|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)|
We just passed the halfway point of March, which means that the return of Badr Hari is just under two months away. He is preparing vigorously for the challenge of French Muay Thai fighter Tony Gregory (yes, this is correct, it is how It's Showtime, K-1 and his website list him). It isn't that anyone is giving Gregory a lot of a chance as much as we all have high hopes for Badr Hari's first fight in a year.
Mike's Gym on Facebook just posted an album of photos of the Bad Boy himself training with newer Mike's Gym recruit, Sergei Laschenko. [source]
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To say I'm a pretty bright guy is probably an understatement, and to publicly say that is probably a good way to make people either roll their eyes or continue an onslaught of e*attacks against my person, yet here I am, writing exactly that. I think having some confidence in a world of uncertainty is a great feature to possess. Like a good portion of hardcore fans on the internet, I've been watching MMA for a very long time, and like an even smaller portion, I watched PRIDE during its heyday.
I don't make a lot of PRIDE NEVER DIE posts, but yes, the bushido spirit flows through my veins at times and I remember that really awesome Japanese promotion that was home to a lot of the world's top talent as well as a lot of the world's most charismatic cans and both sometimes converged to create incredible squashes like only PRIDE could do. That is to keep the haters happy, as there were also a lot of really, really incredible fights between the best in the world.
So I have to be honest, I'm scratching my head over here; how is Mauricio "Shogun" Rua an underdog against Jon "Bones" Jones at this weekend's UFC 128 event? I pose a very, very serious question to those that feel like Jones is unstoppable; who has he beaten compared to Shogun? Shogun was the PRIDE 2005 Middleweight Champion, quite possibly having the most incredible tournament run imaginable for that year. Shogun defeated, in the opening round, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, then Antonio Rogerio "Little Nog" Nogueira, Alistair Overeem and then Ricardo Arona.
To me, this fight is a no-brainer. An absolute no-brainer, to the extent that I've been given $1,000 by BetDSI to bet on this fight, and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I'm all in for Mauricio Shogun Rua. The odds on BetDSI right now? Ridiculous. Shogun is +155 and I'm betting that I'll be laughing all the way to the bank on this one. So that is, risking $1,000 to win $1,550. Want to know why? Read more.Add a comment
If you weren't clear on what happened with the Amsterdam ArenA event that It's Showtime usually holds every May, we covered exactly what happened in our exclusive interview with Simon Rutz. We talked with Rutz about some of the financial problems and how K-1 really put a wrench in the whole ordeal. On top of that, Mayor van der Laan of Amsterdam has been a bit, well strict on fights happening in his city, defiling what is a otherwise pristine place for Christian worship (note: sarcasm). This left the kickboxing world without a gigantic show in one of the biggest fight cities in the world.
Well that might not be all that we hear of this. There were rumors they might try to make the show happen in October, but we heard no more of that after January after the Lyon, France show was booked with Badr Hari in action, automatically making it a huge show.
We are waiting to hear if It's Showtime will run in Australia this year, by the end of the month, and apparently, we'll also hear about It's Showtime running in the Amsterdam ArenA in October within the same time frame. That is very exciting news, and means that It's Showtime really means business. It could also mean that K-1 could be back in the fold soon.
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2 Apidej Sit Hrun: How many fighters can say they shattered both of his opponents arms in the SAME fight and forced him to retire? I can think of 1, and that would be Apidej Sit Hrun. He's broke many of arms and is probably the hardest kicker in the history of all combat sports. However he wasn't purely a kicker, he was also a successful international boxer, and held titles in that sport. He was named fighter of the century by King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who is still the current King so he's seen his share of fighters.
1 Samart Payakaroon: Not only is this man the best Muay Thai fighter of all time (IMO) but he's the best striker of all time period. If it wasn't for Dieselnoi Chor Thunasukarn he would have won fighter of the year in 1981, 1982, and 1983. But since he lost to Dieselnoi he only won the awards in 81, and 83. After establishing himself as a legend in Muay Thai he took his talent too international boxing and in a few years became the WBC Super Bantamweight champion of the world. After a title defense he lost the belt, and decided to come back to Muay Thai. So he's leaves Muay Thai as the best, goes to boxing and becomes the best(at Super Bantamweight) in that sport for a short while, and then comes back to Muay Thai, a sport he hasn't competed in for years and is still the best! Thats just crazy to me. Not only does he come back and win fighter of the year again in 1988, but he's even better than he was in the early 80's. No fighter ever had his skills near the end of his career. The movement, the technical precision, the stamina was just unparalleled. He's the only fighter to have won fighter of the year 3 times, and had he not gone to boxing he would probably be looking at 5 or more.
