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Pat Barry Introduces Joey Beltran to "K-1 Level Striking"

Pat BarryPat Barry got a chance to show off his stand up without breaking his hands and feet tonight, against fellow UFC Heavyweight Joey Beltran in one of those fights that makes UFC President Dana White proud to be a fight promoter and me confused as to why more UFC fans aren't dashing to watch K-1 events whenever they can to see better stand up wars. Barry took it to Beltran, who wasn't afraid to stand and bang with Barry.

This was a fight custom made for Pat Barry to show off his striking and I'm sincerely not sure that he accomplished what he wanted to do. Going into the Cro Cop fight one of the big stories for kickboxing fans was two K-1 deserters facing off, and Barry was completely trashed by Ernesto Hoost and the rest of the VOS gym for simply not being good enough to hang. Barry went out to prove himself and broke enough bones on Cro Cop's head to where a lazy choke took him out. Cro Cop choked him out.

Joey Beltran took it to Barry in round 1, Barry landing a few strong leg kicks but his dirty boxing was enough to secure him the round. Beltran was introduced to Barry's mean streak in the second round, to easily secure the round for him, but the third round saw a lot more of Joey Beltran dirty boxing and some great body shots while Barry simply winged head kicks at him looking to take his head off. The distinct lack of aggression was hurting Barry until he started landing some leg kicks, and unfortunately poked Beltran in the eye. setting up the kick.

The damage Barry had done to Beltran's legs over the three rounds accumulated in the third after Beltran recovered from the eye poke, to the point where every time Barry chopped away at the legs, Beltran shouted in pain and collapsed. Barry pulled off just enough to get the decision, winning the second and third rounds.

Pat gives an emotional speech after the bout about his father, who was in the military and passed away 25 years ago, which all but makes up for the fact that he really wasn't fighting up to his potential. Honestly, he has a height disadvantage and a cut to 205 could do wonders for him.

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Badr Hari to Return to Action in May

After a year of inactivity, Badr Hari will make his return to action in the It's Showtime ring. With K-1 on a hiatus for the moment, and nothing planned or announced as of yet, It's Showtime has been reeling off the show announcements, with a tentative plan for ten or more shows within 2011. In May It's Showtime will make their way to Lyon, France, where Badr Hari will make his return to action against a to-be-decided opponent.

According to Dutch newspaper, De Telegraaf, Simon Rutz has gotten a verbal agreement for the bout and the opponent should be decided within the next two weeks.

"Badr makes his comeback in May," Rutz commented to De Telegraaf. "Hopefully Badr will be doing what he does best: fighting in the ring. He must show that he is among the best fighters in the world."

The fight that fans want to see the most would be against Hesdy Gerges, who is currently booked to fight on March 6th, taking on Daniel Ghita. At It's Showtime's christmas show at the Sands, they also announced that he would be defending his title, most likely at the ArenA show. With the ArenA show not happening, one can only speculate that they will try to assemble a rematch between the two a year later.

There are a plethora of match-ups involving Badr Hari that fans would love to see, including a rubber match against current K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, Alistair Overeem, but Overeem might be tied up in the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP and be unable to make a fight in May. Nod to Simon Raedts for diligently reading de Telegraaf and alerting us to the news.

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Feb 5: Andy Souwer In Action

ElDesaafioNew fight announcement here coming from Spain: on February 5, former K-1 MAX and Shootboxing S-Cup champion Andy Souwer will be in action.  Souwer, our #3 ranked middleweight fighter, will be facing Spanish fighter Abraham Roqueni in the main event of a show billed as El Desafio K-1 ("The Challenge" in English).  The fight is 3 X 3 minute rounds, K-1 rules, at 70kg.

It's good to see Souwer back in action here.  The normally busy Souwer had a relatively slow 2010, as he spent much of the year recovering from an eye injury, as well as searching for a new home after being ousted from K-1 MAX.  But Souwer has often spoken of his desire to fight frequently, so a busy schedule against various opponents suits him well.  Obviously, Souwer is the massive favorite here, but Roqueni may be game to make this an interesting fight.  Nicknamed "The Demon", Roqueni has been around for a few years, competing in Muay Thai and various other styles, and he holds a win over Jose Reis.  Check out the Highlight reel on Roqueni below - he's aggressive, and combines KO power with some devastating kicks, especially leg kicks.  If he pushes Souwer, this could be fun.  Souwer however always has the ability to take his opponents right out of their games, drawing them into a technical battle that they can't win, and there's a good chance we'll see that on Feb. 5.

The rest of the card includes a number of Spanish fighter, with a few fights of interest to international fight fans.  Germany's Dennis Schneidmiller faces Fran Palenzuela. Hafid El Boustati, who defeated Chahid Oulad El Hadj at this time last year, faces Manuel Hinojo.  And Oliver Tinda faces Younnes El Mhassani, the man rumored to be challenging Artem Levin in It's Showtime in March.

