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The Young Blood Of K-1

 

Age. It's the unbeatable enemy of every athlete. Time cannot be stopped and one day, every athlete will succomb to it. The body gets to a point where it won't perform like it once did and even though the mind is willing, championships aren't won on mental strength alone.

K-1 fighters are no different and are probably more susceptible because of the physical toll that professional kickboxers must endure to reach the top and stay there for any amount of time. A fact that makes what Peter Aerts accomplished on December, 11th at the WGP Finals, all that more impressive. The Dutch Lumberjack, along with many of the top stars in K-1, are getting older. The aforementioned Aerts is 40. Jerome Le Banner is 38. Remy Bonjasky is 34 and on the brink of retirement due to an eye injury. Semmy Schilt is 37. I could go on but you see what I'm getting at - K-1 is growing old and in need of young stars to step up and fill the holes that will be left by all those giants of the sport when age has finally caught up with them. Who will that be? Let's look at some.

 

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Is Badr Hari Innocent? Sources Say "Yes"

Badr HariCrazier things have happened in the world of combat sports which is so delicately intertwined with organized crime and, well, crime in general (then again, what sports aren't?), but the odyssey of Badr Hari's criminal exploits which ruined his 2010 might be cleared up soon. Of course nothing is a lock yet, but there have been some reports of late that have given further detail into the case against Badr Hari and that his name might be unfairly attached as an attacker for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time and being a world-renowned K-1 fighter.

There is an article up about comments left on a crime blog about the situation, seemingly from key witnesses at the night club that night. One of the comments below indicates that Badr Hari was simply with the group that attacked the bouncer, but steered clear to not risk injury.

The real story: He came with a group, and everyone was allowed inside except for two guys who previously been difficult. The doorman (a giant, larger than Badr himself) calmly handled the situation. Badr seemed at peace with the situation, only to suddenly throw a punch at the doorman. Badr remained calm and did his best to avoid the situation, as he was in training (and mean fighting) for K1 and did not want to the risk injury. Badr was with the group and the doorman was indeed beaten. Police: Create a chat with the staff and the DJ of that night .... you know enough.

The translation was cleaned up by me a bit, if you see anything glaringly wrong, let me know, I'm not a native Dutch speaker, obviously. As the article goes on to mention, the few comments of bloggers is not positive proof, but there do seem to be a few key witnesses and some stones that were left un-turned. This comes hot off the heels of reports on Dutch forums that Badr Hari has been back in the gym with Mike Passenier and his training partners getting back into shape.

Thanks our good friend Simon Raedts for the tip.

UPDATE: Minor translation tweaks.

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The Official LiverKick.com Rankings

LiverKick Rankings Updated on 4/25/2017

Heavyweight (Per 4/25)

1 Rico Verhoeven
2 Benjamin Adegbuyi
3 Roman Kryklia
4 Jamal Ben Saddik
5 Ismael Londt
6 Mladen Brestovac 
7 Jahfarr Wilnis 
8 Fabio Kwasi 
9 Guto Inocent 
10 Anderson "Braddock" Silva 

Light

Heavyweight (Per 4/25)

1 Artem Vakhitov
2 Saulo Cavalari
3 Zack Mwekassa 
4 Mourad Bouzidi 
5 Fred Sikking *
6 Michael Duut v
7 Danyo Ilunga v
8 Roman Kryklia v
9 Fabio Kwasi v
10 Mladen Kujundzic v
Middleweight (Per 4/25)

1 Jason Wilnis 
2 Simon Marcus 
3 Artem Levin 
4 Alex Pereira ^
5 Israel Adesenya v
6 Filip Verlinden v
7 Joe Schilling 
8 Dustin Jacoby 
9 Cedric Doumbe 
10 Fang Bian 
Welterweight (Per 4/25)

1 Cedric Doumbe 
2 Nieky Holzken 
3 Artur Kyshenko 
4 Murthel Groenhart
5 Alexander Stetsurenko
6 Dmitry Valent 
7 Hicham El Gaoui 
8 Raymond Daniels 
9 Yoann Kongolo 
10 Karim Ghajji *
Lightweight (Per 4/25)

1 Superbon Banchamek
2 Sitthichai
3 Robin van Roosmalen 
4 Giorgio Petrosyan
5 Marat Grigorian 
6 Cedric Manhoef 
7 Wu Xuesong 
8 Jonay Risco *
9 Dylan Salvador *
10 Tayfun Ozcan v
Featherweight (Per 4/25)

1 Kaew Weerasakreck
2 Qiu Jianliang 
3 Wei Rui *
4 Ren Hiramoto *
5 Gonnapar Weerasakreck *
6 Ilias Bulaid v
7 Hideaki Yamazaki v
8 Masaaki Noiri v
9 Minoru Kimura v
10 Melsik Baghdasaryan *

Legend:

* - New Addition

^ - Moved Up

v - Moved Down

Rules:

The LiverKick.com rankings are living rankings that have existed in one form or another since 2009. After the initial rankings were tabulated, they moved on from there. If one fighter beats a fighter ranked above them, they take their place. If a new fighter is introduced, that means that said fighter is ranked above whomever he beat, moving everyone else down. 

