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Video: Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Erkan Varol

Giorgio "The Doctor" Petrosyan had his first fight back after losing to Andy Ristie in November 2013. Watching this fight it sure doesn't look like the time off did "The Doctor" any harm. He looked as sharp and slick as ever but I couldn't help but notice him going back to his old self and kicking a lot more than punching. He seems to have a serious problem with breaking his hands and when you make your living punching people in face that becomes an issue. Nonetheless, this fight against Erkan Varol didn't seem to cause him any problems at all and he looked untouchable, but then again Petroysan is on a much higher level.


the doctor 2015 by dm_5080020d0bb7a
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Steven Wright's 2014 Year in Kickfighting Highlight

The year 2014 was a pretty strange one for kickboxing. There were some great things that happened and there was a lot of downtime and doom and gloom hanging over the sport as a whole. This year feels a lot different, a lot better thus far. Things are looking up. We have schedules from both K-1 and GLORY, we have promise popping up in China and the sport seems to be correcting itself and its trajectory. I spoke about all of this with Patrick Wyman on Steven Wright's podcast last week, where we delved into the year that was and the year that will be. It's interesting to hear us start geeking out about all of the things that are happening in China as well as all of the good from 2014. Check it out here.

Steven also put together a really awesome highlight video from last year showcasing some of the best fights that went down and the most memorable moments.

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Video: Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller's latest boxing fight

Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller extended his Boxing win streak to 11-0 this weekend with a victory over the granite chinned Aaron Kinch. I couldn't help but think of brain damage when I watched this fight, it was 6 rounds of Miller just landing clean punches while Kinch was able to stay on his feet and survive I have no idea how. Miller weighed in at a heavy 281 lbs for this fight which could mean two things, either his strength and conditioning training is going perfectly, or he had a really good Christmas and New Years. No matter what even at 281 lbs this was a dominant victory for Big Baby that I feel could have been stopped at a few points during the fight, hope to see him back in the kickboxing ring soon.

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Glory: Analyzing the struggles

Now I'm sure as most fans and followers of Glory are aware things haven't been going too swimmingly for the worlds premiere kickboxing organisation. The promotion has seemed to be struggling ever since a failed attempt at venturing into the pay-per-view market last June. Whilst the event itself could be deemed as a success- a new middleweight champion was crowned and the fights on the night were superb- the pay-per-view numbers would clearly disagree with that assumption.

Since then things have gone from bad to worse. The promotion only managed to produce one event in the second half of 2014 in comparison to the four events held in the opening six months of the year. This significant decrease was likely a result of the financial losses caused by Glory 17, their debut pay-per-view event. 

After hosting Glory 18 in early November the promotion announced that the subsequent event would take place a little over six weeks later, only for the location never to be confirmed and the event consequently scrapped. Cancelling an event is obviously never a good sign and there were numerous rumours circling around on the internet that the promotion may have indeed been in a spot of bother. Representatives from Glory were quick to negate the rumours however, suggesting it was merely an issue with the location. Albeit seemingly out of the promotions hands, hosting one event in the latter half of 2014 is not the kind of tactic you'd recommend employing if you were an up-and-coming business looking to build your brand let alone an international organisation attempting to breakthrough into mainstream America. 

Due to their lack of events Glory allowed several of their fighters to compete on the Kunlun Fights 15 card this past week in China, where unfortunately things continued to worsen for the promotion. Current Heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven lost decisively to heavy underdog Andrej Herasimchuk and Murthel Groenhart- a recent addition to their upcoming Welterweight contender tournament- was thoroughly beaten and eventually knocked out by Sittichai Sitsongpeenong.

Now whilst neither loss will be particularly devastating to either fighters career- Herasimchuk albeit a relative unknown is  clearly very talented and Sittichai is regarded by most as a top 10 ranked competitor in his division- these results deeply hamper Glory's next event whereby both Verhoeven and Groenhart are scheduled to compete. Its quite unlikely the bulk of their viewers on Spike will be aware of the results due to the limited exposure kickboxing receives, however for the rest of us who are avid followers of the sport it just doesn't sit well. 

Whilst I am far from an expert on running an martial arts promotion let alone an international firm with the magnitude of Glory's, I can't help but thinks there's a few things that they could be doing differently.

Firstly the issue of having fighters competing for rival promotions could be solved with more consistency with their live events. Fighters would obviously not feel the need to compete in other promotions should Glory be able to provide them with enough fights annually to make ends meet and Glory's current yearly schedule just doesn't allow them to do that. 

Glory doesn't have a roster that's overflowing with fighters so filling cards could potentially be difficult for them, especially if they were able to churn out events on a monthly basis. We've seen on numerous occasions over the years that kickboxers have the ability and desire to fight in excess of three times per year and I can't imagine there'd be many fighters on Glory's roster that would turn down the opportunity to compete more frequently.

