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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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LiverKick's 2012 Best of Kickboxing Awards

It's that time of the year (or it might even be a bit late) to recap the best of kickboxing in 2012 now that it's over. We saw some great fights, great knockouts, fighters who had breakout years and great events.

Fighter of the Year

I know some are going to say Semmy Schilt here but ultimately I had to go with Giorgio Petrosyan, the LiverKick #1 ranked middleweight. He fights in the deepest division in kickboxing and still completely dominates it, being in my opinion the undisputed best kickboxer in the world. With four top ten at the time wins on the year, he went undefeated again in 2012. Another reason why I chose Petrosyan over Schilt is because all of his wins were in the regular 3x3 fight format, whereas Schilt had the same number of top ten wins as Petrosyan but three of them were in the 2x2 format. Some people also won't like this, but Petrosyan really has no huge physical advantages over his opponents, as they all weigh in at 70kg or under. The bottom line is that Giorgio Petrosyan had another excellent year and remains the number one kickboxer in the world.

Honorable mentions: Semmy Schilt (LiverKick #1 Heavyweight), Murthel Groenhart (LiverKick #2 Middleweight)

Fight of the Year

It was actually kind of disappointing that there weren't that many candidates for this award, but unfortunately there are a ton of fights that we don't have any video of so we only have so much to work with. On a positive note, Genji Umeno vs. Chang Hyun Lee was an amazing fight and I feel that it was the best of 2012. Umeno came into the fight a heavy favorite, with Lee being a complete unknown. The result was a highly competitive, action packed fight with Umeno possibly having the edge until getting dropped in the third round. Lee came away with the decision win and stole the show, which featured the entire K-1 Final 16 at heavyweight.

Honorable mentions: Dzhabar Askerov vs. Robin van Roosmalen (LiverKick #3 Middleweight), Hirotaka Urabe (LiverKick #9 Lightweight) vs. Naoki Ishikawa III

KO of the Year

This one actually crept up on me at the last minute, as I almost forgot about it. Thankfully I remembered because Shuichi Wentz's high kick knockout of Romie Adanza at the K-1 US Grand Prix in Los Angeles on September 8 was brutal, unexpected and scary all in one. The ensuing reaction after the knockout made it that much better, but also made it that much worse, if that makes any sense. Adanza was out cold, stiffened up and twitching.

Honorable mentions: Hirotaka Urabe KO1 Masato Kobayashi, Michael Duut KO3 Ricardo van den Bos, Ryuya Kusakabe KO3 Ilias El Hajoui, Daniel Ghita KO2 Brian Douwes

Event of the Year

I was looking at what people were saying the event of the year was and was quite surprised that no one mentioned the GLORY 70kg First 16 in Stockholm, Sweden on May 26. Top to bottom it was a great show with great fights. It had one of the honorable mentions for fight of the year in Askerov vs. van Roosmalen. It also had big upsets such as Davit Kiria's win over Kem Sitsongpeenong, as well as the emergence of some of the breakout fighters of the year in Sanny Dahlbeck and the aforementioned Kiria. Nieky Holzken vs. Alex Harris was another great fight with a great finish. Overall it was just a great event from top to bottom.

Honorable mentions: It's Showtime 54/55 (January 28), It's Showtime 57/58 (June 30)

Prospect of the Year

I was hesitant to proclaim Roman Mailov as the prospect of the year because he has two really tough fights coming up that I think he might lose but nevertheless, Mailov is the definition of a prospect that was built up really well in 2012. His year started in March where he had his first fight at 70kg, moving up from his previous weight of 63.5-65kg. He kept winning while gradually increasing the level of competition in front of him. Overall, he went 9-0 in 2012 and was signed to GLORY by the end of the year. Like I mentioned before, he has some very tough fights coming up (Yuta Kubo on January 14) where he's being thrown into deep waters, but in 2012 I don't think there was another fighter who was built up so well.

Honorable mentions: Alim Nabiev, Vitaly Lisnyak

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The Voice Versus Steven Seagal is Truly Insane, Watch It

Seagal

A part of me doesn't even know how to process Steven Seagal anymore. Is he delusional? Is he insane? Is he really an old school style martial arts master like they talk about in ancient scrolls? Was he a CIA operative? Is he just an actor with a martial arts background who has marketed himself to be something more? These are the questions that I find myself asking whenever Steven Seagal is in the news.

