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WLF's Glory of Heroes Card and Streams for April 2nd

On April 2nd in China WLF kicks off their Glory of Heroes events with a pretty big card featuring some familiar names. While the undercard is mostly local showcases, the main card features Israel Adesanya against Alex Pereira, which is a huge fight, Yi Long against Enriko Kehl and Xu Yan against Josh Jauncey in the main event. 

Kiksie has a breakdown of all of the stream options available for this card (and there are a LOT), so check those out.

(Stream – Starting around 18.10 Local Time)

Kickboxing – 70KG

Zhang Dezheng (China) vs. Andrei Ostrovanu (Romania)

Kickboxing – 56KG

Gong Yanli (China) vs. Christi Brereton (United Kingdom)

Kickboxing – 70KG

Zhao Chunyang (China) vs. Harley Love (New Zealand)

Kickboxing – 85KG

Guo Qiang (China) vs. Yurii Zubchuk (Ukraine)

Kickboxing – 70KG

Hu Yafei (China) vs. Daniel Solaja (Germany)

MMA – 63KG

Ji Xian (China) vs. Ilia Kurzanov (Russia)

Kickboxing – 70KG

Jixiang Adai (China) vs. Imamura Takuya (Japan)

(Henan TV Broadcast – Starting around 21.15 Local Time)

Kickboxing – 60KG

Kong Long (China) vs. Nogami Yusuke (Japan)

Kickboxing – 68KG

Tie Yinghua (China) vs. Fabio Pinca (France)

Kickboxing – 85KG

Israel Adesanya (New Zealand) vs. Alex Pereira (Brazil)

Kickboxing – 63KG

Wei Rui (China) vs. Nakamura Yukiya (Japan)

Kickboxing – 71KG

Yi Long (China) vs. Enriko Kehl (Germany)

Kickboxing – 63KG

Deng Zeqi (China) vs. Joan Manuel Lique Cañaveral (Colombia)

Kickboxing – 67KG

Qiu Jianliang (China) vs. Jomthong Chuwattana (Thailand)

Kickboxing – 70KG

Xu Yan (China) vs. Josh Jauncey (Canada)

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Jordan Watson Out, Ravy Brunow in Against Giorgio Petrosyan on April 16th

At the big Oktagon/Bellator super show on April 16th Giorgio Petrosyan is set to put his skills on display for the world. His opponent has changed already, leaving us with UK muay thai specialist Jordan Watson, but after his last bout contested for Yokkao it looks like Watson won't be prepared for Petrosyan. This left promoters in a lurch heading into the Venum Victory World Series portion of the card, with Giorgio Petrosyan's fight as the centerpiece of the entire event for many. 

Organizer Carlo di Blasi began searching for a formidable opponent and went to GLORY matchmaker Cor Hemmers for advice, Hemmers proposing Brazilian standout Ravy Brunow. Ravy Brunow has been making waves in Brazil for a while now under the WGP banner, recently competing at WGP 28 in December, where he defended the 71.8kg title. He should make for an interesting opponent for Petrosyan.

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Kunlun Fight 39 Results and Kunlun Acquires Series B Financing, Making Them a Chinese Powerhouse

This past weekend Kunun Fight returned with their 39th numbered event in which we saw two more 70kg tournaments to decide who moves on to the next stage. Those two men are Artem Pashporin and Zhao Shuai, both men picking up decisions on their way to the top. Aso on the event we saw Buakaw defeat Kong Lingfeng via decision and Gu Gui defeat Abert Kraus.

To top things off, Kunlun Fight also secured its B round of financing today, securing 200 million RMB from Morningside Ventures. This places their valuation at over 350 million USD, which makes them the most valuable startup in combat sports in all of China. According to their investors sports in America make up for 3% of the GDP while in China it is currently only sitting at .3% of their GDP, meaning that there is a lot of room for expansion in the Chinese marketplace, which is only exasperated by the interest that promotions like Kunlun Fight have gained in just the last two years. 

