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LiverKick.com Heavyweight Rankings: May 2011

  • Published in Rankings

Heavyweight

1. Semmy Schilt
2. Badr Hari
3. Peter Aerts
4. Gokhan Saki
5. Hesdy Gerges
6. Daniel Ghita
7. Tyrone Spong
8. Kyotaro
9. Ewerton Teixeira
10. Jerome Le Banner

Welcome back to the LiverKick.com rankings. These rankings are an attempt to break down the top 10 fighters in three different weight classes - Heavyweight, for fighters above the 85kg limit, Middleweight, for fighters at the 70-72.5kg limit, and Light Heavyweight, for fighters at the 77-84kg limit. Our rankings are based on in-ring accomplishments and recent wins and loses. We hope they reflect where these fighters currently stand, although we recognize that all rankings are inherently subjective.

May 2011

We've decided to take a different approach to the rankings, in the past Fraser Coffeen handled them, but as many are aware, Fraser has since had to step down from his responsibilities at LiverKick.com and has since moved on to other ventures. Our Top 10 list a while back moved on to being a top 25 to reflect a uniformity with our then home of SBNation. We've decided to move back to only including the Top 10 and to opt for the inclusion of Light Heavyweight (77kg - 84kg) to reflect the depth of talent in that weight class.

Former #1 Alistair Overeem has been removed from the rankings after some intense discussion, we've come to the conclusion that as long as he is contracted with Zuffa the chances of Overeem fighting in another organization as a kickboxer has decreased to about zero. We are sad to see a talent such as his be confined to only Mixed Martial Arts but will continue to cheer him on.

This means that there was a lot of reshuffling to the weight classes for them to make sense, as with K-1's silence and a sincere doubt that there will be a K-1 World Heavyweight Grand Prix this year, we take a more global look at the weight classes and rankings for them. It is without dispute that the most accomplished kickboxer at Heavyweight/Super Heavyweight, and the man to beat is Semmy Schilt. Schilt does hold a WGP loss to Peter Aerts in 2011 and a loss to Badr Hari in 2010, but outside of that his record is pristine.

After a year of inaction, Badr Hari returned to the ring against a less-than-game Gregory Tony. Tony's performance might have been shameful, but Hari was in good shape, kept his cool and there is a promise of a bout with Tyrone Spong or Daniel Ghita on the horizon for It's Showtime in the Fall. For his recent accomplishments, though, without a doubt Badr Hari is one of the men to beat and secures his spot at #2. Mr. K1, Peter Aerts shocked the world taking it to Sem Schilt in December, making the Finals of the Heavyweight GP. Aerts had stated before the Grand Prix that it would be his last and he is contemplating retirement, so under those circumstances and for his recent accomplishments, the #3 slot is a great fit for him.

#4 Gokhan Saki is in action at the end of this month in the finals of the Glory World Series Heavyweight Tournament, where he'll take on Brice Guidon. While the tournament was not the toughest road for Saki, a win in it would further cement his spot in the top 5. We hope to see him against other top 5 competition soon. #5 Hesdy Gerges has once again been released from police custody and will be in action this weekend at It's Showtime. His bout with #6 Daniel Ghita was the biggest Heavyweight fight of the year so far and his win cemented his spot above Ghita. #7 Tyrone Spong is where things get messy, Spong holds a victory over #8 Kyotaro last year, who himself is largely inactive without K-1, but has a loss to #10 Jerome Le Banner. Le Banner of course has his forfeit loss to Kyotaro but little else outside of the Spong win recently. #9 Ewerton Teixeira is another fighter who only fights for K-1 so is in a state of limbo for the time being.

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Watch GLORY World Series LIVE on LiverKick May 26th

  • Published in Kickboxing

GloryWe are very pleased to announce that on May 26th LiverKick.com will be partnering with Glory Sports International to bring you the live stream of the big Glory event in Stockholm, Sweden. On May 26th Glory will kickoff their World Series of Kickboxing tournaments with the First 16 for the 70kg division while also hosting a slew of super fights, including Gokhan Saki vs. Carter Williams and Semmy Schilt vs. Errol Zimmerman.

Head over to Glory's newly-redesigned site to get a glimpse of the rest of the card.

As mentioned, we will be partnering with Glory to host the PPV right here on LiverKick, so you do not need to leave your favorite source for Kickboxing news and coverage on fight day. The event costs $15 and will begin at 12:30pm Eastern time/9:30am Pacific time/18:30 GMT +2. Go ahead and bookmark this page, as this will be where you go to order the event on fight day. All you have to do is click the "play" arrow on the video and then click the "Buy Access to this Event" button and it should be pretty straightforward from there. If you just want to watch the event, make sure to click "Single Video Access" when you're in the process of buying it.

