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K-1 World Amateur Championships in November, Plus K-1 Japan 70kg in July is Amazing

  • Published in K-1

After a bit of radio silence from K-1 over the past few months K-1 has announced that they will be holding a world amateur championship this November in Italy. It will run on November 13-15th in Tuscany and if you are an amateur fighter interested in testing your mettle and being crowned as an amateur world champion you can contact them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

On the K-1 Japan front they are still gearing up for the K-1 Japan 70kg Championship tournament on July 4th. It features a one-night tournament featuring eight 70kg fighters, one could even argue some of the best in the world, while the rest of the card is up to the usual K-1 Japan standards of excellence. Seriously, I dare you to find a better card than this from this year. You won't.

70kg Tournament

Reserve: Sergey Adamchuk vs. Kazuya Akimoto

Quarterfinal: Marat Grigorian vs. Yoichi Yamazaki

Quarterfinal: Dylan Salvador vs. Makahira Keita

Quarterfinal: Hiroki Nakajima vs. Sanny Dahlbeck

Quarterfinal: Daiki Watanabe vs. Jordan Pikeur

Super Fights

Hirotaka Urabe vs. Toshi

Minoru Kimura vs. Massaro Glunder

Takeru vs. Hakim Hamech

Koya Urabe vs. Konstantin Trishin

Kaew Fairtex vs. Yasuomi Soda

 

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K-1 World GP in Japan 2014 -65kg Tournament

  • Published in K-1

The Japanese entity formerly known as K-1 World League has changed things up a bit, confirming that they are indeed an official branch of K-1 Global running the K-1 World GP in Japan 2014 -65kg tournament. The event goes down on November 3rd in Japan and will crown a champion at -65kg, featuring some familiar names, including the best 65kg fighter in the world named Yuta Kubo. Former FEG K-1 sensation HIROYA is also in the tournament.

Here's a look at the tournament as it stands right now;

HIROYA (Japan) vs. Michael Thompson (Australia)
Soda Yasuomi (Japan) vs. Kimura Minoru (Brazil)
Yamazaki Hideaki (Japan) vs. Kaew Fairtex (Thailand)
Kubo Yuta (Japan) vs. Raz Sarkisjan (Armenia)

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K-1's Ned Kuruc Talks Amateur Open and K-1 World MAX Finals

  • Published in Interviews

Since the formation of K-1 Global there have been some ups and downs for the K-1 name, but we’ve definitely all come to a consensus that under K-1’s current management they want the best for the brand and for the sport. K-1 is set to continue pushing forward over the next few month with a few events that will look to solidify the brand’s place in the current market for kickboxing. The first is in September in the UK, being touted as an open amateur scouting event. We’ve spoken with Ned Kuruc of K-1 a few times before and he’s spoken about how important they feel that an amateur system is for the future of the sport and this Amateur Open is just further proof of that. The second event is, of course, the K-1 World MAX Finals, where Buakaw Banchamek will compete against Enriko Kehl and other great fights.

We caught up with Ned Kuruc to discuss both of these events as well as the future of K-1. The first thing is that K-1 will be holding an Amateur Open on the 13th and 14th of September in the UK, which has attracted a lot of attention thus far. “As of right now we’ve had 500 inquiries and 50 countries have shown interest. We don’t really have hard numbers on this yet because the deadline is September 2nd. Tons of interest shown already, though.”

How does it play into the future of K-1, though? K-1 has always been the home of the top level of fighters, so it is an interesting turn to shift some of their focus to the future. “There is a bit of a generation gap -- or a generation loss -- and I believe that through the amateur system that it’s the best way to get the K-1 brand associated with kids that are coming up and for all martial arts. K-1 isn’t just about kickboxing, it’s about martial arts and it’s a platform for those involved to test their skills and see who is the best in the world. With that being said, the amatuer system is, what I feel, is the best way to get the brand associated with those up-and-coming fighters and kids who don’t remember K-1 like you or I do.

“Not only is this a good way for us to raise brand awareness across generations right now, but there are a lot of fighters out there who want to test their skills. K-1 is a high, high level, it’s the pinnacle of standup sports. There are amatuer groups out there that already have K-1 rules and make champions in these weight classes. K-1 is okay with that, because it is a sport unto itself. Our brand is its own sport,” he explains. “In the past no one has wanted to venture into amatuer sports. Just like when K-1 was founded, we want this to be an open tournament where we really are able to find the best fighters from across the world to compete under the K-1 banner.”

It’s a point that will ring true for fans of K-1, where the K-1 concept originally started under the premise of pulling all of the best fighters from across the world together under one banner and to have them compete against each other. As with anything else, though, it was a business and building stars became the main focus. So the scene began to only host the top few names year-in and year-out, which was exciting, but may have led to excluding other talents who were coming up through the ranks of amateur and professional leagues but couldn’t break into K-1 because fans in Japan wanted to see the names that they knew and loved.

