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Kunlun Fight 56 Featuring 70kg Tournament and Buakaw

On January 1st Kunlun Fight will conclude their 70kg tournament with the finals in Sanya, Hainan, China. The tournament, featuring Superbon Banchamek, Davit Kiria, Cedric Manhoef and Jomthong Chuwattana should deliver fireworks, as should Buakaw Banchamek making yet another Kunlun appearance against Tian Xian. As always, Kunlun Fight jams their cards full of names and just about every show has an impact on the world rankings.

70kg Artem Pashporin vs. Arhit

60kg Denis Puric vs. Wang Wenfeng

67kg Melsik Baghdasaryan vs. Gu Hui

75kg Perviz Abdullayev vs. Law Chosing

65kg Kim Minsu vs. Wei Ninghui

120kg Andrey Gerasimchuk vs. Felipe Micheletti

70kg Tournament Reserve: Dzianis Zuev vs. Mohamed Mezouari

70kg Andrei Kulebin vs. Wu Xuesong

70kg Tian Xin vs. Buakaw Banchamek

70kg Tournament: Superbon Banchamek vs. Cedric Manhoef

70kg Tournament: Davit Kiria vs. Jomthong Chuwattana

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Mohamed Khamal Makes His Enfusion Live Debut in March

Enfusion Live have promised a bigger and better 2017 and have already announced a slew of signings from Thailand, now their latest acquisition is a Dutch legend at 70kg in Mohamed "Mootje" Khamal. Khamal, who made his name on the Dutch circuit with solid wins over top names like Robin van Roosmalen, Harut Grigorian and Artur Kyshenko. Khamal became an international name with his blistering fights in It's Showtime with Mosab Amrani and van Roosmalen in 2011 before retiring in 2012.

That retirement didn't last long, as most retirements for fighters that young tend to be, with him returning in 2014 and remaining active ever since. His last fight was a loss to legend Andy Souwer in the Netherlands. 

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Fight Card for EM Legend End of the Year Finals

EM Legend will return for one last event in 2016 with the EM Legend End of Year event, featuring the finals of the 65kg Championship Tournament. As always, there is a wide array of kickboxing and muay thai bouts featured on the event, with many of China's best and brightest featured against fighters from all over the world.

Bashirov Bashir (RUS) vs Mr. Adichet (THA) – 70 KG

Wang AoGang (CHN) vs Huo LiHui (CHN) – 75 KG

Mardi T Zulita (PHI) vs Ji Duo Yi Bu (CHN) – 60 KG

Najib (FRA) vs Han Zihao (CHN) – 62 KG

Igor Osinin (LTU) vs Zhao ChuanLin (CHN) – 63 KG

Zuhro Kholova (TJK) vs Zeng XiaoTing (CHN) – 53 KG

Li QiYu (CHN) vs Liang YuanHao (CHN) – 66 KG

Ampo Rukiya (JPN) vs Shi YunFei (CHN) – 65 KG

Chaiwat (THA) vs Xie Wei (CHN) – 67 KG

Vitali Dubina (UKR) vs Zhao Xiaoyu (CHN) – 70 KG

65kg Championship Tournament: Senmanee (THA) vs Manas (THA) – 65 KG

65kg Championship Tournament: Rasul (RUS) vs Anvar (UZB) – 65 KG

Mohammad Boulef (FRA) vs Zhu Xu (CHN) – 60 KG

Mohammad Ghaedibardeh (IRI) vs Aleksandr Shuliak (RUS) – 78 KG

Sherzad Babazhanau (BLG) vs Carlos Ulberg (NZL) – 93 KG

Manabe Ryuta (JPN) vs Chen ChangLin (CHN) – 60 KG

Ali Qaradaghi (IRQ) vs Islam (RUS) – 75 KG

John Kevin (NZL) vs Julius Mocka (LTU) – 100+ KG

Saeki Masaya (JPN) vs Zhang ChengLong (CHN) – 64 KG

Ramil (BLR) vs Denphanom (THA) – 70 KG

Evgenii (RUS) vs Pu Dongdong (CHN) – 70 KG

Magomedov (RUS) vs Wudi (THA) – 70 KG

Ibrahim El Bouni (MAR) vs Davor Matarugic (NZL) – 90 KG 

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Krush 71 Fight Card

Krush 71 takes place on December 18th at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan. You can watch Live on AbemaTV, Nico Nico, or Gaora at 4am EST/ 1am PST/ 5pm JST.

