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Sem Schilt Retires

  • Published in Glory

Semmy Schilt Retired

Over the last few months there have been various reports that four-time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, 2012 Glory Grand Slam and Glory Heavyweight Champion Semmy Schilt will no longer be fighting. The rumors were first centered around his participation in future tournaments, as after his victory on New Year's Eve in 2012 he stated that he would not participate in future tournaments, although it was quickly brushed off. Since then there has been talk about him fighting Gokhan Saki with the Heavyweight title on the line, but there has also been talk of Schilt no longer fighting at all.

Since last night LiverKick has received numerous reports from reliable sources that Semmy Schilt is retired, effective immediately. The decision was apparently not an easy one for the Hightower, who was instructed to retire from his medical team due to a heart condition that was discovered. This marks the retirement of what may be the greatest Heavyweight Kickboxer of all time, with five big tournament victories under his belt and numerous world championships. Schilt was also a pioneer in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, making his debut in Pancrase in 1996, fighting in both the UFC and PRIDE over the course of his career.

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Signs Point to Badr Hari Returning to K-1

  • Published in K-1

I feel like we have reached critical mass for the rumor of Badr Hari making his K-1 return. Ever since Badr Hari was talking about retirement, I've been telling people that for the right price and the right opportunity, Badr Hari would kickbox again. I strongly felt that it would be under the K-1 banner as there is a certain level of prestige that comes along with fighting for K-1, even if the company is presenting itself as a whole new company. To top it off, the money that is on the table for the K-1 World Grand Prix is a huge $1 million USD. That is a lot of money.

Over the past few weeks we've been getting a lot of reports on the goings on of Badr Hari, but felt like out of respect to some of our sources, we'd hold off. The reports have been interesting, to say the least. Reports are coming from New York from the last few weeks that not only was Badr Hari in town and working on his hands, he was working on his knees and kicks as well. We've heard from enough excited New Yorkers who've seen Badr Hari around or kicking the pads to know this isn't made up. Then there was talk of Badr Hari being back at Mike's Gym and training as well.

Now the rumor is circulating that Badr Hari has signed a new contract with It's Showtime which would place him in the K-1 field. Remember, for right now, this is a rumor, but one which we believe will materialize in short order.

UPDATE: Bloodstain Lane confirmed with Mike Passenier this morning, this is 100% true.

UPDATE 4/17: Lane retracted, saying he misunderstood Passenier. LiverKick stands by the evidence gathered that no matter what, it points to Badr Hari's return.

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LiverKick.com Heavyweight Rankings: May 2011

  • Published in Rankings

Heavyweight

1. Semmy Schilt
2. Badr Hari
3. Peter Aerts
4. Gokhan Saki
5. Hesdy Gerges
6. Daniel Ghita
7. Tyrone Spong
8. Kyotaro
9. Ewerton Teixeira
10. Jerome Le Banner

Welcome back to the LiverKick.com rankings. These rankings are an attempt to break down the top 10 fighters in three different weight classes - Heavyweight, for fighters above the 85kg limit, Middleweight, for fighters at the 70-72.5kg 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.

May 2011

We've decided to take a different approach to the rankings, in the past Fraser Coffeen handled them, but as many are aware, Fraser has since had to step down from his responsibilities at LiverKick.com and has since moved on to other ventures. Our Top 10 list a while back moved on to being a top 25 to reflect a uniformity with our then home of SBNation. We've decided to move back to only including the Top 10 and to opt for the inclusion of Light Heavyweight (77kg - 84kg) to reflect the depth of talent in that weight class.

Former #1 Alistair Overeem has been removed from the rankings after some intense discussion, we've come to the conclusion that as long as he is contracted with Zuffa the chances of Overeem fighting in another organization as a kickboxer has decreased to about zero. We are sad to see a talent such as his be confined to only Mixed Martial Arts but will continue to cheer him on.

