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K-1 News and Notes, Fueled by Tanikawa and K-1's New Investors/Buyers

  • Published in K-1

Watch the above video and note some of the key words that Tanikawa uses and that he does seem dead set that not only will K-1 continue on, but that K-1 will be fine. While in the past I've felt that those were empty words, I can confirm now that things are indeed looking up. The PUJI deal has actually yielded some capital for K-1 and there are some investors (or possibly even buyers) who are serious about K-1 continuing and becoming a worldwide force. The show in China that Tanikawa mentions is currently airmarked for October and does indeed seem like a reality as opposed to "Japanese Grandstanding" that we hear about.

LiverKick.com has been made aware of who some of the investors are, and confirmed through a number of sources the accuracy of the information, but will continue to keep it under wraps until the deals are finalized on all sides and the exchange of money and power have been made. What we can say is that the companies investing in K-1 are very serious about kickboxing and K-1 and have the money to make sure there are not as many hurdles. It also means that K-1's typical Japan-centric approach will be compromised as it is not a viable business model, nor is it one these new investors would support. K-1 putting on one show is a big deal, as will be paying fighters who are owed money. For all the talk of Japanese television deals, while those will be important for K-1, they will no longer be the driving force of revenue and motivation like they once were if these deals go according to plan.

K-1 is lucky that they made themselves the undeniable brand in kickboxing, mainly by establishing a set of rules that were universally adopted and by running worldwide tournaments on a yearly basis to determine who the best are. Many promotions are able to book some of the top talent from K-1, but it seems like no one can pull in all of the exact names (granted, some like It's Showtime have their own pool of talent and exclude some headscratchers of names like Teixeira and Jaideep) and pit them against each other successfully.

A K-1 looking to take a global scale seriously is a K-1 that will have multiple revenue streams and actually build up its name internationally, with a focus on Japan as a homebase but not its only base there is a greater chance for the company to succeed and prosper. Expect big things to come from K-1 if things go according to plan.

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Iron Mike Zambidis Announces Participation in K-1 World MAX Final 16

  • Published in K-1

ZambidisPart of the fun of the upcoming weeks will be watching, one-by-one, to see which fighter picks what side in the ongoing battle between K-1 and GLORY. Yesterday we announced that former World MAX Champion Albert Kraus has chosen to sign with GLORY Sports International, making him the second-biggest name in their tournament, and today Iron Mike Zambidis made an announcement on his official Facebook page saying that he will be participating in the K-1 World MAX Final 16 on May 27th in Madrid, Spain.

Zambidis might be one of the fighters who has never won a K-1 World MAX Championship, but in 2010 the world saw a resurgence of sorts that culminated in a loss to Giorgio Petrosyan in the World MAX semi-finals, but continued his tear through the world in 2011 in a world without K-1. Zambidis went 4-2 in 2011, with a loss to John Wayne Parr as well as a controversial loss to Batu Khasikov, losing his W5 title which he had won from Dzabar Askerov earlier on in the year in a four-man Grand Prix.

This leaves the projected World MAX field featuring names like; Zambidis, Chahid, Andy Souwer, Gago Drago, Artur Kyshenko, Harut Grigorian, Yasuhiro Kido, Yuji Nashiro, Su Hwan Lee, Abraham Roqueni, Longern Samui Pro (rumored) and Chris Ngimbi. One could argue that so far it is a better field than the field that GLORY has produced, but both still have open spots for fighters and there are still a few x-factors in the wild.

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K-1 World MAX Final Gets New October Date

  • Published in K-1

Legendary kickboxing promotion K-1 has announced a new date for their K-1 World MAX Final event in Pattaya, Thailand. Originally scheduled for July, K-1 ran into issues due to the recent political coup in Thailand. Part of the issue was being a foreign promoter looking to enter into a climate that is not usually friendly to outside promoters during a period of turmoil and so many internal changes. K-1 has worked with the local Thai government to acquire the proper licensing and the K-1 World MAX Finals will happen on October 4th, 2014 in Pattaya, Thailand.

The event will feature the K-1 World MAX Finals, crowning a new champion in their 70kg MAX division between Buakaw Banchamek and Enriko Kehl.

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Weekend Results: Thai Fight and MAX Muay Thai

  • Published in Asia

MAX Muay Thai

Man, I picked a pretty packed weekend to go on vacation, didn't I? Then again, most of the weekends are packed and I've been working 60 hour weeks for the past few months, so maybe any weekend would do in that case, right? I kind of agree, just because I needed to not do any work for an extended period of time or else I was fearing that I'd be seeing my walls made out of gold bricks because the Federal Reserve is a conspiracy and driving axes through doors while my girlfriend looks not-so-pleased.

