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The Varying States of Water in Pattaya

Played Songkran

Today I went to “play Songkran,” as it's called, in downtown Pattaya. (It was the last day of Songkran in Pattaya, it would go on to end in Bang Si Lee on the 20th.)  For those who don't know, Songkran is the Thai new year, and celebration involves throwing water on everyone you see. I wasn't prepared for the varying temperatures of the water, with some freezing and some tepid (some people put ice in their tubs of water), and I definitely wasn't ready for the revelers who smeared flour paste on the faces of passerbys. I had a decently powerful squirt gun, though, and used it liberally, filling it up at the water barrels people had dragged onto the sidewalk.

I left the gym at 11 and got back around 3 to train. A pickup-taxi had knocked into a water-pipe so I wasn't able to shower right away, but I made sure to wash the dubiously clean Songkran water off my body and the caked flour off my face before training.

There's a festival tonight, similar to the one at Bangsilee on the 15th. I'm quite tired so I'm not sure if I want to go. One of our young fighters named Superbon will be fighting, as will the boy from our gym who made his debut at Bangsilee.

 

[I ended up going. Both boys lost, but fought very well. Superbon fought a boy who was a fair bit bigger and older than him, beating him on kicking technique but losing a decision on power. It was Mong Guh's second fight, so he looked very raw, but his aggressive style looks well and is effective on the scorecards. The other boy fought a more disciplined fight, despite eating a lot of long kicks and punches, and took it on points. Shout-out to Mike and Elmira who, I think, recorded both these fights. If they did I'll get them up on Youtube.]


April 23rd

Training was postponed today by a huge rain. It reminded me of California. When I lived in Southern California, it used to be sunny then explode, with no warning, into torrents of rain that could last for days. The carpet at the gym was getting wet and and water was flowing into the shop at the front of the gym so we got out brooms, dustpans, and basins and started clearing out the water.

It was a lot of fun. I watched the water on the street carry along small animals. There were two toads and a big earthworm that looked like a baby snake swimming in the stream, as well as some curious insects. One of the kids pointed out to me a scorpion-like thing that had the claws and body of a scorpion, but no stinger. I looked at it, thinking, “What the fuck?” before someone picked it up in his dustpan and gently took it outside to set it down in the middle of the road. This was right before he smashed it.

Training went on pretty much as usual after that. We dried off and did bagwork and pads. I did notice some difficulty breathing, though, maybe due to the humidity.


For those who didn't catch the first entry, I'm currently at Sor Klinmee in Pattaya.

April 5-8

April 12 -- Daniel Fights

April 15-17 -- Festival in Bang Si Lee


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Rumble at the Reebok, June 11 Promo

Fans of stand up fighting in the UK can count themselves amongst some of the lucky ones, as they have a healthy community of kickboxing and muay thai. Rumble at the Reebok has put on a few shows now and is aiming on June 11th to promote their next big UK event headlined by Jordan Watson vs. Michael Wakeling.

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Shamil Zavurov vs Yasubey Enomoto: A Look at M-1 Challenge XXV and its delicious welterweight treat

By Daniel Fletcher

Yasubey Enomoto. Tremendous at his best, a mercurial talent, but both the three fight win streaks that represent his entire successful body of work in the sport were ended by extremely sub par performances, losing to opponents he was heavily expected to crush, and bludgeon early. The little known Tyler Stinson earned a surprise technical knockout over Enomoto in his fourth fight, and of course after Yasubey reached the Sengoku Welterweight Grand Prix final after three imperious displays, he choked against Keita Kakamura. Which Enomoto will show up – the dextrous striker who bitchslapped Taisuke Okuno at Sengoku 15 and then Saenchai-kicked him, or the man who turned in a dud in the final?

Yasubey Enomoto

Shamil Zavurov – yours truly wrote the hype feature of this prospect, a man with considerable pedigree in a variety of martial arts of both the grappling and striking variety. Please refer to: http://www.lowkick.com/Other/Shamil-Zavurov-The-Rising-Star-of-Russia-12275

As the piece notes, Zavurov suffered a “Fedor-esque” first defeat – with many putting that particular ‘loss’ in parentheses – which he bounced back from with a perfect 9-0-0 slate in 2010. That is quite an incredible achievement on the top European stage regardless of the quality of opposition, and even more so for the fact that his opponents just about all had winning records, with a total combined tally of 75 wins and 58 defeats. And he scored submissions, knockouts and decisions. He outgrappled them, outstruck them, and demolished them. They were supposed to help build up a star and give him rounds, yet for the most part they got dominated and swiftly dispatched.

