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Dave Walsh

Dave Walsh

Dave Walsh has been covering MMA and Kickboxing since 2007 before changing his focus solely to Kickboxing in 2009, launching what was the only English-language site dedicated to giving Kickboxing similar coverage to what MMA receives. He was the co-founder of HeadKickLegend and now LiverKick. He resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he works as a writer of all trades.

His second novel, Terminus Cycle, is available now via Kindle and Paperback.

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VIDEO: Mike Zambidis Victorious Against Steve Moxon in Retirement Bout

Well damn. Sometimes the good comes with the bad. This weekend was the retirement of one of the all-time greats in the sport of kickboxing in Iron Mike Zambidis. Zambidis had endeared himself to fans all across the world with his explosive and exciting fighting style and never-say-die attitude, but it was time for him to hang up the gloves. Zambidis had to make the tough decision but in pure Mike Zambidis fashion he decided to go out on his own terms. Most fighters would have fought in front of their hometown against someone that would be a pushover to create a memorable last victory. Zambidis is not that guy. 

Oh no, Mike Zambidis wanted to fight a top-ranked Steve Moxon who had laid out a challenge to him last year. It was a title vs. title affair and it was Mike Zambidis's retirement. How did it go? Well, Zambidis goes out with a huge victory and you can watch the fight here.

Joe Schilling Hit With 90 Day Suspension After Bellator Loss

If you were looking forward to seeing Joe Schilling in the ring wearing bigger gloves at the Bellator/GLORY Dynamite event in September it looks like you are out of luck. On Friday evening he competed within the Bellator cage against a Japanese karateka Hisaki Kato. Kato, who was a virtual unknown to most was thought to be simply a guy being fed to Schilling but he has an extensive history of competing within the world of karate and had racked up four knockouts for four wins in his MMA career prior in Japan. Needless to say the guy is no can and Schilling found out the hard way just how good he was, Kato scoring a brutal knockout over Schilling in the second round.

Schilling was originally scheduled for the September 19th Dynamite event on Spike TV but it came out today that the Kansas commission has handed out a 90-day medical suspension for Schilling, which takes him to the end of September before he's allowed contact. Clearly that means he won't be able to compete on the Dynamite card, which is a bummer. For now we still know that Paul Daley is scheduled to participate on the Dynamite card and he's been calling out recent-Bellator signee Josh Koscheck. I'm not sure that I want to see Kos's brain get scrambled in a kickboxing ring, but that could be interesting. 

Scott Coker also made mention of wanting to have a GLORY title fight on the card, so there is hope yet. 

GLORY Announces Hayabusa as Official Glove Provider

There has been a lot of movement on the sports apparel and gear front over the last few months in the world of combat sports after the UFC struck an exclusive arrangement with Reebok that prevented other companies from having their usual pull inside of the octagon. From there we saw TapouT get partially bought out by the WWE and will be launching a co-branded initiative in 2016, Venum is sponsoring a kickboxing series in Europe called Venum World Series and now gear company Hayabusa will be providing GLORY with gloves for the next three years.

This is a switch from Leone, which provided gloves in the past for GLORY. Starting at GLORY 23 on August 7th Hayabusa's new World Class Competition Gloves will be used by GLORY competitors. The gloves are set to be unveiled during GLORY 23's fight week.

GLORY 23 Card Details Begin to Emerge

GLORY 23 Las Vegas is GLORY's next big event happening on Spike TV and we'll see a new Welterweight Champion crowned on this night. Unfortunately due to ongoing effects from a concussion the champion Joseph Valtellini was forced to vacate the title and now Nieky Holzken will get his chance at the title against a man that he defeated just a few months prior in the ever-evolving Raymond Daniels. Daniels holds a rare knockdown over Holzken from their last fight and has been evolving and growing as a fighter steadily, making the rematch between the two in a five-round affair an interesting spectacle for both old and new fans.