So this weekend there were two bigger events, Thai Fight and MAX Muay Thai, both of the Muay Thai persuasion and both featuring some solid names and solid fights. Thai Fight was the standard Thai Fight fare of bigger name Thais against some okay competition which sees the Thais walk away with some cool looking wins and everyone goes home happy.

MAX Muay Thai gave a bit more by the way of competitive fights to fans, including a one night, four man tournament. There were some legitimately interesting bouts on the card such as Aikpracha against Warren Stevelmans as well as Sitthichai against Juri Jehl and already fans went home with a bit of a better feeling than they did from the Thai Fight card, or, well, at least we all did.

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New Year's Eve Roundup: Akebono vs. Sapp Rematch, KID/Masato Off and More

  • Published in Kickboxing

For the first time in a while it feels like there is a lot of movement in Japan when it comes to New Year's Eve. Inoki will be holding his annual Inoki Bom Ba Ye event, Nobuyuki Sakikabara has returned with RIZIN FF and there has been talk of TBS's Kyokugen airing a special exhibition bout between KID Yamamoto and MASATO.

The KID Yamamoto vs. Masato bout was lining up to be a bit of a strange one. Kyokugen is not a fight show, in fact, it's just a New Year's Eve variety show, but TBS, remembering the crazy ratings that they got from KID vs. Masato before, were dedicated to trying to rekindle some sort of spark with a rematch of sorts. Of sorts. The bout was originally planned to be an exhibition bout between the two men, most likely happening in a television studio and not in an arena. Oh yeah, and it was scheduled to be one round. There was never going to be a real fight because Yamamoto is under contract to the UFC. But none of that matters now as it looks like the fight is in danger due to KID Yamamoto's chest tattoo. Over the past few years Yamamoto has gone deeper into the realm of tattoos and now has a giant bird and snake on his torso and this is a big deal in Japan. I'm not sure that I get it, either, just make him wear a rash guard. For what it's worth the fight is still listed on TBS's official site.

IGF Inoki Bom Ba Ye will the the standard issue Inoki event that mixes MMA fights with professional wrestling and hopefully he bring in some bigger name kickboxers for pro wrestling like he has in the past. Not that the wrestling is ever good, just that it's a pretty cool spectacle is all. There are currently only two matches on the card thus far, one of which is a pro wrestling match, the other is Shinya Aoki against former K-1 kickboxer Montonha Silva. 

As for RIZIN, man, who even knows. There is so much going on with RIZIN right now and most of it is just crazy. Fedor Emelianenko was originally to fight Jaideep Singh and then we heard that they changed that because fans were upset, then we heard that Jaideep was out of shape anyway, so he couldn't fight. Then it was Tsuyoshi Kosakha, but now TK is fighting someone else instead. 

On the 29th RIZIN will hold an event that supposedly is Sakuraba's retirement (yeah, right). Sakuraba is scheduled to face Shinya Aoki. Tsuyoki Kosakha is scheduled to fight James "The Colossus" Thompson, AJ Matthews against Anatoly Tokov and Yuki Motoya vs. Nam Jin Jo.

The 31st is the big one, though. That is the event that is featuring Fedor Emelianenko against a mysterious question mark, Estonian sumo wrestler Kaido Hoovelson will step into the ring against another set of question marks as well, hoping to usher in a new era of sumo superstardom not seen since Akebono. BJJ dynamo Gabi Garcia makes her MMA debut against professional wrestler Lei'd Tapa and RENA from Shootboxing is scheduled to fight Jleana Valentino.

Just announced today was the rematch to end all rematches in Bob Sapp vs. Akebono. Originally they met at K-1 PREMIUM 2003 Dynamite!! in a bout that saw Sapp take the win during his rise to prominence in Japan. Now, many years later, both men will meet again. This time not in K-1 rules, but instead MMA rules. Yikes.

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More Changes to It's Showtime 57&58 on June 30th

IS

The It's Showtime card on June 30th has been a victim to the summer injury bug that MMA fans know all too well, especially Canadian UFC fans looking forward to UFC 149 (like Rian Scalia). A number of fighters on the It's Showtime event have had to drop out due to injuries or recent knockouts and being unable to receive medical clearance to fight. Then there is the case of Jerome Le Banner, who has been removed from the event completely due to some contractual situations, rumored to be his exclusive contract with Glory Sports International.