“We want to give opportunities to the best fighters out there. The old K-1 was a bit of an old boys club where if you didn’t have the right management or the right trainers you’d never get that opportunity to compete in K-1. I’m not saying that it was a bad system,” he adds. “They were the best managers and trainers in the world and they produced some of the best fighters. But now we have Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and all of that with the internet and a fighter can post a video of themselves and send it to us and some doors might open up for him. This Amateur Open is for my team and myself to be able to physically see some of these fighters and get them involved with K-1. It’s a direct feeder system. We’re also willing to work with professional fighters who haven’t had a chance before, if you look at our cards we’ve given a lot of young, up-and-coming talent a chance on a bigger stage. Some have done really well and others haven’t, this is how you can really find the best fighters in the world.”

K-1 understands that their brand, name and rules are important in the world of kickboxing and have been adopted throughout the world. They aren’t looking to strip that away from anyone, because they feel that the sport of K-1 has taken on a life of its own, which they are willing to use to their advantage in promoting the brand of K-1. They look at K-1’s rules and see so many amateur events and championships around the globe that even see a possibility for K-1 to be considered an Olympic sport at some point, although not in the near future. This, looking towards building up a strong amateur feeder system, is a good first step. K-1 wants you to know that they aren’t just a brand, but they are a sport.

K-1 is now focused on Thailand, though, where K-1 will present the very first K-1 event on Thai soil in October. The show is the K-1 World MAX Finals where Buakaw Banchamek and Enriko Kehl will fight for the K-1 World MAX Championship, a title that the winner will wear proudly and defend as K-1 moves away from the yearly tournament format. 

“A lot of things had to fall in place for this to happen,” Ned explains. “First was Buakaw fighting for the championship. It’s a lot more evenly-matched fight than people think that it is, but when the officials from Thailand were talking with us, we understood how important it was to have a star like Buakaw on the card. It would mean a lot to Thai fans to see Buakaw win a K-1 title in Thailand, if he can get by Enriko, that is. We had to be creative in making this show happen. Everyone who works in this sport only tries to work with other people who work within the sport, which isn’t always the right way to do things.

“From what I’ve seen in my time with K-1, they generally aren’t the best business people. When I try to work with people I try to work with people who aren’t just in fighting and promoting. We try to work with entertainment companies and legitimate businesses. The group, people that I’m working with on this show aren’t in the fight game. They are from the business world in Thailand, so I had a different approach and it’s worked. This should be a very, very exciting show.”

The topic of the direction of the sport of kickboxing came up after last week I wrote about a growing movement among fans to err on the side of negativity for the outlook of the sport. “In my opinion, at this certain point, it’s gotten the most exposure that it has. We’re in the age of the internet, which helps. As far as K-1, it’s no secret that we are in a rebuilding phase. That’s my job, to rebuild it. Some people might think that it’s been a slow process or that it’s taken too long, but we’re in a very definite transition phase in kickboxing and the sport of K-1. You have K-1, who is still in the game, but yeah, we are a bit slower. Time will tell how my strategy unfolds. 

“Then you have other organizations, you have GLORY who have been putting a lot of money into their shows. They have a lot of talent, great production, but it’s not much of a business plan. Am I a fan of their product? Absolutely. Would I do things the way that they are doing it? Absolutely not, it just doesn’t seem like it’s a viable business plan that can go on for years. I just wouldn’t do it that way. You have other promotions like Enfusion that are doing a good job, you have SuperKombat, Rise, KRUSH. There are a lot of organizations out there, the problem that I have is that I have a massive brand and that I have to do it properly,” Ned explains. “My ideology is to not keep throwing millions of dollars into a show to generate small revenue. I think that there are a few organizations that are playing monkey-see, monkey-do with the UFC and I don’t think that is the proper way to do things.

“Kickboxing doesn’t sell PPVs. We know that, I feel like we’ve always known that. People have tried, but it just won’t work. That means that you can’t copy the UFC model because they are all about PPV. That’s where their revenue comes from. My idea is that it has to be done in steps, it has to be built, you need a foundation. If you look at the brands that have existed for years and not just a few before going away. That’s how K-1 has existed for so long. I feel that kickboxing is in a good state, generally, I would just hate to see some of the organizations make mistakes and go away. The way I see it, the more the merrier, the more that the sport is built up. It only helps all of us in the long run.”

