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The 10 Greatest Muay Thai Fighters According To Me: 10-9

In my last piece I tried my shot at exposing the Buakaw, and Ramon Dekkers myth. Someone replied and asked if they weren't the best, than who was?

If you ask Muay Thai fans that question, every top 10 list will be different. These are strictly my opinion

10 Namsaknoi Yudthagarngamtorn: A long time training partner of Buakaw Por.Pramuk, Namsaknoi can be credited to some of the success Buakaw got in K-1. Its widely believed and often said that he dominated Buakaw in training. He held Lumpinee titles at 4 different weight classes for more than a decade. In 1996 he was voted fighter of the year and for the next 10 years stayed incredibly consistent until he retired to become a trainer. He came back several times over the last few years, but it finally appears age has caught up with the "Emperor." With multiple wins over Samkor Keatmontep, and Saenchai Sinbimuaythai formerly known as Saenchai Sor. Kingstar its impossible for me to leave him off this list. Im unsure of his actual record, but he rarely lost in the late 90's, and early 2000's. I don't doubt that he won at least 90% of his fights. Which is is phenomenal when you consider even the top Thai's fight 8-12+ times a year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xf6x-4yQ-uc&

On top of being an all time great fighter he has the most beautiful Wai Kru I've ever seen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VC6_-xhBv54

9 Sangtienoi Sor. Rungrot: "The Deadly Kisser" (He apparently kissed his opponents on the cheek before he stopped them) was not very fast, nor was he too physically gifted in general, but he made up for it with amazing heart, and absolutely phenomenal technique. He's known for his kicks, and knees, but also has good hands, and good elbows, which make him one of the most complete fighters I've seen in Muay Thai. A long time champion at Rajadamnern Stadium he made the move to Lumpinee for better competition. Soon after he became lightweight champion, and beat all the best fighters of that era (90's) which is considered to be the greatest era of fighters ever. Today Sangtienoi is retired and is not only a trainer, but one of the best ambassadors for the sport. His son Moses, though not nearly as good as his father has followed in his footsteps and is ranked in the top 10 middleweights at Rajadamnern Stadium. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mvsve-Sy6KQ

#8-7 Tomorrow

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Weekly Poll Results

Last week's question: How did you score Daniel Ghita vs. Hesdy Gerges?

48% - Even and should have gone to an extra round

23% - Gerges won fair and square

17% - Ghita should have had the decision

12% - Didn't see it

This week: The big fight from this weekend was Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Cosmo Alexandre, and there was no doubt who won there.  Giorgio Petrosyan continues to dominate the sport with his superb technique.  He's clearly the top kickboxer in the world, and at this point, you have to ask...

Is Giorgio Petrosyan the #1 fighter in the world in any combat sport?

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Why You Need to Push for Kickboxing to Rise in Your Home Country

Peter AertsAs I was typing in that headline, I initially had put "in the United States" for the simple fact alone that I live there, as do virtually all of the contributors on LiverKick.com, outside of EKP who is in the Toronto area, Fletch in the UK and Traveler who is heading to Thailand and China shortly to cleanse his person and kick things.

Yesterday it was announced that Zuffa had purchased UFC's top competitor, Strikeforce. This caused many, many reactions sweeping across the world for MMA fans and pundits. It has become a polarizing topic and has effectively split a community that was merely on the way to being fractured over the course of a few hours. In between anti-Zuffa war cries, pro-Zuffa, anti-free market rants, comparisons to major league sports teams that don't seem to stick and some wait-and-see attitudes, it is clear that something very big happened yesterday. What I really find funny is that somewhere in between all of that, we saw a show happen in Italy that featured four top 25 70kg Middleweights and the rest that are well on their way to being on that list in the world of kickboxing.

On top of that, the #5 and #11 fighters, respectively, were competing in different parts of the world as well. It feels like a foolish distraction to get caught up in MMA while kickboxing makes such a great showing, internationally. Admittedly, I saw Royce Gracie in UFC before I saw Peter Aerts throw the head kick that turned me into a lifelong kickboxing fan. The issue with MMA will sort itself out, that I'm sure of, there needs to be a focus on Kickboxing and Muay Thai right now.

