I'm not joking, Josh Barnett and Jerome Le Banner will square off on August 27th at the Ryogoku Kokugikan -- Japan's Sumo Hall, and this bout between the titans will be for a world championship. Who is promoting this bout? None other than Antonio Inoki, the grandfather of MMA in Japan and a pro wrestling celebrity. It is hard to believe that the MMA world and the Kickboxing world will be colliding like this, until you realize that it is under Inoki's IGF banner, which is professional wrestling.
Yes, Josh Barnett of Strikeforce fame will take on Jerome Le Banner of K-1 fame to declare the first IGF World Champion in August. IGF ran a tournament on the 10th in Japan that involved some pretty big names, including Ray Sefo, Eric Hammer, Josh Barnett, Jerome Le Banner and Bobby Lashley. Eric Hammer tapped Ray Sefo out in the qualifying round with an armbar, Josh Barnett tapped Bobby Lashley out with an armbar as well in the semi-finals. Hammer met Jerome Le Banner in the semi-finals by knocking him down five times, which sets up Barnett vs. Le Banner in the finals.
Something about this just reeks of awesomeness.
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 first novel, the Godslayer, is available now.