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Danyo Ilunga Signs with FFC

  • Published in Kickboxing

Former It's Showtime Champion and current GLORY Light Heavyweight standout Danyo Ilunga has signed on with Croatia's Final Fight promotion. While the promotion did not release details of the contract or when he will debut, they seem excited to have Ilunga on board considering how talented he is. 

Ilunga was the long-time top dog of the division until he ran into Tyrone Spong in the finals of the GLORY 9 Light Heavyweight tournament. From there he went on to defeat Michael Duut, Andrei Stoica and Ondrei Hutnik before falling to Saulo Cavalari in the GLORY 18 Light Heavyweight Contender's tournament. I don't expect him to stop competing in GLORY any time soon, though, so consider his move to FFC just in addition to that.

Final Fight's current Light Heavyweight Champion is Igor Jurkovic, which would be a potentially interesting match up down the line for FFC to make.

"We are extremely proud that we have such a big name in Final Fight Championship. I think Danyo Ilunga needs no special introduction since he is the world's best fighter in light heavyweight division and No 1 on Glory raking lists. It is also an important indicator of the reputation FFC has in the international fighting sports scene since fighters such as Ilunga fight only in top promotions,“ said the FFC President Orsat Zovko and added: “We will soon reveal more details on Ilunga's debut in the FFC and we hope it will be as soon as possible.“

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Badr Hari vs. Ismael Londt Cancelled

  • Published in Kickboxing

Badr Hari

In what might be the least shocking bit of news to Kickboxing fans, the fight in May between Badr Hari and Ismael Londt has been cancelled. This confirms reports that we've been hearing for at least the past few weeks that the Gunyar brothers, who were promoting the fight, were having issues acquiring a license to promote an event in Eindhoven (which shares Amsterdam's laws in this case). This, of course, comes as zero shock if you've been following Dutch Kickboxing.

There have been incredibly heavy restrictions set on Kickboxing events in Amsterdam and neighboring cities thanks to a law called BIBOB that is targeted at organized crime. The school of thought was that Kickboxing events held within the city would always pander to certain "VIPs" from the world of organized crime, thus making them meeting places for criminals. The city of Amsterdam wanted to clean up their reputation and saw this as a natural way to do so.

It didn't matter how legitimate of a business the Gunyars were going to run, trying to promote a convicted criminal with known ties to organized crime in an event in Amsterdam was never, ever going to work. According to Badr Hari's Facebook page, "May 29th in Dubai" seems to be his next stop.

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Yokkao Introduces Yokkao Muay Thai Weapon Technique Videos

  • Published in Muay Thai

yokkao

Yokkao, one of the bigger gear and supply companies in the world of muay thai is going to start producing a series of videos called "Yokkao Muay Thai Weapon" where some of the fighters on Yokkao's fight team will demonstrate some of the cooler muay thai techniques. The first video is of Khen Sitsongpeenong demonstrating a flying elbow strike. Fans can look for more videos in the coming weeks and if they have suggestions for techniques to be featured they can tweet @YokkaoBoxing (or us @LiverKickdotcom) with what they want to see and Yokkao will do their best to make it happen.

Of course, Yokkao has their fifth event coming up in Reunion, France on November 8th, where Stefania Picelli was recently to help get everything prepared. Fans will be able to follow everything about the event on Twitter and Instagram via the hashtag #Yokkao5. Yokkao is also shipping gear from the United States via their new web shop, with goods being shipped directly from San Francisco, we urge you to check out their shop today.

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GLORY 17 Los Angeles Featuring PPV Tournament

  • Published in Glory

Glory 17

When it comes to GLORY events, semantics are vital. Numbered GLORY events have been airing on Spike TV and television around the world while the undercards are the GLORY SuperFight Series. When it comes to GLORY 17 Los Angeles things are going to be a little bit different. GLORY 17 Los Angeles will air on Spike TV, like usual, but this time around that will not be the main attraction. Oh no.

The main attraction?

The GLORY Last Man Standing Middleweight tournament on PPV. We told you that GLORY PPV was coming and here it is. This will be an 8-man tournament, which GLORY has announced six of the names thus far. Those names are as follows; Joe Schilling, Simon Marcus, Alex Pereira, Bogdan Stoica, Melvin Manhoef and Wayne Barrett. The big surprise is the inclusion of Simon Marcus, who has a long history with GLORY 10 Middleweight tournament winner Joe Schilling. The new names are Bogdan Stoica, brother of Andrei Stoica and Melvin Manhoef. We all know Melvin.