Kunlun Fight 39

Buakaw Banchamek (R3 - Decision) Kong Lingfeng

Gu Gui (R3 - Decision) Albert Kraus

Zhang Meng (R3 - Decision) Ulrich Emmanuel

70kg Tournament Group C Semi: Artem Pashporin (R3 - Decision) Victor Nagbe

70kg Tournament Group C Semi: Li Zhuangzhuag (R3 - Decision) Bruno Miranda

70kg Tournament Group C Final: Artem Pashporin (R3 - Decision) Li Zhuangzhuag

70kg Tournament Group D Semi: Vladimir Konsky (R3 - Decision) Hakim Att Hma

70kg Tournament Group D Semi: Zhao Shuai (R3 - Decision) Seyedisa Alamdrnezam

70kg Tournament Group D Final: Zhao Shuai (R3 - Decision) Vladimir Konsky

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WLF - Glory of Heroes Fight Card

On April 2nd, WLF will be hosting their Glory of Heroes event in Shenzhen, China. WLF is the biggest fighting promotion in China at the moment and they don`t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

For this card they had an interesting concept. They have 4 fighters (2 Chinese and 2 Foreigners) at the 63kgs, 67kgs, and 70kgs weight class and they allowed the fans to vote on the match ups. Pretty cool idea and it has made for some great match ups with the amazing talent they have.

Fight Card

Super Fight - Israel Adesanya vs Alex Pereira

70kgs - Enriko Kehl vs Yi Long

70kgs - Josh Jauncey vs Xu Yan

67kgs - Fabio Pinca vs Yinghua Tie

67kgs - Jomthong vs Qiujian Liang

63kgs - Yukiya Nakamura vs Wei Rui

63kgs - Emmanuel Lique Cañaveral vs Deng Zeqi

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Card for Kunlun Fight 39, Featuring Buakaw

Kunlun Fight returns yet again this weekend with one of the kickboxing world's most familiar faces in Buakaw Banchamek at Kunlun Fight 39. This card, like most Kunlun cards, promises a lot of quality kickboxing and some spectacle thrown in as well for good measure. Their Clash of Titans tournament continues with some solid bouts across two blocks, with Artem Pashporin against Victor Nagbe in the C-block looking like one of the bigger fights of the evening. 

Albert Kraus is in action against Liu Mingzhi in a bout where the young Mingzhi will have a chance against a true legend of the sport, but Kraus has shown himself to be durable, even if he's been active for quite some time now and is showing some signs of aging. The big bout, of course, is Buakaw Banchamek against Kong Linfeng. This bout will, most likely, see Banchamek walk away victorious, but as we've seen prior, Kunlun isn't exactly pulling punches when it comes to Buakaw and simply handing him fights that he can breeze through anymore.

Kunlun Fight 39 will air on Jiangsu TV as usual.

95 kg: Yang Yu (16-4) vs. Nikolay Gusniev (17-2-1)

67 kg: Kim Minsoo (23-2) vs. Deng Li (23-8)

64 kg: Wei Ninghui (28-10) vs. Giorgi Khupenia (39-3)

72 kg: Albert Kraus (78-19-3) vs. Liu Mingzhi (14-4)

70 kg: Buakaw Banchamek (264-42-12) vs. Kong Lingfeng (13-3)

Clash of Titans Group D Semifinal: Mustafa Lakhsem vs. Seyedisa Alamdrnezam (31-9)

Clash of Titans Group D Semifinal: Zhao Shuai (13-3) vs Takuma Konishi

Clash of Titans Group C Semifinal: Bruno Miranda (28-6) vs Li Zhuangzhuang (13-3)

Clash of Titans Group C Semifinal: Artem Pashporin (18-6) vs Victor Nagbe (28-7-2)

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A Look at the SuperKombat Puerto Rico Event on March 26th

On March 26th SuperKombat will kick off their 2016 season with their first event, this one happening in the United States territory of Puerto Rico. The event is themed as the "USA vs. Rest of the World" (sic) and will feature some of SuperKombat's heavy hitters on the show. While there has been no official fight card released yet, there is one floating around right now and is most likely pretty accurate.