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It's Showtime Cancels May Amsterdam ArenA Show

Simon Rutz and Saduharu TanikawaThere is a sad state of affairs in the kickboxing world right now, mostly revolving around the turmoil happening within FEG. Sadly, there is some collateral damage when it comes to FEG's financial and organizational woes by the way of Netherlands kickboxing powerhouse It's Showtime. It's Showtime has for the past few years ran in the Amsterdam ArenA, a large-scale arena, hosting kickboxing's biggest non-K-1 event. There wasn't much word on the show for the past few months, but the assumption was always that it would happen, regardless of any outside forces, as It's Showtime has been expanding and putting on bigger and better shows.

According to Simon Rutz today, he has officially put the final nail in the coffin of the May ArenA show, and sadly it all rests on the shoulders of K-1. K-1 has partnered with It's Showtime in the annual ArenA show, exchanging talent, helping cover production costs and assembling the card in 2006, 2007 and 2008. The last two years it has been an It's Showtime exclusive, but in 2011 it was going to be a joint production between It's Showtime and K-1. It's Showtime held up their end of the bargain, but were simply waiting on K-1 to complete the matchmaking as per the agreement. Rutz explains his frustrations:

However, after months of asking questions by email, text messages, personally and by telephone we never got an answer from K-1 regarding the fight card. We had set a deadline for the fight card for January 11, because otherwise there would be too little time for us to organize everything before May 21.

It was January 18 when K-1 finally told me that it isn’t able to put the fight card together, because many fighters who have fought for K-1 still have to get their money, and K-1 can’t negotiate with fighters whom K-1 still owes money to. For a long time it’s not a secret anymore that K-1 is in bad financial problems and that it’s still the question whether they will survive this crisis. FEG (K-1) tries to do everything in its power to get out of this crisis but the negotiations with potential investors are stagnating for a year already.

Rutz goes on to talk about how his company, Black Label, that manages many of K-1's biggest stars, from Melvin Manhoef, Badr Hari, Giorgio Petrosyan, Gago Drago and Hesdy Gerges, has been patient and helped K-1 financially, they need to draw the line somewhere.

We from IT’S SHOWTIME have tried to help K-1 in every area the last couple of years and we have been very merciful regarding the payments of our fighters. The debts keep increasing in a very fast pace, though. According to FEG, everything will be alright but everything takes more time than they had expected and FEG asks us for more time regarding the payments of our fighters and the final fight card for the Amsterdam ArenA.

I find it admirable how Rutz does business and it is understandable that their patience has run out. Quite honestly, this is a case where East meets West and the West can't wait for the East to do business their way. Rutz is very realistic that if K-1 sorts out their financial problems and is open to working with It's Showtime on the joint card, that sometime in September or October would be for the best, while K-1 officials have told him to keep an open mind to the May deadline. It's Showtime manages many of its fighters and understands matchmaking must take place months in advance to ensure that the fighters are prepared for their fights as well as compensated.

There are six events booked so far, with It's Showtime looking to assemble at least ten cards this year, which is an astonishing amount of high-level kickboxing and leaves a smile on our faces. [source]

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Watch Sergei Kharitonov Training With Golden Glory

Sergei Kharitonov is one of the "dark horses" in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, as he takes on Andrei Arlovski in the first round, in a fight which very well could have happened in the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16 last year if Andrei Arlovski's nose didn't explode in training. Bas Boon's company, Fight Game, released some training footage of Sergei Kharitonov preparing for his Strikeforce fight on February 12th. Sergei looks great, and for all of those out there who have hated on Bas Boon in the past, understand just how involved Boon is in his fighters' training. Watch at the 3:09 mark where Boon himself steps into the ring and spars with an exhausted Kharitonov.

Bas Boon is a bad ass, he is the real deal and what I'd love to see in more fight managers. He understands because he is a fighter himself. Andrei Arlovski facing off with Sergei Kharitonov is one of the fights I'm looking forward to the most, I don't know about you. Onward, Strikeforce Heavyweight GP. [hat tip]

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Strikeforce Releases Official Trailer for Fedor Emelianenko vs. Antonio Silva

After weeks of awesome and mediocre fan trailers for the upcoming Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, Strikeforce and Showtime finally released an official trailer for the February 12th showdown between Fedor Emelianenko and Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva. The official trailer is short and to the point, while most of the fan-made ones tend to ramble on a bit. What is cool to think about is while Strikeforce tends to get lost in the shuffle unless the media is downright panning them, there is a ton of fan support for this upcoming tournament and shows that there really is a lot of buzz going around about this tournament. By all means, once all of the weird Coker and SF mishaps are said and done, it is an assembly of 8 of the best Heavyweights outside of UFC and should be great.

We get to watch Fedor Emelianeko, Antonio Silva, Andrei Arlovski, a former UFC Champion, and K-1 fighter Sergei Kharitonov in one show. [source]

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Chira Wichaisuthikul Lumpini Documentary Trailer

Chira Wichaisuthikul is releasing a documentary about Thai boxers at Lumpini. The documentary, set to be released this March 2011, follows a number of school-aged fighters.