This is a huge deal, obviously, we'll have more information when it becomes available.

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Full Card for GLORY 24 Shows Packed Heavyweight Tournament

  • Published in Glory

There may have been some doubts as to the heavyweight tournament going down at GLORY 24 but now we know that not only is the tournament formidable, it's actually a damned good tournament. The tournament rounds out what is probably one of the better GLORY cards in a while with Joe Schilling vs. Jason Wilnis in the main event, most likely serving as a title eliminator since Artem Levin had to bow out of the fight with Schilling. 

Pat Barry is injured and won't be fighting Karl Roberson, instead we'll get a middleweight showdown between Denver native Dustin Jacoby and Wayne Barrett. Barrett, who hasn't been seen in quite some time, is without a doubt one of the rising stars in the division and it will be great to see him back in action again.

The heavyweight tournament features an all-star line-up of Benjamin Adegbuyi -- fresh off of a win in Russian -- squaring off against Mladen Brestovac. On the other side we have Kunlun Heavyweight Champion Jahfarr Wilnis up against a returning Aussie in Ben Edwards. 

Middleweight Headline Bout: Joe Schilling vs. Jason Wilnis

Heavyweight Tournament Final Bout: Winner of Bout A vs. Winner of Bout B

Middleweight Co-Headline Bout: Dustin Jacoby vs. Wayne Barrett

Heavyweight Tournament Semi-Final Bout B: Benjamin Adegbuyi vs. Mladen Brestovac

Heavyweight Tournament Semi-Final Bout A: Ben Edwards vs. Jahfarr Wilnis

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K-1 Confirms October Date in Japan

  • Published in K-1

K-1After rumors began circulating about K-1 running October 14th in Japan, Doug Kaplan went on our friend Steven Wright's podcast show and more or less confirmed it, and now K-1 has released an official press release stating that they will, indeed, be running an event on October 14th in Japan. They will be booking the legendary Ryogoku Kokugikan -- lovingly known to the rest of the world simply as "Sumo Hall" because of its main purpose of hosting Sumo events.

Sumo Hall seats around 13,000 fans, and is probably a very good selection for a venue in Japan, as Japan is an incredibly tough market for the kakutougi world right now. It should not be lost on the reader that both K-1 and GLORY announced on the same day their intent to run events in Japan. For GLORY it will be difficult as a new, unestablished brand, even with big name fighters, and for K-1 it will be difficult following newspapers a few months ago boldly proclaiming "K-1 Bankrupt!"

The event for K-1 will be the Heavyweight World Grand Prix Final 16, which has traditionally over the last few years taken place in Korea, with the finals in Japan, but with the finals happening in the USA, the Final 16 in Japan makes perfect sense.

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Raymond Daniels is Out to Prove Himself Against Nieky Holzken at GLORY 23

  • Published in Interviews

At GLORY 23 Las Vegas there is a tall task laid out for Raymond Daniels, one that many fans and insiders have proclaimed to be impossible: defeat Nieky Holzken and take the GLORY Welterweight Championship home with him. Back at GLORY 19 during a contender’s tournament the two men met for the first time in a fight that Holzken largely dominated with his smart cutting off of the ring and use of his experienced hands to keep Daniels from getting comfortable and doing what he does best, which is kicking from a distance. Since then the champion Joseph Valtellini was forced to vacate the championship due to complications from a concussion and GLORY has placed Holzken against Daniels in a rematch, the winner taking home the title.

Many see it as a foregone conclusion for Holzken. To them he’ll clearly be walking away with the championship, but there is just one thing that they are forgetting in this equation: Raymond Daniels. Daniels is known throughout martial arts circles as one of the best competitive martial artists of all time. That isn’t an exaggeration, if you look through the worlds of sport martial arts you won’t find anyone quite like Daniels. His record is immaculate, his accolades could fill a warehouse, yet he still looks for further challenges and his ultimate challenge is in the GLORY ring right now, his ultimate challenge is taking on Nieky Holzken. 

Their first fight was a tough loss for Daniels, but he reflects on the fight as a positive learning experience for him. “It was a learning experience for sure,” he explained. “I get to watch that fight and see what I need to do to fix the holes in my game and to make myself a better fighter. That’s how you improve as a fighter and a person, by learning from your mistakes.”