SuperKombat - USA VS Rest Of The World | Main Card

Main Event - SK Light Heavyweight Championship Bout

César Almeida VS Moisés Baute

 

Co-Main Event - SK Heavyweight Championship Elimination Bout

Daniel Sam VS Cătălin Moroșanu 

 

SK WGP 2016 HW Final Elimination Bouts

James Wilson VS Enver Šljivar

D'Angelo Marshall VS Jack May

Adenilson Clementino VS Kirk Krouba

Anthony McDonald VS Justin Milo

 

César CausinVSAdrián Torres

 

SUPERKOMBAT New Heroes Card (FightBox HD)

SK New Heroes Women's Lightweight Championship Bout

Angela Whitley VS Cristiana Stancu

 

Alex Berrios Jr. VS Alex Filip

 

SK New Heroes Lightweight Championship Bout

Turan Hasanov VS Cristian Spetcu

 

Carlos Vargas VS Bryan Daye

Dumitru Țopai VS Mark MacKinnon

Damian Johansen VS Adrian Frias

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An argument for why now is the best time ever to be a kickboxing fan

As usual, I began my weekly prep of the Warman Kickfighting podcast show by writing out my notes. I watched the Thai stadium muay thai fights for critical breakdown. Then I rewatched fights from the Glory 28 participants before this weekends event. As I watched them, I realize that I had just done this for a Glory card two weeks ago. Then it hit me that there seems to be multiple major cards every week. From Enfusion having their most successful card, to Lion Fight having another stoppage filled event, every weekend has been full of fights. In the next two months we have Yokkao, Bellator's kickboxing league, Holland's World Fighting League, and another Glory card. I have been a kickboxing fan for a long time. I cannot remember a better time to be a kickboxing fan, and yet we may be held back from enjoying it by our oldest fan base.

BLESSED AND CURSED BY OUR HISTORY

In the 90s, when K-1 emerged muay thai and kickboxing didn't just have several events. They dominated the martial arts sporting combat culture. UFC at that time was considered street fighting. The term mixed martial artist was not in use. A skilled martial artist tested themselves in kickboxing or muay thai. They had the K-1 World Grand Prix, which put the value of state and country driven world titles and put the athletes to the test in a tournament field of the best. Names like Aerts, Hoost, Bernardo, Hug, and Lebanner emerge as consistent victors and major international stars. But just as important as the star, the major K-1 tournament produced a holy place. Everyone wanted to one day fight in Japan, where there was borderline idol worship of elite combatants. 

Along with this came the advancement of technology. Computers went from novelty to mandatory in homes across the world. With this brought the emergence of fight forums, where people from all around the world would weigh in on the events of their region, stars to look out for, and of course, long breakdowns of the major K-1 fight cards. European based Super League got some attention, but clearly, the leagues of note were K-1’s Heavyweight and 70kg Max divisions. 

Flash Forward to 2011. K-1, due to multiple reasons, ran into financial trouble. They began to do less and less shows and eventually had to cancel their World Cup. They had no K-1 WGP that year. Interests down, the emergence of mixed martial arts and the UFC as the new leader in the culture of combat sports, and many proclaimed the end of kickboxing. 

THE TURN

Then, the Glory group attempted to buy K-1. They decided against it after seeing the mess of contracts and debt they would be absorbing. But, rich people play the game of business best, and they were able to purchase Simon Rutz's It’s Showtime management team. Rutz had almost every major European K-1 star under his roster and they were pulled from K-1 and began fighting in Glory on a regular basis. 

K-1 was also hit with a fantastic turn for the best. The K-1 Global Holdings Ltd. attempted to recreate the old flame of K-1s greatness. A failed attempt of an event in USA and a K-1 World Grand Prix that did not have the best fighters in the world ruined the brand more than helped it. The group that took over at the end of the K-1 Global run decided to focus on smaller weights and remain in the Asian Market of which they had great history. 

In the last two years both companies have overcome rocky starts and have begun to have consistent success. Glory had the early mistake. A failed PPV event and the longest fight card ever on NYE did not push the brand. However, they signed major US television deals with Spike and now ESPN, something K-1 never accomplished. Just as important as being seen is creating stars. Nieky Holzken and Rico Verhoeven are Glory brand created stars. Sure a young Holzken fought in K-1 and lost to superstar Buakaw. That drained down version wasn't his best showing, though. Holzken, now fighting at 77kgs, is considered the must see guy in the sport. His combinations, body shots, knockout power, and fight flow are amazing. Verhoeven went from journeyman heavyweight with no punching pop, to the unchallenged best in the world and the KO power to match his awesome technique. 

