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Why Giorgio Petrosyan on Free Television is Must-See

Petrosyan

There is a term that fans in the combat sports community tend to throw around a lot, to the point where the meaning has become dubious at best. That term is GOAT. If you are somehow blissfully unaware, GOAT stands for “Greatest of All Time.” In a lot of cases, it is difficult to use such a term as, well, let’s be honest here, most of these fighters haven’t been competing for long enough to really get a beat on where they’ll stand in the Pantheon of Combat Sports. This preface is to explain how the term shouldn’t be taken lightly just so I can really explain to you how important it is to be able to use this label for Giorgio Petrosyan without any sense of irony.

Giorgio Petrosyan is other-wordly. There is just no doubt about it, when you are watching Giorgio Petrosyan you are watching the most skilled Kickboxer that we’ve ever seen in the sport’s rich history. Petrosyan earned the nickname “The Doctor” for his surgical-like precision with his hands and feet, with his ability to take little-to-no damage against some of the best strikers in the world while slipping strikes and landing them from every angle imaginable. In fact, the only knock on Petrosyan seems to be his proclivity to break his left hand, which has led to Knockouts becoming more and more scarce for him.

The fact that on Saturday evening American audiences will be treated with seeing Giorgio Petrosyan fighting (possibly twice) on free television seems to be lost on many with the leadup into GLORY 12 New York. Sure, there are a lot of great names on the card and a lot of great fighters featured, but none have accomplished the things that Giorgio Petrosyan has. Giorgio Petrosyan holds two K-1 World MAX Championships as well as last year’s GLORY 70kg Slam Championship with many believing that this year will be yet another 70kg tournament victory for him.

I’m under no illusion of Giorgio Petrosyan becoming a huge draw in the United States or that American fans are going to tune in by the millions this weekend to watch the best pound-for-pound fighter -- potentially in all combat sports -- compete and make the best in the world look like frustrated amateurs, but the hope is that maybe, just maybe a few new fans will see the technical master that is Giorgio Petrosyan and fall in love with the sport in a whole new way.

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Peter Aerts Only Retiring in Japan... For Now

Peter Aerts

When it comes to Peter Aerts I fear that I'll always be biased, as he was the guy who really got me into Kickboxing. It was one of those memories that I'll never shake free of and never plan on forgetting, the 1994 K-1 World Grand Prix. So this talk of retirement is a bit harrowing, even if he is 43 years old and it might be time to hang 'em up for his own safety.

Put Peter Aerts in a fight and I'll always believe that he has a fighting chance of walking away victorious in that fight. Why? Because he is Peter Aerts. That's why.

The news from Japan today was that Peter Aerts was going to be retiring at GLORY 13, but you know, it is a translation and can be rough. We received confirmation from a GLORY official today that this will be Peter's retirement in Japan, much like his It's Showtime bout against Tyrone Spong was his BeNeLux retirement. This means that this isn't the final curtain call for the Dutch Lumberjack, but still be prepared for that.

Some of our sources are sticking to their guns that this will be Peter's full retirement, but for now, who knows? GLORY's Japanese PR people are also selling this event as a "Farewell to an Era" with Peter Aerts, Remy Bonjasky and Semmy Schilt. Their retirements could be a very real part of this show.

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Kickboxing is a Rematch Sport

Saki vs. Ghita

Rumors of Glory heading to Chicago has emerged, their third event in the US this year, and they are focusing on a four man heavyweight tournament. No sooner than the names emerged that I start seeing a small sect of grumbling on my twitter news feed and in fight forums. The issues is over Daniel Ghita and Gohkan Saki, the two favorites in the field, meaning there will be a high possibility that they will meet for the second time this year. As Saki was successful in a one sided stoppage earlier this year in Turkey, people would rather not see the fight again. To that I say "Nonsense!" Kickboxing is a rematch sport.

This thinking is birthed from a new found collection of kickboxing fans who are use to the new age boxing and UFC model. It is extremely unusual to see high level boxers or UFC fighters rematch one another in the same year due to fighter activity and audience demand. As both are under the single fight system, the amount of fights one can have in a single year is low. A UFC contract offers 3 fights in a 365 day year, and with a roster of 300 plus athletes, they must mix and match to the best of their abilities, pushing careers forward, no time to allow for verbal inspired rivalries to warrant a rematch on their limited card space. And with one recognized title in each weight class, the chance that one could fight for the title multiple times is almost impossible.