The co-main event of the show has been announced as American Heavyweight hopeful Xavier Vigney taking on one of his biggest challenges to date in the UK's Daniel Sam. Sam serves as a gatekeeper to the realm of the international elite for Vigney and while a win over Sam won't thrust him into the top ten, it will help to legitimize his ascending the ranks and prove that he's ready to take a big step up in competition. 

The show will also feature a Middleweight Qualifying tournament and thus far we only have two names associated with it, which are Casey Greene on one side of the bracket and Dustin Jacoby on the other. We aren't exactly holding out hope for this tournament involving many bigger names, but it should serve the same purpose that the recent Heavyweight Qualifying tournament did, at least.

Perhaps one of the best fights on the card is on the SuperFight Series right now, which is Murthel Groenhart vs. Chad Sugden. 

Enfusion Releases the Rest of Their 2015 Schedule

In the sport of kickboxing it is difficult to not appreciate it when a promotion thinks ahead to the future, which is what makes Enfusion Live a delight at times. Enfusion Live have released the remainder of their 2015 schedule and it's just nice to see a road map being released by a promotion that takes a lot of the guesswork out of it for fans. The next Enfusion event, Enfusion Live #30 takes place in Dublin on July 11th, from there this is what 2015 looks like;

#31 Malaga, Spain 19.09.2015

#32 Gent, Belgium 10.10.2015

#33 Martigny, Switzerland 07.11.2015

#34 Groningen, The Netherlands 21.11.2015

#35 A Christmas Edition (to be announced)

Enfusion Live #31 will also include fights to determine who moves on to the quarterfinals of their big 70kg tournament next year, the names participating in this are Christopher Mena, Adam Martins, Phillipe Salmon and Beau Superpro Samui. Their 70kg title has been declared vacant and they will be looking for a new champion. They will also look to crown a 72.5kg champion in the near future, with that being one of their new weight classes.

They've promised bigger and better shows in 2016 and have also decided a slight overhaul of their rules starting on the Spain card, which will see changes to how throws are counted. 

Exclusive Interview with Mike Zambidis Prior to June 27th Retirement Bout

On June 27th in Greece the K-1 legend that is Mike Zambidis will step into the ring one last time in his retirement fight. The 34-year old fighter will cap off a long and storied career by fighting one of the world's toughest Lightweights in Steve Moxon. In a way, Zambidis fighting Moxon for his retirement fight is a very Zambidis thing to do; he didn't have to fight someone as tough and relevant as Moxon. Zambidis is going out on his own terms, which is rare for many fighters, it also meant that he could choose someone that he could just easily plow through for a memorable knockout for his retirement. Instead Zambidis chose a challenge.

I think when we all look back on Mike Zambidis it should be that fighting spirit that we all remember. We had a chance to talk to Zambidis prior to his big fight this coming weekend and a reflecting Zambidis had a lot to say about his career, his fans and even his most memorable fights. Mike Zambidis fights Steve Moxon on June 27th in Athens, Greece under the Iron Challenge banner.

LK: First of all, thank you for all of the great memories in the ring. I'm not sure that there are many fighters out there as entertaining and full of heart like you. 

MZ: Thank you very much for your kindness.  It is very important for an athlete to be respected by the audience and especially by the insiders of his field with such great experience.

LK: After a successful 15-plus-year career you are retiring, what was the decision making process like for this? What finally pushed you to move into retirement?

MZ: I am involved in kick boxing for 24 years and in times that kick boxing was not popular in my country but I dreamed and looked up with my head down and after huge sacrifices and endless hours of training, I have achieved 178 fights, 155 wins and 87 Kos. I had the honor to compete during the golden years of kick boxing in major events and with the best athletes worldwide.

After all this wonderful and demanding journey , I feel enormous gratitude that I manage to finish my career healthy and in high competitive level. Now, I feel full inside so as to go on with the next chapters of my life. 

LK: How important is it for you to be able to retire in front of your friends, family and fans in Greece?

MZ: There is nothing better than to give my last battle in Greece, although there have been ​​several interesting proposals by others countries, but my decision was the only way.