Samart vs. Hapalang:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoxaeGVv3os
10. Namsaknoi Yudthagarngamtorn
9. Sangtienoi Sor Rungrot
8. Boonlai Sor Thanikul
7. Poot Lorlek
6. Sakmongkol Sithchuchok
5. Kaensak Sor Ploenchit
4. Dieselnoi Chor Thunasukarn
3. Saenchai Sinbimuaythai
2. Apidej Sit Hrun
1. Samart PayakaroonAdd a comment
4 Dieselnoi Chor Thunasukarn: "The sky piercing knee kicker" (Why is it that Asians come up with awesome nicknames, and none of this Assassin crap?) is my favorite fighter of all time. Without any doubt whatsoever I believe he was the most dominant clinch fighter in the history of Muay Thai. At 6'3 and and only 140 pounds he was a scary and freakish looking man. He was the 1982 fighter of the year, and held Lumpinee's 140 pounds title for 4 years straight without losing. In that same year he fought Samart Payakaroon who was looking to win back-to-back fighter of the year awards, but it was the much bigger Dieselnoi who came out on top. It was quite possibly the biggest fight in Muay Thai history, yet very few people have seen the fight. Its nowhere to be found on the internet, and collectors and historians in Thailand are said to have the fight, but will only sale for a very high price. After he dueled Samart it was tough for him to get any fights, and it was months later until someone stepped up to the plate on fought him. He too got the knee treatment. After fighting infrequently over the next 2 years he decided to retire because there were no more challengers for him. I can't blame his opponents, just watching Dieselnoi work the pads makes me hurt.
Dieselnoi on the pads:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8dIsPTWyic
Dieselnoi vs. Johm Moncayo:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAxcPE_0eXw
3 Saenchai Sinbimuaythai: Saenchai now goes by Sinbimuaythai as he recently left 13 coins, and took up the Sinbimuaythai gym name as most fighters do. Saenchai is the epitome of consistency. He won fighter of the year back in 1999, and then again in 2008, and is still the best fighter in Thailand. Saenchai's style is completely different from any other fighter. When watching him its just a weird experience. He seems to do things nobody else can do with little effort. In recent years he's generally been the smaller fighter in the majority of his fights, yet he still seems to be stronger than everybody else. The only times he's really given a tough match are when he fights tall clinch fighters like Petchboonchu F.A Group, and Saketdao Petchpaithai. However back in 2009 he fought both of those men over the course of 1 fight. He fought Petchboonchu for the first 3 rounds, and Saketdao for the final 2 rounds and still won the fight. And its not like Petch, or Saketdao are chumps, they have both been major champions, and have beaten Saenchai before. Dubbed the "king of the rematch" Saenchai lost in 2007 to Orono Vor Petchpun, and just a few months later when they fought again Saenchai made the right adjustments and made a great fighter look foolish. He's knocked out Nong-O Sit Or twice, who imo is a top 25 fighter of all time, and he's beaten a slew of other great fighters. If he continues to be so consistent and smart he could move higher up on this list.
Saenchai vs. Khem Sitsongpeenong:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8GOnPwX_X4
The top 2, tomorrowAdd a comment
Hiroya, the one time "next Masato" of K-1, is planning a move to MMA. Nightmare of Battle reports that Hiroya will begin training MMA this year, possibly traveling overseas to train starting in the summer. The 19 year old will not entirely give up on his K-1 aspirations for the moment, but will look to broaden his options by taking part in MMA.
If you've only recently started watching K-1, you may not even know Hiroya, but the young fighter was, just a few years ago, a major part of the company's plans. At just 15 he started competing in various special rules fights for K-1 MAX. The plan was for fans to watch this young fighter develop from a very early age so that by the time he was older and a champion, fans would be strongly connected with him and he would be able to step into Masato's shows as the face of K-1 MAX. It didn't work. As Hiroya continued to fight in K-1, it became clear he was having trouble against his increasingly hand selected opponents. The result was an increasing sense of annoyance from international viewers, and apathy from Japanese fans. In 2008, Hiroya won the Koshien tournament, but when he failed to repeat that accomplishment in 2009 (losing to Masaaki Noiri, who has since proven to be a legitimate, top level talent), it effectively ended both his run, and K-1's promotion of Koshien. Hiroya took time off to finish high school, and in the 15 months since that loss has only taken one fight - a largely one sided decision loss to Yuta Kubo in November.
Hiroya has obviously been passed by many of his Koshien classmates including Noiri, the Urabe brothers, and Kizaemon Saiga - all fighters who now stand on their own as more than just teenage fighters, while Hiroya remains something of a spectacle name. At 19, you certainly can't say his time in kickboxing is done, but for him to make a name in this sport, he will need to get clear of the stigma he currently has, and will need to reinvent himself somewhat. A move to MMA could be a big help in that regard.Add a comment
Imagine, living in a world where people make epic football speeches, and during that epic football speech you are listening to 80's hair metal band The Scorpions, and the visual stimulus for this already incredible situation? Golden Glory's best fighters crushing the competition in a rather epic highlight video.
The scene I've just set for you is that of our friend StillWill's latest highlight package, this time for the Golden Glory camp. Take the Scorpion's "Winds of Change" with some text from Coach Flowers's stirring "I am a Champion!" and you end up with a rather fun four and a half minutes of your life to pump you up for this weekend's big United Glory show.