This means that there was a lot of reshuffling to the weight classes for them to make sense, as with K-1's silence and a sincere doubt that there will be a K-1 World Heavyweight Grand Prix this year, we take a more global look at the weight classes and rankings for them. It is without dispute that the most accomplished kickboxer at Heavyweight/Super Heavyweight, and the man to beat is Semmy Schilt. Schilt does hold a WGP loss to Peter Aerts in 2011 and a loss to Badr Hari in 2010, but outside of that his record is pristine.

After a year of inaction, Badr Hari returned to the ring against a less-than-game Gregory Tony. Tony's performance might have been shameful, but Hari was in good shape, kept his cool and there is a promise of a bout with Tyrone Spong or Daniel Ghita on the horizon for It's Showtime in the Fall. For his recent accomplishments, though, without a doubt Badr Hari is one of the men to beat and secures his spot at #2. Mr. K1, Peter Aerts shocked the world taking it to Sem Schilt in December, making the Finals of the Heavyweight GP. Aerts had stated before the Grand Prix that it would be his last and he is contemplating retirement, so under those circumstances and for his recent accomplishments, the #3 slot is a great fit for him.

#4 Gokhan Saki is in action at the end of this month in the finals of the Glory World Series Heavyweight Tournament, where he'll take on Brice Guidon. While the tournament was not the toughest road for Saki, a win in it would further cement his spot in the top 5. We hope to see him against other top 5 competition soon. #5 Hesdy Gerges has once again been released from police custody and will be in action this weekend at It's Showtime. His bout with #6 Daniel Ghita was the biggest Heavyweight fight of the year so far and his win cemented his spot above Ghita. #7 Tyrone Spong is where things get messy, Spong holds a victory over #8 Kyotaro last year, who himself is largely inactive without K-1, but has a loss to #10 Jerome Le Banner. Le Banner of course has his forfeit loss to Kyotaro but little else outside of the Spong win recently. #9 Ewerton Teixeira is another fighter who only fights for K-1 so is in a state of limbo for the time being.

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Bob Sapp Speaks Out About FEG; "K-1 is extremely broke. So is DREAM."

  • Published in K-1

Bob SappWhen it rains it pours, and right now it will pour for FEG. Amid reports of FEG's financial woes and possible bankruptcy and morbid fate, Bob Sapp decided to speak out about FEG after the Dynamite!! 2010 disaster where his fight with Wakakirin never happened. Tanikawa told fans and the press that Bob Sapp attempted to renegotiate before the fight and that his "fighting spirit" was low. Seeing as though Bob Sapp made himself a millionaire in Japan, he couldn't let that sit. He spoke with MMAJunkie and some of what he said was known, some was rather shocking, like FEG not even having its own office anymore. Sapp was contracted to fight for $30,000.

Instead, he claims FEG executive Sadaharu Tanikawa offered him $15,000 shortly after he arrived in the country the week prior to the event. He refused and made a counter-offer of $25,000, a sum which he claims is half of what the promotion owed him for previous services.

...
Sapp claims he has a contract with FEG that verifies the rate of pay he was expected to receive for the Dec. 31 fight, as well as other fights, though he said the promotion has yet to honor the terms of that deal. During the promotion's heyday in the mid-2000s, he said he was routinely paid between $350,000 and $400,000 to fight.

Sapp went on to explain that K-1 and DREAM are "extremely broke" and that he has no expectations for them. Could this be the last we see of Bob Sapp in K-1 or DREAM? [source]

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LiverKick Podcast - Volume 10: K-1 Returns, Again

  • Published in LK Podcast

K-1 is back and so are we. After a month without hearing Rian Scalia (@rianscalia) and myself (@liverkickdotcom / @dvewlsh) talking about Kickboxing, we are at it again. The K-1 World Grand Prix in Los Angeles happened and here are our thoughts from after the show.

Join myself and Rian Scalia as we prattle on for about 40 minutes about K-1.