Full Card

-53kg : Yusei Sakurai vs Naoya Otada

-67kg : Hayato Suzuki vs Ryo Tabata

-63kg : Yuki Ishikawa vs MASA

Heavy weight : Hidekazu Kimura vs K-Jee

-60kg GP : Tatsuya Inaishi vs Riku Anpo

-60kg GP : Masanobu Gosyu vs Yoshiki Harada

-60kg GP : Masahiro Yamamoto vs Go Kato/

-60kg GP : Leona Pettas vs Dynamite Yuta Takahashi

-70kg : Yoichi Yamazaki vs Daisuke Fujimura

-65kg : Yukihiro Komiya vs Masanobu

-58kg : Tatsuya Oiwa vs Kento Ito

Krush -53kg Championship Match : Ryusei vs Yoshiki Takei

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The Importance of December 10th 2016 for Kickboxing

In kickboxing we have always had a connection to this weekend. Yearly, the drama has always been around who will win the K-1 WGP, which usually went down in in Japan around this time every year. Will an all time great add on to their resume or will a deserving star finally get the white belt. This Glory Germany event just so happen to fall on the exact weekend that we would enjoy the K-1 Mega heavyweight tournament. As I explored this day in the sport further, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Hari/Rico along with a few other narratives added to making December 10th 2016 one of the most important days in the history of Kickboxing. Here is my list of six reason the day was more special than you realize. 

6. French kickboxing

When you think of great French Kickboxers, the list is actually short. You first go to Jerome Lebanner. The heavyweight K-1 Star was awesome and he delivered some of the great kickboxing KOs of all time. Cyril Abidi had some K-1 victories and the Samir Mohammed streak also come to mind. Yet Samir was in international waist high and up kickboxing, which wasn't as popular. Many would say Lebanner if asked about French kickboxing and maybe no one else. Outside of him, most don't think kickboxing, they think Muay Thai. Farid Villaume, Kamel Jamel, Dany Bill, and Chokdee star Dida Diafat are a few of the heroes that pop out at us. 

Enter Nasser Kacem. His gym Nasser-K in Lyon has produced some high level Muay Thai fighters. Fabio Pinca, Yohan Lidon, and Karim and Houcine Bennoui to name a few. However, after years of success in the art of 8 limbs, they started to get calls for kickboxing events. K-1, Shootboxing, Enfusion, Glory, the French team was in high demand. Due to bad match ups and working out the rules, there has been some bumps in the road to being successful kickboxers. Dylan Salvador lost to Makihira Keita due to repeateldy catching the low kick and firing and Karim lost to Hirotaka Urabe in Japan due to a cut as example of loses in big time kickboxing promotions that didn't allow their skill to be showcased. Yet December 10th showed that not just Nasser K, but the French may have figured the game out. Fabio Pinca won a clear decision over aggressive Moroccan/Dutch fighter Mosab Amrani, who has the style and volume to get up on kickboxing cards. Fabio was up to the task with effective offense and slick movement to limit the scores. He took a clear decision. Dylan Salvador was a late addition to the card, but he beat tournament favorite Anotoly Moiseev and Hynsi Beqiri to take his first major kickboxing promotion tournament win. It wasn't just the Nasser K team. Female fighter Amel Dehby made it to the Glory women's title match and Cedric Doumbe(more on him later) won the 77kgs Title from long time champ Nieky Holzken. It was truly a great day in kickboxing for France, who has some of the best promoters in the world and they sell out shows on a regular basis. These promoters can develop and showcase the elite stars of France for years to come. 

