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The Bad Boy is Back: Watch Badr Hari on Dutch TV

Do you know how long I've been waiting to say, "The Bad Boy is Back?" It has almost been a year now, and finally we have good news about Badr Hari. There have been persisting rumors over the past few months that Badr Hari might have fractured from his training group at Mike's Gym, but the photos we posted the other day, along with this video we are posting (oh yeah) is enough proof that all is well in Mike's Gym and that Badr Hari is back in training.

The rumor, which was confirmed by Simon Rutz himself, is that Badr Hari will make his official return to action on May 14th in Lyon, France. The opponent is yet to be officially locked in as the sponsor was yet to be officially locked in. Well, that is, until today, as legendary Muay Thai fighter Kader Marouf will be presenting It's Showtime Lyon, featuring Badr Hari. This is huge, great news for It's Showtime and the kickboxing world.

Well, here is video footage of Badr Hari from his training session last week, as well as an interview, in Dutch. So, if you speak Dutch, please feel free to provide us with a gist of what is going on in the comments!

UPDATE: From Yari on the Team Takeover forums:

- He didnt want to give a scoop on his next opponent, and still claims he fights in May. I guess he wont replace Hesdy Gerges.
- He said he wants to stop surrounding himself with negative news, and be known as a athlete again.
- Didnt want to promise/guarantee he will never go beyond the ref's call again (ala Remy/Gerges).

UPDATE 2: Now with full translation courtesy of an anonymous friend through Bloodstain Lane.

 

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Andy Souwer: "It is Easier to Reach the Peak Than to Stay at It."

On March 6th, It's Showtime presents an interesting card, which will be headlined against Daniel Ghita in a Superheavyweight contest. We know that much, but one of the other big fights of the evening is L'houcine "Aussie" Ouzgni will be taking on LiverKick's good friend Andy Souwer. Souwer has hit a rough patch of late, with his loss to MMA fighter Toby Imada preventing him from having another war with Buakaw Por. Pramuk in the Shootboxing S-Cup tournament, and then in a warm-up fight to prepare for Aussie, he dropped a disputed decision to Abraham Roqueni in France earlier this month. Souwer has been plagued by a back injury of late which has prevented him from training up to his full potential, but all seems to be in order now.

Aussie is a star on the rise, and he is in the way of Andy Souwer, who wants to take his place at the top of the mountain once again. Thankfully for everyone, our friends at AFAV have decided to document both fighters' paths to the fight for the two weeks leading up to the fight. The first episode is catching up with Andy Souwer while he trains. [source]

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March 19th's KRUSH Card Comes Together: Akihiro Gono vs. Yuya Yamamoto

(C) MMAWEEKLYJapan's kickboxing world marches on while everyone speculates about K-1's future. That is, in part, why it is so important to keep a positive attitude as a kickboxing fan, because no matter what, there will always be good fights surfacing. KRUSH will continue on this year, much like Shootboxing, and push forward with their March 19th event.

The big news is that MMA fighter Akihiro Gono will be making his return to the kickboxing ring, fighting at 70kgs against K-1 MAX fighter Yuya Yamamoto. Yamamoto's K-1 run was less-than-impressive and he has been working his way back up the ladder of late, while Gono has had some mixed success over the past few years, from UFC to DREAM to SRC. Gono will provide some stiff competition for Yuya, but it should be a war regardless.

NOB has a breakdown of the rest of the card. [source]

Krush First 55kg Champion Tournament Finals
Ryuya Kusakabe vs. Hiroaki Mizuhara
KENJI vs. Shota Takiya

Krush First 60kg Champion Tournament Finals
Hirotaka Urabe vs. Dynamite Yuta
Masaaki Noiri vs. “Crazy Fist” Yuji Takeuchi

Krush First 63kg Champion Tournament Finals
Koya Urabe vs. Takuya Shirahama
Ryuji Kajiwara vs. Kizaemon Saiga

Superfights
70kg: Yuya Yamamoto vs. Akihiro Gono
63kg: Yuki Yamamoto vs. Shunsuke Oishi
55kg: TAKUMI vs. Kazuki Tanaka

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Amsterdam Mayor on Hesdy Gerges, "You See!"

Van der LaanWhen navigating Dutch websites to see if there was any update on the Hesdy Gerges situation I saw something that I really didn't want to see as a kickboxing fan. I saw an interview with Mayor Van der Laan of Amsterdam, pulling the whole "you see, I was right" act in regards to It's Showtime's Hesdy Gerges being arrested for possible cocaine trafficking.