I'm not sure that tonight's episode of The Voice Versus clears up any of those questions for me, but it does help me to solidify my opinions on him as well as entertain with his stories. Like it or not, Seagal has lived a storied life and has a lot of tales to tell the world. He also seems to genuinely care about the environment and for the world to be a peaceful place, which is really admirable. Schiavello, as always, does his homework and was able to keep up a certain level of rapport with Seagal about his background as well as some of his more entertaining tall tales, some of which Seagal did not wish to comment on, but Schiavello did discuss in between interview segments.

Throughout the entire episode I found myself entertained, if just being outraged at some of his statements or genuinely interested in what his favorite fight scenes were. There is even a full segment about Mixed Martial Arts and his relationships with Lyoto Machida and Anderson Silva.

The Voice Versus airs tonight on AXS TV here in the US, so check your local listings and enjoy.

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Building a Narrative: The Story of Daniel Ghita

When fight fans think about a fighter, especially a rising star, I’m surprised how few think about the term narrative. To me, the narrative of a fighter’s career and of each fight is one of the most alluring parts of the fight game, and partially why Kickboxing has always aced Mixed Martial Arts for me. Sure, the kicks, the clinch game and the constant action helps, but K-1 especially did a great job in the 90’s and early 00’s of building up new stars and telling a story to the world, as opposed to simply pushing out fighters and booking them in competitive fights.

I’m not trashing competitive fights, just saying that simply booking them alone is not always enough in building a star. This line of thought crossed my mind when it became clear this week that K-1 had Daniel Ghita on the hook for the K-1 World Grand Prix, and instead of reeling him in and claiming the biggest star and most talented Heavyweight in Kickboxing today, they opted to let him go due to fears of him jumping to the competition after fighting for them and winning their tournament. I understand that line of reasoning, but the truth is, there is a good chance of Daniel Ghita, potentially the best Heavyweight alive in the world right now, might have to sit out the 2012 tournament season due to politics. This is all happening right when his star has been cemented and the narrative has been in place that Daniel Ghita is the best in the world, just ready to claim his throne.

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UFC 140 Highlights the Gentrification of Mixed Martial Arts

Over the weekend at UFC 140 the two featured bouts of the evening saw exciting finishes by two of UFC’s bigger stars. Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir took the fight to another former [Interim] UFC Heavyweight Champion in Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, surviving being knocked out by quickly reversing a choke and applying an armlock and promptly breaking Big Nog’s arm. Current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones put on an equally as impressive finish after recovering from being outpointed on his feet to working the challenger Lyoto Machida over with elbows on the ground before he was able to corner the challenger and apply a neck chancre that rendered Machida unconscious.

As a fan, it is hard to complain about fights at this level being finished in thrilling fashion. So, while it may be hard to complain about the fights being finished in a dramatic, decisive fashion, there are some other, much more troubling trends in both of these fights that have gone largely unnoticed amidst the excitement. Behavior of fighters has changed, as fans have noticed over the past few years, with both of the featured fights this weekend making light of this. Big Nog suffered a broken arm at the hands of Frank Mir, Nog still laying on the mat while Mir quickly pulled on the gear from his sponsors and celebrated. Jon Jones claimed that he “knew” Lyoto Machida was out cold, but quickly let go to strut off while Machida fell head-first to the mat in a heap.

It is a matter of respect and concern for the opponent’s well-being that seemingly melted away over the past few years, being flaunted on-air at UFC 140. It is a paradigm shift that has occured in the rush to help “legitimize” MMA as a “real sport” in the United States.

Continue reading about "Bushido."

 

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Krush Announces Final 4 Competitors for Supernova Tournament and Round of 16 Matchups

After announcing 12 of the 16 competitors for the round of 16 of their Under-22 Supernova Tournament on October 10th, Krush has announced the final 4 participants. The first is Silver Wolf's Shota Fukuda. Next is K&K Boxing Club's Hiroshi Matsui who is an interesting choice considering he's a welterweight and won a J-NETWORK rookie tournament at the weight. Hopefully, he'll be on weight. The last two competitors are Yukimitsu Takahashi and a fighter that goes by the name Violence. Honestly, I know nothing about any of these four, but if any were to make a splash, I'd say Matsui has the best credentials.

