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LiverKick Podcast - Volume 11: Glory 2 Brussels and K-1 Preview

  • Published in LK Podcast

This weekend saw the GLORY World Series put on their Glory 2 Brussels event in Brussels, Belgium, headlined by Remy Bonjasky vs. Anderson "Braddock" Silva. The return bout of Bonjasky was a big deal, as was Gokhan Saki taking on Mourad Bouzidi and a slew of other big matches. Join Rian Scalia (@rianscalia) and myself (@LiverKickdotcom / @dvewlsh) as we run through the Glory World Series event as well as look at next weekend's K-1 Final 16 and the inherent lack of hype surrounding it.

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Remy Bonjasky Preparing for Return to the K-1 Ring

  • Published in K-1

Bonjasky Returns

Never say never in the fighting world, and in the case of Remy Bonjasky being retired, chalk that up to "not yet." Bonjasky had to bow out of action a few years ago due to an eye injury as well as a few others that have plagued him for the last few years of his career. It had looked like that was the end of the line for the three-time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion. There were talks of a possible retirement fight for the thirty-six year old "Flying Gentleman" but that he was looking for a cool million dollar payout for that last fight. With K-1 in dire straits over the last year and It's Showtime not having that kind of money at their disposal, it looked like we had heard the last of Bonjasky for a while.

There have been reports of a possible return for Remy Bonjasky, as well as a million dollar prize for this year's K-1 World Grand Prix that looks to be pulling Bonjasky back into action. After speaking with a few of our sources, we can confirm that Remy Bonjasky will be back in action this year with K-1, but that the rumored fight with Daniel Ghita is simply not happening yet. Bonjasky was offered the fight with Ghita, but instead turned it down citing it being too big of a challenge for a comeback fight. The date being tossed around circles in Europe right now is May 27th will be the comeback of K-1, and could possibly be when Bonjasky competes for K-1 next, although there is talk of him taking a warmup fight in April before jumping into the deep end of the pool.

I've always felt Bonjasky to be incredibly underrated by fans, mostly for the 2008 World Grand Prix finals where Badr Hari stomped on him and Bonjasky refused to keep fighting. I understand fans' frustration, but at the same time to discredit Bonjasky's incredible career because of that seems to be a bit crass. Bonjasky has three K-1 World Grand Prix wins under his belt, it is impossible to deny that the title of one of the all-time greats goes to him for that alone.

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Watch GLORY World Series LIVE on LiverKick Oct. 6th

  • Published in Glory

GloryThe next GLORY World Series event will go down this Saturday, October 6th live from Brussels, Belgium starting at 1PM Eastern time. The event will be streaming live on the GLORY home page for $15.00 USD, but why purchase the event from them when you can watch it live on LiverKick.com? You can stay right here on LiverKick to watch this event, just like the last one. The entire event will be streamed in full HD quality and purchasing the event through LiverKick helps keep your favorite Kickboxing news source online and bringing you the latest and greatest from the world of Kickboxing.

Click through for the video player and to watch an awesome preview of the event. Check out the entire fight card here.

 

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LiverKick.com Heavyweight Rankings

  • Published in Rankings

Heavyweight

1. Alistair Overeem
2. Peter Aerts
3. Semmy Schilt
4. Remy Bonjasky
5. Badr Hari
6. Gokhan Saki
7. Kyotaro
8. Ewerton Teixeira
9. Daniel Ghita
10. Hesdy Gerges
11. Tyrone Spong
12. Jerome Le Banner
13. Nathan Corbett
14. Errol Zimmerman
15. Ashwin Balrak
16. Ruslan Karaev
17. Zabit Samedov
18. Brice Guidon
19. Melvin Manhoef
20. Pavel Zhuravlev
21. Mourad Bouzidi
22. Anderson Silva
23. Rico Verhoeven
24. Mighty Mo
25. Raul Catinas

Welcome to the first edition of our LiverKick.com rankings.  These rankings are an attempt to break down the top 25 fighters in two different weight classes - Heavyweight, for fighters above the 77kg limit, and Middleweight, for fighters at the 70-72.5kg limit.  We'll be posting rankings on roughly a quarterly basis, with the inaugural Middleweight rankings out tomorrow.  Before we discuss, I want to stress that all rankings are inherently subjective, and are sure to ruffle a few feathers.  To be clear, our rankings are based on in-ring accomplishments and recent wins and loses, and as such, we hope they reflect where these fighters currently stand.

