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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.

Dave (a) LiverKick dot com | @dvewlsh

Website URL: http://www.dvewlsh.com

Daniel Ghita to Square Off TWICE Against Badr Hari

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The big fights are what attract fans to kickboxing, and while there are rumblings of K-1 returning at some point this year and putting on shows featuring Heavyweights and Super Heavyweights, but no one is quite certain if the same line up of elite fighters will be willing to do business with K-1 due to outstanding debts and fears of not being paid promptly. Where K-1 lacks, other promoters will always step forward and pick up the slack, which is what is happening now. According to Romanian site GSP.ro (I know, I know), Daniel Ghita is set to do battle with Badr Hari not once but twice.

"It's an honor for me to fight the best K-1 fighter," Ghita told the press.

The first fight is apparently set to happen on September 11th of this year in Amsterdam promoted by none other than It's Showtime. This is a fight that has been a long time in the making, with rumors of the fight being in negotiations before the May 14th Lyon It's Showtime show. What's interesting is that it appears that It's Showtime will continue with their pattern of putting on two big shows back-to-back, with the Fast and Furious tournament happening on September 24th in Brussels, Belgium featuring a 70kg MAX tournament between the best in the world. If the September 11th fight is indeed to take place in Amsterdam, the question to ask is where the fight will take place. There have been rumors that It's Showtime was still looking to run the Amsterdam ArenA in the fall, but with no concrete date or headlining fight yet.

A fight between Daniel Ghita and Badr Hari would seem to be that big fight that could help spur a huge event, but there are a lot of venues for them to promote, so we'll have to wait and see.

Eduard Irimia, the promoter of the Local Kombat series in Romania is also quoted saying that Badr Hari will once again face off with the Romanian Ghita for Local Kombat in early 2012, which coincides with his statements a few weeks ago that he was putting together a Ghita and Hari showdown in Romania "soon."

It is a fantastic matchup and I'm sure no one will complain about coming back for seconds. [source]

Photo of the Day: Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima Wrestling Again

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K-1 MAX fighter Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima's way of keeping busy in K-1 MAX's offtime is that he has taken up a new hobby in the way of professional wrestling. His debut bout was last month against Kohei Sato in Zero-One MAX. Nagashima's second match will be a tag team bout, where he will face off against Shinjiro Ohtani and Shin'ya Hashimoto's son. His partner? Former K-1 fighter and sumo wrestler Akebono. [source]

Nagashima

Buakaw Por Pramuk vs. Dzabar Askerov Set for Sept. 2 in Los Angeles

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BuakawOriginally, Buakaw Por. Pramuk was supposed to fight over the summer in the United States for Stand Up Promotions, something that excited U.S. fans, giving them a possible opportunity to see one of the world's top kickboxers and most popular thai fighters live in person. Sadly that fell through due to Buakaw's links to the Thai Fight series at the time. It looks like the foundation of the new Muay Thai Premier League has secured Buakaw Por. Pramuk to fight for them as well though, and the kicker? They announced yesterday that their first show in their new series will take place in Los Angeles, California.

That really doesn't come as a shock, though, as California plays host to a lot of modern Muay Thai shows over the past few years, being one of the hot spots for United States Muay Thai next to New York City and Las Vegas.

Buakaw Por. Pramuk is set to square off with Dzabar Askerov on September 2nd. On top of that, there will be a rematch between Baxter Humby and John Wayne Parr as a part of JWP's impressive world tour that he is doing in 2011 for his retirement. [source]

It's Showtime Updates the K-1 Situation

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You'll remember last week It's Showtime sent out an announcement that they would be possibly taking legal action against K-1 for a total of $400,000+ that is owed to It's Showtime fighters. This all came after It's Showtime announced It's Showtime Japan would begin gearing up over the summer and K-1 is finally running their first show. Tanikawa made it clear he was unhappy and wished to block any fighters from fighting for It's Showtime if they wanted to fight for K-1 again.

Well, Rutz has released a new statement this morning.

Following the press release from Mr. Tanikawa, I would like to make the following statement:

It is true that I had a telephone conversation with Mr. Tanikawa in which he has taken some of my worries away, by apologizing to me several times and saying that for him it’s no problem that IT’S SHOWTIME will organize events in Japan.
However, there’s still the fact that we have 400.000 US Dollars in direct demandable deposits at K-1 and we also have many contracts with a total value of millions of dollars which have not been fulfilled by K-1.

Mr. Tanikawa asked us if we want to delay our juridical actions with another week because he will make us some positive offers within a week. Given our long term relationship with K-1, we will not make a problem out of this week. If we haven’t heard anything positive after a week, we will continue our already embarked actions.

I would like to emphasize that I would sincerely regret it if Mr. Tanikawa can’t find a way to help K-1 to recover. K-1 has done a lot of good work for a lot of years for the fans, the fighters and the image of the sport.