In the frankly exciting signing of Yasubey Enomoto, M-1 have put together a really meaty matchup together, one that offers a range of possible conclusions. Enomoto is flashy standing, whereas Zavurov is more stolid; planting his feet and throwing power punches, often using them to close the range to get inside and throw his opponent. Enomoto kicks and clowns his foes, Zavurov has dropped some of his own with hard overhand rights and pounded them to the finish. What wins in this field; dexterity and style, and aesthetically pleasing attacks, or solid technique and uncompromising power?

In the grappling sense, Zavurov surely has the edge. The positional dominance he displays was recounted in loving detail in the aforementioned feature report (link above), and his world champion pedigree in Sambo adds a repertoire and fondness for both throws and submissions into his arsenal. His physical attributes help; stocky and powerful, a low centre of gravity for open-weight grappling competition at 5’10”, and athleticism as displayed when he reverses holds and scramble attempts. His physical package (no pun intended) suits his hybrid style.

Zavurov

One potential outcome could be the GSP/Koscheck scenario, only with Enomoto being more willing to take risks, and capable of throwing flashier strikes than Canada’s favourite son does in his now predictably dominant yet unexciting conveyor belt of title defences. If Zavurov cannot clinch up, or land a big shot on the feet, can he stop M-1 Global’s newest signing from taking the championship belt?

It should be noted that M-1 Global pulled off a major coup with this. Most big organisations would have pulled their champion from the card had the contender pulled out of the fight injured as Rashid Magomedov did, or found a replacement on short notice to carry out a glorified squash match. But in this case, M-1 found an extremely capable and dangerous opponent for Zavurov, and have pitted rising star vs rising star in a fight arguably much more intriguing than the bout originally booked for the card!

Also on the M-1 Challenge XXV card (streamed live on M-1 Global’s official website, http://m-1global.com) Vinny Magalhaes (7-5) and Viktor Nemkov (10-2) will compete for the vacant light heavyweight (205 Lbs) strap.

Magalhaes is one of the five best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners in MMA today. That is no exaggeration; he is a special grappler. I’d advise readers to check his flying armbar victory over Pe De Pano in the Abu Dhabi Combat Club submission grappling world championships (the guy who smashed Frank Mir back in 2006). Magalhaes is up there with Jacare Souza, Fabricio Werdum, Roger Gracie and perhaps Shinya Aoki or Demian Maia in the pantheon of MMA elites who you’d really be best served avoiding entering the grappling realm with at all costs. He is a bad man.

The most noteworthy fight on a pretty solid card outside of the two main events is probably the scrap between middleweight veteran contenders Andrei Semenov (29-9-2) who is looking for his thirtieth career win, a significant landmark for most fighters, and Luigi Fioravanti (22-8). Both are well versed on the European scene, and a win would certainly help one of them take a step closer to a shot at middleweight gold with M-1.

The entire card after the break.

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Kongsak Sitboonmee: The Best Fighter In Thailand

With Saenchai Sinbimuaythai now concentrating on fighting over sea's a lot more, and Nong-O in a bit of a slump, a clear #1 has emerged in Thailand. That man would be Kongsak Sitboonmee, the latest winner of the Thailand's Sportswriters fighter of the year, the most prestigious award that can be given to a fighter. He went a perfect 8-0 from March of 2010 - March of 2011. After going 7-0 he was paired against Pakon Sakyotin in a fight at 127 pounds that would determine the winner of the award. Pakon who is remembered for his ultra violent fight with Pornsaneh Sitmonchai from last year was also riding a great record coming into the fight, and a win over Kongsak was the only thing holding him back from grasping the award he has come close to winning before. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GncRVBMFM14

You can see the fight is competitive, even though it gets a bit ugly. It seems like there was a little bit of tension in both guys, and neither are throwing with there usual superb technique, though its still very good. I think a lot of that can be do to the importance of the fight. By R4 it appears Kongsak has got the fight where he wants it. Pakon who is a strong clinch fighter has struggles tying the bigger Kongsak up, but does get in his share of strikes at times. The left leg of Kongsak and his ability to not let Pakon get comfortable were the determining factors. While not super exciting, Kongsak is a very smart fighter, and throws a heavy kick. This style of fighting will allow the 21 year old to be around for many more years.

Next month he looks to start off another run at fighter of the year when he faces one of Thailand's best, Sam-A Thor Ratonakiat. 

For the sake of Muay Thai I hope he and Saenchai who will also be competing next month on the same card against Petchboonchu F.A Group.... again, (sigh) can agree on a suitable catch weight. Kongsak vs. Saenchai is the biggest, and best fight that can be made in all of Muay Thai. Lets cross our fingers and hope it happens.

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Mark Miller Talks About Legends and Family

I know that it has been a hard week for the fighter we know and love as the Fight Shark. The training, the traveling, the unraveling of his mind as he prepares himself to fly to Russia to fight for the Glory World Series against Nikolaj Falin. This is his first fight in years now since his open heart surgery in 2007. MMAWeekly.com has been publishing a weekly blog written by Mark where he discusses preparing for his fight and the thoughts that go through his mind.