As of me writing this, in the United States there is no one Kickboxing or Muay Thai promotion that promotes on a national basis. To me, that is almost mind-boggling, as there are promotions that run regionally, in areas like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas that all draw incredible crowds for what they do, but there is next to no overlap outside of a few top prospects like Kevin Ross who actually leave their region to fight in other ones as well as other countries.

This is unacceptable by any stretch of the imagination. It isn't like there aren't gyms and there aren't people training kickboxing and muay thai every day in the United States, and not just for self defense, either. There are people training for combat. Then there is talk about why there is no major Muay Thai or Kickboxing promotion, the lack of star power. I've seen local shows and seen the top talents, if they were promoted correctly on a national level, who says that they wouldn't catch on like MMA fighters have? People purchase shows headlined by fighters like Frank Edgar, who by all means does not live up to the tough guy stereotype image of what a fighter should be, nor does he give the most rousing, interesting interviews.

Someone needs to step up to the plate already and take the fractured scene and make something of it. Everyone can keep complaining or being condescending that there is "no market for kickboxing" as long as no one is out there trying and proving the doubters right. K-1 isn't going to do it, they are a Japan-centric promotion, always have been and always will be. Their monopoly on the sport has been both good and bad for it; good as in it created a yearly tournament that shows who is the best in the world, without a doubt, the bad is that no matter where they promote, the end game is to make good television for Japanese audiences, not local audiences. When K-1 promoted in the United States they never bothered localizing the product beyond using a select group of American fighters. The local promoters and men in charge like Scott Coker and Mike Kogan are the whim of what the Japanese promoters and producers want, leaving a scene that I've heard from a few fighters was disarray and confusion for K-1's USA shows.

Keep reading.

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Oktagon results: Andrei Kulebin cuts Angelo Campoli for the Win

In the lone Full Muay Thai rules fight of the night, it's decorated veteran Andrei Kulebin vs. the significantly less experienced, late replacement Angelo Campoli.  Five rounds here, and right off the bat, they're doing it right with live Thai music and Wai Khrus.  Very cool.

And from there, sadly, there's not a ton going on.  Kulebin is clearly the better fighter, but Campoli is staying close.  With every round, Kulebin takes a bit more of a lead, using superior clinch work to gain the advantage throughout rounds 1-3.

In the 4th, Kulebin scores with a nice slicing elbow, catching Campoli above the right ear coming out of a clinch.  There's definitely blood, but it's nowhere near the eyes, but the ringside doctor waves it off anyway.  Kulebin takes the 4th round TKO win in, while not a bad fight, nothing particularly memorable.

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Oktagon results: Franchi outpoints Moriya

In the 2nd Oktagon fight, Bruno Franchi and Takuro Moriya met in another Dragon Series tournament fight.  While neither man has a huge international reputation, both came to fight, turning in a very spirited, back and forth battle of wills.

Round 1 started even until Franchi started landing some nice knees, including some jump knees, to seemingly take the advantage.  However, as the round drew to a close, Moriya began landing more leg kicks (plus a few illegal heel kicks to the calf) that hurt Franchi.  He'll need to start defending those, or Moriya's going to punish him.

Round 2 is more of the same - from the outside, Bruno is able to work his game, but inside Moriya seems to take the edge in the clinch.  Not as much focus on the legs from Moriya as I would have anticipated given R1.  That was a close one.

The 3rd round comes down to conditioning, and to me it seems Franchi was able to push the pace more, keeping Moriya on the back foot and improving his clinck work inside.

Judges agree with me, as Franchi takes the decision in a very solid fight.

 

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Oktagon results: Sudsakorn outclasses Xu Yan

This weekend's big kickboxing card from Italy has begun, and the show kicked off with a big fight: Sudsakorn vs. Xu Yan.

