We recently introduced the LiverKick Lightweight Rankings, ranking the top ten lightweights in kickboxing. The top ten doesn't tell the whole story, however, as there are a few fighters on the cusp of making the top ten and all they need is that one marquee win. We will highlight these fighters and where they stand within the lightweight division and more specifically, with the top ten lightweights in our rankings.
Most of the fighters that we're highlighting here are actually more well known than many of the fighters in our rankings. They've competed on the big stages, in K-1 and It's Showtime, have been in the ring with the top ten guys, have held their own, but just haven't come away with the crucial wins.
Tetsuya Yamato at one time probably could've been seen as the #1 guy, back when he won K-1's first 63kg GP in July of 2010. Since then, he's had mixed results, losing to Koya Urabe and Ryuji Kajiwara while fighting Muay Thai in between all of that. He had a good win back in May over Sergio Wielzen. Yamato is a very inconsistent fighter, sometimes looking really sharp and other times it's like his head is on a flagpole and he gets hit with every shot. When he's on, he can strike well from range and put together sharp combinations, including being able to counterpunch with knockout power. He'll need another marquee win to get himself into the top ten.
Sergio Wielzen, who Yamato beat, at one time could've also been ranked very highly. 2010 was a big year for him, knocking out Anuwat Kaewsamrit, which really got his name out there, and then going on to get two solid wins over Mickael Peynaud and Masahiro Yamamoto in It's Showtime, also where he was their 61MAX World Champion. Then he lost his title to Karim Bennoui, but picked up two good, but not-good-enough-to-get-ranked wins over Carlos "Chiquitin" Reyes and Ruslan Tozliyan. The success didn't continue though, as shortly after he lost to Kosuke Komiyama, then to Tetsuya Yamato, and even had a loss in Muay Thai to Saeksan Or Kwanmuang(Not that it counts towards our rankings, just adding that in). Now on a three fight losing streak, Wielzen needs to get back in the win column first and foremost.
Koya Urabe was expected to do big things after being snubbed from the K-1 63kg GP in 2010. He went on to make it to the finals of the K-1 63kg GP in 2011, losing to Yuta Kubo, while beating Yuki and Tetsuya Yamato. Urabe also lost to Ryuji Kajiwara before that. Urabe does have quite a few wins but not over the level of competition that's needed to break into the top ten. Adding to that, he was upset by Keijiro Miyakoshi which really caused him to not make it into our top ten. With all the Japanese talent in Krush at what we refer to as lightweight, it really seems that anyone can beat anyone on any given day and as long as Urabe is in Krush, the opportunity will most likely present itself again where he'll get to fight a major player in the division.
Stylistically, I don't doubt that all three of these fighters could beat some of the fighters in our top ten. Like I said, especially with the Japanese fighters, any of these guys could probably beat each other on any given day, with a few exceptions. For the most part though, the top ten is very competitive and that competitiveness isn't just exclusive to the top ten, it extends outside of it to the fringe, where guys like Yamato, Urabe and Wielzen are at.