Also announced were the round of 16 matchups. The event on October 10th will be split into two segments, with blocks A and B holding their round of 16 and quarterfinal matchups during the day while blocks C and D will hold their two rounds in the evening.

Starting off block A, K-1 golden boy HIROYA takes on NJKF amateur prospect Hiroki Hoshikawa. In the other half of block A, K-1 Koshien product Sho Ogawa takes on Tang Tang Fight Club's Fumiya Osawa. From what I know of the fighters, this might be the hardest quarter of the bracket so it'll be a good test for HIROYA who's one of the tournament favorites. Hoshikawa could give HIROYA problems and so could Ogawa if he makes it past Osawa, but with the way HIROYA looked at the K-1 63kg Japan GP, I don't see him having much trouble.

Block B consists of K-1 Koshien 2009 champ Masaaki Noiri taking on Violence while Team Dragon's Daizo Sasaki takes on Shota Fukuda. Much like HIROYA, Noiri should get through with little trouble. I'd take Sasaki winning his fight over Fukuda, but losing to Noiri in the quarters. If HIROYA and Noiri win thier brackets, it'll mean another semifinal matchup for the two and the first time they've met since the K-1 Koshien 2009 semifinals at Dynamite.

Block C contains tournament favorite Koya Urabe taking on Yuta Otaki while Shimpei Keita goes against Hiroshi Matsui. Urabe should undoubtedly be favored to win his quarter with ease. The winner of Keita-Matsui won't be a pushover, but Urabe's beaten much better kickboxers.

Finally in block D, J-NETWORK Flyweight champion Tsukasa Fuji takes on Kengo Sonoda while Yukimitsu Takahashi fights Kazuma. The winner of Fuji-Sonoda should win this quarter easily. I would be a lot more confident in Fuji's chances if he didn't fight at such a low weight. Despite size, I'd put my money with Fuji to go on and face Urabe in the semis.

The structure of the brackets heavily pushes the odds onto Urabe's side. He was already the favorite heading into the tournament, but with a possible HIROYA-Noiri rematch on the other half of the bracket in the semifinals, Urabe should be the fresher fighter should he make it to the semifinals and win. {jcomments on}

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WBC Japan Announces 2 Title Fights and 3 Playoff Fights

A couple weeks ago, WBC Muay Thai Japan announced an October 2nd card headlined by Tetsuya Yamato taking on WBC Muay Thai World Champion Jomthong Chuwattana, as well as Erika Kamimura vs Denise Mellor and a WBC Japan Lightweight Title fight between Rashata and Hiromasa Masuda. It seems as though WBC Japan is looking to set up a big event with as many title fights as possible in the near future, as this event has been subtitled "Path to the Championship" and will now feature 2 more WBC Japan Title fights and 3 "playoff" matches that could possibly be #1 contender bouts, all of which contain promising, young talent.

First, WBC Japan Flyweight champion Naoki Otsuki will defend his title against WPMF Japan Flyweight champion Ryuji Kato. Otsuki was recently on a 4 fight winning streak before being upset by J-NETWORK #6 flyweight Hiroyuki Yamamo by split decision in July.

The other title fight announced is a match between current Super Lightweight champion Seiji Takahashi and J-Network Super Lightweight champion Yusuke Sugawara.

The first of the playoff bouts is a Super Bantamweight fight between Shootboxing 55kg champion Ryuya Kusakabe and #1 ranked NJKF Super Bantamweight Rookie. Kusakabe was on a tear since leaving the K-1 Koshien system, racking up 7 straight wins before losing in the finals of the Krush 55kg Tournament to Shota Takiya. Rookie put himself in a match for the vacant NJKF Super Bantamweight title by defeating Shinya Haga and will face Hiroshi Senchaigym for that title. The winner will probably face current champion Genji Umeno who is set to take on Thai Utideto Rukupurabato at It's Showtime Japan 3 this Sunday.

