Australia has long been a hotbed for Kickboxing and Muay Thai, so it is no surprise that on March 17th in Canberra that Capital Punishment will keep the momentum going with a big card. The folks behind CP have had a good relationship with K-1, putting on the 2010 tournament that Ben Edwards won to qualify for the K-1 World Grand Prix, and here is hoping that we hear something of FIKA/K-1 in Australia very soon, but for now all signs point for March 17th to be a big show.
The main event features two fighters who are fighting for the next It's Showtime card, this time against each other in a competitive Heavyweight bout. Rico Verhoeven has been making a name for himself all over again after some tough luck over the past few years. When Rico got called up to K-1 he simply was not ready and it showed, but over the past year his improvement has been impressive, picking himself up a controversial win over Hesdy Gerges. Rico fights Errol Zimmerman in a few weeks, but in March he'll square off with Australia's Ben Edwards. Edwards qualified for his first K-1 World Grand Prix in 2010 before running into Alistair Overeem and since then has had some ups and downs. He fights Ricardo van den Bos soon, but without a doubt a fight with Rico is the bigger fight. For both fighters it is a great litmus test as for where they'll stand for the rest of the year among the elite.
Steve McKinnon is a big deal in Australia, basically unrivaled outside of Nathan Corbett at -96kg, and he takes on the always serviceable Antz Nansen. Antz has not had a ton of fights against top competition so this will be a step up for him, but with talk of K-1 looking to have a possible world cup, two guys like this facing off here can definitely make a big statement this year. I'd say the early odds are tipped in McKinnon's favor, but Nansen is a talent who just has yet to really get his signature win over a big name yet.
As I'm talking about K-1 and bringing in new talent, it is hard not to mention the awesome 70kg battle that is on deck for this show. Steve Moxon recently dismantled one of the top 70kg fighters in Australia, Bruce McFie via a 3rd round KO and he'll step into the ring against Wes Capper. Capper has had a lot of success of late, and if K-1 is looking to dip into the pool for 70kg fighters, these two seem like prime targets to go big time.