Venturing into the pay-per-view market was clearly a naive move on Glory's part and attempting to do so again could be financially catastrophic. I can't foresee the promotion attempting a second pay-per-view any time soon so its blatantly obvious this is something they should avoid completely for the time being.

I also believe focusing less on hosting events in America could be very beneficial to the promotion. Whilst Glory has worked endlessly to bring the sport into the mainstream in America through their influx of hosting of live events in several different states, it might be time for a change of tactics. Unfortunately Glory just doesn't have any American fighters currently capable of drawing in big gates like they've been able to internationally. 

Canada for example has a strong base of martial arts fans who take a passionate nationalistic approach to supporting their own. Currently, they have a decent contingency of Canadian kickboxers emerging through their ranks with 'Bazooka' Joe Valtellini being their current Welterweight Champion, Gabriel Varga is a likely challenger for their uncrowned Featherweight title and the likes of Robert Thomas and Josh Jauncey poised to be breakout stars in the future. The waters in Canada remain untested by Glory though. 

Whilst the support is ostensibly not as popular as some may think in the Netherlands, you can't help but think with the plethora of Dutch talent Glory has at their disposal that they'd be able to sell-out at least one event annually in kickboxing's second home. Out of the twenty-six events Glory have hosted none have been in the Netherlands.

Other countries like Turkey and Croatia have provided strong attendances previously for Glory and should the promotion return with their respective hometown favourites in Gohkan Saki and Mirko Cro Cop, the events would likely sell-out again. Even the UK should be viewed as a more viable market based purely on the success Muay Thai promotion Yokkao have managed over the past twelve months.

My suggestion is not to saturate the market as the recent criticism and backlash the UFC has received for its torrid schedule is a clear display of why that might not be the smartest move. I do think however increasing the number of events annually whilst reducing the number of events specifically taking place in America could be not only beneficial from a marketing standpoint, but financially too as revenue generated from ticket sales is one of Glory's primary sources of income.

These strategies would allow Glory to simultaneously continue to build their brand and fan base on Spike TV, but also by only keeping their roster happier by allowing them to compete frequently. Hosting more events would also give Glory more of an opportunity to nurture talent. It's no secret that mainstream success in America is the eventual goal, however with a clear deficit of talent emerging from America perhaps its time to go back to the drawing board for Glory with the reintroduction or adaptation of their Road to Glory series. 

I hope this comes as an innocuous message to Glory. I'm not trying to lament on the promotions recent struggles, however I'm merely trying to mitigate the potential issues they could be facing. I sincerely hope my analysis of Glory has been over-exaggerated and the promotion remains robust, having just decided to reduce the number of events as a means of recovering from the fallout of Glory 17. Unfortunately though as these obstacles continue to develop for our beloved Glory, I can't help but wonder whether or not my paranoia is justified and the promotions days could be indeed numbered.

 

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Videos: Kunlun Fights #15

Well, we had some very interesting results this weekend in China at Kunlun #15, that really mess with the kickboxing rankings. Glory's heavyweight champ and #1 ranked Rico Verhoeven lost a decision after getting two 8 counts in the 2nd round at the hands of Andrei Herasimchuk. So where does this put Herasimchuk in the ranks? is he #1 now? Rico never really got into a groove during the fight and the same can be said about Murthel Groenhart. He seemed to have nothing to offer his opponent Sittichai Sitsongpeenong, which led to the Thai fighter landing a perfect left head kick and ending the fight. Now without a doubt Sittichai deserves to be in the top 10 of the kickboxing rankings after beating Andy Souwer and Groenhart in one night.

Here are the videos thanks to our friends at http://www.fightstadium.com/

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Gabriel Varga Talks GLORY Featherweight Title and Upcoming K-1 China Fight

Canadian featherweight Gabriel Varga has turned some heads over the past few years with his appearances in K-1 and GLORY. In fact, Gabriel Varga is the man who is set to fight for the inaugural GLORY Featherweight Championship against Mosab Amrani. Sadly, that fight was pushed back but luckily enough he’ll be keeping busy as he fights on K-1’s China vs. USA event on January 1st.

We caught up with Varga while he prepares for his fight on January 1st.

Your weight class is incredibly competitive all around the world, where do you feel you stand in that weight class right now?

It depends in what style.  I haven't fought full Muay Thai, but in GLORY rules or modified Muay Thai I know I can be the best.  There was so much hype around Sitmonchai and many people where excited to see him fight outside Thailand, but Kickboxing is a different sport and I know I can win a fight against anybody.  I think with another 2-3 wins I will be recognized as the top kickboxer at –65kg.

Do you feel that Canada has finally gotten a chance to show the world how much talent comes from there over the past few years and are you proud of it?

Canadian fighters have had great opportunities over the past few years and Joesph Valentini, Simon Marcus, Josh Jauncey, Rob Thomas, Matt Embree and myself have risen to the challenge. I'm very happy with my accomplishments so far, but I still want to beat the top names and then Canada will be even more recognized in the Kickboxing world.

