|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)|
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
Yesterday I started a series about the 10 best fighters in Muay Thai history according to me.
Here is part two, with #8, and #7
8 Boonlai Sor Thanikul: While Boonlai was a great technician but he often found himself forgetting he's the superior fighter, and frequently got into hard fought battles with his opponents. This is one of the main reasons he lost important fights, and came close to winning fighter of the year many times, but never did. Nonetheless his skill is unquestionable. As age caught up to him and he began losing more fights, he got involved in working a fight. After the work, he was basically finished with fighting in big shows, and was forced to fight in small shows making small money. Soon after he completely quit the sport and began training fighters more frequently at his gym. Many Thai's say he was the most skilled fighter they've ever seen in the gym. But knowing he worked a fight its impossible for me to put him any higher than #8. Here you can see just how good he was. Even a bit past his prime he still thoroughly dissected Jongsanan Fairtex, who is a great fighter in his own right. There are plenty of Boonlai fights out there so check 'em out.
7 Poot Lorlek: Before CroCop was destroying people with his great left high kick there was Poot Lorlek. The 1974 fighter of the year, and maybe the greatest head kicker in Muay Thai history. He knocked out at least 20 people with head kicks in just 80 or so fights. He started boxing at the age of 16 and soon became a familiar face on television. After becoming the man at Lumpinee Stadium he moved over to Raja and became champion, and highest paid fighter in all of Thailand. While offensively very gifted it was his movement and brains that made him the elite fighter he came to be. Its almost as if he knew the move his opponent was going to do well in advance. Over the course of 80+ fights he was never knocked down. Like a lot of fighters he came back several times after retirement with mixed success. He was a trainer for sometime after retirement, but now lives on a farm.
6-5 TomorrowAdd a comment
If you enjoyed 'The Reem' -- an online documentary about Alistair Overeem's trials and tribulations, following his career from his Strikeforce title win to Alistair Overeem's big win at the K-1 Heavyweight World Grand Prix. So now, we follow Alistair Overeem from Dynamite!! 2010 and onward. This episode of The Reem starts off on Superbowl Weekend to the Strikeforce Fan Expo and Media Day for the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP. As per usual, incredible music choices line the innards of "The Reem." I'm always happy to hear mixes of Guns N' Roses and Ennio Morricone when I'm watching stuff about one of my favorite fighters. [source]
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In my last piece I tried my shot at exposing the Buakaw, and Ramon Dekkers myth. Someone replied and asked if they weren't the best, than who was?
If you ask Muay Thai fans that question, every top 10 list will be different. These are strictly my opinion
10 Namsaknoi Yudthagarngamtorn: A long time training partner of Buakaw Por.Pramuk, Namsaknoi can be credited to some of the success Buakaw got in K-1. Its widely believed and often said that he dominated Buakaw in training. He held Lumpinee titles at 4 different weight classes for more than a decade. In 1996 he was voted fighter of the year and for the next 10 years stayed incredibly consistent until he retired to become a trainer. He came back several times over the last few years, but it finally appears age has caught up with the "Emperor." With multiple wins over Samkor Keatmontep, and Saenchai Sinbimuaythai formerly known as Saenchai Sor. Kingstar its impossible for me to leave him off this list. Im unsure of his actual record, but he rarely lost in the late 90's, and early 2000's. I don't doubt that he won at least 90% of his fights. Which is is phenomenal when you consider even the top Thai's fight 8-12+ times a year.
On top of being an all time great fighter he has the most beautiful Wai Kru I've ever seen.
9 Sangtienoi Sor. Rungrot: "The Deadly Kisser" (He apparently kissed his opponents on the cheek before he stopped them) was not very fast, nor was he too physically gifted in general, but he made up for it with amazing heart, and absolutely phenomenal technique. He's known for his kicks, and knees, but also has good hands, and good elbows, which make him one of the most complete fighters I've seen in Muay Thai. A long time champion at Rajadamnern Stadium he made the move to Lumpinee for better competition. Soon after he became lightweight champion, and beat all the best fighters of that era (90's) which is considered to be the greatest era of fighters ever. Today Sangtienoi is retired and is not only a trainer, but one of the best ambassadors for the sport. His son Moses, though not nearly as good as his father has followed in his footsteps and is ranked in the top 10 middleweights at Rajadamnern Stadium.
