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K-1 Global's Ned Kuruc Discusses the Future of K-1

  • Published in Interviews

NEd

There have been a lot of questions from fans over the past few weeks as for what will be in store for K-1 after the tremendous September 14th event in Mallorca, Spain. To the public, things have been quiet on the K-1 Global front, but there has been a lot of movement behind the scenes, with plans being laid out for the next year. I spoke with K-1 Global’s Director of Events & Fighter Acquisition Ned Kuruc about the future of K-1 and it seems like the gears are fully in motion in pushing K-1 into the future.

The first topic was on making the message extremely clear to fans; K-1 is going to change how their shows are run, shifting the emphasis from tournaments to crowning champions across weight divisions and having them defend these belts. “We’re gonna open up our weight divisions, we want to have a clear cut champion in each division,” he stated. “He’ll go on to defend that championship and we’ll get to see who is really the best in each weight class. We’ll have a top ten ranking in every division and fighters will move up the ranks and try to fight the champion.

“We definitely wanted to open up all of the weight classes,” he continued. “For too long K-1 was just two weight classes and this is the solution that we had to help to establish all of these weight classes.”

For many fans, the idea of losing the tournament format will be a loss, as K-1 was established on this idea of annual tournaments to decide the best in the world, but Kuruc assures us that K-1 isn’t done with tournaments. “Is K-1 done with the tournament format? Absolutely not. We want to establish these weight divisions and crown champions, but we still want to run tournaments, just not as often. Maybe they are every two or four years, just not every year like we are all used to.”

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Canada vs. China in Richmond, Canada on November 25

  • Published in Kickboxing

Canada vs. ChinaWe've been touting Canada as one of the hidden gems of the Muay Thai world for quite a while now, with the shows that happen in the hockey-loving, seal-clubbing neighbor to the north putting on more and more quality events. On November 25th it will be no difference, as this time Canadian promoter Sport Muay Thai Fighting Championships will promote an event dubbed "Canada vs. China."

Our friends at Muay Thai Authority have the full fight card.

Fight Card:

Jesse Miles (Canada) vs. Cao Yaomin (China)

Nate Smandych (Canada) vs. Xiao Jie (China)

Hakeem Dawodu (Canada) vs. Feng Jie (China)

Adam Blanchette (Canada) vs. Yang Yuanfei (China)

Sinisa Knezevic (Canada) vs. Fu Gaofeng (China)

Jessica Gladstone (Canada) vs. Li Hui (China)

Nicci Soutiere (Canada) vs. Bai Jing (China)

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Joe Valtellini: GLORY's Own GSP in the Making

  • Published in Glory

When it comes to conventional wisdom how to make Kickboxing take off in the United States everyone always says the same thing; you need an American star. You need an American star, that is what everyone thinks, so therefore that is what it needs. That is sound logic, but the only thing is, when we look at the recent history of breakthrough stars in combat sports, we don’t see just Americans. Sure, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is American and Oscar De La Hoya is American (but he associates as Mexican for many), but Manny Pacquiao is definitely not American, nor were many of the big UFC Champions.

So of course, you can’t talk UFC champions without talking about Georges St-Pierre, the Canadian former Welterweight Champion who was one of the UFC’s few “big” stars. Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz and a few others were important, sure, but GSP proved to be a real, tangible draw for the company and he wasn’t American. GSP was from Canada, he was also responsible for their biggest live gate in history.

GLORY continues its search for their breakthrough star and the feeling that I’ve been getting over the past few months is that as much as conventional wisdom tells me that it’ll be Joe Schilling or Wayne Barrett, the evidence has been pouring in that Canada’s Joseph Valtellini might indeed be that guy. Joe Valtellini might be the guy to break through and become a big star. 

It’s difficult not to make parallels to the UFC’s own Georges St-Pierre, the humble Canadian fighter who was educated, well-spoken, personable, marketable as well as incredibly talented. If you were to tick off boxes in favor of Valtellini you’d be able to tick off every single one of those boxes. It isn’t crazy to think that GLORY’s big breakthrough star could be a Canadian fighter who is marketable, talented, educated and everything that you’d want in a fighter.

While speaking to Valtellini this week we even discussed how he’s never fought in his home country of Canada as a professional, in part due to that the Toronto area has yet to legalize professional Kickboxing. They were late to the game with legalizing MMA, but when they did and promoted a GSP fight they found themselves packing 55,000 fans into the Roger’s Centre in the UFC’s biggest gate to date, with it looking like the record won’t be broken for a very long time. Valtellini wants to be not only important to the sport of Kickboxing, but to his home of Canada as well. One would have to think that Canada could potentially be for GLORY what it has been for MMA in creating stars and passionate fight fans.

I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, but Joseph Valtellini is popping up everywhere. Interviews, television shows, all over social media and is being discussed by not only fans of Kickboxing, but fight fans everywhere. There is a general feeling that he’s going to take off and very soon. GLORY definitely needs that sharp, articulate fighter to present to the world and if Joseph Valtellini can do the work in the ring against Marc de Bonte on June 21st it’ll be interesting to see what the response is, because he hasn’t fought in a few months, but everyone is still talking about him already. If he becomes champion I only imagine it’ll be intensified. 

It’s not a far stretch to imagine that Joseph Valtellini could be for GLORY what GSP was for the UFC.

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