5. They old guard still has it. 

I knew that Giorgio Petrosyan would be headlining the Bellator/Oktagon Kickboxing card. I knew that Badr Hari was of course fighting on the Glory card. I had no idea that Buakaw was fighting. I watched him fight solid journeyman fighter Andre Kulebin on auto pilot for a kickboxing promotion in Lebanon of all places. He beat Kulebin with very little effort and when Kulebin attempted to turn up the pace, the far superior Buakaw just swept him or caught him with a counter kick, easy work for Buakaw who also has a victory over Dylan Salvador this year. Badr Hari may have injured himself, but before it he showed great poise and clean kickboxing. Giorgio Petrosyan, fighting at home, once again put on a memorable performance by stopping the very talented Jordan Watson. KO pop in both hands (when he doesn't break them), he found his right hook early and closed the show. At one period of time these men were considered the best in their weight classes on the planet and Giorgio may still be the best. All three men are in their 30s.

4. The Women Emerge

Overall it was a failed tournament. There was very few exciting moments or memorable fights. Best female fighter in the world Anissa Mekson was excluded from the tournament and Iman Barlow's Enfusion contract was in conflict with the Glory schedule so she was out too. Add a few injuries and the Glory tournament was not great. But the moment they announced Tiffany van Soest as the winner, her celebration and tears made you forget it all. The crowd was not very moved during her fight, but the moment she began to talk about accomplishing a dream, white belt larger than her torso, the crowd found applause. Adding to this night, Denise Kielholtz avenged a loss that she shouldn't have had to Gloria Peritore. It can be tough to bounce back when he cards wrongfully go the other way, but Denise beat Gloria in her back yard to win the inaugural 125 Bellator kickboxing championship in Florence Italy. Women's kickboxing was almost non existent in televised form. Yet the emergence of female success in the UFC has opened the door for kickboxing to showcase athletes that otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity. It was great seeing both of these ladies wearing titles and I am excited to see what the future holds. 

3. Cedric Doumbe 

I predicted that Cedric Doumbe would beat Yoann Kongolo in his Glory debut. I thought he had the tools and the charisma to be a future star in the sport. He came up short that night, but did not let it stop him. He won 14 of 15 fights in the last year and a half and the one loss was a robbery to Fang Bian. In that list includes a win over Murthel Groenhart, who fought with emotion and looked for the KO, while Cedric intelligently played the points game. Cedric looked to antagonize again, witty tea shirts and trash talk lead up to this bout. Nieky Holzken walked him down and looked for power punching opportunities. Doumbe again played smart, combinations to kicks and movement gave him a clear decision and made him the Glory Welterweight Champion. Holzken wasn't just champion, he was the Glory brand's most celebrated star and he has also produced the most memorable results in the past three years. Cedric beat the biggest somebody in the sport. Cedric has all the tools and he is an active champ, fighting for Glory or whoever. His natural charisma and ability to sell himself means that kickboxing once again has a young star to carry it into the future. Cedric is only 24 years old

2. The Long Card

Glory has stayed with a TV model of 4 or 5 fights on the undercard, and 5 fights on the televised US card. Yet in the history of kickboxing, co-promoting has created some mega cards. I watched Errol Zimmerman win the K-1 European GP and was blessed to see that Its Showtime attached a card that had Holzken vs Mes, Giorgio Petrosyan and much more on that day in Amsterdam. This Glory card had 14 fights and two tournaments in it. I do not think that they are ready to commit to a PPV model, but I do think they will add to their ticket sales if they are giving such a wealth of product for the price. 

