Let's be honest, the year is finally beginning to wind down. For Kickboxing fans it has been an up and down year, the lack of the K-1 World Grand Prix is indeed a loss for 2011, but the promise of a re-organized K-1 system in 2012 shows a lot of promise and hope for fans. The MMA world will see something quite unique this Friday as Alistair Overeem, the 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, step into the UFC ring as the "reigning" K-1 WGP Champion. Overeem fights Brock Lesnar, the former WWE star and college wrestling standout in a classic clash of styles. This is also the first time since 1998 where the Linear Heavyweight Championship returns to the UFC with Alistair Overeem fighting. That title dates back to the early UFCs and left when Randy Couture lost in Japan. For years Fedor was considered the Linear Heavyweight Champion, but his loss to Werdum changed that in a hurry. Well, Overeem then beat Werdum and captured that title (there is no physical belt if you don't know this already). So eventually, the UFC Heavyweight title will be "whole again." Wow.
Chalk this one up to an unfortunate circumstance of the GLORY buyout of It's Showtime, as there are still a few It's Showtime events scheduled for this year and it looks like the first victim will be the It's Showtime event in Yokohama. To understand what kind of a blow this is, It's Showtime has been working with local promoters in Japan for well over a year now promoting "Countdown to It's Showtime" events, which were all supposed to lead to It's Showtime's big Japan debut. This was to take place in September, but it looks like it might not happen in September, or even at all. Statement from Simon Rutz and It's Showtime Japan's President Fujiawara below.
"As a result of the acquisition of IT'S SHOWTIME by GLORY Sports International and all necessary internal adjustments associated with this acquisition, we’ve both, GLORY Sports International and Showtime Japan concluded that the necessary period for the preparation is too short to ensure the desired quality for our show, which was scheduled for September 17, 2012, in the Pacifico National Convention Hall in Yokohama, Japan.
For this reason we decided to postpone this event until further notice.
2010 was a rough year for K-1 MAX. Three of the division's very top stars fought their (for now) last MAX fights in 2009, including Masato, the man MAX had been built around from the start. Shows were planned, then canceled. Only two qualifying Grand Prixs were held, and one of those 2 never aired. Half of the Final 16 fights were shoved onto the 63kg GP finals almost as an afterthought, and at one time, there were rumors that the 2010 MAX Grand Prix might not even happen. Fans of MAX were looking at the year as somewhat of a disaster.
That changed on October 3. Amidst all this chaos and confusion, the MAX Final 16 event in Seoul was a grand slam of an event - an all around fantastic card with every fight delivering. The next day, no one was talking about how K-1 MAX was struggling. Instead, they were talking about what a show it was. And they were talking about one fight.
That fight is your 2010 LiverKick.com Fans' Fight of the Year - "Iron" Mike Zambidis vs. Chahid Oulad El Hadj.
Coming into the event, this was a fight that on paper looked like it could be a good one. Both Zambidis and Chahid are exciting fighters who like to push the pace and have turned in plenty of fun bouts. But they are also two men whose presence in the Final 16 was questionable, as neither had claimed a significant K-1 win in some time. From the moment the two men meet in center ring for the staredown, any concerns about them not belonging flew out the window. Because right from the opening, you can tell this is going to be something special. Both men looked hungry, out for redemption, and just plain pissed off. They looked ready to tear into each other. And that's exactly what they did.
For four epic rounds, Zambidis and Chahid engaged in an all out war. By the end of the 3rd, the announcers are all on their feet waiting for the judges' decision. By the end of the 4th, fans are already writing their friends telling them what they just saw. And by the next morning, all the focus was on this classic.
Watching it now, I'm reminded of another all-time K-1 great contest - Ray Sefo vs. Mark Hunt (and if you've never seen that, watch it, seriously, now). Like Sefo vs. Hunt, this is a fight that doesn't need any backstory. It's a moment that stands on its own, where even if you've never heard of either man, the combination of heart, determination, technique, and aggression they show is enough to grab you. At a time in combat sports where the UFC is the clear top dog, and where Dana White's love of wild stand-up brawling has come to define how many fans view stand-up action, this fight is a definitive example of what stand-up can be. Yes it's a brawl, but it's also two supremely skilled fighters never losing track of the technique needed to fight at this level. It's a fight every fan of Griffin vs. Bonnar, Garcia vs. The Korean Zombie, or countless other recent fights really owes it to themselves to watch.
Chances are good you've already seen this fight, probably more than once. But as we say our final good-byes to 2010, do yourself a favor and watch it once more. You'll thank yourself later.
A big thanks to all our fans who voted in this poll. In the end, Zambidis vs. Chahid was the clear winner, drawing 34% of the vote. #2 and #3 were only separated by a handful of votes, with the sentimental favorite Peter Aerts vs. Semmy Schilt at #2, and the battle of the new guard in Gokhan Saki vs. Daniel Ghita at #3. For full results, click here, and don't forget to vote on our new polls every week here at LiverKick.com.
