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It's Showtime: Why This Show Matters

  • Published in Kickboxing

It's ShowtimeThis Saturday marks the start of the 2011 It’s Showtime season, and in many ways, the start of the major international 2011 season. There have been a few notable fights already this year (Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Sudsakorn and Andy Souwer’s upset loss both come to mind), but this will be the first major top-to-bottom event. So, why should you care about this show? Well…

1. It’s Showtime might very well be the future of kickboxing. This coming year is going to be a big one in determining the future of our sport. With K-1 in serious trouble and the European hotbed of Amsterdam causing headaches for promoters, we could see a drastic reduction in the international scope of professional kickboxing. It’s Showtime is doing everything they can to fight against that tide. By running more and more shows in an increasingly diverse market, they are continuing the steady expansion plan that has brought them success so far. Of course, with expansion there is always a fear that you will overextend yourself, creating a company too large for the resources in hand. So far, It’s Showtime has been very strategic in their expansion, and I think that will continue this year – but there’s no doubt 2011 represents a key moment in the history of kickboxing.

2. The main event is a beautifully matched top 10 showdown. It’s rare in any combat sport that we get two fighters so closely matched, but Daniel Ghita vs. Hesdy Gerges is a perfect match-up. Both men are young fighters who look to be the future of the sport. Both are in the top 10, with Ghita just one spot ahead of Gerges. Both had break-out years in 2009 and 2010, but neither man has yet scored that one major win that propels them to the next level. Most are favoring Ghita here (including a massive 70% of LK readers), which is understandable, but this is a very close fight that Gerges has every opportunity to win. One tough hurdle for the It’s Showtime champ could be his recent arrest for suspected drug trafficking. That case seems to be dropped, but the interruption to his training and the mental stress of being incarcerated can’t be good for a fighter heading into such a serious challenge.

3. Both men in the semi-main event need to win. Andy Souwer vs. L’houcine Ouzgni could easily headline a show. Two technical marvels, this is a fight that will be pure candy for fans of the precise art of stand-up. That’s reason enough to be excited for this one, but there’s an extra element to this fight given where each man stands in his career. Souwer’s last year was not exactly a career highlight for the decorated veteran. After suffering an eye injury and finding himself inexplicably on the outs with K-1 MAX, Souwer has since lost 2 of his last 3 fights – both against unranked opponents. He really needs to win here, but he has a tough task ahead of him. Ouzgni meanwhile had a tremendous 2010... almost. He made huge waves in his It’s Showtime debut, and looked poised to win the company’s 77kg title and start a dominant run as champion. Instead, in the year’s last show, Ouzgni was stopped by Artem Levin. In that fight, Ouzgni seemed to give up both size and strength to his opponent. Now, he’s dropping down to 70kg. He’ll have a massive size advantage here, but will it come at the expense of a too severe weight cut? Hopefully not, as Ouzgni could end up a man lost between two divisions.

4. Gago Drago vs. Artur Kyshenko. Not too much to say here, except that this match will be fun. Drago always brings the excitement, and I expect Kyshenko will match him. This one has kind of been lost in the shuffle, but it’s another excellent, very evenly matched fight that could steal the show. Along those same lines, look for exciting fights from William Diender vs, Rachid Belaini and Chahid Oulad El Hadj vs. Robin van Roosmalen.

5. The return of the 95kg title. Former champ Tyrone Spong has kept this division on ice for the last few years as he has made the move up to Heavyweight. Now, with Spong out of the picture, It’s Showtime looks to crown a new champ between Wendell Roche and Danyo Ilunga. Their inclusion of different weight classes is one of the things that makes IS unique, and it will be exciting to see how this division grows in 2011. Last year, Cosmo Alexandre’s title run brought the 77kg division to the spotlight – can either Roche or Ilunga do the same for 95?

Don’t forget, the show is tomorrow and is available for purchase at showtimefights.com for 10 euro. Start time is 2:00 p.m. Eastern.