#8-7 TomorrowAdd a comment
Last week's question: How did you score Daniel Ghita vs. Hesdy Gerges?
48% - Even and should have gone to an extra round
23% - Gerges won fair and square
17% - Ghita should have had the decision
12% - Didn't see it
This week: The big fight from this weekend was Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Cosmo Alexandre, and there was no doubt who won there. Giorgio Petrosyan continues to dominate the sport with his superb technique. He's clearly the top kickboxer in the world, and at this point, you have to ask...
Is Giorgio Petrosyan the #1 fighter in the world in any combat sport?Add a comment
As I was typing in that headline, I initially had put "in the United States" for the simple fact alone that I live there, as do virtually all of the contributors on LiverKick.com, outside of EKP who is in the Toronto area, Fletch in the UK and Traveler who is heading to Thailand and China shortly to cleanse his person and kick things.
Yesterday it was announced that Zuffa had purchased UFC's top competitor, Strikeforce. This caused many, many reactions sweeping across the world for MMA fans and pundits. It has become a polarizing topic and has effectively split a community that was merely on the way to being fractured over the course of a few hours. In between anti-Zuffa war cries, pro-Zuffa, anti-free market rants, comparisons to major league sports teams that don't seem to stick and some wait-and-see attitudes, it is clear that something very big happened yesterday. What I really find funny is that somewhere in between all of that, we saw a show happen in Italy that featured four top 25 70kg Middleweights and the rest that are well on their way to being on that list in the world of kickboxing.
On top of that, the #5 and #11 fighters, respectively, were competing in different parts of the world as well. It feels like a foolish distraction to get caught up in MMA while kickboxing makes such a great showing, internationally. Admittedly, I saw Royce Gracie in UFC before I saw Peter Aerts throw the head kick that turned me into a lifelong kickboxing fan. The issue with MMA will sort itself out, that I'm sure of, there needs to be a focus on Kickboxing and Muay Thai right now.
As of me writing this, in the United States there is no one Kickboxing or Muay Thai promotion that promotes on a national basis. To me, that is almost mind-boggling, as there are promotions that run regionally, in areas like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas that all draw incredible crowds for what they do, but there is next to no overlap outside of a few top prospects like Kevin Ross who actually leave their region to fight in other ones as well as other countries.
This is unacceptable by any stretch of the imagination. It isn't like there aren't gyms and there aren't people training kickboxing and muay thai every day in the United States, and not just for self defense, either. There are people training for combat. Then there is talk about why there is no major Muay Thai or Kickboxing promotion, the lack of star power. I've seen local shows and seen the top talents, if they were promoted correctly on a national level, who says that they wouldn't catch on like MMA fighters have? People purchase shows headlined by fighters like Frank Edgar, who by all means does not live up to the tough guy stereotype image of what a fighter should be, nor does he give the most rousing, interesting interviews.
Someone needs to step up to the plate already and take the fractured scene and make something of it. Everyone can keep complaining or being condescending that there is "no market for kickboxing" as long as no one is out there trying and proving the doubters right. K-1 isn't going to do it, they are a Japan-centric promotion, always have been and always will be. Their monopoly on the sport has been both good and bad for it; good as in it created a yearly tournament that shows who is the best in the world, without a doubt, the bad is that no matter where they promote, the end game is to make good television for Japanese audiences, not local audiences. When K-1 promoted in the United States they never bothered localizing the product beyond using a select group of American fighters. The local promoters and men in charge like Scott Coker and Mike Kogan are the whim of what the Japanese promoters and producers want, leaving a scene that I've heard from a few fighters was disarray and confusion for K-1's USA shows.
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