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LiverKick.com Podcast - Week of December 11

  • Published in LK Podcast

This week we bring you something a bit newer and different, as Rian Scalia (@rianscalia) and myself (@LiverKickdotcom) come to you for the first time with the LiverKick podcast. We kick off with this, a test of sorts, which we recorded on Saturday night after all of the excitement surrounding the UFC show and the Amir Khan fight. There was not exactly a ton of happenings within the world of Kickboxing, but we decided to go over the fan-generated list of Fights of the Year that they've submitted.

Look for an official poll from us soon so you can vote for the Fight of the Year! We also discuss what is going on with FIKA, Cro Cop returning to K-1 action and what to look forward to in 2012.

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Details on FIKA Begin to Trickle Out; A New K-1

  • Published in K-1

FIKAKazuyoshi Ishii officially announced FIKA today, and has promised it will be a new day for K-1 worldwide. FIKA is the Federation International K-1 Association, and will apparently be the new governing body for K-1. There will be a K-1 World Grand Prix in 2012, but to fully grasp what Ishii and his new partners have planned, think big.

FIKA is to be headquartered in Hong Kong and they are going to appeal big time to Chinese audiences by having some of their biggest shows take place in China. There will still be a "World Stage" event in Japan, but it doesn't appear to be the Finals. They are looking to hold events around the world to bring a 'World Cup' feeling and will try to be the FIFA of Kickboxing. FIKA has also brought on famous Chinese folk singer Song Zuying to sing the official FIKA theme song, which was apparently the big headline grabber in China in regards to this announcement, on top of the list of famous people at the event. The theme song will apparently be recorded in English as well, which Zuying was quoted saying it would help FIKA have a global appeal.

Seven Star Entertainment Fund, a branch of Sun Redrock Investment Group will serve as a partner in FIKA, owning about 60%, with the rest of the management team comprising the remaining 40%. Who is actually a part of this team outside of Ishii is not clear, but with the rumors of Bas Boon looking to invest in K-1 and this looking to be the future of K-1 and Bas Boon was on stage for the announcement with Semmy Schilt, it would be hard not to make connections. FIKA is looking to make for a much stronger push into the United States and China for K-1 and be less Japan-centric.

As of press time there is no firm details on a schedule or possible television deals. The only schedule is a rough one on the FIKA website's press release, which states April for the world qualifiers, May/June for the 32 stage, Sept/Oct for the 16 stage and Oct to December for the Final 8. This will be in three weight classes; 63kg, 70kg and 100kg.

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Did The Appearance of a Porn Star Ruin FIKA?

  • Published in K-1

It has been months now and we've heard next to nothing about FIKA while hearing a lot about the K-1 brand, which is rather curious. The concept behind FIKA was a sound one, and it appeared like there was some serious money and commitment involved in it, but yet, it could be dead in the water. I've all-but-given up caring about what happens with the K-1 brand at this point, as there are struggles between two factions that are not "FIKA" to acquire the rights to the K-1 brand, one of which is led by a Korean investor and FEG, the other by Bas Boon and TSA.

The funny part is, TSA and Bas Boon have already paid fighters that they have signed, at least the ones who were owed substantial sums by FEG/K-1 in the past. Not much instill confidence into a situation than paying fighters money that another company owes them to show your level of commitment, and honestly, this already endears them if you were picking sides in this whole ordeal. The other side of the fence is led by Mr. Kim and Tanikawa, and it feels difficult at this point to support a team that let millions of dollars go unpaid to fighters and let one of the strongest combat sports brands in the world fall into such terrible disrepair. Fans and fighters have been left on the line, first with "PUJI money," then with the whole "who will be our investor" game they played and finally with the Simon Rutz co-promoted K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16 that fell apart at last minute with FEG putting up a terrible, lame-duck excuse that there were vias issues with the event as opposed to being honest. 

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K-1 Founder Kazuyoshi Ishii to Possibly Found a "New K-1"

  • Published in K-1

Kazuyoshi IshiiK-1's future has gone from confusing and bleak to confusing and busy, as the sleeping giant awoke in June to put on their first show of the year as well as talk about new funding and potential new buyers. From all accounts, the new buyers have big plans for K-1 and are looking to get the ball rolling very soon, but one piece of the puzzle wasn't quite fitting in to the equation and that was K-1's founder, Kazuyoshi Ishii. Ishii has stated his intentions to not give up on K-1, and many who are close to him believe that he would never let go of the K-1 brand that he started and made a worldwide brand.

Kazuyoshi Ishii has had his hard times, and while he publicly is not the face of K-1 anymore, Sadaharu Tanikawa is the man that Ishii personally chose to run the newly-formed FEG, including his K-1 brand, and many who know the operation know that Ishii is never far from K-1. Ishii's presence is even felt backstage at events, and oddly enough we heard reports that Ishii was not seen at the last K-1 show.

A while back I remember reporting on an idea from Ishii (check this article on NOB), an idea that seemed like grandstanding to many, but already showed signs of moving away from K-1 into a new venture. This idea was a world cup of kickboxing to be held every two years and move away from the K-1 system, which is primarily based on entertainment and character building as opposed to a pure sport atmosphere. Ishii of course made famous the entertainment-based kickboxing industry with help from RINGS founder Akira Maeda, who liked Ishii's K-1 concept but pointed out that fighters like Branko Cikatic might make for tournament champions but aren't the type of fighters that you can build a strong following on. Ishii then became known as one of the best in the industry at cultivating talent and making them stars, as fighters like Peter Aerts, Andy Hug, Jerome Le Banner and even Alistair Overeem can attest to.

So the one piece of the puzzle in a post-PUJI K-1 world that didn't quite fit seemed to be Kazuyoshi Ishii, so when there is an article from a Japanese news outlet that Kazuyoshi Ishii's "World Congress" of kickboxing, a "New K-1" is in the works and that we'll see more details in August, it is clear that his gears are turning and that he might be splintering away from his baby and attempting to create an entirely new kickboxing project.

Stay tuned, things might get interesting. [source]

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Details on Golden Glory's Role in FIKA and Sem Schilt is Unhappy With Golden Glory

  • Published in K-1

So there is still no news about FIKA yet since the original press release and press conference that they held. There was pomp and lots of circumstances involved, lots of celebrities and amongst the sea of new Chinese investors, actors and Master Ishii, Sem Schilt and Bas Boon stood out in an event without any Europeans. LiverKick.com has been talking to a lot of people close to FIKA and Golden Glory, and by the sounds of it, we should know more "before Christmas." Sure, it is not an exact date by any stretch of the imagination, but I'd rather hear a vague outline of what is being worked on than a date that cannot be met.

We were talking with our friend in Europe Karel ten Haaf who runs the Kortsluiting blog who was able to confirm that mid-December is when we should have more details on FIKA and Golden Glory's involvement. Due to all of this, the next Glory World Series event might not happen until February 28th and the involvement of Semmy Schilt? That might not be entirely clear, either.

Karel spoke with Dave Jonkers, Sem Schilt's coach about Schilt's involvement, and it really does not seem all that clear what is going on with Schilt. Schilt has two films that he has worked on this year, Novalaya Zemyla and Black Out, with the first being a much bigger role. But when it comes to fighting, due to Golden Glory's involvement in K-1, Schilt apparently will not fight for either Golden Glory or K-1 until he sees the money that he is owed. This is a new development, especially with as little as a month ago Schilt was in China for the FIKA announcement. This is not the first time we've heard of someone under the management of Golden Glory being upset with them this year, but like the rest, hopefully it is resolved soon and everything can get back in motion.

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