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Programming Note: GLORY Making an Unexpected Spike TV Debut Tonight

  • Published in Glory

glory

While October 12th might be the official launch date for GLORY 11 and GLORY's tenure on Spike TV, tonight will mark GLORY's debut on Spike TV with a half hour highlight broadcast that is set to go down at 11PM Eastern. This is a strategic move from both Spike TV and GLORY as it will be coming directly after TNA Impact Wrestling, which might not draw the same kind of audience as WWE does, but it does bring in a solid audience week after week.

It was a similar tactic that helped to build up the UFC with The Ultimate Fighter, as TUF followed WWE's Monday Night Raw on Spike TV for the first season, which helped to bring more exposure to it. It's not clear what they will fit into a 30 minute broadcast, but with GLORY 11 coming up, I'd expect highlights from fights of the upcoming competitors.

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GLORY 9 New York Photo Gallery

  • Published in News

Ghita

GLORY 9 New York went down this weekend with a lot of action and luckily for you, we've been all over it. Our good friend from MiddleEasy, Bauzen, was in attendance at the event with his camera doing some work for the WKA and happened to graciously pass along his photos to us for the site. Get a look at some of the most intense moments from GLORY 9 New York courtesy of Bauzen.

 

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Join the LiverKick and Can't Stop Crazy GLORY 17/Last Man Standing Kountermove Tournament

  • Published in Glory

That title is crazy long, isn't it? Well, there is a saying out there, it's; You Can't Stop Crazy. So if we were going to have a crazy long Kountermove title, why wouldn't we team up with our friends at Can't Stop Crazy to present the GLORY 17/Last Man Standing Kountermove tournament that we were going to do anyway? Just like last time this bad boy is a freeroll, meaning that you can sign up for a fresh, new account if you don't have one already, put no money in and enter the tournament. You can walk away with money from that. 

So yeah, it's free. If you already have an account you should enter as well, because, well, you should. 

The official odds for GLORY 17 and Last Man Standing aren't live yet, but I expect to see them soon on MMAOddsBreaker.

There is zero reason for you not to enter this Kountermove free roll tournament for GLORY 17/Last Man Standing, so go do it now. Now, let's talk about what you should (and should NOT) be betting on.

  • Easy Money
  • Jarrell Miller ($4500) - Sure, there were some out there that felt in their first meeting that Cro Cop might have somehow won that fight. I wasn't one of them and if we are real, you shouldn't be either. Jarrell controlled where the fight took place, was landing cleaner strikes and that was the biggest fight of his career at that point. Since then he's had experience -- lots of experience -- and been scouted by some of the biggest names in Boxing. Cro Cop's dirty boxing-centric style is not going to cut it against Jarrell this time and Jarrell knows better than to get in range for that and eat headbutts. Without Croatian judges and referees this is an even playing field and that favors the man who calls himself Big Baby.
  • The Underdog
  • Joseph Valtellini ($4600) - Marc de Bonte is the defending champion, which gives him an advantage, as does his long career. But you know what? There is a tidal wave forming right now and it's forming behind Joseph Valtellini. Styles make fights and de Bonte's style is more conservative compared to Valtellini's, which is usually fine, except for one thing. Valtellini held his own against Nieky Holzken and was able to not only defend, but break through Holzken's defenses. Holzken is just about untouchable at this weight and is able to sneak by strikes through the best defenses. Holzken had problems with Valtellini. I think that de Bonte is an incredible fighter, but I'm not sure his defenses are as tight as Holzken's and he's gonna play the counter-puncher game, which means Joe will pick him apart. 
  • Too Close to Call
  • Daniel Ghita ($4700) vs. Rico Verhoeven ($4900) - Perhaps the most exciting single fight on paper for Last Man Standing, it is also really tough to call. Verhoeven absolutely has a win over Daniel Ghita, but this is both men, fresh, against the best version of each other. Verhoeven reminds me of Daniel Ghita back in 2012, when Ghita was just getting comfortable in the ring and broadening his horizons. Verhoeven used to be stiff and gunshy, now he's confident and using all of his tools in a fluid manner, which is great, but Daniel Ghita has been through it all now; wins, losses, a trip to the top only to get shot back down. There's a good chance that Verhoeven looks the best he's ever looked and wins a close fight, there is also a chance that Daniel Ghita pummels Verhoeven enough to take the win. 
  • The Long Shot
  • Alex Pereira ($4300) - If you look at the odds, Alex Pereira is the man least likely to win the tournament, when, in fact, for being relatively inexpensive in this Kountermove tournament, he's a tremendous value. He's shown us a ton in his past few fights and we all already know what Artem Levin brings to the table. That being said, knowing what Artem brings to the table, it means that he's going to be himself. He's going to be slipping strikes, working the clinch a ton and maybe even losing a point for it. Moving in close on Alex Pereira is a suicidal move and one that someone as confident as Levin might not be afraid of trying. There's a chance that Pereira even wins this whole damned tournament. You can quote me on that, because I said chance, not will, okay?
  • Stay Away From
  • The entire GLORY 17 Featherweight tournament - This is beyond too close to call, this is insanity. If you are into taking risks then go for it, I'd say your best bets are Shane Oblonsky ($4800) or Gabriel Varga ($4800), but that being said, daaaamn. That is a great, great tournament and some stellar matchmaking by Cor Hemmers. 
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LiverKick.com Talks GLORY 11 with Tyrone Spong