One of the best parts about reading the articles is that you get to see a lot of the more intimate thoughts that go through Miller's mind, as well as see a fighter that is well-read, educated and brilliant in his own right. It is a breath of fresh air to know that you are supporting someone who is not only a skilled fighter, but able to think and communicate far beyond your average professional fighter. In his latest blog he discusses training with Buddy McGirt and Rob Kaman.

Here I am years later, and these two men are my coaches. These are the men polishing me for this fight. I feel so lucky to have such a career that I get to work with the people I have looked up to and aspired to be like. And truly, my career has been this way since the beginning. Starting with Maurice Smith and Rick Roufus, two men I still am so grateful to, and now these guys.

On top of that, Miller discusses his father and his NBA career as well as his three children.

My dad played in the very first NBA game ever. He played for the Toronto Huskies. I always sort of held that fact as a piece of pride. He was a part of something big, bigger than himself.

I hope to do that for my kids. I have three sons, all of whom are so brilliant, and so individual. I am so proud of the human beings they are growing up to be. I hope one day that they will feel that they can have that same pride when it comes to me.

This is what drives me when it gets hard on nights like this.


Read the rest of Mark's blog on MMAWeekly.com and of course, stay tuned to LiverKick.com for more updates as Mark prepares for his big return fight. [source]

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Jerome Le Banner vs. Stefan Leko on June 11th in Geneva

There have been persisting rumors over the past few weeks over who Jerome Le Banner will square off with in his next fight. Le Banner has not fought since his disappointing bout with Kyotaro in October for K-1 where Le Banner had clearly won the bout in his mind and the judges voted for an extension round. As opposed to continuing on like most men do, despite protesting, Le Banner opted to simply walk out. K-1 has a long history of "gift decisions" that would make MMA fighters like Leonard Garcia even cringe. Since then, the return of Le Banner has been hotly debated, with long-standing rumors that his next fight would be for It's Showtime on May 14th. We were able to confirm with Le Banner a few weeks ago that he was not going to be fighting for It's Showtime any time soon.

Someone had leaked out over the past few weeks that there was a promoter putting together a super fight between Jerome Le Banner and Stefan "Blitz" Leko. Leko, just vacating a WKA World title due to not defending it, and not exactly being the most active fighter over the past few years was not the most promising candidate for a bout with Le Banner it seemed. Thankfully, the fight has materialized and will indeed happen in Geneva on June 11th.

Leko and Le Banner met back in 2001 for K-1 with Jerome Le Banner pulling off the 5-round decision after a war. This was during Le Banner's prime and Le Banner looked ready to take a K-1 World Grand Prix title. Think of Alistair Overeem's 2010 and how huge of a star he is in Japan, how much of a celebrity he is, and that is where Le Banner was at that point. This is yet another huge bout to look forward to, but one that might be difficult to acquire a video of for a while. It will be interesting to see where both men stand almost exactly ten years later. Watch the first below. [source]

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It's Showtime in Final Talks with US Television Network

It's Showtime continues to march on forward, and they do so in blinding speed so far in 2011. From having to cancel their Amsterdam ArenA show scheduled in May, to all of a sudden booking show after show in a vast array of countries, signing a TV deal with the Fight Network in Canada and booking some of the best fighters in the world it feels like It's Showtime is unstoppable. The latest bit of news was dropped by It's Showtime's head, Simon Rutz on his Facebook profile earlier today.

We are in the last stadium to sign a contract with a big tv station in the USA. Soon more information about this! Meaby our first event on May 14 th is already on tv in the USA!

So it looks like they are in the final talks of securing a US television deal. LiverKick.com has spoken at length with Rutz and It's Showtime employees over the past few months about possibly bringing It's Showtime to the United States and helping expand their fan base. We even ran a contest a few months ago where we gave away It's Showtime merchandise to fans to help spread the word.

The May 14th event featuring Badr Hari probably has the widest appeal for It's Showtime, as Badr Hari is an internationally established name, one of the biggest names in the world. Showcasing Hari in the United States would be a great move for them.

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Sergei Kharitonov vs. Mighty Mo on May 28 in Russia

Sergei KharitonovThe GLORY World Series event on May 28 in Moscow just keeps getting bigger and bigger, as yet another big name kickboxing bout was added to the event yesterday. The promotion announced that two K-1 veterans, Mighty Mo Siliga and Sergei Kharitonov will meet in the ring under K-1 rules. Mighty Mo had a bit of a career resurgence last year when Andrei Arlovski had to pull out of his scheduled appearance at the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16 due to a broken nose and Mighty Mo happened to be in Seoul, South Korea to attend the show. The right place, right time worked out for Mighty Mo, who was able to defeat Raul Catinas via decision and move on to the Final 8.

