had an easy path to this weekend's show. Gerges was given Semmy Schilt again in the Final 16 last year, knocking him out of contention, while Ghita was able to make the Final 8 before falling to Gokhan Saki. I feel like there has been a swell of support for Ghita over the last year, and rightfully so. Ghita's powerful kicks and hard head can take him far, he has shown a weakness with his hands but is clearly working on improving them. Gerges is a fighter that I feel a lot of people underrate. While Badr Hari was beating him last year, the heart and toughness he had shown, as well as the clean shots he was landing amid Badr's angry flurries were impressive. For a while now I've felt that Gerges has some serious potential and a strong future as a Heavyweight. His kicks are not as crushing as Ghita's, but his hands are much, much better at this point. So going into this fight, it was clear that both men are a big deal.
Over the past few years that has been a rather obnoxious talking point on the internet that Heavyweight kickboxing is "dead" and there is no new talent. That dominance of Peter Aerts and Semmy Schilt is "clear" proof of this, somehow. It isn't that they are just that good, but their age should somehow bring down the rest of the field. The rise of Badr Hari, Ruslan Karaev, Gokhan Saki, Tyrone Spong, Kyotaro and now Ghita and Gerges tells an entirely different story. It shows an upcoming changing of the guard, a new generation coming from a few transition years in the mid-00's. A fight between Hesdy Gerges and Daniel Ghita was more than a Heavyweight clash, it was a clash between two of the fighters that we've felt will carry on the elite Heavyweight tradition in the coming years and be part of a new golden age. The fact that the fight we saw was such an even, exciting fight is simply proof of all of these things, that regardless of who walked away the victor, both these men are going to make the next ten years or so extremely exciting to watch unfold.Add a comment
Last week we asked who would win the It's Showtime main event between Daniel Ghita and Hesdy Gerges. Your response...
66% - Ghita
34% - Gerges
Sorry LiverKick.com readers - you know we love you, but 66% of you were stumped this time. Of course, the fight was not without a bit of controversy as Ghita was considered knocked down after a low blow. So...
This Week's Question: How did you score the fight?
Vote now!Add a comment
It's a busy weekend ahead for combat sport in Japan! While we wait for more information on the promotional plans of former PRIDE FC brass Nobuyuki Sakakibara and Hiroyuki Kato and the future direction of FEG/K-1/DREAM, we’re lucky enough to be tied over with lots of great action from the smaller promotions.
Kicking things off Friday, Jewels Lightweight Champion Ayaka Hamasaki (4-0) will headline the JEWELS 12th Ring show against American Top Team's Jessica Aguilar (10-4) in a non-title match. Lisa Ward was originally scheduled to face Hamasaki however she was inujred training and is unable to compete. Jessica Aguilar steps in after her fight scheduled for this weekend in Michigan was cancelled.
Injuries also affected the main event for Shooto's SHOOTOR'S LEGACY 2 which takes place on Saturday at Korakuen Hall. World Shooto Flyweight Champion Rambaa "M16" Somdet was injured late last month and forced to drop out of his title fight against Junji Sarumaru. The match is now scheduled to take place on April 29th. Yuki Shojo (10-5-2) vs. Noboru "Shinpei" Tahara (9-5-1) has been moved up to the main event slot. Yuki Shojo is an exciting fighter who ranks as one of the top Flyweights in the world and Shinpei Tahara is a former 114-pound title challenger. Also on the card King of Pancrase Flyweight Champion Kiyotaka Shimizu (7-3-2) will make his Shooto debut as he's set to take on Shinichi Hanawa (8-7-1) who’s won his last four fights.
Speaking of Pancrase, The Impressive Tour 2011 makes a stop in Osaka on Sunday. In the main event, 2010 Bantamweight Neo-Blood tournament winner and former Karate champion Motonobu Tezuka (15-3-3) meets Judo specialist Hiroshi Tomita (8-2-2) of Pancrase Inagakigumi. The semi-main event is a Womens ‘Athena’ match billed as JEWELS vs VALKYRIE, Osaka native Hitomi Akano (16-8) will fight for the first time in her home town when she takes on the much outclassed Chisa Yonezawa (1-3).
DEEP is holding a Rock/MMA fushion event on Sunday called ANNIHILATE! It's a smaller card featuring a one night four-man Megaton GP tournament along with a bunch of hard rock/metal bands. In Block A of the GP, Baru “Seiryu” Harn (1-1) is set to meet Seigo Mizuguchi (7-8) and in Block B Ryota (0-1) takes on Gerogian judoka and Yoshida Dojo's Levan Razmadze (1-0). The winner will get a future title shot against newly crowned Megaton Champion Kazuhisa Tazawa.
Rounding out the action on Sunday, HEAT 17 takes place from Nagoya with two former K-1 veterans squaring off when Hiromi Amada will defend his HEAT Heavyweight Kick title against Tatsufumi Tomihira and over in Shoot Boxing they kick off the 2011 edition of the Young Ceasar's Cup tournament.
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3/11 – JEWELS 12th Ring – Tokyo
3/12 – SHOOTO ~ SHOOTOR’S LEGACY 02 – Tokyo
3/13 – SHOOTBOXING ~ Young Caesar Cup – Nagoya
3/13 – DEEP 10th Anniversary DEEP ANNIHILATE! – Tokyo
3/13 – HEAT 17 – Nagoya
3/13 – PANCRASE 2011 IMPRESSIVE TOUR 3.13 – Osaka