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6 Sakmongkol Sithchuchok: This might be a bit of a surprise to some Muay Thai fans, but since this is my list I get to be a little bit biased. Sak was a 3 weight champion at Lumpinee in the 90's, and multiple time world champion. (Not that, that matters) Known for his hard kicks and ultra tough body he has given us fans some of the most memorable battles in Muay Thai history. At the age of 17 he fought Ramon Dekkers at Lumpinee and absolutely outclassed the Dutch legend. But his most famous battles came against Jongsanan Fairtex. The most memorable of the fights (as many as 7, not sure of the exact amount of times they fought) was the fifth fight between the two. Round 1 was a typical slow paced feeling out process like most fights, but when round 2 came along all hell broke loose. Sak gave Jongsanan a count, but Jongsanan came right back and they traded punches, and elbows for the remainder of the round. The remaining 3 rounds were more technical, but still quite brutal. Another fight that sent Sak to legendary status was when he fought Perry Ubeda. In R2 Sak appeared to mess up his elbow, and or shoulder. The announcers say it was a dislocation, but Im not sure what the actual injury was, but it clearly caused a ton of discomfort and pain. He continued to fight and in the final round threw a brutal kick that broke Ubeda's arm forcing him to quit. Quite possibly the most durable fighter in history. Most guys who are involved in such brutality are washed up by there mid 20's. Sak only retired just 3 or 4 years ago. Today he teaches at Zingano BJJ in Colorado.
I strongly recommend you watch all 3 of these fights. Sorry Im too stupid to embed, hopefully I'll learn someday. :)
Sak vs. Dekkers:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xP8HtTJu4dU
Sak vs. Jongsanan:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3vrziWRjwY
Sak vs. Ubeda:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBVbppMcHXY
5 Kaensak Sor Ploenchit: Kaensak was the 1989, and 1990 fighter of the year, going a combined 15-0 in the 2 years. He held titles at both Lumpinee and Raja in multiple weight divisions, and was also involved in the 1993 fight of the year. Unfortunately he wasn't as big as fighters like Sakmongkol, Orono, Jongsanan, Den, etc... cause there would have been some epic fights between those guys. While well versed in all 8 limbs it was his strength that separated him from his foe's. He was given the name Kaensak because of that, which apparently translates into "core strength." Unfortunately there is very little video of him available on the internet. Had he been born a few years later, and a bit bigger, footage would be all over the place. He's the only fighter I know who's won fighter of the year 2 years in a row and not losing. Thats quite special.
3 and 4 tomorrow.Add a comment
Many have over the years complained about K-1's complete lack of weight classes. They knew what buttered their bread and by all means, that was Heavyweight and Superheavyweight competitors clashing in the ring against each other. When TBS saw dollar signs in Masato, all of a sudden the Middleweights had slick presentation and their own shows with their own unique look and feel that set them apart from the Heavyweights. For It's Showtime, expanding the sport has been important to them, from putting on fights on different continents to making sure there are adequate weight classes so that fighters can fight at their best.
Recently, we've seen a rash of 77kg fighters stepping up to fight some of the more elite fighters at 70kg, which means dropping a whopping 7kg, which translates to 15lbs. This creates a problem on both ends of the spectrum, for the 70kg fighters, it means fighting much larger opponents, for the 77kg fighters, it means a hellacious weight cut. On the last It's Showtime event, we saw L'houcine "Aussie" Ouzgni drop from a comfortable 77kg to 70kg to fight Andy Souwer without success, and this past weekend we saw Cosmo Alexandre drop in weight from 77kg to face 70kg king pin Giorgio Petrosyan, again, without success.
So, It's Showtime today introduced the 73kg division, or roughly 160lbs. Think EliteXC's Nick Diaz division. It provides a five pound gap between the 70kg class, and a 9lb gap between the 73kg division and 77kg division. This helps balance out the weight classes for smaller fighters looking to face top competition.
Never to disappoint, It's Showtime has introduced this 73kg division sooner rather than later. Starting May 14, It's Showtime will showcase this new division in a title fight, none-the-less. France's Yohan Lidon will take on Marat Grigorian from Armenia with both men vying for the 73kg Title. [source]Add a comment
A quick piece of news that should come as no surprise - the Krush show scheduled for this weekend has been postponed due to the tragedy in Japan.
This weekend's Krush show was going to feature the semi-finals and finals of the 55, 60, and 63kg tournaments. Those fights will now be moved back to April 30. No word yet on what this means for the 70kg tournament, which was originally slated to begin on that April 30 date - I imagine they will just bump that entire tournament back one show as well. One other note regarding this - 55kg tournament participant Ryuya Kusakabe is currently scheduled to compete at the Shootboxing event on April 23, so we'll have to see how those two dates play together. Kusakabe is the Shootboxing champion.
In similar news, last weekend's Shootboxing Young Cesar's Cup was cancelled. It will be rescheduled, but no date has yet been mentioned.
While this Krush event is one I am really looking forward to, I'm very glad to see it delayed. These fighters don't need to be worrying about entertaining us in the face of such a horrible tragedy at home, and even thinking about them fighting this weekend seems so small and petty. It's been said before, but it can never be said enough - all our thoughts and best wishes to everyone in Japan during this extremely difficult time.Add a comment