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The Fight World is Turning on Thai Fight Extreme

Thai Fight

Thai Fight aesthetically has it all, the lights, the promo screen, the manufactured sense of honor and history, the audience, the feel of watching a major production for a fight event. Despite every quality that it brings before the bell ring, there is a major problem once the bell does. The matches are one sided and uneventful. Fight fans have known this for a while, but it seems that now, the shift of the fighting public is moving towards not watching the product at all.

It started so well. August 29, 2010 the Isuzu Thai Fight Extreme had a 16-man tournament. It had solid international competition. The likes of Spain's Rafi Zouheir, England's Liam Harrison, Thailand's Petchmonkong Petchfocus, runner up Youssef Boughanem, and eventual champion Frenchmen Fabio Pinca. The tournament was like nothing we were use to from Thai shows. Pyro, rock music during entrances, large screens, and sporting event fan material like big hands, clappers, and streamers. It was as if K-1 Max was being reborn in Thailand. Adding to that was the fight product, which produced awesome KOs, smooth technique, and competitive match ups. Nasser Kacem product and champion Fabio Pinca was made an international star after that victory. Sure he had wins over Thai fighters Sigmanee, Sudsukorn, and Bovy before the Thai Fight championship, but all eyes were on the tournament and thus all eyes were on him. His peformance against Youssef in the final was brilliant, producing one of the most proficient body attacks in the first round and then dropping Boughanem with a hook in the second. A star was made.

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The Unappreciated Career of Semmy Schilt

Sem Schilt

As the news of Semmy's career coming to an end due to a heart issue hits me, I immediately looked to his accomplishments and his place in kickboxing history. I quickly came to the overwhelming conclusion that he is unchallenged, the most unappreciated fighter in the history of kickboxing.

I know there is going to be a heavy dose of write ups were people call him the greatest, or one of the greatest heavyweight kickboxers of all time. Most will quote the easy, he was a four time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, matching the Legend Ernesto Hoost, the only other man to do it. Many will also credit him with a fifth major kickboxing tournament title, as he won the Glory Series Heavyweight tournament on NYE. Though I would be remised if I did not point out that some place an asterisk on the tournament, due to the first two rounds of the tournament not being full fights. Those like myself who value who you beat over what you've won will give a more in-depth line of logic in remembering Semmy's career. 3-0 verses Remy Bonjasky, the other great of the era. 1-0-1 verses Hoost, 4-0 over Jerome Lebanner, 1-1 with Badr Hari, 2-0 against Daniel Ghita, and an admirable 2-3 versus Peter Aerts. Yet these are just wins, they are not legacy.

 

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The Rumored Structure For This Year's GLORY Grand Slam Tournament

Glory

We've been keeping our ears to the ground over the past few months in regards to everything GLORY, from possible television deals to upcoming shows to the format for their big Heavyweight tournament for this year. Last year's GLORY Grand Slam tournament was interesting, to say the least, using a one-night, sixteen man format with shorter rounds. It led to some quick action, but some of the more methodical, technical fighters like Remy Bonjasky were really hurt by such a ruleset and four fights in one night is just a lot of fights.

While some within the GLORY organization were steadfast in saying that they would repeat the format again this year, we've heard some conflicting reports on the format of the tournament. As GLORY gets closer to a larger American television deal (no insult to CBS Sports, but tape delay at 1am is simply not good enough for shows like this) they have to be concerned with time constraints and putting on a tighter, more unified production. GLORY already do a fantastic job with their pacing on their events, with the fights following each other in quick succession in a way that doesn't feel rushed, but natural. We can at least expect the quirks of last year's Grand Slam to not return.

So according to our source, who wishes to remain unnamed, this year's tournament will be shrunk down from sixteen men to just four to be able to properly fit on a two to three hour American television slot while putting on entertaining fights and being able to properly present the fighters to the audience. The first three participants will be based upon the GLORY World Rankings, although it should be noted that word is that Semmy Schilt will not participate. That means that Gokhan Saki, Daniel Ghita and Tyrone Spong are guaranteed spots in the tournament, with the fourth spot being a "Wildcard." That "Wildcard" spot will be determined by another tournament that will take place before the event, a Qualifying tournament. It is not clear who will participate in this tournament, but the next four in the rankings are Peter Aerts, Remy Bonjasky, Jerome Le Banner and Errol Zimmerman (although I believe that Rico Verhoeven is actually in that spot now after his win over Errol).