I liked hearing eight to ten year old people talk about their experiences in the ring and their perceptions of fighting. For instance, the subtitled description of Muay Thai we hear at 1:36 strikes at very essential parts of the sport.

It's also cool to see kids causing a ruckus.

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The Voice: "Inside a Real Kumite"

KumiteAsk any Jean Claude Van Damme fan about the toughest event in martial arts and they can name it - The 100 man Kumite.  Made famous by Van Damme in Bloodsport, this legendary and near mythical event is, contrary to what you may believe, real.  One challenger faces 100 opponents in succession, each bout lasting 90 seconds.  Over the years, there have been spotty stories about Kumites, but it's often been hard to sort the legend from the truth.  Until now.

In 2009, K-1 commentator Michael "The Voice" Schiavello had the honor of witnessing a Kumite.  The challenger was Armenian Artur Hovhannisyan.  The 100 opponents included K-1 legends Glaube Feitosa and Francisco Filho.  Schiavello has now written an article on the event that is absolutely required reading.  A small sample:

IN A GYM ON THE FOURTH FLOOR OF ICHIGEKI PLAZA IN TOKYO, Artur Hovhannisyan stands by a full-length window and looks down upon the streets of Ebisu though his thoughts are miles away. His white gi is pristine and a black belt adorns his waist with three gold bars on the tip (one for each dan ranking). With his shaved head and clean appearance, the 33-year-old Armenian could pass as a banker or an accountant. Indeed it’s not until you see his calloused knuckles and stare into the black abyss of his eyes that you realize who you’re really standing face-to-face with.

“It’s time,” says a voice from across the room.

“Osu!” grunts Hovhannisyan. He slams his fist into his palm, lets out a loud breath and is led out of the gym by two officials with all the solemnity of wardens leading a death-row inmate to the chair.  Hovhannisyan enters the tiny Honbu (headquarters) dojo and the wooden door slides shut behind him. The eerie thud of a Taiko drum renders the room silent. As he gazes around the dojo his eyes widen; only now does he truly comprehend the gravity of what lies ahead. On the floor sit one hundred black and brown belts, legs crossed, perfectly postured. They’re bare knuckled and hungry, like a pack of jackals ready to rip Hovhannisyan apart at the limbs.

The entire article is available on the HDNet blog - click here.

Seriously folks, I can not stress this enough - you MUST read this.  Drop whatever you're doing, click the link, read it.

Highlights of Hovhannisyan's Kumite, including footage of him facing Feitosa and Filho below.

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New It's Showtime Fights for March 6

Leroy KaestnerSome interesting updates to the It's Showtime Amsterdam card on March 6:

In an undercard bout, the #22 ranked Leroy Kaestner (pictured) faces Ramzi Tamaditi. Kaestner is a young fighter training under Peter Aerts, and is looking to move up the ranks. He's had a number of big fights, including wins over Gago Drago last year, and Marco Pique in the K-1 MAX Europe GP 2009, but he's not yet been able to put together a string of wins that really pushes him up to the next level. Still, at just 22 years old and only 5 years as a pro, he has time to develop, and remains one of the young fighters to watch. His last fight was a loss to Armen Petrosyan in December.

Ramzi "The Professor" Tamaditi is a lesser known fighter, though he has received some accolades, and is well regarded as an unknown prospect. He defeated Imro Main on an It's Showtime card last year, and has done some training at Chakuriki. A win over Kaestner would definitely elevate his status. Watch a video package on Tamaditi below, put together by the always great AFAV.

Also on the undercard: Warren Stevelmans vs. Mo Medhar.  Stevelmans is a K-1 MAX veteran who is always a tough opponent, although he has struggled a bit lately.  His last fights were at the K-1 MAX Madrid show, where he made the tournament finals before losing to Rafi Zouheir.  Medhar is looking to capitalize on his 2009 It's Showtime victory over Gago Drago.  Like Tamaditi, he has another opportunity here to really establish his name in the 70kg division.

Finally, It's Showtime has not yet made it official, but Fighting Stars, the company co-promoting the event, announced a bout between IS 77kg champion Artem Levin and Younes el Mhassani.  Their announcement indicates it will be a title fight, although it's also listed as 3 rounds, when IS does 5 rounds for title fights.  This would be Levin's first fight since winning the belt against Aussi in December.  The Russian fighter had a huge 2010, defeating two of the world's best in Yodsaenklai Fairtex and L'houcince "Aussi" Ouzgni, establishing himself as the clear #1 at 77kg.  Levin is currently scheduled to face Kaoklai on February 23 - not sure if this would impact that fight, as IS typically doesn't like having their fighters compete so quickly after another bout.

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Watch AFAV's Awesome It's Showtime Promo

AFAV is a group that tosses together some really awesome video packages for the Dutch kickboxing scene, so it is no surprise that they lent a hand in recording the recent promo for the upcoming It's Showtime/Fight Stars event on March 6th. AFAV took all of the footage that they took for the upcoming event and tossed together their own, epic promo for it. [source]

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