You've actually fought in China before, how does it feel to head back to China?

After another 6 months between fights I'm just happy to get a fight anywhere. But I'm looking forward to everything about this fight aside from the 12+ hour plane ride.

There isn't much out there about your opponent, does that bother you or will it not be a problem?

I've watched a few videos of him and I feel I know his style well enough now. I always prefer to learn about my opponents and train specifically for them. That's one of the reasons I dislike tournaments. You can only prepare for your first opponent and after that you just have to do the best you can.

Historically your weight class has been dominated by the Japanese, what kind of shift do you think happened over the past few years?

The Japanese are still great fighters but they haven't always had to fight the best foreigners. Japanese organizations often bring in foreign opponents who aren't necessarily amongst the best.  GLORY has been great for including the best fighters in the world.

I'm sure in the future we'll see more Japanese in the -65kg division, but with Kubo's recent loss and Noiri's absence I don't expect to fight a Japanese opponent in the near future. 

You are still going to be fighting for GLORY's Featherweight title soon, how did you go about taking this fight with K-1?

GLORY was kind enough to let me have a one fight deal with K-1 because of GLORY 19 being postponed.  I'd like to fight at least 3 times per year and in 2014 I only got to fight in June. I asked GLORY if they'd be willing to make a special exception this one time and they said yes. And K-1 was great to me as well. I called them up with a 4 weeks notice pleading for a fight and they put me on the first card they had.

Fighting on the first day of the year is a great way to start. I hope to fight at least 5 times next year and getting the GLORY Featherweight title should help me become a bigger draw.

Kickboxing has struggled in North America, what do you think will help it attract more fans?

Kickboxing simply won't become mainstream in North America in only 2 years. GLORY has been doing a great job and if they continue to hold 8+ events per year and air them on Spike, the audience will grow.  I hear so many people complaining about the UFC and I think within a couple of years, GLORY will capture the attention of those less enthusiastic MMA fans and help the popularity of kickboxing grow.

If GLORY can focus on creating a few more stars who are North American that will help as well. And if there's ever a chance to do some sort of reality show that would be very exciting. My management EPOK Agency recently announced a groundbreaking partnership with a major talent agency in New York, which will open new opportunities in mainstream media. So I think this will also help with growing my popularity as a North American fighter.

Is there anyone out there that you want to face down the line?

The only person I think I should fight for the GLORY belt is Mosab Amrani. He holds a win over Kubo and is ranked number 1. That's the fight I want.

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Video: Buakaw Banchamek vs. Dmytro konstantynov Top King Dec 20/2014

TopKing World Series had their Final 8 tournament last night. Not sure what the plan was but they only broadcast 1 hour of the event which included Pornsanae getting Ko'd within 5 seconds, Buakaw Banachamek dismantling Dmytro Konstantynov, and Sam-A Kaiyanghadaogym as a the main event. I was a little disappointed that I woke up at 5:50am to only watch the last 3 fights when I was looking forward to seeing other names like Nicolas Larsen, Marat Grigorian, and Reece McAllister.

Anyway here is Buakaw's fight, once again he looks very scary under Muay Thai rules, I really noticed his right elbow counter especially to the left hook to the body, it was so quick that it almost seemed not worth throwing the liver punch anymore. I wonder who his next tournament fight will be, I'm hoping it's Grigorian.

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Video: Robert Thomas vs. Mike Lemaire Glory 18

Glory released another superfight this one is between Canada's Robert "White Dragon" Thomas and USA's Mike Lemaire. Thomas has more of a traditional Muay Thai style but we were told he had been working his hands a lot recently. It took him 2 rounds to finally let his hands go, but once he did in the 3rd Lemaire was in big trouble in what was a close fight up until then. I hope to see Thomas get more confidence in his hands after this KO victory.

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Video: Hesdy Gerges vs. Benjamin Adegbuyi from Glory 18

Glory has finally released probably the most anticipated superfight from Glory 18 in Oklahoma. We have the talented, young, rising star in Benjamin Adegbuyi against the experienced veteran that is Hesdy Gerges. 

First of all, the pace in this fight for two huge men was incredible. Watching this fight I remember thinking "This is only round 1!?!" Both men were throwing from bell to bell all 3 rounds in what ended as a very close fight. The fight really could have gone either way but I think what may have swayed the judges was the more flashy stuff from Benny. Glory does state during their rules meeting that flashy kicks like back kicks, high kicks, and flying knees will score higher with the judges. Hesdy was quite unhappy with the decision to say the least.

Anyway judge it for yourself tell us what you think.

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Video: Josh Jauncey vs. Jae-Gil Noh From GLORY 18

GLORY 18 might be in the books and we might be kind of frustrated with the lack of information about GLORY 19, but we can at least bask in the glory (no pun intended) of watching from the SuperFight Series the fight between Josh Jauncey and Jae-Gil Noh. Watch Jauncey just dismantle Noh in the second round here in what was just a beautiful display.

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