So, what do you think? Would you be upset to see the Final 8 format disappear, or is it time for something new?

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Building GLORY's Light Heavyweight Division: Ondrej Hutnik

Hutnik

Glory 9 brought great action to kickboxing fans this past Saturday. The event also helped the Glory promotion name its first light heavyweight Slam champion, and provided everyone a greater sense of who’s who in a long-underrepresented division. Glory will now have to attract additional talent from around the world to bolster the ranks of an already strong group of light heavyweights. This series of articles looks at kick boxers that we at LiverKick would have liked to see in Saturday’s tournament and hope Glory can bring into the fold going forward.

Ondrej Hutnik is a 30-year-old southpaw fighting out of Prague, Czech Republic. While his tendency to fight domestically is a concern for some fans, Hutnik has put together a substantial win streak and continues to collect accolades at the light heavyweight mark. With one of the more established resumes in the weight class, it would be fitting to see the Czech kick boxer on kickboxing’s biggest stage.

Hutnik began his career near 147 pounds, and collected titles while moving up toward the light heavyweight division. In December 2005, Hutnik defeated Sem Braan – for the second time in roughly six months – to advance to the It’s Showtime 75MAX Trophy Final. When the final tournament rolled around in September 2006, the Czech fighter defeated Dmitry Shakuta and Joerie Mes before dropping a decision to Sahin Yakut in the championship bout. A victory over countryman Jiri Zak would follow, and Hutnik soon moved up to fight around 190 pounds.

The last defeat of Hutnik’s career came near that mark, as Tyrone Spong stopped him with a hellacious body shot in March 2008. Hutnik’s resume since includes a number of wins over recognizable names, including Redouan Cairo, James Phillips, and Hakan Aksoy. He became the 2011 Enfusion kickboxing tournament champion by following up wins against Wendell Roche and Thiago Martina with decision victories over Mohamed Boubkari and Frank Munoz in the same night. Hutnik has won six more bouts since, defeating Fight Code veteran Pacome Assi and Spanish standout Loren Javier Jorge along the way.

On June 14th, Hutnik topped Stefan Leko in the Czech city of Brno, stopping the K-1 veteran in the round of their championship bout. Hutnik landed a kick that clearly injured Leko’s right arm and led to the bout being immediately waved off.

For many fans, Hutnik’s biggest shortcoming may be his tendency to stay near home when entering the ring. Hutnik has not fought outside of the Czech Republic, or neighboring Slovakia, since early 2011. Considered in tandem with a decision-heavy record and lack of blistering speed, this has led some to question whether Hutnik’s success in recent years would be duplicated in a promotion like Glory.

Unlike our last featured fighter, Vladimir Mineev, Ondrej Hutnik does not have an upcoming bout scheduled at this time.

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GLORY 9 New York Photo Gallery

Ghita

GLORY 9 New York went down this weekend with a lot of action and luckily for you, we've been all over it. Our good friend from MiddleEasy, Bauzen, was in attendance at the event with his camera doing some work for the WKA and happened to graciously pass along his photos to us for the site. Get a look at some of the most intense moments from GLORY 9 New York courtesy of Bauzen.

 

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A Look at the Field For Glory 9's Light Heavyweight Tournament

Glory 9

GLORY 9 takes place at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City this Saturday, June 22nd. Among the night’s major attractions will be an 8-man light heavyweight (209 lb./95 kg.) tournament, featuring much of the world’s top talent at that weight. The tournament field includes longtime divisional standouts, champions of all varieties, and a couple of American kickboxers with the chance to prove themselves on the international stage. Here is just a bit more information about each of the fighters in the field.

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Watch GLORY 9 NYC Live on LiverKick June 22nd

On Saturday June 22nd Glory World Series will come to New York City with GLORY 9 New York, featuring a one night, eight-man Light Heavyweight tournament featuring the likes of Tyrone Spong, Michael Duut, Danyo Ilunga, Brian Collette and more! We'll continue to provide you with information about the card as it approaches. As always, you'll be able to purchase and watch the event live on LiverKick.com for just $20.

Doing so not only supports the sport of Kickboxing but also supports your favorite Kickboxing site, LiverKick.com as well and helps us to continue trudging through the day-to-day.

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