The biggest talking point here is likely the ascension of a new #1.  Alistair Overeem, with only 14 pro kickboxing fights to his credit, rises to the top spot by becoming the 8th man to win the K-1 Grand Prix crown.  Always a subject of controversy, many fans still view him as an outsider to kickboxing, and can't fathom The Reem as the #1 man.  But with wins over Saki, Aerts, Hari, Teixeira and Spong, plus the GP victory, it's hard to place him elsewhere.  Beyond that, there's also the question that if Overeem is not #1 - who is?

Also making a huge move up the ladder is Peter Aerts.  Aerts looked like his time near the top was at an end just a few months ago, but with a history making win over Semmy Schilt, Aerts moves into the #2 spot.  Glad to see the Dutch Lumberjack there one more time.

A few fighters are near the point of being removed from rankings due to inactivity - most notably #4 Remy Bonjasky.  Bonjasky has not fought in over a year, and may have one last fight in him before retirement.  If he doesn't announce another fight soon, it will be hard to keep him ranked.  It's a similar case with the often unreliable #16 Ruslan Karaev, who likewise has not competed since the 2009 GP Finals.  Finally, #15 Ashwin Balrak may be dropped out of the rankings, as his next few years could be spent behind bars after his 2010 cocaine bust.

Looking ahead, there are not a huge number of big heavyweight fights currently announced, which is always the case as the year ends.  A few cards are worth noting though.Alistair Overeem

At Dynamite!! on Dec. 31, #7 Kyotaro will face Gegard Mousasi under K-1 rules.  Also competing on that card are Overeem and #12 Jerome Le Banner, though both fights are under MMA rules.

January 30 marks the 2nd round in the Ultimate Glory world series event.  This round of 4 includes #6 Gokhan Saki v. Wendell Roche, and #18 Brice Guidon v. #21 Mourad Bouzidi, with the winners meeting at the April 21 finals.

Finally, It's Showtime heavyweight champion #10 Hesdy Gerges has a busy time ahead of him.  He faces #9 Daniel Ghita on March 6 in an absolute blockbuster of a fight, and Alexey Ignashov on July 3.  That Gerges v. Ghita bout could be the biggest heavyweight fight of the next 6 months, though it could see some competition from the It's Showtime/K-1 Qualifying Grand Prix event on May 21 - no names yet announced for that show, but expect some big fights.

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LiverKick.com Heavyweight Rankings

  • Published in Rankings

Heavyweight

1. Alistair Overeem
2. Peter Aerts
3. Semmy Schilt
4. Badr Hari
5. Gokhan Saki
6. Ewerton Teixeira
7. Kyotaro
8. Daniel Ghita
9. Hesdy Gerges
10. Tyrone Spong
11. Jerome Le Banner
12. Nathan Corbett
13. Errol Zimmerman
14. Ashwin Balrak
15. Ruslan Karaev
16. Zabit Samedov
17. Brice Guidon
18. Melvin Manhoef
19. Pavel Zhuravlev
20. Mourad Bouzidi
21. Anderson Silva
22. Rico Verhoeven
23. Mighty Mo
24. Raul Catinas
25. Alexey Ignashov

Welcome back to the LiverKick.com rankings. These rankings are an attempt to break down the top 25 fighters in two different weight classes - Heavyweight, for fighters above the 77kg limit, and Middleweight, for fighters at the 70-72.5kg 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.

February 2011

Since the January rankings, there has been very little movement in the heavyweight division.  The biggest HW fights were set to take place at the January 30 Ultimate Glory show, but once that was moved back to March, the HW division was essentially put on deep freeze for the time being.

There were, however, three points worth mentioning:

First, our last rankings were just before New Year's Eve, and so did not include Kyotaro's upset loss at the hands of Gegard Mousasi.  With that loss, Kyotaro drops one spot, being passed by Ewerton Teixeira (who holds a 2008 win over Kyotaro).

Second, Alexey Ignashov was in action, defeating Roman Kleibl, another fighter just outside the top 25.  While his performance wasn't great, recent wins over Kleibl and Freddy Kemayo are enough to sneak Ignashov in to the rankings at #25.  Ignashov will have his next big opportunity on July 23 when he challenges #9 Hesdy Gerges for the It's Showtime Heavyeight title.