Simon Rutz
IT’S SHOWTIME

It is good to see that some common ground has been met, but we aren't out of the woods yet.

It's Showtime and K-1 Go to War: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

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There is no doubt that there are two big kickboxing organizations in the world today; K-1 and It’s Showtime. One of them has existed for almost 20 years while the other for around 12 years. One of them started off with a bang and continued to grow without restraint while the other took a slower approach to growth. K-1 started off strong, creating the mold for those to follow when it comes to promoting championship kickboxing, with glitz, glamour, international fighters and creating a set of rules that would be used worldwide.

Much like UFC has become synonymous with MMA, K-1 is with kickboxing. You don’t fight kickboxing, you fight K-1, just like you don’t fight MMA, you fight UFC. The problem is that there were no checks and balances for K-1, just growth. The first real problem that could have derailed the train came with founder Kazuyoshi Ishii’s legal problems; tax evasion, money laundering and so forth. This led up to 2006 where the company almost completely went bankrupt, but was able to divert attention away from the problems and founded FEG, an umbrella company to handle their finances and be the new faces of K-1.

It was in 2010 when things really started to fall apart, as K-1 was being publicly called out for late payments to fighters, shows were simply not happening according to schedule and everything felt last minute, rushed and like there were some major, major problems. There were talks of shows being canceled possibly and FEG might go out of business, then there were talks of a Chinese investment bank, PUJI, assisting FEG in restructuring and solving some debt issues. It is almost June now and K-1 has yet to run their first show of the year, nor have they completed their restructuring.

It’s Showtime began as a show running MMA and Kickboxing fights before taking a sharper focus on just kickboxing. Seeing as though there is a wealth of talent in the Netherlands, with some of the best trainers and legends of the sport residing there, it made a lot of sense for kickboxing to become a focus for the Dutch company. Their growth in popularity eventually led for a partnership with K-1 for K-1’s European shows, with both companies working together rather seamlessly.

It’s Showtime also has a management branch that handles a lot of top fighters, with many of them also fighting for K-1. As I said, both companies had always worked together and had a beneficial relationship. Then things got ugly, when certain It’s Showtime fighters were publicly discussing not being paid by K-1, something that comes as a shock to the Japanese company who generally keeps their dealings very, very quiet. The final straw for It’s Showtime was when K-1 stopped returning their calls in regards to the It’s Showtime Amsterdam ArenA show in May, a show which was to be co-promoted between the two.

This comes after a rather public argument about Sem Schilt taping up a cut on his leg against Hesdy Gerges in 2010, with It’s Showtime and Simon Rutz calling for the decision to be overturned and for Gerges to take Sem’s place in the K-1 World Grand Prix. Gerges was given a gift of a bout by K-1 to showcase himself at the Finals, but still wasn’t physically in the tournament.

There is no doubt that It’s Showtime is expanding at a rapid-rate, as they’ll put on over eleven shows before all is said in done in 2011, with four shows to date in the books as K-1 is finally gearing up to put on one smaller show. It came as no surprise that It’s Showtime had given up hope on working with K-1, but that they still saw an opening in the Japanese market, which is one of the strongest markets for kickboxing in the world. When It’s Showtime announced a few days ago that working in conjunction with REBELS and a few governing bodies in Japan that they would start It’s Showtime Japan, alarms went off in my head.

As much as I love the idea of It’s Showtime expanding, moving into K-1’s turf while they are down is a move that will clearly create even more friction between the two. Simon Rutz’s public outcry for his fighter’s not getting paid led to Tanikawa a few months ago proclaiming that “Simon Rutz killed K-1,” so It’s Showtime promoting fights in Japan would without a doubt send K-1 over the edge. Right on schedule, K-1 fired back at It’s Showtime calling for a rushed press conference to announce their first show. While this is only a guess, it is an educated one, the press conference was most likely planned for the future but moved up to respond to It’s Showtime’s Japan announcement.

More after the break.

K-1 Announces Two Reserve Bouts for MAX 63kg Japan Tournament

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Regardless of It's Showtime's legal action and other looming beasts, K-1 has announced two reserve bouts for the upcoming June 25th K-1 MAX 63kg Japan Tournament. This brings the card up to a full ten bouts and has built it up nicely. Full story is here.

The first of these fights is Yuto Watanabe vs. Toshiki Taniyama. Kyokushin Kaikan trained Watanabe has some of the fastest and most deadly kicks in his weight class. He has only fought in MAX twice so far, and gone 1-1 Taniyama came up in K-1 Youth, and won both of his MAX fights last year, including a win over one of the Urabe brothers.