{music}podcast{/music}

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Watch the K-1 World MAX Finals Here Live on October 11th

  • Published in K-1

On October 11th in Pattaya, Thailand the K-1 World MAX Finals is scheduled to happen between Buakaw Banchamek and Enriko Kehl. The show will also see the debut of Paul "Semtex" Daley in the K-1 ring. Join us live on October 11th to watch the event. The broadcast begins at 11:45am Eastern time on October 11th. 

K-1 World MAX Final: Buakaw Banchamek vs. Enriko Kehl

Paul “Semtex” Daley vs. Mohammad Ghaedibardeh

Rungravee Sasiprapa vs. Dennis Puric

Andrei Kubelin vs. Lee Sung Hyun

Maximo Suarez vs. Tural Bayramov

Andre “Dida” Amade vs. Li Yankun

Artem Pashporin vs. Petmongkol Thor. Thesputin

Xei Lei vs. Yoshimoto

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The 20 Greatest Kyokushin Karate Fighters of All Time: #16-13

  • Published in News

The 20 Greatest Kyokushin Karate Fighters of All Time was first published by Liver Kick in 2013, with #20-17. It has taken us some time to get around to completing that list, but finally we have done it!

As mentioned in the first installment, Kyokushin Karate was founded by Masutatsu “Mas” Oyama, and considered to be the first and most influential style of full contact karate, and one of the most hard-hitting, brutal, and intense forms of organized combat in the world. A style that has spawn fighters the likes of Andy Hug and Georges St. Pierre, to name just a couple. But aside from the big name kickboxers and mma stars there lays an array of combat sports athletes whose neither names nor accomplishments often see the light of day. This is the reason the "Top 20 Greatest Kyokushin Fighters of All-Time" was first started.

As stated before, this is by no means the definitive list, and I am sure there are names missing, but I have done my best to complete the list with fighters based mainly on impact, achievement, quality of competition and technical skill. The list is in no particular order, as it’s next to impossible to select one fighter over another, and further, it is something that no one would agree on. But I am sure we can all agree that the names on this list deserve recognition.

A little information on the different types of tournaments before we begin: A World Tournament includes every weight class. There are no divisions and no upper weight limit. Any Weight Tournament splits fighters into one of three weights: Lightweight (Under 70 kg) Middleweight (70 kg to 80 kg) and Heavyweight (Over 90 kg). That's it. Pretty simple, right?

 

So without further ado, here are #16 - 13 on our list....

#16: Makoto Nakamura

Nationality: Japanese

Achievements

  • 3rd World Tournament – 1st place 1984
  • 2nd World Tournament – 1st place 1979
  • 13th All Japan Tournament – 2nd place 1981
  • 12th All Japan Tournament – 2nd place 1980
  • 11th All Japan Tournament – 1st place 1979
  • 10th All Japan Tournament – 3rd place 1978
  • 9th All Japan Tournament – 3rd place 1977

Makoto Nakamura is the only winner of two Kyokushin World Open tournaments and was known for his power style of karate. He is the epitome of “power karate” and truly represented the old guard of Kyokushin. At 110 kg (245 lbs) he was large man be any accounts, let alone against usually much smaller Japanese. He used his size and power to full advantage.

After competing, winning or always placing in the top 3 in the All Japan Tournaments, Nakamura was selected to be on the Japanese team for the 2nd World Tournament in 1979, where he would win first place, but not without controversy.

In that 2nd World Tournament he would face 18-year-old Dolph Lundgren from Sweden. Then only a green belt, Lundgren had to borrow a brown belt (one level higher) to be able to fight. As he recounts, "Full-contact-karate was something new at the time. Nobody really knew a lot about it, and neither did I." Held at the Japan Metropolitan Gymnasium, Nakamura was the favourite to win. When he faced Lundgren, who weighed 93 kg (205 lbs) Nakamura (a 2nd degree black belt at the time) attacked immediately and Lundgren caught him with a mawashi-geri (roundhouse kick) to the head. It is reported the crowd gasped and Nakamura probably thought he had more on his hands then he had bargained for. The fight went the distance; plus two extensions and Nakamura was awarded a controversial decision. This proved to be the eventual world champions hardest fight.

