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Weekend Results: Slowinski, Holzken Win

Paul SlowinskiResults are in from this weekend, and there were three kickboxing events of interest.

Top 10 Middlewweight Nieky Holzken (ranked #6) was in action this weekend, headlining a Golden Glory event in Eindhoven and challenging Thilo Schneider for the WFCA World Title.  The intense Holzken brought the fight to Schneider early, using a wide range of techniques to overwhelm his opponent and score the 2nd round TKO win.  A bit of an ugly moment in the 2nd round here after Holzken dropped Schneider with a punch.  As Schneider was down on one knee in the corner, the referee was slow to step in and Holzken blasted his clearly downed opponent with a brutal punch that rocked the completely exposed Schneider.  Poor reffing there for sure, but also not the most sportsmanlike move from Holzken.  After the fight Faldir Chahbari entered the ring and challenged Holzken.  Those two put on one of the best fights in 2009 with Holzken pulling off a close decision win, and I would have no problem seeing them square off again.

In Australia, the big event was Knees of Fury 32, headlined by Paul Slowinski vs. Thor Hoopman.  Slowinski (pictured) was able to get his revenge on Hoopman for a 2009 loss, as the long-time K-1 veteran scored a 1st round KO victory over his younger opponent.  The difference in the fight seemed to be Slowinski's power, which proved too much for the smaller Hoopman.  At one point, Slowinski was able to simply pick Hoopman up and slam him to the mat in a throw that was low on technique, but high on strength.  As the round progressed, Slowinski increased his pressure, landing multiple punch combos that dropped Hoopman before the referee stepped in and stopped the fight.  Great win for Slowinski, who was talking about retiring two years ago, but is now 8-2 in the last year and getting ready for a May showdown with Daniel Ghita in what will be Slowinski's biggest international fight since the 2008 K-1 GP Finals.  Hoopman remains a young talent to watch, but this is a definite setback for him, and he will need to figure out how to deal with bigger, stronger opponents if he hopes to remain at Heavyweight.  Elsewhere on the card Wes Capper stopped Kym Johnson in 1 round, Flip Street defeated Myles Simpson by TKO after round 2, Sarah O'Connell decisioned Tenille May, Charlie Chau KO'd Hiki Hanui in the 1st via leg kicks, and Cameron Murcott stopped Steve Behan, again in the 1st.

Finally, over in Japan was R.I.S.E. 74 with a pair of title fights as the main attraction.  In the main event, Kosuke Komiyama took a 5 round split decision win over Kan Itabashi to become the new R.I.S.E. 60 kg champion, while Koji Yoshimoto and Yusuke Sugawara battled to a Draw in a 63kg title fight.  Yoshimoto remains the champion after the draw decision.  The other notable fight was Dyki vs. Hiroki Maeda, where Dyki scored the decision win.  The event also included a retirement ceremony for K-1 MAX veteran Tatsuji.

Nieky Holzken (red) vs. Thilo Schneider (blue):

Paul Slowinski (blue) vs. Thor Hoopman (red)



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Mark Hunt Scores Huge KO Win

Mark Hunt at UFC 127There are some notable stories getting attention in the wake of last night's UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch, but for K-1 fans, there's only one that matters: the return of KO artist Mark Hunt.  Hunt faced Chris Tuchscherer in a prelim fight designed to appeal to the live hometown crowd, and for the first time in a long time, Hunt truly delivered.  The K-1 veteran opened up a horrendous cut in round 1 before stopping Tuchscherer with a vicious uppercut KO in the 2nd - and then simply walking away from his opponent's sprawled out body looking like a total badass.  The stoppage earned him the award for Knockout of the Night.

The fight was a great redemption for Hunt.  The past few years have been very rocky for the New Zealand native.  Between MMA and K-1 Hunt came into the fight on a combined 7 fight losing streak that dated all the way back to mid-2006, nearly 5 years ago.  Tuchscherer brought in a 1-2 record in the UFC, but both loses came against tough opponents in Gabriel Gonzaga and Brendan Schaub, and many favored him to defeat the fading Hunt here.  Hunt managed to keep the fight standing for most of the first round, showing off the heavy hands and solid striking skills that once made him K-1 Grand Prix champion.  After a nasty left hook opened up a huge cut over Tuchscherer's eye, the doctors took a look and surprisingly allowed the fight to continue.  Tuchscherer came back from the break reenergized, managing to take Hunt down and attempt to secure a kimura.  The ground game has been Hunt's kryptonite for some time, with 5 of his last 6 MMA loses coming via some form of arm lock, but this time it was not to be, as Hunt rode out the round.  In round two they were back to striking before Hunt landed a tight uppercut perfectly on Tuchscherer's jaw.  As his opponent flopped to the mat, Hunt knew the fight was done, walking away casually with his fist raised in victory before the referee even stepped in.