The next playoff bout is a Bantamweight contest between WPMF Japan Super Flyweight champion TO-MA and NJKF #2 ranked Bantamweight Kojiro. TO-MA was riding a 5 fight win streak which included him picking up the M-1, J-NETWORK and WPMF Japan Super Flyweight titles until he lost to Arashi Fujiwara at It's Showtime Japan 1. Afterwards, he vacated his J-NETWORK title. Kojiro is currently on a 4-fight losing streak. If TO-MA wins, he will likely face current champion Arashi Fujiwara for the title. However, if Kojiro scores the upset another playoff bout would seem to be a good idea, possibly a rematch against Noboru Yamamoto who is ranked #1, Takuma Ito who is ranked #2 or Hiroyuki Yamano, all of which would be interesting rematches.

The final bout announced will feature one of Japan's most promising prospects and recently crowned NJKF Lightweight champion Keijiro Miyakoshi taking on J-NETWORK Lightweight champion Akihiro Kuroda. Miyakoshi beat former NJKF champion Ikki in a rematch in July, winning by a wide decision. Kuroda was riding a 2-fight losing streak with losses to HIROYA and WBC Japan Super Lightweight champion Seiji Takahashi but just defended his title against Fire Harada in Harada's retirement match. The winner will likely face the winner of the Lightweight title match between Rashata and Hiromasa Masuda. {jcomments on}

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Masahiro Yamamoto vs Kan Itabashi Set for It's Showtime 61kg #1 Contender's Match

It's Showtime Japan has just announced the fight that will likely be the headlining bout of their fourth event on October 23rd, a #1 contender's bout for the It's Showtime 61kg championship, currently held by Javier Hernandez, between Krush 2009 Lightweight GP winner Masahiro Yamamoto and former RISE 60kg champion Kan Itabashi. Like all of the other It's Showtime Japan cards, this will be a co-promotion, and this event is with REBELS.

The two fought about a year and a half ago while both had been on a tear, with Yamamoto on a 5-fight winstreak that included his 4 wins in the Krush Lightweight GP and Itabashi on an 8-fight win streak that included wins over Yuki, Turbo and Keiji Ozaki. The two fought to a draw after 3 rounds and Yamamoto ended up taking a unanimous decision in the extension round. Since, however, it has been Itabashi who has had the better record, going 3-1 with his wins coming over Anuwat Kaewsamrit, Kanongsuk Weerasakreck and the recently retired Genki Yamamoto which put him in this match. His loss came in a RISE Super Featherweight Title Match against Kosuke Komiyama. Yamamoto, on the other hand, just picked up his first win since the Itabashi fight, besting Arito Tsukahara for the right to face Itabashi again. In that stretch between wins, Yamamoto had a shot at becoming the It's Showtime 61kg champion, but lost as a result of a cut to former champion Sergio Wielzen. {jcomments on}

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Krush Announces Hiroya for Supernova Tournament; Rena vs Jessica Penne at Shootboxing Act.4

Krush has announced four more competitors for the round of 16 of their Under-22 Supernova tournament. Former K-1 Koshien star HIROYA has been announced as a competitor, joining Koya Urabe and Masaaki Noiri as pre-tournament favorites. HIROYA would have to be viewed as the third most likely to win, as Urabe is second only to Yuta Kubo in Japan and he managed to fight Kubo with only one leg and Noiri beat HIROYA in their only fight two years ago.

The other three fighters announced were

Hiroki Hoshikawa who won a 60kg NJKF Amateur tournament.

Kazuma and Yuta Otaki who I really don't know anything about.

The final 4 competitors will be announced later.

Shootboxing also made a big announcement, making Bellator fighter Jessica Penne the opponent for Shootboxing queen Rena on 9/10. Penne was 7-0 in MMA entering the Bellator Women's tournament, but lost to eventual winner Zoila Frausto (now Zoila Gurgel) in the quarterfinals by decision. She won her last fight over Amy Davis by submission in November. Penne is the second Bellator fighter to compete in Shootboxing along with half of the main event, Toby Imada who made it to the finals of last year's S-Cup. Much like Imada was, Penne will be a huge underdog as Rena demolished Zaza Sor Aree last month and is likely training hard as she has a fight with Erika Kamimura in November.{jcomments on}

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