Finally, the biggest news actually concerns out of the ring events.  While it pains me to do it, I've removed the formerly #4 ranked Remy Bonjasky from the rankings.  It's been well over a year since he last fought, and in that time we've heard that he's retiring soon, then silence.  There's still a chance we'll see him again, but it will likely just be a farewell fight, if it even happens at all.  I know Remy has his detractors, but he's in a rare air of K-1 greats, and it's a shame to see his career fade away in such a lackluster way.

As far as upcoming fights are concerned, we'll have to wait until March for much to happen - that's when we'll get both the Ultimate Glory semi-finals (#5 Gokhan Saki vs. Wendell Roche and #17 Brice Guidon vs. #20 Mourad Bouzidi), and the superb It's Showtime fight between #8 Daniel Ghita and #9 Hesdy Gerges.  Given K-1's troubles, it may be awhile before be get a HW fight to rival Gerges vs. Ghita.  That fight is set for It's Showtime Amsterdam on March 6, which will also feature #22 Rico Verhoeven vs. Jamal Benz on the undercard.

One other fight to note - on February 26 in Australia it will be Thor Hoopman vs. Paul Slowinski.  Although neither man is currently ranked, both are just outside the top 25, and a big win here could propel one of them into the rankings.

The #1 Ranked Alistair OvereemAnd finally, don't forget to keep your eyes on MMA promotion Strikeforce in the coming months.  That's where #1 Alistair Overeem will be found, as he faces Fabricio Werdum in the opening round of their Grand Prix tournament.  This weekend for Strikeforce, K-1 veteran Ray Sefo continues his MMA career against The Reem's big brother Valentijn Overeem, plus K-1 newcomer and MMA veteran Sergei Kharitonov meets Andrei Arlovski in the HW Grand Prix.

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Remy Bonjasky Deserves Better

  • Published in News

Bonjasky

Remy Bonjasky deserves better. He deserves better from the fans, he deserves better from his fellow fighters and he deserves better from GLORY.

Last night at GLORY 14 Zagreb we saw Remy Bonjasky’s career end in a fashion that would have made Harmonica from “Once Upon a Time in the West” feel uneasy. Remy Bonjasky’s career has cemented him as one of the all-time greats in Heavyweight Kickboxing, with three K-1 World Grand Prix victories under his belt. That puts him in the same category as fighters like Peter Aerts and Ernesto Hoost and Sem Schilt, as multi-time K-1 World Grand Prix champions who have nothing left to prove to the world. He belongs in the same breath as those fighters, yet it feels like he’s not taken as seriously by many.

Peter Aerts had a huge retirement ceremony at GLORY 13, with lots of fanfare and respect thrown his way, while Remy Bonjasky’s retirement was far more subdued, with Remy standing in the ring after his fight with Cro Cop being assailed by boos from the Zagreb crowd. There was no ceremony, no balloons, no post-fight interview on the broadcast, and there was no confetti, just a chorus of boos both in the arena and around the world from fans of Mirko Cro Cop who felt that Cro Cop was robbed. All of this while a three-time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion stood in the ring for the last time with tears in his eyes.

This wouldn’t be the first time in Remy Bonjasky’s career that things wouldn’t go his way, in fact, it would be one of many incidents where things went horribly wrong for the Flying Dutchman. This is the same Remy Bonjasky that Saduharu Tanikawa, Stefan Leko and Badr Hari had dubbed as an “actor” in the ring. In the fight with Leko in 2007 there were multiple low blows delivered to Remy Bonjasky, who then took time to recover, leading to Leko and Tanikawa believing that he was faking his injury in the ring and that he wasn’t good for K-1. Then came 2008 where Badr Hari became frustrated in the K-1 World Grand Prix Finals, pushed Bonjasky over and stomped him on the head, leading to a disqualification in the biggest fight of the year.

Bonjasky would never live that moment down, which sounds ridiculous, Bonjasky had done nothing wrong. He was an actor for taking that DQ win, he was a fraud and he was afraid of Badr Hari. His family received multiple death threats after the incident in K-1 from both fans and alleged friends of Badr Hari. After running into Semmy Schilt in the K-1 World Grand Prix 2009 Bonjasky was forced into retirement by a recurring eye injury, a detached retina, that left his vision in question. With limited peripheral vision it would be difficult for Bonjasky to be able to participate in such a tough sport as Kickboxing, making it hard to see strikes coming at him, but he still came back. He still fought with limited vision.