Mayor Van der Laan had been talking the past year or so about cracking down on martial arts events in the city due to the unwanted criminal elements that would show up there. He was upset that while he and his administration are trying to clean up the city, these events would have prominent members of organized crime treated as VIPs and paraded around in front of people. Seeing as though Amsterdam is the center of the kickboxing scene in Holland, this is bothersome to many.

For It's Showtime it means not being able to run in their home city, in the Amsterdam ArenA as they have almost yearly now, drawing around 20,000 fans per event, if not more. Well, Van der Laan spoke on his Thursday AT5 show, "Conversation with the Mayor" about the Gerges situation. When prompted on the issue, "You see!"

This validated the point Van der Laan had been making about criminal activity in kickboxing events. "It was not a nice thought to have, but I thought to myself, I have him now."

It wasn't like Van der Laan needed a lot of proof, as last year Badr Hari went to prison for assaulting a doorman, and Ashwin Balrak was arrested for possessing and possibly trafficking 80kilos of cocaine. So this year, Hesdy Gerges, a fighter being pushed as one of the new stars being suspected of being involved in an international drug trafficking incident is another nail in the coffin.

To understand why It's Showtime is in a hard situation, think about this. There is an Act in the Netherlands, known as BIBOB. BIBOB is intended to keep criminals out of Government contracts and keeping things "clean." It is up to local municipality's in the end to approve or disapprove a company under the BIBOB Act. In this case, Van der Laan has made it clear that he will not approve of anyone involved with organized crime. What the process for BIBOB is, in a nutshell, is to get licensed in your municipality to serve the public, you need to fill out paperwork and submit the form to the government, they then vet your company for possible criminal ties and decide if you can do business or not.

You are guilty until proven innocent in most cases. You have the legal right to defend yourself and your company, but in the case of It's Showtime, that is three fighters, two of which are under direct management of the company, involved in serious, very public crimes. That helps explain what Simon Rutz was talking about recently in spending money to clear the company's name. [source]

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Image of the Day: Badr Hari Back in Training

Images say a thousand words, and in that case I'm going to post an image instead of a thousand words. Badr Hari was filming for a Dutch sports program which will air on Monday today in Mike's Gym, alongside Mike Passenier and Melvin Manhoef. Of course, there is a whole album full of awesome stuff, so get at it. [source]

Badr Hari is Back

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Bas Rutten Wants You to Get Stoked for GLORY World Series

Sure, not all news is good news, and the past few days it feels like there is a dark cloud with some information about some of K-1's continuing financial failures and Hesdy Gerges being arrested for potentially drug trafficking. Amidst all of that, Bas Rutten stays a shining beacon of hope and insanity in the world of fighting.

Bas Rutten will once again host a Golden Glory  event, this time the GLORY World Series second round, featuring Gokhan Saki in a K-1 tournament and John Alessio in a MMA tournament. Bas is amped, as you'll see. His attitude is infectious, so watch it, love it, and live it.

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Badr Hari or Tyrone Spong to Replace Hesdy Gerges Against Daniel Ghita

The Bad Boy is Back?Because we've wanted to get to the bottom of this whole Gerges mess, we've reached out to a lot of really strong sources on the matter, you know, the reliable type that is always happy to talk about stuff. Well, no one is saying a word about the Hesdy Gerges situation right now, which to me is not exactly the greatest sign, but could also be good for Hesdy Gerges as I simply think that a lot of people aren't sure what is going on.

There is one man that is talking, and he is talking about the other thing we care about; FIGHTS. Daniel Ghita has sparked a new rumor by appearing on Romanian television to talk about his upcoming fight, which he has no opponent. Apparently there are two men in contention right now to fight Ghita and both of them are very worthy replacements. The first is Tyrone Spong. Spong is the muay thai standout that within the under 95kgs division was seen as the best fighter, bar none. Well, he wanted to compete on the K-1 level, so he bulked up, and the results were mixed at first, but there has definitely been a positive change.

A fight with Ghita could be great for his career and a giant win that he has been looking for. The other opponent? None other than the Bad Boy himself, Badr Hari. Badr Hari is ready to fight, as he has been training since his release from prison and has recently been preparing to fight in May. We might not have to wait that long, though, as with Gerges on the shelf, Badr Hari could very well be his replacement and kick off 2011 with style, clashing with Daniel Ghita.

So, who would you like to see Ghita fight in the main event of It's Showtime's event on March 6?