1. Hari vs Rico

Lets exclude how it finished. Glory has been unlucky with several of their final fights. Injuries, bad stoppages, and even having an athlete quit in frustration with ref interference. Now that that has been acknowledged, lets move on to the great. Glory 36 put together a great card that ended with an injury victory for Rico Verhoeven over Badr Hari. Until the injury, it was what we hoped for and then some. The preflight in itself was almost worth the PPV.  Badr Hari, coming to the ring with his mob and personal Dutch rap song blaring, created a buzz and tension that literally had my heart racing. I knew I was about to watch something special. Adding to the moment, Badr gets into the ring, and whether it was mental game or fan fair, a crowd of people approached the ropes and yelled just outside the ring. Security had to calm the supporters down, while several cornermen attempted to help by directing the audience back to their seat. The announcer made several attempts to pacify the crowd before the fight started. It was of no good. The crowd was crazy until the end and even started a few fights of their own. This was all before the fight. The kickboxing action was fast and technical, making a great fight by both guys until the injury stopped it. 

I have never experienced buzz for a fight like this. It was the best kickboxer against the biggest star in the sport. Badr, who many in the US do not even know, proved that he is still a big deal in Europe and his followers will travel to support him with their voices and their fists if it comes down to it. The usually K-1 Buzz was special, but we haven't had one in years. Since Glory has had title fights instead of tournaments, the buzz was more about the consistency of the fight cards than the fights. Last year bringing major kickboxing back to Amsterdam was the big win. This year it was putting together the "I'll believe it when I see it" fight. Injury aside, it was a fantastic moment for the sport and it brought back the special feeling we are use to having in this sport, on this weekend. 

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SuperKombat Announces US Television Deal with CBS Sports Network

After the rumors had been around for a few months that SuperKombat had worked out a television deal in the United States, they finally announced the deal on December 14th, confirming that they had inked a deal with CBS Sports Network. CBS Sports Network has aired combat sports in the past, including MMA promotions like Titan MMA, Cage Fury and others, as well as formerly airing the GLORY SuperFight Series. 

The deal for 2017 is for CBS Sports Network to air six SuperKombat events and that the events will be kickboxing with some MMA sprinkled in as well. Eduard Irimia issued a statement in a press release today. “We are very excited to have CBS Sports Network air Superkombat and to have our brand exposed through a major sports network in the United States. After six years of live events broadcast in 95 countries, five continents, and commentary in 22 languages, we are proud to bring Superkombat to CBS Sports Network and provide exposure for the brand across the United States and Canada.” 

CBS Sports Network is in approximately 60 million homes in the United States and Canada.

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Early Card For KNOCK OUT vol.1 Plus 2017 Schedule

After what was an exciting inaugural event for the Japanese promotion KNOCK OUT with their vol.0 event, featuring Tenshin Nasukawa's insane spinning back kick knockout and a six-fight event that featured a staggering five knockouts, the promotion is ready to march into 2017 by announcing their next four events. They will be running three events in Ota-City General Gymnasium, which can accommodate for 4,100 spectators, while once again running Tokyo Dome City Hall (formerly JCB Hall) in the summer, which they ran their first event at and can hold about 3,100 fans. 

What they've released of the card thus far is merely a list of names, but the inclusion of Genji Umeno and Tenshin Nasukawa once again should definitely be a crowd pleaser.

KNOCK OUT 2017 event schedule

2017.2.12 "KNOCK OUT vol.1" Ota-city General Gymnasium

2017.4.1 "KNOCK OUT vol.2" Ota-city General Gymnasium

2017 6.17 "KNOCK OUT vol.3" TOKYO DOME CITY HALL

2017.8.20 "KNOCK OUT vol.4" Ota-city General Gymnasium

KNOCK OUT vol.1

Genji Umeno vs TBA

Tenshin Nasukawa vs TBA

Hikaru Machida vs TBA

Taison Maegchi vs TBA

Indo Shinya vs TBA

 

 

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Enfusion Aims for 2017 Expansion With Buakaw, Yodsanklai and More

Today at their latest live event, Enfusion Live announced massive plans for 2017. After running a number of successful shows in 2016, they will be expanding to 20 shows in 2017, including three leagues at 67kg, 72.5kg and 85kg. On top of that, they announced a set of new signings for the promotion that are sure to entice fans, the biggest of which is former K-1 World MAX Champion Buakaw Banchamek. Buakaw has mainly been fighting in China, including a series of fights with Chinese legend Yi Long that has set the world on fire. 