Improved K-1 too had some failure. A K-1 Max GP that ended in scandal as one of the fighters(Two time champ Buakaw) said that he was warned of foul play in the judges and refused to fight the extra round of a K-1 MAX FINAL MATCH. Since then they have focused on weight classes that have elite Japanese athletes. K-1 had their most success with Masato, a young, exciting fighter who the girls loved and had the skill to beat the elite. As many of Japan's elite combat sport athletes are shorter, focusing on weight classes like 65kgs, 60kgs, and now 55kgs has produced several athletes from Japan that create Japanese television interests. Masaaki Noiri, brothers Koya and Hirotaka Urabe, Japanese adopted Kimura "Phillip" Minoru and 55kg stud Takeru are their homegrown stars. K-1 puts on five solid shows a year and though they don't have the production value of events past, the crowd and ring action are excellent every card. 

With the success of these two super powers, we have solid paychecks from China. Kunlun is hard to follow because it has a lot of fights, but not a lot of narrative. However they have put together some fantastic 4 man tournaments and super fights on their cards. Kunlun is also not exclusive, meaning that K-1 and Glory athletes are able to pick up a fight here and there and grab good paydays, as long as it doesn't conflict with their major promotions events. 

As for women, this is also the best time to be in the sport. When I first fell in love with kickboxing and Muay Thai it was a three woman list at most. Names like Rijker, De Randamie, Kitchen, Rivera-Parr, and Elmont were amazing competitors, but got very little recognition. Thanks to Enfusion, Kunlun and now Bellator's kickboxing league. There aren't just good paydays out there. There are great exposure opportunities as well. Iman Barlow was the first woman pushed by Enfusion and after a reality show victory, they began pushing Anissa Meksen as well. Denise Keilholtz is an Enfusion champion who will now be fighting for Bellator's kickboxing company as well. Lion Fight was birthed on champions like American Tiffany van Soest. We are truly in a different age. Despite this, older fans are still missing the above improvements and continuing to think kickboxing remains in a down period.

CHANGING MINDS

The struggle with noticing the improvement is the old guard of kickboxing fans that misunderstood success in the kickboxing prime of 1994-2003. They judge today's athletes with old expectations. They recognize kickboxing as K-1, the way people recognize MMA as UFC. With no heavyweights winning tournaments in Japan once a year, they assume the sport is down.

They also struggled to grasp the movement of technology. I think a major reason why older fans feel the sport is dead is because it lived on fight forums. As "Lord Gaul" I was a 1000+ post man on several sites. We would talk about every punch in every fight for months before and after. With that being absent, people see the sport as dead. 

What those fans have missed in these two examples is that K-1 was only good for the heavyweights and Max weight guys. Dimitri Shukuta and Joeri Mes were the elite 77kg fighters of their era. But they had no home. The moment Super League went away they were forced to look for single fights. Mes at the end of his career was able to lean down and take a few K-1 fights. But for the majority of those in-between the weight classes, this was a loss. Guys like Kamel Jamel, Anuwat, Liam Harrison were too small, and guys like Clifton Brown and Nathan Corbett were stuck in the middle. Imagine if they had a middleweight K-1 belt to battle for. Tyrone Spong moving up the weight classes would have gotten even more attention if he won the K-1 belt at every single weight on his way up to heavyweight. We are in a special time when the most prominent company has a home for the majority of the world's weight classes.

The technology evolved for the best. YouTube was pretty new when I got into kickboxing and it was actually looked down upon in kickboxing communities. People wanted links to download for their hard drives. Sendspace and Megaupload where the acceptable modes of sharing and those that didn't share were called "leechers." We are 10plus years past that now. YouTube is the heavyweight champ in the video world. Not only can you find most videos there, but the major promotions upload content for you to watch, as advertising money can be made with viewership. So of course the number of visitors to the fight forums would go down once access to the videos got easier. Twitter is another addition. We use to post and then press reload to see other peoples post. It is far easier posting on the ever scrolling wall of twitter. You can now watch a stream of the event on your computer and tweet on your phone...or vice versa. 

Now I am not saying this changes cover everything we had in the prime years. I personally dreamed of the Japanese crowd when I pursued a kickboxing career. The K-1 tournament was indeed a special event exclusive to kickboxing, with its awesome white belt and massive trophy prize. Also all the cultural challenged aren't gone. Now stand up fighters see kickboxing and Muay Thai as something they do in preparation for MMA careers. However I can't help but be excited for the next generation of kickboxers. Enfusion and Glory do ten plus shows a year. K-1 and Yokkao do five plus, and Kunlun does fifteen plus. There are more opportunities to fight in front of large audiences, have access to more television and online stream exposure, make better paydays, and they can pursue kickboxing combat sports careers with more opportunities to compete than ever before. 

