Published: Saturday, 15 September 2012 11:47
Written by Rian Scalia
Welcome back to the LiverKick.com rankings. These rankings are an attempt to break down the top 10 fighters in four different weight classes - Heavyweight, for fighters above the 85kg limit, Middleweight, for fighters at the 70-72.5kg limit, Lightweight, for fighters at the 60-63.5kg limit and Light Heavyweight, for fighters at the 77-84kg limit. Our rankings are based on in-ring accomplishments and recent wins and loses. We hope they reflect where these fighters currently stand, although we recognize that all rankings are inherently subjective. Rankings are compiled by Rian Scalia and Dave Walsh.
Now is finally the time to introduce the Liverkick.com Lightweight Rankings. It's about time lightweights got the recognition they deserve.
We rank lightweight as 60-63.5kg. We understand that some of these fighters fight at different ends of this weight range than others (some fight at 60kg, some at 63kg) and while that is a big difference in terms of weight, it's simply the most practical way to rank this weight class. What makes his weight class so difficult to rank is that almost all of the fighters have wins and losses over each other, making it a very competitive weight class.
Note that these are kickboxing rankings and do not incorporate Muay Thai in any way. All criteria used to rank these fighters is from kickboxing matches only.
Out of all the Top 10, the one fighter who consistently had good wins without any losses that qualify under this ranking system is Masaaki Noiri, atop the rankings at #1. Noiri's wins over Ryuji Kajiwara and Koya Urabe are the two best wins at the time that the fights took place out of anyone else. Kajiwara was coming off wins over Koya Urabe and Kizaemon Saiga while Urabe got to the finals of the K-1 63kg GP with wins over Yuki and Tetsuya Yamato. Yes, Noiri did lose to Yuta Kubo at the K-1 63kg GP, but Kubo no longer fights at this weight class and if he did, would undoubtedly be #1. Also, Noiri's loss to Raz Sarkisjan was at 64kg, and thus does not qualify towards these rankings.
Filling in at #2 is Masahiro Yamamoto, riding a solid win streak with his win to take the It's Showtime 61MAX World Title from Javier Hernandez being the highlight. Yamamoto's win over Hernandez is the main reason he's ranked this high. That, and he hasn't lost for a while, unlike many other of the fighters here who have all beaten/lost to each other. The man Yamamoto beat to get his ranking, Javier Hernandez, takes the #3 spot with his win over Karim Bennoui last year, along with solid wins over Ruben Almeida and Carlos "Chiquitin" Reyes.
Karim Bennoui is at #4, with his wins over Sergio Wielzen and Thomas Adamandopoulos being the main factors. Wielzen was one of the top guys when Bennoui beat him, and Adamandopoulos at the time was also a very solid win. Bennoui's shortcoming lately is that he has not been active, only fighting once this year against Pajonsuk Por. Pramuk in a Muay Thai fight where it was scored a draw. #5 also goes to another man from France, Yetkin Ozkul, who catapulted up the rankings with his stoppage win over Thomas Adamandopoulos in May. Ozkul may be one of the most dangerous fighters at this weight, he just needs to get more fights in against top competition in kickboxing.
Thomas Adamandopoulos makes it three Frenchmen in a row as he fills in at #6. Although he had losses to Bennoui and Ozkul, he rebounded last month with a huge KO win over Ryuji Kajiwara, who at the time only had the loss to Masaaki Noiri recently with many credible wins. The #7 spot goes to Ryuji Kajiwara, who would be much higher if not for the loss to Adamandopoulos. He has wins over Tetsuya Yamato, Koya Urabe and Kizaemon Saiga with the lone losses coming to Noiri and Adamandopoulos.
Ruben Almeida makes his way onto the rankings at #8, by way of his controversial decision win over Javier Hernandez, but that's not to say he isn't a good fighter. While still a close fight with Hernandez, Almeida got help from some hometown refereeing, but a win is a win. We go by official results, otherwise it's too subjective.
The #9 and #10 spots are definitely interchangeable, with Krush 60kg champion Hirotaka Urabe taking the #9 spot and RISE 60kg champion Kosuke Komiyama taking the #10 spot. Both fighters have racked up a lot of wins, with Urabe in my opinion just having more. The deciding factor was basically that while Komiyama had the win over Sergio Wielzen, Urabe had a win over Naoki Ishikawa and a win over Yuji Takeuchi, so two quality wins is better than one.