For years he had discussed wanting to have a retirement fight, one last fight to go out on, but with Kickboxing in the state that it was, no one was willing to give Bonjasky a big payday for his retirement, as they felt his retirement was simply not worth the attention or the budget, that fans wouldn’t care. Things started to turn around when GLORY started booking events and that they wanted the Flying Gentleman to help bolster their Heavyweight division, seeing the addition of Bonjasky as instant-credibility. Things were alright for Bonjasky in the beginning, but it was clear that things had changed in those years off.

After last night’s win over Mirko Cro Cop Remy Bonjasky will walk away from GLORY with a record of 3-3, his storied career ending with a whimper, not a bang. Regardless of who you thought won between Cro Cop and Bonjasky, isn’t it safe to say that it is unfair to Bonjasky to boo him out of the arena for his last fight? This was known to be Bonjasky’s retirement fight for a while, why was it kept under wraps like that? Where was the big ceremony for Bonjasky? Why did he have to fight Mirko in his last fight in Mirko’s home town?

Remy Bonjasky has worked hard to earn the respect of the Kickboxing world, but it seems like it never came, even in his last fight. I hope that the years remember Remy Bonjasky for what he was; a dynamic fighter with great defenses, better kicks and the ability to feel a fighter out and to catch them off guard with a flying knee or kick from out of nowhere. He was one of the few men who would not only win the K-1 World Grand Prix once, but to win it multiple times and he has wins over some of the toughest Heavyweight Kickboxers to ever walk this earth. Last night felt like the Cro Cop show when it didn’t need to be just about Cro Cop.

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Bonjasky: "It's a small chance I will return"

  • Published in Kickboxing

Remy BonjaskyFor over a year now we've been hearing news of the possible retirement of Remy Bonjasky.  The 3 time K-1 Grand Prix champion started talking retirement in early 2010, citing a recurring eye injury that has required multiple surgeries and threatens his long-term vision.  He's been on the sidelines for well over a year now, having not fought since the 2009 GP, instead taking jobs as a host for It's Showtime events, a celebrity ice skater, and running his gym.

This past weekend, Kombat.ro caught up with Bonjasky at an event and asked him about his future plans.  For fans of The Flying Dutchman, the news was not good:

"It's a small chance I will return to the ring... maybe, you never know.  If the money's right, I'll be there."

Earlier this year, It's Showtime's Simon Rutz told us that he tried to set up a retirement fight for Bonjasky last year, but the money Remy asked for was too high. Since It's Showtime isn't willing to pay, and given K-1's financial troubles, I think we've likely seen the end of the line for Bonjasky.  It's a shame that he may go out without one final fight, as his last was an unimpressive, largely forgotten showing against Semmy Schilt.  Bonjasky has a lot of detractors, but he's one of K-1's all time greats, and deserves a bigger farewell.

Also of note - Bonjasky ends the interview with one more dig at his rival Badr Hari.  The interviewer asks Remy about Bogdan Stoica, who defeated Bonjasky's student at the event, saying Ray Sefo and Mighty Mo called Stoica the next Badr Hari.  Remy's response: "I hope not... he doesn't respect the rules, and I hope this guy will respect the rules."

Watch the full interview here.

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The GLORY 13 Card is Super Stacked So Far

  • Published in Glory

Glory

My god, the news about GLORY 13 just keeps on flowing, which might be taking some attention away from GLORY 12, but hey, news is news. Today GLORY updated their site with at least part of the GLORY 13 Tokyo card and man this one looks amazing. I guess my only real qualms with this is that two of the bigger fights are on the Super Fight Series, which means probably not airing on the broadcast and we'll have to wait a few weeks to view them.

I really don't know how I feel about waiting for Peter Aerts vs. Rico Verhoeven and Remy Bonjasky vs. Anderson Silva.

