If you've been paying attention to kickboxing, you'll probably recognize that 2014 has been a strange year for the sport. We started things off with GLORY as the clear #1 promotion in the world, with the top talents, biggest events and the most promise. As we enter into 2015 things are a bit more muddy and confusing. In fact, they are a lot more confusing.
GLORY 19 is in February, featuring Rico Verhoeven vs. Errol Zimmerman for the GLORY Heavyweight Championship, but to say that things seem to be in disarray in the GLORY camp is an understatement. The postponement of the show raised a lot of eyebrows and now we are seeing more and more GLORY contracted fighters taking fights somewhere else, or, like Joe Valtellini, petitioning for a shot at the UFC against CM Punk. I wouldn't count GLORY out just yet, but at the same time, if we look at the upcoming Kunlun and Wu Lei Feng cards in China, it's hard not to notice the sheer amount of GLORY talent on those cards.On January 3rd and 4th#Kunlun Fight 15– Rico Verhoeven vs Andrei Herasimchuk– Sittichai Sitsongpeenong vs Murthel Groenhart– Jafharr Wilnis vs Alireza KarbasiOther fights:– Andy Souwer vs Jaio Fukai– Steve Moxon vs Aikpracha Meenayothin– Tomas Hron vs Roman Kryklia– Victor Nagbe vs Mostafa Rajabi On January 31 and February 1stKunlun Fight 16 and WLF– Albert Kraus vs ??– Simon Marcus vs ??– Arthur Kyshenko vs Bai Jinbin– Andy Ristie vs Aikpracha Meenayothin– Robin van Roosmalen vs Dzianis Zuev Other fights:– Hesdy Gerges vs Alexy Ignashov– Colin George vs Mighty Mo– Cosmo Alexandre vs Li Yankun
This is kind of revealing. In addition to that, on K-1's USA vs. China event happening in China on January 1st the #1 contender for GLORY's Featherweight Championship, Gabriel Varga, will be fighting with GLORY's blessing. K-1 also announced a huge partnership with some of the biggest networks in China for ten live events in 2015. While it isn't clear if K-1 will be making big money from that just yet, the potential viewership for them is out-of-this-world.
As of right now it is looking like China is making huge moves to be the new home of kickboxing and could potentially be the "new" Japan, possibly even ushering in a boom period. We'll just have to wait and see.
Dave Walsh has been covering MMA and Kickboxing since 2007 before changing his focus solely to Kickboxing in 2009, launching what was the only English-language site dedicated to giving Kickboxing similar coverage to what MMA receives. He was the co-founder of HeadKickLegend and now LiverKick. He resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he works as a writer of all trades.
His second novel, Terminus Cycle, is available now via Kindle and Paperback.
Dave (a) LiverKick dot com | @dvewlshWebsite: www.dvewlsh.com