Buakaw has been a draw anywhere he's gone since the dissolving of FEG's K-1, making worldwide headlines for his many (and I do mean many) problems with management, business partners, promotions and more, including a scandal with K-1 in Pattaya where Banchamek and his team claimed K-1 was fixing fights, changing the rules late and a plethora of other claims. This came hot-off-the-heels of his departures from Thai Fight and MAX Muay Thai before moving on temporarily to Topking, then to Kunlun Fight and WLF in China where he's currently been competing. 

They've also added Thai legend Yodsanklai Fairtex who has carved out a name for himself all over the world, although things have been quiet for Yod over the past year thanks to a nagging injury. On top of that they've snagged Superbon and Jomhod. If Enfusion somehow isn't planning on running a show or two in Thailand they'd be nuts.

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Card for Enfusion Live #44 Featuring the Return of Andrew Tate

Enfusion returns on Saturday, December 3rd with Enfusion #44, featuring the return of "The Cobra" Andrew Tate challenging for the Enfusion -90kg world title against Ibrahim El Boustati. Tate is perhaps one of the most colorful fighters in the UK scene who has been calling out Joe Schilling for the better part of a year. If he wanted to get Schilling's attention, this would a good way to get that ball rolling a bit further. Tate is returning from some down time after pursuing some business ventures and coping with the loss of his father. 

Kickboxing Talents #26, The Hague, The Netherlands, Saturday

03.12.2016

18.30 local start time (17.30 GMT)

1. 3X3 Tournament  -67Kg

Lofogo Sarour (South Sudan)  Vs Tarik Lyachat (Morocco) 

2. 3X3 Tournament  -67Kg

Samir Lopes (Cape Verde)  Vs Tony Jas (The Netherlands) 

3. 3X3 Tournament  -67Kg  

Wail Karroumi (Morocco)  Vs Juan Javier Barragan (Spain) 

4.   3X3 Tournament  -67Kg

Walid Hamid (Morocco)  Vs Richaymond Lopez (The Netherlands) 

5.   3X3 -63Kg    

Reda Narain (Surinam)  Vs   Mohammed Dadda (Morocco)

6.  3X3 Heavyweight

Ashraf Houssini (Morocco) Vs Balhor Nasim (Belgium)

7.  3X3 -70KG

Jassem Al Djilawi (Egypt)  Vs Romano Bakboord (The Netherlands) 

The winners from the tournament will face one another in 2017. The winner will secure their spot in the -67kg Enfusion League.

Enfusion Live #44, The Hague, The Netherlands, Saturday 3.12.2016

21.00 local start time  (20.00 GMT) 

1. 3X3    -54Kg FEMALE

Fadma Basrir (France)  Vs Sanne Strabbing (The Netherlands)

2. 3X3  -72.5Kg

Patrick van Rees (The Netherlands)  Vs Reda Zaidi (Morocco)

3. 3X3   -70Kg 

Bilal Kasrioui (Morocco)  Vs William Diender (The Netherlands)

4.  3X3   -72.5Kg

Yassin Baitar (Morocco) Vs Redouan Laarkoubi (Morocco)

5.  3X3    -72.5Kg    

Aziz Kallah (Morocco)  Vs   Marcel Verhaar (The Netherlands)

6.  3X3      Heavyweight

Hicham Achalhi (Morocco) Vs Vladimir Tok (Germany)

7.  5X3            ENFUSION WORLD TITLE               -90Kg

Andrew Tate (USA)  Vs Ibrahim El Boustati (Morocco)

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Remembering Former GLORY Champion Marc de Bonte

There's no easy way to talk about the sudden and untimely passing of someone young who had a bright future ahead of them, especially when the individual had already shown flashes of brilliance in a short life. The sport of kickboxing is one of the most thrilling in the world, with action that keeps fans on the edge of their seats and enough intrigue, flash and politics in play to enrapt even the least sport-minded of fans. 