Fighters can drop or move up in the rankings without losing or winning, depending on the division in general. After 12 months of inactivity, or if a retirement is announced, fighters can be removed from the rankings. These rankings are also at our discretion.

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Alistair Overeem And The Weight Of The World

Like Atlas, I believe Alistair Overeem is holding the weight of the world on his shoulders. At least, the combat sports world.

Though he isn't Greek and may not be a Titan (mythologically speaking), Alistair Overeem does have much significance for the three organizations he is currently champion of: Strikeforce, K-1, and DREAM. Here is why.

Strikeforce: On June 26th of 2010, the heavyweight landscape in MMA, changed forever. Fedor Emelianenko suffered his first legitimate loss. Pundits were amazed, bloggers were being pulled off the ledge and even Fabricio Werdum, the man who just dethroned The Last Russian Emperor, had to take a second and make sure it was all real. For Scott Coker, founder and CEO of Strikeforce, victory could not be more bittersweet. On one hand, a fighter just made history and it was during your event. On the other, he completely gutted the future of your marquis division. Everyone expected Fedor to win and go on to meet Overeem in his next fight. Alistair, fresh off a first-round drubbing of Brett Rogers, even made the flight to sit cage-side and challenge Fedor when he won. He should have saved the frequent flyer miles.

I believe this can work in the favor of Alistair and Strikeforce. The Reem is the most marketable heavyweight that Strikeforce has access to. He speaks great english, is endearing to the fans, has a herculean physique, and holds two other championship belts. You can put Alistair on ESPN for an interview without having an interpreter butcher the translation. Certainly not the case with Fedor, as we've all seen.

With Alistair leading the charge, I believe that Strikeforce can enjoy success with their heavyweights. They need to bring in quality opponents that can give credence to the division which validates their opportunity to face the champ. Also, Strikeforce must learn to market and publicize their star fighters like Alistair. All the talent and media acumen in the world is of no good if the fans never see it.

The possibility for a match with Fedor Emelianenko is there and though it may not carry the importance it once did, it would still be a blockbuster fight.

K-1: Raise your hand if you're a Semmy Schilt fan. Anyone? That's what I figured. The four-time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion is arguably the least-liked champion in the sports history. He's viewed as a boring fighter by many and generally not an amicable person. With Semmy holding strong as the champ and Badr Hari mired in legal trouble, it seemed as if Hightower would reign over the K-1 heavyweight ranks as long as he chose to much to the chagrin of fans that were growing tired of seeing Semmy as champion.

It's always darkest before the dawn, is how the saying goes and that proved to be true as Peter Aerts made history and became the first man to ever defeat Semmy in the K-1 World Grand Prix. That accomplishment, now among so many others by the legendary Aerts, opened the door for Alistair to eventually meet Peter in the finals. Overeem went on to defeat Mr. K-1 and become the most exciting WGP champion the sport has seen in its recent history. The timing could not have been better as Alistair is on top of the combat world and soon, the entertainment world in Japan. He recently signed with Yoshimoto Creative Agency to have them handle his affairs that lie outside of the fight game. With clients such as Kousuke Fukudome, YCA has the ability and resources to make Alistair a huge star in Japan. Combine that with the fact that Fuji TV, broadcast partner with FEG, is very happy with Alistair and you have a recipe for longterm success.

DREAM: While K-1's TV future seems to be in good hands, DREAM is another story entirely. It's been well documented that Dynamite!! 2010 didn't do so well on TBS.

There is hope, though, as Alistair Overeem is set to become the next Bob Sapp in the eyes of Japanese fans. Bob has always been a big draw in Japan as he's all over the media.  What Alistair has that Bob certainly doesn't is the credentials to go along with his place in the Japanese media. He has all the talent, and now exposure, to help DREAM recapture the indigenous fans along with broadcast companies, and prove they're still a player that's relevant in the fight game.

That's a lot of responsibility for one man. But just as Atlas bore the weight of the heavens as his punishment, Alistair bears the weight of his own success. A weight that I'm sure he's proud to carry.

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