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Tyrone Spong Already Up and Walking

  • Published in Glory

Spong

Tyrone Spong is a crazy man. No, not in a bad way, but in the sense that he is just a tough dude. When Spong went down this weekend at GLORY 15 there was no screaming, no pained looks. Spong was stoic in the face of a possibly career-threatening injury. He handled it like a boss, it was incredible. Now it is Wednesday and Tyrone Spong has posted a video on Instagram of him up and walking.

Yes, he's a bit shaky and can't put his full weight on his leg just yet, but the man broke his shin on Saturday night and come Wednesday is walking without assistance. Crazy.

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UPDATE: Gokhan Saki and Others Possibly Also Leaving Golden Glory

  • Published in K-1

UPDATE 9/22: Saki tweets: "I haven't left golden glory at all. I'm still fighting for GG guys!!!" Sources still claiming that Saki and two others have left/are leaving, take that for what it is.
Gokhan Saki

UPDATE 21:04 Eastern Time: Bas Boon spoke with LiverKick.com, when prompted on Saki leaving, "Not that I am aware of..." Other sources still insist that Saki has left.

UPDATE 19:51 Eastern Time: Received independent confirmation from a source close to both Saki and Golden Glory that Saki is indeed out of Golden Glory. Glory has not finalized talks with K-1 yet and is apparently not working well with It's Showtime, so look carefully and put two and two together for other possible departures.

When it rains it pours. Earlier today it was announced that Alistair Overeem was leaving his home management and team of Golden Glory. Overeem has been a part of the Golden Glory umbrella for about twelve years now, since the formation of the team. Overeem has been described by Bas Boon as like "family" to him and the team, and Golden Glory trainer Martijn de Jong has been known to be very good friends with Alistair.

There has been a rumor that some of us have been sitting on for a while as it wasn't clear if it was ever going to come to fruition, but apparently it has. The latest rumor is that Gokhan Saki has also left team Golden Glory, but this has not been confirmed. LiverKick.com has reached out to Bas Boon for comment on this but have not heard back from him of yet. Generally speaking, we do not like to post rumors like this, but it has been a longstanding rumor, persisting for the better part of this year and with it coming out into the public's eye, now is as good of a time as any to talk about it.

Gokhan Saki had apparently been unhappy with Team Golden Glory for quite a while now, going as far back as last year's K-1 World Grand Prix. We had heard from multiple sources that Saki was aggressively looking for a way out of his contract with Golden Glory and looking to relocate and enter the world of MMA. While he could easily make a transition to MMA within the Golden Glory camp, he has been looking for new representation and for a new home to train, apparently sick of working with Golden Glory. This afternoon Percy Crawford of FightHype.com confirmed that he was indeed bringing Gokhan Saki stateside and helping him find a trainer. According to everyone's favorite MMA personality Bloodstain Lane, a "BIG TIME" boxing trainer.

The rumor doesn't stop with Gokhan Saki, though. There has been rumblings that Bas Boon's sick leave over the summer caused some massive internal problems at Golden Glory. Problems with Strikeforce and other big business deals that fell through had caused some friction between fighters, trainers and management with talks of some big names within the camp possibly leaving to pursue other options.

We'll give you more information when we have it.

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Gokhan Saki Off Jan. 30 Card?

  • Published in Kickboxing

Gokhan_SakiComing up on January 30 is the semi-final round of the United Glory World Series of Kickboxing and MMA - a pair of 8 man tournaments started last October and wrapping up this spring.  The current favorite to win the kickboxing side of the tournament is the #6 ranked Gokhan Saki, however the latest rumors indicate Saki may end up dropping out of the January 30 event.  Saki is still recovering from injuries suffered in his Grand Prix war with Daniel Ghita, and may not have time to get back in shape for this semi-final round.  If he does indeed drop out, Saki will likely be replaced by his Golden Glory stablemate Errol Zimmerman.  Zimmerman was originally scheduled to take part in the tournament, but had to drop out after being KO'd by Ghita at the K-1 Final 16.