Without a doubt, Marc de Bonte was a special fighter and person who left an indelible mark in his short time in the limelight. Fighting inside of a division that has been ruled over by Nieky Holzken for as long as there have been championships in major organizations, de Bonte rose up to prominence within the GLORY ranks and after a few cancellations, the trigger was pulled for Marc to fight for the title at GLORY 16. The fight was supposed to be against Holzken, but injury had plagued him throughout the year, meaning the clash wouldn't happen just yet. This set the stage for de Bonte to fight Karapet Karapetyan at GLORY 16 Denver where he won the world championship. He was just 24-years-old at the time.

As a writer (sometimes even a journalist) a part of my job is to remain impartial, which includes not publicly claiming favorites and avoiding discouraging fighters I'm not quite fond of. That night I was there live for what was Marc de Bonte's crowning achievement of his professional career, I got to see him emotional over winning the world title, to see the look in his eyes, the relief and the determination and it felt special. While I only briefly spoke with him that night, congratulating him and seeing how proud he was has taken on new meaning in the light of his passing. It was difficult not to feel his passion and get swept up in it, to feel like we had all witnessed something important from someone special.

He was only a few years into his professional career and was so ready to take on Nieky Holzken, a man that was almost ten years his elder and who had fought the best in the world in multiple weight classes before paving the way for a welterweight division, but he wasn't afraid, he was ready to prove himself. Even though he knew that people were expecting Holzken to take his title, he was still there and he was still proud of his accomplishments. 

What struck me about Marc was that he was soft-spoken and respectful, even in the face of the biggest victory of his entire career. Even when he spoke about Nieky Holzken -- and I can remember the thick accent that he pronounced the name "Holzken" in like it was yesterday -- it was almost in reverence. That fight never materialized, as de Bonte lost the title just over a month later to Joseph Valtellini and shifted his focus towards professional boxing. Much like the rest of us, he faced his share of setbacks in his career.

The few times that I spoke with him afterwards he was always exactly as I had remembered him; kind, respectful and down-to-Earth. Perhaps that is what makes his passing all-the-more difficult to comprehend and process. Marc de Bonte wasn't a guy with a long rap sheet, a guy snatching headlines for assaulting anyone or smuggling drugs. There weren't hushed rumors about what sort of people he ran with or how he played gangster when the lights were off him. He had a girlfriend that he'd post photos with on Instagram regularly, his family thinks the world of him and he didn't even drink. This wasn't one of those "bad seeds" that we regularly have to talk about.

Instead he had returned to kickboxing and was chasing his second world title. The sport had genuinely missed him and his return was something that caught everyone's attention. In fact, he was scheduled to fight in just a matter of weeks from now in China, where he was involved in a tournament for a world title. So when he was reported missing on November 4th there was a lot of speculation, but the reality was that Marc was on the upswing again and everyone was pulling for him. He'd turn up eventually, right? 

The weeks dragged on without word, his family and friends became increasingly desperate and finally, on November 24th, a body was found near his car, twenty days after his disappearance, with police confirming his identity days later. There will be speculation, investigations, allegations and everything in between in the coming weeks, months and years about what happened to Marc. Hopefully his family and close friends will get the closure that they need while the rest of us remember Marc for the brief, fleeting impact that he had on the sport and just how brightly his light burned for someone as young as he was. 

Marc was a glowing reminder that these larger-than-life characters in the sports world are just as vulnerable and fallible as the rest of us are. They feel the same range of emotions that we do, face the same daily struggles and have to fight for inspiration not only in their careers, but themselves as well. Marc came back to kickboxing and was going to leave his mark on the sport, his friends and family have spoken about how excited he was to fight again, to entertain us and to prove himself to the world. 

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