When analyzing Daniels as a fighter and his game, it’s difficult not to see where his weaknesses lie. His background in Karate meant less of a focus on using his hands, but since turning professional in kickboxing there has been a marked improvement. “There’s always a learning curve, there’s always something that you can do better. I’ll never be perfect, even if I strive for perfection. You can see the maturity of myself as a fighter, you can see the evolution of my style over my last few fights. It’s a great feeling, I’m just so much more comfortable, so much more calm and collected in that ring now. I used to be really excited, hopping around a lot and trying to get things over quickly. Now I’m able to get my energy out in spurts.”

Daniels is a living legend in the world of sport karate, so the question has to be raised why he would even make such a transition to professional kickboxing. “I’ve been very fortunate in my sport. I’ve traveled the world, I’ve met great people but I’ve accomplished everything that I possibly could a few times over. The next realm with a similar system is kickboxing and GLORY is that vehicle that gets me out there, just like the World Combat League did before. Now GLORY is the biggest league on the planet, so they give me the opportunity to use my skillset. Everyone looks at my sport and says ‘oh it’s pitter patter, it’s Karate Kid, it’s Best of the Best’ or something. This gives me a chance to go out there and show that just because my sport is about control and technique, that I’m able to translate that technique into kickboxing and add speed and power to it. That’s what I love about this, I get to test my skills against guys with different skill sets and style and show them what my sport is capable of doing.”

The World Combat League, organized by Chuck Norris, was dismissed at the time for it’s relatively strange rules and team format, but it’s undeniable that they produced a ton of talent. WCL’s roster included not only Daniels but Uriah Hall, Jarrell Miller, Pat Barry, Anthony Njokuani, Lyman Good, Carlos Brooks, Rick Cheek, Felice Herrig and more.

“What was great was that my sport was dismissed in combat sports, written off as impractical or too old fashioned, but then you look at the WCL and some of the fighters that came from there,” Daniels said. “But you got to see the athletes from the WCL start to blossom afterwards.”

This quickly brought us to the topic of being dismissed and how Daniels has been dismissed by kickboxing fans and pundits almost across the board. “You know, I find it kind of comical in a way. I look at it like; the people that don’t understand a burning desire couldn’t understand what it is, what I want and how I feel. Just because you fail or you fall short on something that you want to accomplish doesn’t necessarily mean that your life is defined by those moments. I lost a fight, but that doesn’t define me. I see people who have that outlook as very close-minded individuals. Everybody has a setback in life. If this wasn’t challenging to me, why would I do it? If I wasn’t fighting world class athletes like Nieky why would I be doing this?

“This gives me an opportunity to grow,” he continued. “Not just as a fight, but as a person. It allows me to step outside of my comfort zone. It allows me to strive to be better, to learn more about myself. I see people who will dismiss a fighter as people that would probably give up as soon as they have a setback in life as opposed to finding a way to make it work, finding a way through and to persevere. I have a fire underneath me and am more motivated than ever. I have an opportunity to go out there and fight someone who has beaten me before, there aren’t a lot of people that can say that they’ve beaten me before in my career. With that being said, people that are overlooking me, I have that knock-it-out-of-the-park ability with every move that I throw. So I always find it funny. Don’t get me wrong, Nieky himself is a great fighter, but he’s a flawed fighter. He’s lost before and he has holes in his game -- just like I do -- that I can exploit. Nobody's perfect. I’m looking forward to going in there and being able to silence people. If you don’t believe, just watch. I want to show people what it is to have faith in myself, in my skillset and to prove these people wrong.”

There is another side to GLORY’s push of Raymond Daniels, though, one that is hard to explain. Daniels possesses a magnetism that many fighters don’t. His ability to do things in the ring that no one thought was practical and not only land, but score crazy knockouts with has earned him a reputation among fans as a can’t miss fighter. I got to see this first hand live at GLORY 16 where fighters like Rico Verhoeven, Errol Zimmerman, Andy Souwer and Ben Edwards were walking around throughout the night and went relatively undisturbed, but Daniels was a different story. He was being stopped for selfies, autographs and high fives throughout the night. He’s fought on some of the most-viewed GLORY cards of all-time on Spike TV and has been one of their featured attractions. 