The current semi-final matches have Saki vs. Wendel Roche and Brice Guidon vs. Mourad Bouzidi, with the winners meeting in the finals on April 21.  Losing Saki would be unfortunate, but in all honesty would make the tournament more interesting.  As it stands right now, Saki is the prohibitive favorite - Roche, Guidon, and Bouzidi are all talented fighters, but Saki stands head and shoulders above them.  Zimmerman on the other hand is at a career low point, and more on a level with the other semi-finalists.  He has already faced both Roche (with Zimmerman pulling off a close extra round decision win) and Bouzidi (in a fight that Bouzidi won via cut stoppage).  Both opponents would make interesting rematches for The Bonecrusher, while the underrated Guidon would be a tough challenge for Zimmerman.  Entering this tournament would help give us a clear view of just where Zimmerman stands right now, so while I wish Saki the best recovery, I won't complain about this switch if it happens.

On the MMA side, the semi-finals are currently listed as Siyar Bahadurzada vs. John Alessio and Roan Carneiro vs. Tommy Depret, however there is some shuffling over here also, as Alessio posted on twitter that he has been forced to drop out due to an injury suffered in training.  No word yet on a possible replacement. Again, winners here will meet in the finals on April 21.

The rest of the January 30 card includes a number of kickboxing and MMA super fights.  Two fights of note for kickboxing fans: Robin van Roosmalen will be in action, though his opponent is not yet determined; and Frederic Sinistra faces Filip Verlinden.

The entire card will be streamed at UnitedGlory.tv.  For details, including the complete line-up, be sure to visit UnitedGlory.nl.

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Daniel Ghita Discusses Desire to Fight Badr Hari and His Quest to KO Everyone

  • Published in K-1

GhitaWithout a doubt, the man of the hour right now in the world of Heavyweight Kickboxing is Daniel Ghita. There are other big names in the sport, like Semmy Schilt, Badr Hari, Gokhan Saki and Errol Zimmerman, but Daniel Ghita is making short work of everyone put in his path, and if the amount of opponents that pulled out of the fight with him from this past weekend's K-1 event is any indication, he's pretty well-feared. In a recent interview with a Romanian website, he discussed his recent fights, his future and talked about an interesting twist for his fight on June 30th, as Gokhan Saki was offered the fight with him, but demanded too much money. (Thanks to effin for the translation).

Until Roche, your adversaries had to be Paul Slowinski or Damian Garcia. Do you think they feared you?
Surely. Slowinski accepted the fight initially, but later he stopped answering his phone. The same happened with Garcia. Anyway, it wasn't beneficially for me to change 3 adversaries in a few days. You prepare a tactic before the fight, for a specific adversary.

You fight on 30th of june with Frederic Sinistra, in his home country, Belgium. How do you see the fight?
Sinistra is a star in Belgium, he even fought with Badr Hari. I hope to not have any problems and finish the fight by KO.

Have you set a personal target, to KO all of your adversaries?
Yes, because i know i can do it currently. I want to KO every single one of my adversaries this year.

We know you offered Gokhan Saki for a 30th of june fight, but he did not accepted.
And so it is. But Saki asked 3 times more money to fight me and the match failed to go through. If you have the heart of a lion, you fight with the best. He feared me, surely.

Check the rest of the interview out here.

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Gokhan Saki Confirms He's Following Badr Hari to Boxing

  • Published in K-1

SakiThere have been a lot of rumors about Gokhan Saki lately, with the biggest one that he was looking to move into another sport. At first it was MMA, as Saki had talked about moving into the MMA world and singled out Melvin Manhoef as a possible opponent, jesting that he'd armbar Manhoef, whose kryptonite has been the armbar throughout his MMA career. That talk quickly died down, though, and then the Boxing talk started. A recent interview with FightHype confirms that Saki is planning his big move to Heavyweight Boxing after his fight with Badr Hari in January. It isn't clear if he is leaving Kickboxing altogether or if he'll still take Kickboxing fights, but he does seem very serious about Boxing.

“It’s been difficult and uncertain how kickboxing will develop in the near future, as well as in a long run. Besides, I feel there isn’t a lot of competition for me anymore. I want to develop my skills and possibilities into new heights…Heavyweight boxing nowadays is very pitiful. The Klitschko brothers are very smart guys and very professional athletes. Nevertheless, both of them I will fight and they won’t make the 12th round. For me, it is unbelievable how both David Haye and Tomasz Adamek fought their fights. If one of these brothers would dare to fight me, I’ll get in the ring in no time. Boxing is really sad nowadays. One of the Klitschko brothers has fought in kickboxing. Watch him on YouTube. You will laugh your butt of. And think how long they would last against me? And in the boxing game, it will be the same thing…boxing requires adjustments in style, intensity, and the way you move. Adapting to this won’t be a problem, but needs time and with help from the best in the boxing industry, I’ll be able to accomplish this…I will destroy everybody. From a boxing perspective, I reflect on the Mike Tyson fights and how to make it a war with the tall guys. No kicks, no knees, no problem; who dares to fight me,” stated K-1 stand-out Gökhan Saki, who made it clear that he too is eager to make the transition from kickboxing to boxing after his rematch with Badr Hari in January. [source]
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Gokhan Saki Wants to Fight Melvin Manhoef in Strikeforce