  • Published in Interviews

GLORY

Tyrone Spong is a name that has jumped up in value over the past few years after cutting his teeth on the international muay thai and kickboxing circuit in a dizzying amount of weight classes. Spong has fought not only some of the best in the world in one or two weight classes, but in just about every weight class between 70kg and Super Heavyweight in the span of his career, with one fight against Nathan “Carnage” Corbett standing out as the one that fans wanted to see happen again. GLORY is making precisely this happen at GLORY 11 Chicago this weekend, live on Spike TV.

LiverKick.com caught up with Tyrone Spong earlier this week to discuss the fight with Carnage and he has a very mature way of viewing the first bout with Carnage, when asked if he considers it a draw or a loss; “Oh no, no man, for me personally it’s a loss. You know, according to the rules and the commission they call it a no contest. That’s not on me, you know, I don’t make the rules, I just fight according to them. To me personally though, I consider that a loss and now I have the chance to avenge that loss, so we’ll see.”

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Anderson Silva Injured, It's Showtime Searching for Opponent for Daniel Ghita

  • Published in K-1

GhitaFor fans looking forward to May 14th's big It's Showtime event in Lyon, France, one of the fights has seemingly fallen apart at the last minute. Anderson "Braddock" Silva was staged to take on a beast of a man in Daniel Ghita. Anderson was coming off of a highlight reel head kick KO of Freddy Kemayo in December and Ghita is coming off of a loss to Hesdy Gerges in March.

Sadly, Simon Rutz announced on his Facebook page last night that Anderson "Braddock" Silva has gotten injured and that the promotion is searching for a replacement to fight Ghita on nine days notice. Nine days is an incredibly short amount of time to take a fight with a well-prepared Daniel Ghita, no matter who you are in the world of Heavyweight Kickboxing. We've heard a few names that have been floating around as possible replacement opponents, including a possible return of Rick Roufus, but at this point all bets are off.

Daniel Ghita is an incredible fighter in the prime of his career with some of the sickest leg kicks anyone has seen. On top of that, Ghita has been working on his hands to make himself more of a complete package, so we wish It's Showtime the best of luck in finding someone to step up to challenge Daniel Ghita on nine days notice, we can also hope for the sake of the fans that they are able to find someone to fight Ghita, as Ghita is incredible to watch. I for one would love to see Patrice Quarteron, a French fighter, step up or possibly Jerome Le Banner.