The second reserve bout is Shohei Asahara vs. Koji Yoshimoto. After winning the RISE KAMINARIMON 60kg Tournament 2008 Champion Asahara entered K-1 MAX and went 1-1 last year as well. Yoshimoto on the other hand has 37 fights under his belt, as well as a handful of MMA bouts. He is experienced, but hasn’t had a win since defeating Yuto Watanabe by the smallest of margins at RISE 71 late last year.

It's Showtime Takes Legal Action Against K-1

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Hot on the heels of K-1's reaction to It's Showtime Japan, announcing the K-1 MAX 63kg Japan tournament and Tanikawa mentioning anyone that fights for It's Showtime Japan will no longer be able to fight for K-1, It's Showtime has once again fired back. It's Showtime's head, Simon Rutz, posted today on the It's Showtime homepage that It's Showtime's fighters are still owed around $400,000 from FEG, and while they have been patient, they have decided with K-1 organizing shows to take legal action.

Until now, we have never contacted a lawyer to claim our credits because we granted K-1 the time they need to financially recover. However, we were very surprised to hear that DREAM and K-1 want to organize a number of smaller events. In our opinion that isn’t possible before K-1 first pays its debts to fighters which already have fought. Therefore, now is the time for us to hire a lawyer.

Also, fighters are even receiving phone calls from Mr. Tanikawa with a threat to not fight for IT’S SHOWTIME JAPAN. If fighters would fight for IT’S SHOWTIME JAPAN, they can wave their money goodbye. Mr. Tanikawa is not in the position to act this way, and subservience would fit him a lot better. Mr. Tanikawa doesn’t understand that K-1 has to pay their debts because the fighters have already delivered their service to K-1.

The second paragraph is extremely interesting, as Rutz claims Tanikawa has contacted fighters possibly working with It's Showtime Japan and threatening to not pay them for past due balances. If this is true, this could be big. Part of the problems It's Showtime could now face in regards to Japan could be huge, as most of us know how the fight industry in Japan works (and how the fight industry everywhere works, let's be honest here), It's Showtime could encounter problems putting on shows in Japan if FEG still has enough pull. Full press release after the jump.

K-1 Holding Press Conference Tomorrow and Other Notes

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K-1

Just about twenty-four hours after It's Showtime was announced to be entering into the Land of the Rising Sun, forming It's Showtime Japan, K-1 director Tanikawa decided that it was time to "strike back." There have long been rumors as to when exactly K-1 will return, if ever. The first big rumor was that K-1 would announce a comeback in the beginning of May. Seeing as though we are staring down the barrel of June, it's safe to say that it is a few weeks behind schedule.

It would be crass to not assume that It's Showtime's announcement had nothing to do with K-1 all of a sudden springing to life and wishing to protect their turf. We will keep you updated on the situation, and if the rumors are true we can expect another 63kg K-1 show, as the shows from last year were Japan-centric and helped work on building new stars for the Japanese audience.

In other K-1-related news, Tetsuya Yamato, the 63kg tournament winner last year was victorious in NJKF action against Masato Nishiyama, and K-1 Heavyweight star Kyotaro has announced on his Twitter that he is looking to enter the world of professional wrestling, much like Nagashima has.

Stand Up Japan, July 18 - Giorgio Petrosyan vs. HINATA

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HINATA vs. PetroK-1's relative silence continues, although there is a rumor of K-1 MAX happening in June or July, we've seen nothing definitive yet. The recent success of the Stand Up Japan event featuring Masato and KID Yamamoto has spawned a lot of positive press and apparently another charity event coming up in July. The Japanese press is all over the main event for the event as it will be a clash between Europe and Japan.

Japanese press have dubbed it "It's Showtime Japan vs. REBELS" with the main event being Giorgio Petrosyan vs. HINATA. Both men are at the top of the heap in the 70kg weight class. Petrosyan is currently the man to beat at 70kg, looking utterly unstoppable with two K-1 World MAX Championships in his possession. At the It's Showtime Lyon press conference Petrosyan mentioned that K-1 has still yet to pay him for his backpay, so there is a slim chance outside of K-1 making it up to Petrosyan, and if they actually have an event, that we'll see him competiing for them again.

So this should be considered a rare appearance in Japan for Petrosyan, against the top Japanese 70kg fighter outside of Yoshihiro Sato. There is talk of European Fighting Network and It's Showtime being more involved with the event, so stay tuned for more news regarding this event. [source]

Photo of the Day: It's Not Just Horse Meat for Badr hari

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Badr Hari's return to the ring comes this weekend at It's Showtime Lyon, and many fans are excited to see Badr Hari back in action. Many have taken note to Badr Hari's much-improved physique. Mike's Gym does a great job of keeping fans updated on their Facebook page; Facebook.com/MikesGym. Here is a photo of Badr Hari training for his comeback fight, showing how he got himself into tip-top condition.

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