  • Published in Kickboxing

That headline will read as downright odd to anybody who follows kickboxing. Gokhan Saki is known as being one of the most exciting high level kickboxers in the world, who has overcome the odds over and over again. He is one of the few fighters who is always undersized going into his bouts, but always puts his all into every fight, leaving nothing to question.

Well, according to Saki's Twitter account, he wants to fight in Strikeforce.

My arm is oke I hope to fight at glory and in the summer for strike force!

 

 

 

If you are like me, you don't even know what to read into this. It is good that his arm is doing better now, and is perfectly logical that he wishes to fight for Golden Glory's next show, which is coming up in a few months. The surprise is that he wants to fight in Strikeforce. This, coming off some rather substantial rumors that It's Showtime is looking to break into the United States market next year and that their relationship with Scott Coker is "healthy" makes one wonder if maybe there is a chance of seeing some of the best kickboxers in the world fight in the US, regardless of the banner in 2011.

Of course, the kicker was him taking a pot shot at rival Melvin Manhoef.

Yes I like to fight manhoef at mma fight I win for sure by submussion heheheeheh!!!

 

 

 

Gokhan by armbar, somebody book this.

UPDATE: We've received word that this wasn't just a one-off joke post by Saki, there is some weight to this. Saki is in talks with Strikeforce.

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Photo of the Day: Golden Glory Team Photo

  • Published in K-1

As if you ever had any doubt as to how awesome Golden Glory was, here is the Golden Glory team photograph to celebrate new years. After the break is another image of team Golden Glory all suited up.

 

 

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Reports of Heavyweight Kickboxing’s Demise Have Been Exaggerated, Greatly

  • Published in K-1

Badr HariThe news about Badr Hari, Gokhan Saki and Tyrone Spong’s imminent departures from the sport of Kickboxing behind to pursue other interests in the combat sports world has had the world talking about Heavyweight Kickboxing, but most of the discussion has not been complimentary, instead it has been gloom and doom. It is understandable to be upset over three big stars departing the world of Kickboxing; Saki and Hari for Boxing and Spong for MMA, because over the past few years they have been the golden standard of “young fighters” and shown a strong future for the sport. Yet the talk is that the well has gone dry, that there is no money in Kickboxing because of K-1’s financial distress and that elite talent will no longer look to Kickboxing as a viable career.

This is incredibly inaccurate and echoes a lot of the same sentiments that were heard about Boxing when MMA began to rise into prominence. Many were quick to declare Boxing as a dead sport or at least on a steady enough decline to where within a matter of years Mixed Martial Arts would completely over take it and no more young talent would turn to Boxing. Instead we’ve seen Boxing continue to march forward, new stars being developed and dominant fighters like Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, the Klitschko brothers and more steal headlines and attract more and more fans. MMA enthusiasts will argue that there are so few big Boxing PPVs that of course the big fights drawing in the million buys or more range makes sense, that UFC’s business model is to get consistent buys for lesser fights. Boxing fans would note that no UFC fighter outside of Brock Lesnar has the ability to draw mainstream interest or PPV buys like a Floyd Mayweather or a Manny Pacquiao can.

The truth is somewhere in the middle, where both sports are entirely different sports and can easily co-exist with there still being a wealth of talent in each sport. For Kickboxing the same is true. There is no doubt that as MMA grows it will attract some talented fighters who could have otherwise made a successful career in Kickboxing, Boxing or Muay Thai, but that does not mean that any sport will be run out of business or talent because of it. Each sport is distinctly different and some fighters find their calling and stick with it. Not every fighter has a passion for grappling like they do for stand up fighting, why would they jump to a sport like MMA where in the United States traditional wrestling dominates a lot of where the fights take place and how they are paced?

In Europe and Asia there is still strong support for Kickboxing and Muay Thai, with it built into the culture much like in the Midwestern United States strong wrestling programs are built into the culture and in urban areas of the United States youth Boxing programs are there. Children grow up learning how to Kickbox in the Netherlands, UK, Australia and many other countries, it is hard to imagine a sport like Kickboxing simply dying off because of a predominantly American sport like MMA is finally starting to create “millionaires” as Dana White has gone on record stating.

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