Nakamura would go on to compete in the 3rd World Tournament 1984 and win 1st place as well.

 

#15: Sam Greco

Nationality: Australian

Achievements

  • K-1 World Grand Prix 3rd Place1999
  • W.A.K.O. Pro World Muay Thai Super Heavyweight Champion1999
  • The Best of the Best Tournament Champion1995
  • W.K.A. World Muay Thai Super Heavyweight Champion1994
  • Karate World Cup Champion1994
  • Commonwealth Karate Champion 1989-1991
  • 6 time Australia Full Contact Karate Champion

Sam "Slam 'em" Greco trained in Kyokushin Karate from a young age and started competing in full contact karate tournaments at age of 21. He is a retired super heavyweight fighter, who fought in Kyokushin Karate, Professional Kickboxing, K-1 tournaments and MMA. To put it simply, Sam Greco is a legend. He was an aggressive fighter who epitomized raw physical power and technical precision. Greco was an absolute dream to watch in the ring, as he would bring punishment forward and raining down. 

After winning the Australian Full-Contact Karate title six times Greco would meet the founder of Kyokusin, Mas Oyama and eventually the founder of Seidokaikan Karate, Kazuyoshi Ishii. Ishii himself was a student of Mas Oyama’s Kyokushin under Hideyuki Ashihara. 

Greco would go on to have an impressive career, 147 fights overall, and holds notable victories over many of the greats of kickboxing, like Branko Cikatic, Ernesto Hoost, Mike Bernardo, Stefan Leko, and Ray Sefo.

Greco is quoted as saying "My biggest achievement to date was taking on all the best fighters in the K1 world. Fighters that I would only read about and thought one day I will get to fight them. I never took a back step on anyone."

 

#14: Takashi Azuma

Nationality: Japanese

Achievements

  • 1st place at the 9th All Japan Tournament 1977
  • 3rd place at the 8th All Japan Tournament1976
  • 6th place at the 1st World Tournament1974
  • 2nd place at the 6th All Japan Tournament1974

Azuma Takashi was born in 1949, began martial arts through the practice of Judo and in 1971 discovered Kyokushin Karate. He became a student of the founder, Mas Oyama. Azuma was a fiercely dominant fighter in the early days of Kyokushin and stood out among other fighters not only because of his physical strength, but also his strength of spirit, which never accepted defeat. A true warrior in every sense of the word, who encompassed Budo, or the Japanese Martial Way.

Azuma Takashi is the founder of the martial art Daido Juku, also known as "Kudo", and the President of the Kudo International Federation. Daido Juku is a martial art group practicing Kudo, a strike-based Mixed Martial Art/Budo. Noticeable by the use of a helmet that sort of looks like a space helmet, which allows fighters to strike to the head and not impede vision. Daido Juku introduced "Kakuto Karate (Combat Karate)" a safe, practical and popular form of tournament karate using the face protector and allowing attacks to the head level attack, throws, grabs, joint locks and chokes. Essentially, it’s like Japanese Budo MMA. 

 

Photo Credit WKO Shinkyokushinkai

Photo courtesy of WKO Shinkyokushinkai

#13 Norichika Tsukamoto

Nationality: Japanese

Achievements

  • All Japan Weight Division Tournament: The 11th all Japan weight division heavy weight 4th place, The 15th all Japan weight division heavy weight 1st place, The 21st all Japan weight division heavy weight 1st place, The 25th all Japan weight division heavy weight 3rd place
  • All Japan Tournament: The 28th all Japan 1st place, The 29th all Japan 1st place, The 34th all Japan 3rd place, The 36th all Japan 6th place, The 38th all Japan 1st place/Mas Oyama Award, The 41st all Japan 1st place, The 42nd all Japan 1st place
  • Karate World Cup: The 1st karate world cup heavy weight 1st place, The 3rd karate world cup heavy weight 4th place, The 4th karate world cup heavy weight 2nd place
  • World Tournament: The 6th world championship 1st place, The 7th world championship Japan national member, The 8th world championship 7th place, The 9th world championship 7th place, The 10th world championship 1st place/technique award
  • Tsukamoto was part of the new breed of Kyokushin fighters, known for his innovative and progressive fighting style. 