The Greeks support me in many ways, either daily out on the street, on social media, or filling each stadium where my battles are organised and transfer their energy, which is very valuable for me.

LK: Reflecting back on your career, what was your favorite fight?

MZ: I have many favorite fights … But I will pick the first that came to my mind.  It was the first time I stepped my foot in Japan and my first battle there with the champion of K-1 in 2003. For a long time, I was dreaming to participate in K-1. I won the eight-fold in the K -1 Oceania Australia and John Wein Parr in the finals and so I found myself opposite to the Dutch Albert Kraus.  In the beginning of the second round, I managed to knock him out, diving in the deep sea of K-1. A shocking experience for a young unknown Greek athlete back then.

LK: What made you select Steve Moxon as a final opponent? Moxon is an incredibly tough, top-ranked opponent. Is this just the Mike Zambidis warrior spirit that wouldn't accept an easy fight for his retirement?

MZ: I respect Steve Moxon and he has provoked me many times in the past. As he said in the past, I was his idol due to the similar fighting style and I think that it is very interesting for the audience to see. The experts of martial arts predict a spectacular battle between two strong athletes that are chasing the knock out.  As you said, I could accept an easy fight at this moment but I love challenges a lot. I am not just an athlete, I am a warrior and I learned in my life to fight, aiming high. This is a challenge I would like to take, as I think it will be a Titans’ battle.

LK: What do you think that your legacy will be on the sport after you retire?

MZ: The fights I have given in K-1, my wins over the world’s greatest champions of kick boxing, my «iron» fists and my fighting style, I think will be my legacy. Also, the fact that I was a Greek warrior fighting alone in the biggest kick boxing events worldwide, I think is going to be a nice thing to remember about me.

LK: What kind of plans do you have for your retirement? Do you plan on working with fighters and training them, running events, running a business or are you just planning to relax?

MZ: In Greece I own two fighting clubs where I give kick boxing lessons, so I will continue to run them giving more time and train athletes. In parallel,  I plan to offer kids seminars for nutritional education, sports education, self-defense, in order to strengthen their self-confidence and any other important experience I can offer.

LK: Is there a fighter out there that you believe could help the Mike Zambidis legacy continue on, or do you think that you are retiring as a one-of-a-kind talent?

MZ: I believe that every athlete is unique; no one can be the same with the other. Of course nowadays, there are many good athletes in the world who can offer many things to kick boxing and achieve great things. On the other hand, I believe that the Golden Era of kick-boxing has ended and strong teams like the ones gathered in Japan or in heavyweights like Peter Aerts, Ernesto Hust, Le Banner, Bernado, Loginidis, Andy Hug and in K-1 max 70 kg with Masato, Kraus, Kyshenko, Drago, Buakaw, Souwer and many others won’ t exist again for 2 reasons: Firstly, it is rare to have good fighters in their best physical condition to compete in the same event and secondly the global economic crisis which dissolves dreams and shrinks everything. 

LK: Are there any regrets from your career, or are you satisfied with your accomplishments?

MZ: After 178 fights, 155 wins and 87 KOs, I would be ungrateful if I said that I am not satisfied with my accomplishments. Thank God,  I don’t have second thoughts and I am happy. I would be ungrateful if I was not happy with what I have accomplished. Definitely, there were a lot of difficulties, frustrations , injustices and  injuries during all this wonderful trip but I keep the good moments, that were definitely more and I am glad because I used all the bad ones to become more mature and get myself in the next battles more «angry» in a creative and investing way and complete human and fighter.  

LK: Is there anything that you'd like to say to your fans and supporters all throughout the world?

MZ: I would like to thank them personally, one by one. Their support, energy and love are precious for every step I take. I’ ve always felt very honored for the  people who supported me in my fights around the world. That’s why I was training and I gave 100% of  my soul and body in my battles so that I could please them.