The #14 ranked Sudsakorn came in the heavy favorite, however Yan is a fighter who can always make it a fight.  As it turned out, Sudsakorn was simply too much, putting on an absolutly beautiful Muay Thai clinic.  In round 1, Suds used a Muay Thai dump early to show his dominance.  The rest of the 1st was close, but Suds did enough to pull ahead.

Round 2 was the best of the fight as Sudsakorn shifted to the body with a wide range of attacks, including knees, teeps, and some nasty hooks.  Yan stayed in it, including connecting a nice combo, but the Thai fighter was barely affected.

By round 3, Xu Yan was still giving his all, but the body attack had taken it's toll, and the Chinese fighter began to fade.  Highlight of thsi round was a gorgeous jump round kick from Sudsakorn off a caught kick by Yan.  After unelasinh a combo, Suds earned a (somewhat spotty) standing 8 count.  Honestly, that wasn't the best count, but it didn't matter as Sudsakorn easily took the decision win.  Impeccable performance from the Thai, and a great way to kick things off.

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Zuffa, Parent Company of UFC Purchases Strikeforce, Monopolizes MMA

We here at LiverKick.com pride ourselves on our kickboxing coverage, but from time to time find it important to discuss the MMA world as well. There is a lot of crossover between the two worlds, and at times, they go hand in hand. Strikeforce has a storied past, as does its promoter, Scott Coker. Coker had worked the kickboxing market in the West coast for years before working for K-1 to bring their USA shows to fans. His baby, Strikeforce, was a kickboxing promotion before it was a MMA promotion. It was local talent like Cung Le and Frank Shamrock working with Coker to put on MMA shows that got the ball rolling and Strikeforce became the best regional promotion in the country. It didn't take much, just using big names on the main event slots with local big names to fill out the rest of the card and young, local up and comers on the undercard.

It worked, and soon Strikeforce was in a position to purchase EliteXC's poison assets. Or so we thought. We all assumed anything affiliated with EliteXC was awful and doomed, but Coker and Co. showed that with a better business plan and some patience, you can make anything work. Today something happened, something big. Ariel Helwani posted a video of Dana White discussing Zuffa's purchase of Strikeforce. I had to look twice at the date and make sure it wasn't April 1st, because sometimes time just moves quickly. It isn't, it is March 12, 2011. Remember that date.

People on Twitter immediately freaked out; co-promotion? Will Strikeforce immediately die? Does this mean Fedor, Barnett, Overeem, Diaz, Daley, etc. in the UFC? Watch the video and you get a feel for what is happening. Dana White claims over and over again, "business as usual." This means that as long as Strikeforce has their television deals; CBS and Showtime, it is its own entity. There will be no co-promotion, and fighters stay where they are, of course, unless they decide differently. Scott Coker and his crew are still in control of Strikeforce for the time being. If you are a Strikeforce fighter, you are one until Strikeforce is gone or your contract is up. Same goes for UFC.

If you know how Zuffa works and remember their history with acquisitions, you should understand where the concern comes from. I've heard many herald this move as a great move for the sport and one step closer to the holy grail in fighting; a fighters union. I appreciate and applaud the enthusiasm, but Zuffa is not acting like a sport league as much as it is a corporation, a business.

I worked in the PR world with some of the heavy hitters of modern industry for four years, with some of the biggest companies in the world; AT&T, Apple, Microsoft, Motorola and Boeing to name a few. Before someone calls my BS on this, there were people in each company I was on a first name basis with and spoke to daily for years. I'm simply painting a picture here for people to illustrate a point that I've worked with huge corporations in a public relations and investor relations setting and know how the big dogs do business.

Keep reading.

 

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Danyo Ilunga Talks About His It's Showtime Title Win

If you were one of the lucky people who tuned in to It's Showtime last weekend, you saw relative newcomer to the international scene, Danyo Ilunga make an absolute fool of seasoned pro Wendell Roche in a title fight for the It's Showtime 95kg Championship. Many had seen this fight as a possible lopsided affair with Roche finishing off the much younger Ilunga with his heavy hands. Instead, we saw the young Remy Bonjasky protege move and strike much like his mentor.