“That’s my whole goal at the end of the day, outside of fighting, I want to give fans something to talk about. I want to be able to give back to them,” he explained. “I want them to look at something that I did and say ‘my god, I saw that in a movie last week and he did it,’ you know what I mean? I also want the die hard fans to say ‘that stuff doesn’t work in a fight, Nieky has this Dutch style that’s gonna light him up’ and say, okay, come watch. As long as people want to come to watch, that’s cool. At the end of the day I don’t believe my own hype. You know, that’s not who I am. I have a Martial Arts school and I don’t even advertise what I do. Most of my students don’t even know that I’m going to fight for the world title right now.

“Some of my students will see some of my fights later,” he jokes, “and they’ll be like ‘oh my gosh that’s my sensei in there? He’s not like that when he’s in the karate school.’ It’s a different persona, you know, like wrestling. Wrestling isn’t real, but how many people follow that, watch it -- I mean people have tattoos of it. People watch it because they put on a show.  What I’m doing is real, but it’s still entertainment. If I go out there and I can knock a guy out with a kick that you’d only see in the movies, how much entertainment value does that bring? That’s how I look at my fighting.”

Daniels brings all of this and more to the table, also bringing with him one of the gaping holes in the combat sports world of late by the way of traditional martial arts. Martial Arts are indeed about self-defense and technique, but are centered around improving the self and becoming a better person. “I feel that is missing from sports right now. The focus isn’t on that, the focus is on who is the best, who is the flashiest and who is making the most money. It’s absolutely missing from combat sports right now and I’m just glad that I can help bring some of those values with me into the ring.”

It is a monumental task for Raymond Daniels at GLORY 23 against Nieky Holzken, but Daniels seems ready for whatever might come his way. Tune in this Friday at 11pm Eastern time on Spike TV to witness Raymond Daniels vs. Nieky Holzken vying for the GLORY Welterweight Championship and see for yourself who comes out victorious. 

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Get Hyped for Diaz vs. Cyborg This Weekend

  • Published in Kickboxing

There has been a lot written about Nick Diaz over the past few years, and his hilarious performance at the recent Strikeforce conference call has helped lead him into the limelight once again. This weekend he defends his Welterweight Championship against Brazilian striker Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos. Cyborg has fought just about everywhere, from Brazil to the US and Japan and fights with that crazy, brawling Chute Boxe style that we all know, love and miss in modern MMA. Robbie Lawler is also coming off the destruction of Manhoef last year to take on Jacare. Even if you are just a stand up fan, you are bound to see some awesomeness this weekend.

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Bloodstain Lane Urges You to Support Kickboxing

  • Published in Kickboxing

We've been preaching this for a while now; that kickboxing is one of the greatest sports in the world and that it needs a bigger following in the United States. No, it deserves a bigger following in the United States. Any sport as exciting as kickboxing deserves a wider audience and the fighters, promoters and sponsors who work hard all do so for a reason; passion. That is all that you can ask for, and that is what kickboxing delivers.

Our good friend Bloodstain Lane agrees and his latest video is just that; he urges everyone to support the kickboxing world and talks about the upcoming return of Mark Miller as well.

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Glory World Series Press Conference and Weigh-Ins Video

  • Published in Kickboxing

If for some reason you were like me, that means that you were sleeping a few hours ago when the Glory World Series live presser went down. That is kind of a bummer, as it was live on YouTube for the whole world to watch, in English, and hosted by none other than Mauro Ranallo. Lucky for us who enjoy sleeping, the internet is a marvelous thing and it was archived. This means you can watch it at your leisure as you get hyped up for what is one of the biggest kickboxing weekends in a very long time.

What is important when watching this video is to note just how far Glory has come. This press conference was uber professional and exactly what you'd expect from a worldwide combat sports brand working its way to the top.

Don't forget to watch the Glory World Series live this Saturday morning at 10:00am Eastern time/7:00am Pacific time. If you are worried about where to watch it, well, never fear, as you don't have to leave the comfort of your chosen web browser or even leave this very site. Just load up this page right now and order the video by clicking on it and plonking down $15 USD. Seriously, if you don't have a problem buying multiple UFC PPVs a year to fund Dana White's Bruce Lee t-shirt collection, this should be no sweat. Help out Glory and help out LiverKick, by doing so you will help me expand my own Bruce Lee t-shirt collection, which as of right now is a lone shirt. I have to beat Dana White in this category guys, and you can help.

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