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It's Time for the Smaller Weight Classes to Shine

Kickboxing has long been all about the heavyweight weight classes. If you were to ask anyone about K-1 the first thing that would come to mind would be the K-1 World Grand Prix. Of course, there is a good reason for that. When modern kickboxing in the form of K-1 began in Japan it was to appeal to the local audiences with a blend of Kyokushin, Karate and professional wrestling. The Japanese public was always attracted to the idea of the clash of titans (I mean, really, isn’t everybody?) so K-1 focused heavily on the Heavyweights. 

If you look at GLORY, SuperKombat and even promotions like Enfusion you’ll see that the focus is still largely on the heavier weight classes. No matter what Badr Hari is doing it is news, if Peter Aerts is in a pro wrestling match in Japan everyone cares and people still ask if Sem Schilt will ever return to the ring. Speculation over Alistair Overeem leaving the UFC to return to kickboxing has been healthy for his entire UFC run. Needless to say, the big guys draw eyeballs.

The one real anomaly is the rise of K-1’s MAX division in the 2000’s. It was an idea created to promote the handsome and talented MASATO originally, but the reality was that it created a good number of stars and helped to make something outside of Heavyweight sustainable. We’ve seen the rise of a few stars like Giorgio Petrosyan, Buakaw Banchamek, Andy Ristie, Robin van Roosmalen and many more. It’s Showtime helped to push forward with expanded weight classes and GLORY is continuing along the path with the Light Heavyweight and Middleweight classes a big focus over the last year.

If we look at other sports the focus isn’t always just on huge, lumbering titans, though. While American Football might have a few such characters, a lot of the time the smaller, more agile players end up a focal point. The home run sluggers in baseball might draw eyeballs, but not all baseball players are Mark Mcguire. In football (you know, soccer) it is even more clear that you don’t (and shouldn’t) be a giant to be successful. Look no further than some of the lines at betting at William Hill to see how diverse the playing field can be. 

At GLORY 20 Gabriel Varga and Mosab Amrani will compete for the GLORY Featherweight Championship. It’s a solid first step, although there is confusion as to if this will air on the SuperFight Series or on Spike TV. Last that I’ve heard it was the SuperFight Series. Even so, it will be the headliner for that show that will air on CBS Sports Network and across the globe as its own show. 

Then, of course, is K-1’s 55kg World Grand Prix going down in Japan on April 19th. K-1 Japan has been putting out a steady stream of events featuring smaller weight classes and has been wildly entertaining. As long as the big players in kickboxing keep focusing on smaller weight classes there is still hope that the lighter, more technical and quick weight classes can shine in the near future. 

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Video: Andy Souwer vs Hideya Tanaka

On February 11, 2015 Andy Souwer fought Hideya Tanaka on the No Kick No Life event in Japan.

It seems to me that Souwer doesn't age, in fact recently hes looking more like the Andy that won K-1 Max years ago. This head kick KO of Tanaka is so perfect it even surprised me watching, I can't imagine how Tanaka felt. Andy has a full schedule of fights for 2015, and he couldn't have asked for a better start than this.

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VIDEO: Enriko Kehl vs. Erkan Varol and Zabit Samedov vs. Merit Arkan

K-1 World MAX Champion Enriko Kehl has been keeping busy while he is set for a showdown with the legendary Giorgio Petrosyan in just a matter of weeks now. Earlier this year Petrosyan fought Erkan Varol, picking up a victory over Varol. Now Kehl has gone and done the same thing, this being a rematch between the two. They met this weekend in Turkey and Kehl looked confident in the fight. Of course, the test of Petrosyan is a big one for the young fighter, but hopefully he'll be ready come April 11th.

Also on the card was the man who knocked Badr Hari out, Zabit Samedov. Samedov fought Merit Arkan.

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Bai Ling attending SuperKombat World Grand Prix I next Sat. evening (Mar. 7) in Ploiești, Romania

It's nice to have friends in high places.

SuperKombat Fighting Championship will enjoy yet another special guest appearance from Hollywood, as famous actress Bai Ling will be ringside for next Saturday evening's (Mar. 7, 2015) SuperKombat World Grand Prix I event on Eurosport from Sala Sporturilor in Ploiești, Romania.  

The Chinese-born is no stranger to fighting since she often trains in martial arts for her interesting movie roles. 

Bai Ling is known for her work in films such as The Crow, Red Corner, Crank: High Voltage and Wild Wild West, and TV shows including Lost.

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