Ilunga showed great footwork, head movement and his defense was Bonjasky-esque. This means that he spent a lot of time backing up, but picked and chose his shots and was making a ton of clean connections on a frustrated opponent who was connecting with next to nothing. It was a 5 round dissection and showed a lot of people that Ilunga is absolutely for real.

The interview that follows will absolutely endear you to Danyo Ilunga, as you see that he comes from humble beginnings. Not only does he discuss his top notch strategy that he followed to a tee, but how nervous he got entering into a big time promotion like It's Showtime, how he was overwhelmed by how professional everyone was, the production and being surrounded with such big names in the kickboxing world. Like it or not, he has to accept that he is among them now. If you haven't seen the fight yet, check it out here.

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Oktagon Fight Code Tomorrow: Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Cosmo Alexandre

OktagonWhen it rains it pours, and in this case, it is a good rain, the kind that comes after a drought. After being denied top level kickboxing for what feels like an eternity, with flashes of hope here and there, March has proven to be an incredible month for fans. We kicked things off with It's Showtime's Sporthallen Zuid Amsterdam show, which featured a top-to-bottom card of fantastic fights and march into this weekend where legitimate pound-for-pound in combat sports contender Giorgio Petrosyan will go to war with former It's Showtime 77MAX Champion Cosmo Alexandre. Cosmo was stripped of his It's Showtime title last year after booking another fight too close to his It's Showtime title defense, angering It's Showtime management into stripping him of his title for not adhering to his contract.

The irony, of course, is that this weekend he will be fighting Giorgio Petrosyan, who is an It's Showtime/Black Label fighter. It is a tall order for Alexandre, as he goes into the fight staring down the barrel of a shotgun almost; facing off against the two-time K-1 World MAX Champion. To say that at this point in time facing Giorgio Petrosyan is a tall order is to underestimate Petrosyan. Petrosyan comes into the fight this weekend with a staggering record of 67 wins, one loss and two draws. Oh, and he is only 25. He comes into this fight with a win over Sudsakorn Sor. Klinmee, a very real challenge at the time for Petrosyan, and was handled quite easily.

Speaking of Susakorn, he is also in action tomorrow as he'll square off with the Chinese kickboxer Xu Yan. Xu Yan is probably best known for his knockout of Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima in 2009, as well as his bout with Buakaw Por. Pramuk from last year. Needless to say, Xu Yan is a worthy competitor and the fight with Sudsakorn should be a great one.

On top of that, Giorgio Petrosyan's brother, Aremen Petrosyan will be in action against Japanese kickboxer Yoshihiro Sato. Sato is one of the few Japanese kickboxers that has ventured outside of Japan on a semi-regular basis looking to hone his skills. I truly commend Sato for this, as it is a step in the right direction. From the looks of Yoshihiro Sato's twitter account, he is safe in Italy and ready to fight, although I'm sure the pounding Japan took from yesterday's Earthquake and Tsunamis will be on his mind.

So what is the best part of all of this? Oh, how about that it will be streamed live on the internet for free. You can head on over to here, tomorrow at 3:45 pm Eastern time and catch the event as it unfolds.

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Ultimate Glory is Coming - Bloodstain Lane Has a Message For You

There are some people that for some reason, really dislike Bloodstain Lane, find him abrasive, crass, over-the-top and antagonizing. The truth is, he embodies all of those things with a pure, raw passion for MMA and kickboxing that I find refreshing. I feel like I'm on the same page as him a lot of the time, I just tend to choose my wording a bit differently when expressing my disdain. It works for Lane, though, as he has mentioned a few times in more candid moments, it is a character that takes parts of himself and just amplifies them. As a person who has performed on stage, I can respect and understand that, as well as understand that not everyone gets it.

The point I'm getting at here is, BSL has done a lot to promote some of the world's best fighting, and Ultimate Glory's next show is rapidly approaching. There is a very good chance that you'll be able to watch that event from the comfort of your computer or TV. So watch as BSL hooked up with Team Golden Glory's Martijn de Jong at the last Strikeforce show and gave a message about the show. Make sure to catch the show, March 19th.

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