Rustemi Kreshnik will be filling in for Le Banner against Mourad Bouzidi, in a rematch where Bouzidi got the better of Kreshnik last time. We've already reported that Daniel Ghita's new opponent is Dzevad Poturak, in another series of unfortunate replacements for Ghita over the past few months. They have met twice before, with Poturak getting the better of a younger Ghita years ago, but many are sure that Poturak will not have that same luck again. Harut Grigorian was unable to receive medical clearance to fight, so he will be replaced by Hafid el Boustati against Robin van Roosmalen.

You can see the rest of the finalized card here.

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Yasuhiro Kido: "I Received Fight Money From K-1 Global"

  • Published in K-1

KidoThe rumor mill has been turning about K-1 Global in the past few days, and instead of the rumors coming from upset fighters and managers like it was in the past, this time it was from some of the more powerful titans of the world of kickboxing. K-1 Global forged a partnership with It's Showtime's Simon Rutz, with Rutz and It's Showtime's team helping to promote, produce and essentially handle the entire event in Madrid. According to Rutz, K-1 Global has neglected to pay for the event or the fighters, which has led to a historic event of Glory Sports International and It's Showtime coming to an agreement, with It's Showtime being purchased by GSI and becoming a part of the Glory family.

It appears that this could just be attributed to fighters associated with Simon Rutz and It's Showtime, although we have yet to hear much yet. Yasuhiro Kido aparently spoke out about his situation on his twitter, and he says that he was paid.

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LiverKick Throwback: Kohi vs. Nitta K-1 World MAX Japan Finals 2005

  • Published in News

The world of kickboxing has a rich history to fall back upon so we here at LiverKick figure, why not? Why not give a glimpse into some of the fights from the past that have made up this wonderful sport and tie it all in to the present. The kids on the Instagram and Twitter like to call Thursdays "Throwback Thursdays," I'm just going to say that this is a LiverKick Throwback.

Today we go back to 2005, we go back to a time when Japan was the undoubted home of kickboxing and K-1 was king. K-1's MAX division was on fire and K-1 had a legitimate star in Masato. The past few weeks I've been thinking about how much I miss the days when Japan was the epicenter for the sport of kickboxing and the best way to sum up what is missing is to look at the K-1 MAX Japan tournaments. Masato was K-1's MAX star, but there were a host of other Japanese fighters who got a big push from K-1 to be that big star. There was Kozo Takeda, Taishin Kohiruimaki, Yuya Yamamoto, Yuichiro Nagashima, Yasuhiro Kido and Yoshihiro Sato.

Each fighter had varying results, some showed more promise than others, while you had guys like Kozo Takeda who just went down swinging as a cult hero that nobody had huge expectations for in the end. If there was ever one guy who had that chance, it was Taishin (also known as Takayuki) Kohiruimaki. Kohi won the K-1 World MAX Japan tournament a whopping three times, in 2004, 2005 and 2009, but still failed to really catch on with Japanese fans. In fact, he was often-times booed by fans. 

Kohi had the look, the ability, but his personality and fighting style just weren't up to snuff when compared to Masato. Masato was exciting, personable and charismatic, while Kohi fit more into the mold of a Remy Bonjasky in the ring and he wasn't that great of an interview or public figure. 

All of this being said, Kohi was still an awesome fighter and while he may have "choked" a bit whenever he got to the big stage, he really was one of the kings of the MAX Japan tournaments. What better way to highlight that than his awesome, awesome fight against Akeomi Nitta in the K-1 World MAX Japan 2005 Finals?

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K-1 Japan Announces 70kg Tournament

  • Published in K-1

Don't call it K-1 MAX, because K-1 Japan has an upcoming 70kg tournament and it's being called Super Welterweight. Oh yeah, and it's a pretty damned awesome tournament as well. Scheduled for June 18th in the Saitama Super Arena's smaller hall, featuring some recognizable names from the world of 70kg kickboxing with, of course, the K-1 Japan flair.

K-1 Japan has found a niche for themselves with the lighter (sub-70kg) weight classes of late, but their 70kg division has been just as good. That's tough to imagine, especially with 70kg being one of the most competitive and talent-filled in the world. The tournament has been broken down like this thus far; 

Yasuhiro Kido vs Jordan Watson

Hirono Yu vs Sanny Dahlbeck

Hiroki Nakajima vs Chingiz Allazov

Hinata Watanabe vs Jordann Pikeur

Recognizable names from both Japan and internationally, with every fight really awesome in its own way. Yasuhiro Kido against Jordan Watson should be a great fight, Yu against Dahlbeck should be another chance for Dahlbeck to prove to the world that GLORY let him go far too soon, Nakajima against Allazov is perhaps the best fight in the tournament and the return of HINATA to K-1 against the tough Jordann Pikeur.

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