 

  • GLORY 13
  • Daniel Ghita vs. Errol Zimmerman
  • Dustin Jacoby vs. Makoto Uehara
  • GLORY 13 Welterweight Tournament
  • Nieky Holzken vs. Marc de Bonte
  • Joseph Valtellini vs. Karapet Karapetyan
  • Reserve Fight
  • Karim Ghajji vs. Alexander Stetsurenko
  • GLORY 13 Super Fight Series
  • Peter Aerts vs. Rico Verhoeven
  • Remy Bonjasky vs. Anderson "Braddock" Silva

 

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Michael Schiavello Discusses the Ten Best Kicks

  • Published in K-1

Our good friend and combat sports veteran announcer Michael Schiavello also happens to be one of the better combat sports writers out there when he wants to be, which should make a lot of people take notice. Schiavello does this in his free time, in between jetsetting all over the world and calling nearly every awesome combat sports show not under the Zuffa banner in the world. What I am saying is, take note, MMA writers.

Schiavello take a look at ten of the best kicks outside of MMA, which he rightfully so, has labeled the "Showtime Kick" by Anthony Pettis at WEC's finale event as the best MMA kick. He runs the gambit, from Muay Thai strikers like Enriko Kehl and Saenchai to kickboxing legends like Andy Hug and Remy Bonjasky, Schiavello covers it all.

One of my favorites that he covers is Andy Hug's Tornado kick to the leg of Mike Bernardo in 1996.

What makes Hug’s variation so special is that he threw the kick to Bernardo’s thigh, rather than delivering, as is usual, to the opponent’s midsection. No sooner had the kick been thrown did it become an international sensation and everyone in the world began attempting spinning back kicks to the thigh (just as we’ll no doubt see many Pettis “Showtime Kick” clones).  To this day, however, in my many years of watching and commentating combat sports, I have never seen another fighter execute a spinning back kick to the thigh for a knockout. Take into consideration that Hug performed this technique against the more highly-fancied Bernardo in the final of the biggest martial arts competition on Earth and you can appreciate the complete spectacle of this technique.

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Rumors of Igor Jurkovic vs. Remy Bonjasky for GLORY in Japan this Summer

  • Published in Kickboxing

Bonjasky

How many retired fighters have their possible return match rumored about, debated over and demanded as much as Remy Bonjasky? Not many that I can think of. Sure, some MMA sites were reporting that Cro Cop's bout against Ray Sefo was his retirement fight and that his fight for K-1 a few weeks ago was a "return" match, but if you read LiverKick, you know better. Remy Bonjasky on the other hand, has been rumored to come back for just as long as he has been retired. Word started circulating right after his retirement that he wanted $1 million for a retirement fight, but not against Badr Hari, and we don't blame him for that. Then as K-1 was making its return and Glory was beginning to ramp up, there were rumors of him signing for both promotions. In fact, both sides were seemingly certain at one point, with Glory even mentioning Remy Bonjasky on their website and having a profile for him before removing it shortly thereafter.

The rumor now is two-fold. The first part of the rumor is that GLORY is looking to run in Japan this August. If so that will be huge, as K-1 has yet to make any plans for Japan, and outside of announcing Masato as an executive producer and seemingly having a crew of Japanese people behind the scenes, they do not have their sights set on running shows on Japanese soil -- yet. GLORY on the other hand is going ahead full force with their plans, even if their original plan of having the K-1 name fell through. After the amazing GLORY World Series show on May 26th it is safe to assume that GLORY knows how to put on a show when the world is watching. The other rumor coming out is that GLORY will run the Ukraine in September, a show which originally slated for mid-summer, but has been pushed back.

Back to Bonjasky, the big rumor is that he is slated to return to action in Japan for GLORY this summer against Igor Jurkovic. It would surely be an interesting fight for him to return to, and the possible addition of Bonjasky to the GLORY World Series tournament field would add a whole new air of legitimacy to it, as he is yet another multi-time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, with three wins under his belt, marking him as one of the most elite Heavyweight Kickboxers ever. In a tournament field with four time champion Semmy Schilt, Gokhan Saki, Errol Zimmerman, Brice Guidon and more, this would make the Heavyweight tournament tip in favor of GLORY over K-1, who would only really have Badr Hari, Daniel Ghita, Sergei Laschenko and Hesdy Gerges to tip their scales.

We've reached out to GLORY officials for confirmation on this, but until we hear more, chalk it up as a very interesting rumor. [source]

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