The K-1 World MAX Finals takes place on October 11th in Pattaya, Thailand and the K-1 Amateur Open takes place on September 13th and 14th in the UK. For more information visit http://www.k-1.tv/

 

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K-1 on Bas Boon's Statement: Tanikawa and Ishii Are Not Involved

  • Published in K-1

K-1 Global

Earlier today, Bas Boon of Golden Glory, GLORY International and other affiliated Glory properties issued a statement addressed to Zach Arnold of FightOpinion. It was your standard Bas Boon statement, which means that it made a lot of accusations and Bas expressed his opinion while discussing some of the issues that he has been dealing with over the past year or so. If you have been following the saga, you understand that Bas Boon and Glory were looking to purchase K-1 but the deal fell through when Mr. Kim of EMCOM went ahead and purchased the rights to the K-1 brand, likeness and library from Ishii and Barbizon, leaving FEG and Glory out on their own.

Simon Rutz has been serving as an advisor to the new K-1 Global organization for European events, which has helped take the Bas Boon and Simon Rutz rivalry to new levels. This includes back and forth shots over the bow, both publicly and behind-the-scenes, including accustations from Boon of Rutz in collusion with Mr. Kim, who is in turn in collusion with Kazuyoshi Ishii and Sadaharu Tanikawa in secretly running K-1.

We reached out to K-1 Global's head of operations, Doug Kaplan for a statement, and his message is a strong one that fans and industry insiders have needed to hear; Tanikawa and Ishii are no longer involved in K-1 in any way.

"K1G is organizing great events in the US, Europe and Asia," Kaplan said in a statement to LiverKick.com today. He continued that "Mike" Kim, himself and the whole team are working to bring together the best fighters for the fans and have been doing exactly that.

As for the issues of the ghosts of K-1's past, he is very clear; "Tanikawasan and Ishiisan are not involved. I know this because I am involved and know what is going on intimately." This lines up with the conversations that LiverKick has had in the past week with Mr. Kaplan in regards to K-1 Global's future, as well as the involvement of Ishii and Tanikawa.

When it comes to Bas Boon's statement and how outspoken he is, Kaplan was to the point that K-1 Global is working hard for the fans and are not concerned with fighting battles through the press. "I don't know why Bas Boon is spending so much time in the press but we are busy focused on delivering the fans what they want, incredible K1 events."

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K-1 World Grand Prix Euro -95kg Results: Roman Kryklia Takes The Crown

  • Published in K-1

K-1 Global returned to Europe on October 27th with the K-1 World Grand Prix -95kg Euro tournament, where a 95kg champion was crowned in a classic, one-night, eight-man tournament. The winner of that tournament was the ever-exciting Roman Kryklia. Kryklia mowed through the competition with three KOs before the night was through, taking home the championship. His knees are nothing short of beautiful and brutal.

K-1 Euro World Grand Prix -95kg

Final: Roman Kryklia (R2 - KO) Fabio Kwasi 

Semi: Fabio Kwasi (R3 - Dec) Rade Opačić 

Semi: Roman Kryklia (R3 - KO) Atha Kasapis 

Quarterfinal: Rade Opačić (R3 - Dec) Emmanuel Payet 

Quarterfinal: Fabio Kwasi (R3 - Dec) Mladen Kujundžić 

Quarterfinal: Atha Kasapis (R3 - TKO) Aundre Groce 

Quarterfinal: Roman Kryklia (R1 - KO) Bahrudin Mahmić 

Reserve: Vasil Ducar (R3 - Dec) Panagiotis Theodosiadis 

Marina Spasić (R3 - Dec) Merima Bašić 

Sayfullah Hambahadov (R3 - Dec) Marko Adamović 

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K-1 Crowns a New -85kg Champion in Thrilling Tournament Final

  • Published in K-1

The K-1 World Grand Prix Europe marched into Bosnia this weekend with their -85kg tournament. While the names weren't quite on the same level as the -95kg tournament from last month, the action delivered in spades with a lot of young fighters looking to make a name for themselves in the tournament. The final was a crazy slugfest between Igor Emkic from Bosnia and Russian Timur Aylayrov. Timur was applying pressure and dropping Emkic with body blows and you could almost hear the air get sucked out of the crowd who was looking for a local hero to win the tournament.

Tournament Final: Timur Aylayrov (R3 - TKO) Igor Emkic 

Tournament Semi-Final: Timur Aylayrov (R3 - Dec) Agron Preteni 

Tournament Semi-Final: Igor Emkick (R3 - Dec) David Radeff 

Tournament Quarterfinal: Timur Aylayrov (R? - TKO) Vasil Ducar 

Tournament Quarterfinal: Agron Preteni (R3 - Dec) Imanol Rodriguez 

Tournament Quarterfinal: Igor Emkic (R3 - Dec) Guiseppe De Domenico 

Tournament Quarterfinal: David Radeff (R3 - Dec) Nikola Noveski 

Tournament Reserve Fight: Mesud Selimovic (R1 - KO) Petar Jaman 

Haris Brko (R3 - Dec) Rafal Gorka 

Giannis Skordilis (R3 - Dec) Maycon Coller 

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