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Watch This Daniel Ghita Highlight Video

  • Published in K-1

The rumors are gearing up that there will be a K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16, partially confirmed by Daniel Ghita himself a week ago. To celebrate the fact that Daniel Ghita will be fighting in the biggest tournament in the world again, we urge you to check out this recent highlight reel tossed together by YouTube user DefComAlert. [source]

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Check Out This New GLORY 11 Chicago Trailer

  • Published in Glory

GLORY 11 Chicago has been shaping up to be one of the better cards of the year, which comes as no surprise as it is the GLORY Heavyweight tournament event, as well as their debut on Spike TV here in America. It makes sense for GLORY to be throwing so much into this event, which just means that in the end we all win. GLORY have released a new trailer for the upcoming event, showcasing the big Heavyweight talent that will be on display at the show and if it doesn't get you pumped, well, I don't know.

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Daniel Ghita Rumored for Participating in K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16

  • Published in K-1

GhitaSo far a lot of the attention for K-1 has been focused with a laser-sharp precision on the K-1 Rising US GP in Los Angeles event, and of course with good reason, as it is the next event that K-1 is holding. The event, while getting a good deal of press and groaning from hardcore fans, is the US GP, though, a qualifier for the World Grand Prix and for the World MAX tournament for US fighters. For the actual K-1 World Grand Prix there has been little news outside of a date of October 14th in Tokyo outside of Cro Cop looking to participate in the Final 16.

Now it looks like one fighter who has been a hot topic of late, Daniel Ghita, has finally landed on one side for now, and that appears to be K-1. Daniel Ghita was one of the key fighters for either side to land, and as of last week when we spoke with Anil Dubar, Ghita's trainer, it seemed like a frustrating situation for all involved. They were not sure which contract was valid and who he would fight for, and it felt like Ghita, one of the best Heavyweights in the world, was being used as a pawn in a powerplay to gain headway in the Kickboxing world. Now today reports close to Ghita's camp are coming out that Daniel Ghita will fight in the Final 16 and the Final 8 before he most likely departs to fight for GLORY and test his skills in that tournament.

Ghita has always been quoted wanting to be the K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, and to many it feels like no matter who they get, K-1 will not be able to find a real challenge for him, especially with Badr Hari sitting in a Dutch prison.

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The Rumored Structure For This Year's GLORY Grand Slam Tournament

  • Published in News

Glory

We've been keeping our ears to the ground over the past few months in regards to everything GLORY, from possible television deals to upcoming shows to the format for their big Heavyweight tournament for this year. Last year's GLORY Grand Slam tournament was interesting, to say the least, using a one-night, sixteen man format with shorter rounds. It led to some quick action, but some of the more methodical, technical fighters like Remy Bonjasky were really hurt by such a ruleset and four fights in one night is just a lot of fights.

While some within the GLORY organization were steadfast in saying that they would repeat the format again this year, we've heard some conflicting reports on the format of the tournament. As GLORY gets closer to a larger American television deal (no insult to CBS Sports, but tape delay at 1am is simply not good enough for shows like this) they have to be concerned with time constraints and putting on a tighter, more unified production. GLORY already do a fantastic job with their pacing on their events, with the fights following each other in quick succession in a way that doesn't feel rushed, but natural. We can at least expect the quirks of last year's Grand Slam to not return.

So according to our source, who wishes to remain unnamed, this year's tournament will be shrunk down from sixteen men to just four to be able to properly fit on a two to three hour American television slot while putting on entertaining fights and being able to properly present the fighters to the audience. The first three participants will be based upon the GLORY World Rankings, although it should be noted that word is that Semmy Schilt will not participate. That means that Gokhan Saki, Daniel Ghita and Tyrone Spong are guaranteed spots in the tournament, with the fourth spot being a "Wildcard." That "Wildcard" spot will be determined by another tournament that will take place before the event, a Qualifying tournament. It is not clear who will participate in this tournament, but the next four in the rankings are Peter Aerts, Remy Bonjasky, Jerome Le Banner and Errol Zimmerman (although I believe that Rico Verhoeven is actually in that spot now after his win over Errol).

So, what do you think? Would you be upset to see the Final 8 format disappear, or is it time for something new?

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