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How the Arrest of Hesdy Gerges Effects the Kickboxing World

HesdyThe recent arrest of K-1 and It's Showtime star Hesdy Gerges throws a monkey wrench into the whole kickboxing world right now. The first impact felt by the arrest is for the March 6th It's Showtime event, where the scheduled main event was Daniel Ghita vs. Hesdy Gerges. It was a fight that fans around the globe were looking forward to, as it was a meeting of two of the kickboxing world's up-and-coming stars.

The second is that it is a third black mark on It's Showtime within the span of a year. Within a year we saw their biggest star, Badr Hari, jailed for assault on a police officer. Of course with Badr Hari this was not his first time he was in trouble with the law, and with the company that he keeps it was not a surprise to many when it happened. Then later on in the year, Ashwin Balrak, who has fought for It's Showtime, was involved in a cocaine bust. Now comes the arrest of Gerges.

To compound matters, Mayor Van der Laan of Amsterdam has publicly accused kickboxing organizations of bringing with them a criminal element to their shows and has local officials cracking down on these events. To run an event in Amsterdam, according to Simon Rutz in a recent interview, means jumping through lots of hoops to prove they are "clean."

This arrest alone could not come at a worse time for the kickboxing world. Things could get worse if Hesdy is found guilty for being involved in the incident, but for now, it is unclear what, if any, was his involvement. He was questioned last year about the arrest of his half brother, but was not a person of interest. The conjecture and "facts" I've seen floating around the internet are false at best; Hesdy was not found with cocaine at the time of the arrest that we know of, he was not in Belgium when his half brother was arrested last May.

For now we have to wait and see as the situation unfolds.

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Hesdy Gerges Arrested For Drug Trafficking

Hesdy Gerges Arrested on Drug ChargesThe kickboxing world suffered another huge blow today, as It's Showtime and K-1 fighter Hesdy Gerges was arrested for drug trafficking earlier today. The arrest of Gerges was in relation to a raid by Belgium officials in May, where Hesdy's half brother, Ashraf and his friend were caught with 128 kilos of cocaine in Antwerp, Belgium. Gerges, as well as four more suspects were arrested today at the behest of Belgium officials, who will demand extradition.

Hesdy was asked about this last year and vehemently denied having anything to do with his brother's drug smuggling operation. It is unclear what Hesdy's involvement is at this point, but according to at5.nl, during the raid computers, phones as well as weapons and ammunition were confiscated, but it was not clear what, if anything was taken from Gerges. This comes hot on the heel of Ashwin Balrak's arrest for drug possession in November, found with 82 kg of cocaine on him, as well as Badr Hari's sprawling legal problems involving assault on a bouncer last year.

To compound matters, Mayor Van der Laan of Amsterdam has been very vocal about kickboxing and martial arts events, and was looking to crack down on organized crime in Amsterdam. He believes that kickboxing events bring organized crime to the city and parade criminals around as VIPs. He is unhappy with the image the city has and is looking to clean it up. There was talk of outright banning events, but Van der Laan has recently went on record stating that is not his intention.

With It's Showtime's next event on March 6th, it appears that Hesdy Gerges will not be able to fight in the main event against Daniel Ghita, as a case like this will take a while to be sorted out, especially because it involves an extradition process. [source]

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Watch Hesdy Gerges Prepare for It's Showtime on March 6th

Hesdy GergesFighting Stars Presents It's Showtime on March 6th, and as you already know, the card is lining up to be the first big kickboxing card of the year, being headlined by Hesdy Gerges facing Daniel Ghita. Both men had strong showings in 2010, with Ghita moving on to the K-1 World Grand Prix semi-finals where he had a fight of the year contender against Gokhan Saki. Saki was the one that moved on to the next round, but the damage done by Ghita was so immense that Saki was unable to finish out a round against Alistair Overeem, the DREAM and Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion who went on the win the K-1 World Grand Prix.

Hesdy Gerges had a breakout year as he took on Badr Hari in May at It's Showtime's ArenA show and held his own against the Golden Boy until Badr had yet another meltdown and punted Gerges in the face while he was down. Gerges took the W in that fight and went on to finish the year at an impressive 5-2 record for a fighter who moved up in competition full-time. He now finds himself in a showdown with Heavyweight kickboxing's other top prospect, so how is he preparing? Watch for yourself as he trains with renowned strength and conditioning coach Rayen Bindraban.

What a lot of people forget is while all of the fighters prepare for war on March 6th, they aren't the only ones preparing. In the U.S. we simply have ring card girls, they sit at ringside wearing a robe, take it off in between rounds and walk the perimeter of the ring holding up a card with the round number on it. It's Showtime does things a bit differently, they have dancing girls, and they need to prepare as well. Video after the jump.

 

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