Sergei Kharitonov was a late fill-in to start his K-1 career, when Chalid Arrab got injured and Kharitonov stepped in to fight Daniel Ghita at the tail end of 2009, only to be outclassed. Kharitonov didn't give up on K-1, making a return to the K-1 ring in 2010. Kharitonov scored a first round knockout over Takumi Sato at the Final 16, which secured him a spot in the Final 8 show in a reserve bout where Singh Jaideep utterly outclassed Kharitonov, knocking him out in the first round.

Kharitonov enters into his fourth professional kickboxing bout against Mighty Mo with the fight being a tossup. Mo is coming off of a loss to Peter Aerts in the Final 8, while Kharitonov is coming off of a win over Andrei Arlovski in the opening round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP. Kharitonov scored a first round knockout of Arlovski, backing Arlovski up and putting him down with a barrage of punches, proving that he has dynamite in his fists. Kharitonov is eagerly awaiting the next few bouts from the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP, where he'll find out who his next opponent is. It comes as no surprise that Kharitonov will appear on the Golden Glory card, as many of the members of the Golden Glory gym tend to fill up the bigger Ultimate Glory/Glory World series cards.

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Shootboxing: Souwer Overcomes Sato, RENA Gets Knocked Down

Masato Delivers Flowers to Andy SouwerAfter a bit of a lull for high end kickboxing Shootboxing returns with a bang this weekend in an event featuing Andy Souwer, Yoshihiro Sato and female superstar RENA. Andy Souwer had a rematch with Yoshihiro Sato, but this time under Shootboxing rules where Souwer is much more comfortable than Sato. Sato was coming off a rather dirty loss to Armen Petrosyan but was still unable to overcome an environment where he could possibly be taken down.

A side note to the main event, retired K-1 MAX superstar Masato was in attendance and presented both Sato and Souwer with flowers before the bout (pictured, right). Whenever Masato makes his presence felt in the kickboxing world in Japan it should be noted, as there are persisting rumors that there are multiple forces trying to pull him back into active competition.

Hiroaki Suzuki was able to keep his winning streak alive in Shootboxing, besting the Korean Wu Hu Kim by decision. Japanese boxer-turned-kickoxer Satoru Suzuki continued to look strong with a first round knockout over Masahiro Shimada.

One of the most noteworthy moments of the show was an exhibition bout between Shootboxing's female ace RENA and a high school student, Erika Kamimura. Kamimura was a late replacement for Sun Young Kim, who didn't want to risk any type of exposure in Japan, but put on a quite impressive performance. They were given one three minute round to work in, and in that round Kamimura actually dropped the women's S-Cup Champion with a hook! By all reports Kamimura outclassed RENA, which leaves fans and pundits alike scratching their heads.

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Leko finally stripped after six years: New WKN Super-Heavyweight Kickboxing champion crowned

By Daniel Fletcher

It took six years, but the World Kickboxing Network finally awarded the winner of a ranked heavyweight fight their world super-heavyweight (96+kg) title, and the rank of champion.

The WKN press releases were sent round, and today their website showed a new champion for the first time since 2005. It was in March of that year that they crowned two very notable fighters from K-1 and It's Showtime their world and European champions respectively; Leko beating Florian Ogunade to win the world belt, and Daniel Ghita claiming the WKN European Heavyweight Muay Thai title with a win over Mourad Bouzidi. Both fights took place on the Local Kombate 14 card in Romania.

It goes without saying that the delicious irony of the situation is that Leko is much smaller than Ghita, both in height and weight, yet his title that night was in a higher weight class to that of Ghita's... as well as the fact that since that night the fortunes of both men have gone in opposite directions.

Over the years, Leko was rumoured to make several defences of the belt, most notably in a grudge rematch with Catalin Morasanu that was cancelled, and against other suggested contenders, but each time the fight fell through. As for the Muay Thai side of WKN, Ghita has never defended his own title, though he remains champion officially. While the press releases say "Heavyweight champion", the website has replaced Leko with yesterday's heavyweight winner Susperregui in the Super-Heavyweight category. The full list of champions can be seen here: 

http://www.worldkickboxingnetwork.com/rating/

The new WKN World Super-Heavyweight kickboxing champ is Stephane Susperregui, of France. He won by second round KO over the Spaniard Damien Garcia. The card took place in Troyes, France, and featured a variety of kickboxing, full contact rules and amateur bouts.

 

New WKN champ Stephane Susperregui

 

While the absence of a defending super-heavyweight champion for several years does not appear major league per se, the WKN put on very regular events throughout Europe, and have had extremely high profile kickboxers competing on their cards.

Fletch

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