In the earlier days of Kyokushin, fighters were recognized for their “stand and bang” style of fighting. Pitting strength and brawn against one another. As the sport evolved you began to see fighters becoming more intelligent in their training practices and fighting. Fighters probably began to realize the old style of training and fighting would not have much longevity on the body. So, as fighters became smarter with their conditioning, the styles of fighting became smarter as well. Tsukamoto was one of the first in Full Contact Karate that began to apply new ways of thinking and new performing techniques, and we began to others changing and adapting. Marius Ilas is another one of this new breed of fighters.

Tsukamoto has proven that his unconventional way of fighting works, based on the many championships he has won, and the way fighters have a hard time dealing with and defending his approach. From unorthodox kicking methods to his use of hiza geri jodan (knee kick to the head) to KO opponents, Tsukamoto has influenced a whole new generation of Kyokushin fighters.

Tsukamoto is now part of the World Karate Organization - Shinkyokushinkai, the Kyokushin offshoot led by former world champion, Kenji Midori. We’ll be visiting him on the list shortly! 

Click here for #20-17 and tune in soon for fighters #12-09. 

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Sergei Laschenko Murdered in Ukraine

  • Published in Kickboxing

K-1, SuperKombat and It's Showtime veteran Sergei Laschenko was pronounced dead on April 8th at the Odessa Jewish Hospital in the Ukraine after being shot multiple times, one of the shots hitting his carotid artery. Laschenko is survived by his wife and 18-month old child.

Sergei Laschenko was a very popular Heavyweight kickboxer who trained under some of the best in the world, including Thom Harinck and Mike Passenier. For a period of time Laschenko was without a doubt one of the top ten Heavyweights in the world, which at the time of having such legendary names as Schilt, Aerts, Le Banner, Hari, Ghita and others active it was truly an important accomplishment. In 2011 he won the SuperKombat World Grand Prix and in 2014 he won the KOK World Grand Prix.

There were ups and downs in his career, but Laschenko was truly one of the more memorable Heavyweight stars over the past ten years and his loss will be felt across the kickboxing community.

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LiverKick Podcast - Volume 8: Glory Buys It's Showtime

  • Published in LK Podcast

This weekend was huge for Kickboxing. Firstly, It's Showtime promoted It's Showtime 57&58, featuring some very important fights and putting on an incredibly entertaining card. That wasn't it, though, was it? On top of that, Glory Sports International announced -- from that show -- that they had purchased It's Showtime and will absorb It's Showtime's staff and fighters into the Glory team, shaking the Kickboxing world up like never before. Rian Scalia (@rianscalia) and myself (@dvewlsh / @liverkickdotcom) talk you through what was a historic weekend for Kickboxing.

without further ado, go ahead and take a listen.

{music}podcast{/music}

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Badr Hari To Be Charged With Attempted Manslaughter, Facing Possibly 10 Years in Prison

  • Published in K-1

Badr

Things have been up-in-the-air for the bad boy, Badr Hari, as he has been in jail awaiting sentencing for quite a while now. It appears that the courts have decided what to do with him, and if you are a Badr Hari fan, it does not look good for him right now. The charges to be levied against the former K-1 fighter who recently attempted to switch gears to professional Boxing before returning to the Kickboxing ring in May is that of Attempted Manslaughter.

If you are wondering about the kind of evidence they have against him, they have DNA evidence from a towel that they found and there are also nine open cases against Badr Hari right now. Of course, the most serious is the Attempted Manslaughter of Koen Everink in July, and it looks like with the evidence that they have and his past history, things might be looking bleak for Hari. The court is going to attempt to put Hari away for ten years, which would effectively mean the end of Badr Hari's career as a Kickboxer, Boxer or anything else in the world of combat sports. [Source]

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