 

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Badr Hari Attack Victim Koen Everink Murdered in his Home

When analyzing some of the most important names in kickboxing from the past twenty years there will be a lot of champions on that list, a lot of influential trainers and even some of the millionaires that have kept kickboxing afloat during tough times, but one of the most important names has also been a non-combatant of any kind in the Netherland's Koen Everink. Everink, a Dutch businessman who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time while Badr Hari was at a dance party and was feeling rowdy in 2012, had his life forever changed on that fateful night when Hari attacked him and left him forever damaged. 

The importance of Everink is that this effectively put an end to Badr Hari's career as a top kickboxer. Multiple stints in prison, retirements and returns, fighting for warlord buddies and rich playboys looking to hang out with a legitimate tough guy, has been the name of the game for Hari since then. He was recently sentenced to finish out his term in prison and has been talking about fighting one more fight, but had that decision overturned in the Supreme Court. The once-promising career for Badr Hari took a turn for taking whatever fights he could scrounge up for his large asking price, with the results being mixed, at best. 

When someone is as talented as Badr Hari is, being taken from his sport at a young age is always a shame, even if its his own damned fault. Hari had moved on and it seemed that Everink would be able to move on as well, so it seemed like everything was done, but apparently Everink still lived in the shadow of that case. Not going out into public often, or when he did flanked by private security, was the life that he was left with due to numerous threats on his life due to the Hari incident. 

Apparently, either related or not, that is all over now as Koen Everink was found dead in his living room by his seven year old daughter this morning. Police believe that someone had broken into his home during the night, Everink had confronted them and was murdered. It's still unknown who was responsible for the murder, if it was simply coincidence or not. Regardless, Koen Everink did have a huge impact on the sport of kickboxing, like it or not. 

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K-1 Japan -65kg Japan Tournament This Week

After a pretty uneventful January and February we're ready to kick things into high gear with a few huge fight cards coming up. The first of which is on March 4th in Japan and it's K-1 Japan's -65kg Japan tournament. The winner moves on to the world stage of their -65kg tournament later this year and my god is this card amazing. The tournament features Masaaki Noiri vs. Minoru Kimura, Terasaki Naoki against HIROYA, Soda Yasuomi against Teruaki Yamazaki and Yuta Kubo against Noman.

The Superfights are absolutely nothing to turn your nose up at, either, as Makoto Uehara takes on Nori in a heavyweight bout, Hirotaka Urabe fights Johanne Wolf and perhaps one of the best fights on paper this year thus far is Kaew Weerasakreck (formerly Fairtex) against Massaro Glunder.

Yep.

65kg Japan Tournament - Quarter Finals

Noiri Masaaki VS Kimura Minoru

Terasaki Naoki VS Hiroya

Soda Yasuomi VS Yamazaki Teruaki

Kubo Yuta VS Noman

Superfights

Kaew Weerasakreck VS Massaro Glunder

Urabe Hirotaka VS Johannes Wolf

Makoto Uehara VS Nori

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Saenchai's Influence Even Bleeds Over into WWE

The influence of Saenchai is almost impossible to ignore at this point. Like we talked about before, he called out UFC megastar Conor McGregor in a fight that has real fight fans salivating at just the thought, and now? Well, the famous Saenchai one-handed cartwheel kick has made its way to professional wrestling. We've seen American muay thai fighters do the move before, but it definitely was within their lexicon. What fighter wouldn't look at Saenchai as a potential hero? 

But in pro wrestling? That's kinda weird, right? The other night WWE's own Shane McMahon tweeted out some training footage from the Wat in New York with Phil Nurse. What exactly did he tweet? Himself doing the "Saenchai Kick."

Shane McMahon is no stranger to to the world of professional fighting and was even attempting to buy into the UFC at one point. Hell, he tried to convince his father to have the WWE build its own MMA promotion, which never came to fruition because Vince didn't see the point in building stars that he couldn't control the destiny for. Shane McMahon is scheduled to appear at this year's Wrestlemania squaring against WWE legend the Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match and, uh, Shane will probably do this kick as well as fall from a really, really high place.

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