It's hard to say where Hunt goes from here.  It was a good win for sure, but I don't think he really fits in the greater UFC HW picture.  Perhaps one more fight with his old K-1/PRIDE opponent Mirko CroCop?  The two men are 1-1 and a rubber match would be appropriate given each man's current career.  I could also see him paired with UFC's other ex-K-1 Heavyweight, Pat Barry.

For now though, those of us who have watched Mark Hunt win the 2001 K-1 Grand Prix, duke it out with Ray Sefo, and go to war with Jerome Le Banner, can add another exciting moment to our memories.  Cheers to you champ.

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Keys to Victory: Daniel Ghita

On March 6th, Daniel Ghita will take on Hersdy Gerges in the main event of It's Showtime Sporthallen Zuid. This is the first in a two-part series where I will lay out the keys to victory for each fighter. Today, we'll look at Daniel Ghita.

Strengths:

Kicks - Daniel has won many of his fights with his devastating leg kicks. He basically ran through the whole 2009 K-1 Tokyo Qualifying Grand Prix in record time using them. Watching his fights, you'll often see the effects of his low kicks start to show on his opponents after just a few of them landing. Against Gokhan Saki in the 2010 K-1 WGP Final, we also saw how brutal those kicks can be when Daniel attacks the body. Even though Gokhan earned the tough victory, his body was so abused that he had nothing to give against Alistair Overeem in the semifinal's and had to concede defeat early in the first round.

Hands - On the flip side of that, there have been times where Ghita would rely solely on his kicks and not use his hands enough. That has changed recently as we saw Daniel knock out Errol Zimmerman at the 2010 K-1 WGP Final 16 with a nasty straight right that proved to everyone Ghita's hands had arrived.

Chin - With only one knockout loss on his record, Ghita has a tough chin and can take as much punishment as he gives out. This durability combined with his knockout power, makes Daniel a threat from bell to bell.

Size - At 6'5" and 240, Ghita has the height and mass to contend with any fighter he takes on.

Weaknesses:

Complacency - In the past, there were times when Ghita appeared to put it on cruise when his offense wasn't paying dividends. Almost seeming to ride out a decision. Thankfully, I haven't seen this from Daniel in quite awhile and I don't anticipate it happening against Hesdy, either. I think we'll see a very hungry Daniel Ghita.

Conditioning - The great equalizer, especially among heavyweights. We saw Ghita run out of steam towards the end of the Saki fight which may have cost him the decision. To Daniel's defense, it was widely speculated that he was sick going into that fight which would surely hinder his conditioning.

Keys to Victory:

For Daniel Ghita to take home a win against the It's Showtime Heavyweight Champion, he'll need to use his crushing leg kicks to slow the athletic and aggressive Gerges. Once Hesdy starts to feel his legs start to slow down, Daniel will be able to move in and put his hands to work alongside those mighty kicks. Although Gerges is the taller fighter, he is not built as big as Daniel. Ghita can attack the body of Gerges with kicks and punches to tear him down; much like Ghita did against Gokhan Saki.

If Daniel is able to stick to this gameplan, I believe he will be victorious on March 6th.

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Video: Artem Levin vs. Kaoklai

Here is a fight from last weekend that slipped under the radar: It's Showtime 77kg champion Artem Levin vs. WBC Muay Thai World Light Heavyweight champion Kaoklai Kaennorsing.  The fight was 5 rounds, full Muay Thai rules for Kaoklai's WBC title and took place at an event in Russia.

Levin came in off a career best year in 2010 that saw him quickly rise up the ranks.  In the last year, Levin claimed both the It's Showtime title and the Gold medal at the SportAccord Combat Games. Along the way he defeated two men who could each make a solid claim for being #1 at 77kg: Yodsaenklai Fairtex and L'houcine Ouzgni.  He's on a 12 fight win streak, and has to be considered the top man at 77kg at this point.

Kaoklai is a Muay Thai legend who K-1 fans may best know for his surprising 2004/2005 K-1 Grand Prix runs.  He's in the twilight of his superb career, although he did put together a 5-0 record in 2010 and is not yet completely finished.

Analysis after the jump.

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