Bellator Announces Dynamite!! September 19th in San Jose with GLORY Participation

Yesterday there was a spark of this potentially huge event happening in September featuring Spike TV's premier combat sports brands of Bellator and GLORY. While there was some trepidation throughout the industry everything fell into place and today Bellator announced that Dynamite!! will happen on September 19th in San Jose at the SAP Center. GLORY's participation in the event will be a three-fight offering featuring fights from Joe Schilling, Paul Daley and more to be announced.

It will be interesting to have the Bellator cage set up in the arena as well as an area for a kickboxing ring as well, with Spike TV looking to present what should be their biggest combat sports card to date. In addition to the three-fight GLORY card there will be a lot of big stuff from Bellator, including a Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship bout between champion Liam McGeary and UFC legend Tito Ortiz. In addition there will be a one-night tournament at Light Heavyweight featuring King Mo Lawal, Phil Davis, Linton Vassal and Emanuel Newton, the winner challenging the winner of McGeary and Ortiz at a later event.

This should be a big deal for both MMA fans and kickboxing fans alike and is a very good thing for GLORY to be associated with Bellator like this. While Dynamite!! was a Japanese tradition that blended together DREAM and K-1, it will be interesting to see what a night of "Dynamite" featuring Bellator and GLORY can be.

The Yokkao Factory in Bangkok is Open for Business

The Yokkao factory in Bangkok had its soft-opening last week for the public, meaning that if you are in the area you can go and check out the Yokkao Shop that has opened up inside of the new factory. To celebrate this Yokkao is pushing out a line of leather and denim Yokkao gloves and released a pretty awesome video highlighting the making of these gloves. 

It's pretty cool to see how far Yokkao have come over the past few years and how seriously they are taking their quality control and craftsmanship. Check out more details on Yokkao's site.

Possibility of a Co-Branded GLORY/Bellator Event under Dynamite!! Banner on Spike TV

In what I'd consider an interesting turn of events, there is a possibility of seeing the Dynamite!! brand revived yet again, only instead of being on New Year's Eve in Japan, in the United States in September on Spike TV. While Dynamite!! was synonymous with DREAM and K-1, this would be a co-branded event featuring Bellator and GLORY.

According to Ariel Helwani this is exactly the case and it will be announced tomorrow. What's interesting to note is that GLORY is reaching the end of their Spike TV deal which has some insiders a bit antsy, but cooperation on this level would mean a continued future with Spike TV and finally making use of the resources at Spike TV to help to push the GLORY brand front and center. More when we have it.

Card For SuperKombat WGP III 2015

This Weekend in Constanta we'll see SuperKombat back after their show just this past weekend in Switzerland. This one promises to be a bigger show, it being a part of their World Grand Prix series. This show features a lot of bigger name fighters including Cristian Ristea, Sebastian Ciobanu, Andrei Stoica, Alex Filip and yes, Catalin Morosanu. 

NEW HEROES

1. Super-Fight –  (-71 kg)

Eduard Chelaru vs Andrei Leuştean

2. Super-Fight – (-81 kg)

Ionut Şandur vs Mirel Iacob

3. Super-Fight – (-81 kg)

Alin Maurer vs Adrian Roşca

4. Super-Fight – (-71 kg)

Robert Stoica vs Madalin Crăciunică

7. Super-Fight – (-77 kg)

 

Alex Irimia (România) vs Alex Filip (România)

SUPERKOMBAT WORLD GRAND PRIX III 

1. Super-Fight – (-86 kg)

Onur Sahin (Turcia) vs Alexandru Nedelcu (România)

2. Super-Fight – (-92 kg)

Dorin Robert (România) vs Laszlo Nemeş (România)

3. Super-Fight – (-95 kg)

Gokhan Gedik (Turcia) vs Cristian Ristea (România)

4. Super-Fight – (-92 kg)

Fabio Kwasi (Surinam) vs Sebastian Ciobanu (România)

5. Super-Fight – (-95 kg)

Abdarhmane Coulibaly (Franţa) vs Andrei Stoica (România)

6. Super-Fight – (+96 kg)

Colin George (Olanda) vs Cătălin Moroşanu (România)

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