The Bad Boy will officially return to action on May 14th as Badr Hari is set to face off with Tony Gregory for It's Showtime in Lyon, France. The kickboxing world is on edge awaiting the return of the Golden Boy. Not many feel like Gregory is a worthy challenger, but regardless there is a ton of hype coming into the fight. This just proves that fans want what they want; they want Badr Hari to return to action and crush the opposition.
This interview with Badr Hari catches up with him to get his thoughts on returning to action and how he feels about competing in France, "it is a great honor to be fighting in France," he says, as he feels ready for action.
The countdown to It's Showtime's huge Fast and Furious tournament is on and there is a lot to be excited over. If you want to know how the media is picking it up internationally, this newspaper clipping of Chris Ngimbi training and breaking down the tournament from a Belgian newspaper.
Chalk this up as some strange news, but professional basketball player Darko Milicic has decided that basketball just isn't for him, but that professional kickboxing is. The Serbian was a second draft pick in his rookie year and has since played on the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks, Minnesota Timberwolves and the Boston Celtics before retiring in 2012. It seems like a bit of an odd transition to go from the NBA to professional kickboxing, but apparently it is a real thing.
Now, before you get excited and start talking about GLORY, K-1, SuperKombat or Enfusion, he's apparently inked a deal with WAKO Pro and will announce his first kickboxing fight on Wednesday. [source]
This time not only the fighters but the promotion itself had a challenge ahead as Fight Night Hungary has tried a new, bigger location. Even though promoters try to pick great venues and put solid cards together success in this business is never guaranteed. The new location with its 1200m2 size is truly a challenge for anyone in Hungary to be filled. But Fight Night Hungary has pulled it off! The event was packed and the people in attendance have truly seen some glimpse from the glorious past when big names and shows have visited this part of Europe.
Fight Night Hungary had great fights, a fantastic atmosphere and fired up fans. Finally a show where everything was in place - visuals, timing, sound and most important: the fights themselves. Fight Night Hungary has set the bar high for forthcoming events.
The show started with four solid Muay Thai bouts which all helped to get everyone even more fired up for the main card. The K-1 bouts have also seen back and forth wars, knockdowns and an unfortunate doctor's stoppage before we got to the co-main event.
In the co-main event two of the best, most well-known and highly respected fighters, Tamás Birics (WFMC European Champion) and Gábor Görbics (World Combat Games winner, WAKO full-contact European Champion) have collided once again. First time they've fought Görbics won a close decision and some years have passed before the rematch could've been put together. Needless to say this fight was highly anticipated amongst the Hungarian fight fans!
Görbics seemed to be more relaxed in the opening rounds while Birics tried to take control and dictate the pace by moving forward and attempting to being the aggressor. Görbics seemed to have the edge and landed more shots while utilizing his full arsenal: spinning techniques, feints, attacking and retreating in angles. He was really fluid in both the attacks and chaining everything together.
While it was Görbics who seemed to get the better of the exchanges while moving around and using the angles, toe to toe Birics had successful attempts of takig over, moving his opponent to the ropes, utilizing thunderous leg kicks. Birics has a background and is competing usually in Muay Thai and from the outside he seemed to be missing a few key techniques which he couldn't use due to the restrictions of the different ruleset he used to.
The fifth and final round have started with some huge shots although it was very clear from the beginning that none of the guys wanted to leave it up to the judges this time. Although there was no finish fans got a beautiful, intense fight that put us all on the edge of our seats. Görbics Gábor won a majority decision and have beaten Tamás Birics for a second time.
The fans could not wait any more for the last fight to happen. When Antoine Habash hit the ramp for his entry most of the crowd stood up chanting his name and clapping for him. He took the stage a storm. Tihomir Mitev has stepped into the lion's den.
The first round have seen Antoine landing some good straight just to measure things up and then taking control shortly thereafter. He became more and more confident and rightfully so as Mitev's head turned red and got a bloody nose from all the shots he has taken. At the end of round two Mitev got saved by the bell only. Most of the audience had anticipated something that it has to be over in the next round. And then it happened... After some exchange Antoine has finished a combination with a brutal knee that landed flush on Mitev's chin and the champ fell under the ropes. He was out cold. The crowd has erupted! Standing ovation, clapping everywhere and the new champ has jumped on the ropes to thank everyone. Habash Antoine is the new WKN European Champion and as he promised the belt stays in Hungary!
It seems the way to go if you are a kickboxer who competes in the Netherlands is to allow a really tight documentary crew follow you around and document your fighting career. Luckily for us, it wasn't just the brains behind the Alistair Overeem hype train, but AFAV (Advanced Fighters Action Visuals) has been putting together some great videos, and the highlight being a 5-part series about the build-up to Mosab Amrani vs. Mohamed Khamal from It's Showtime 45. As we all saw, it was an absolute-war, one of the best fights of the year. Now watch part 5 of AFAV's awesome series and be in awe.
On April 2nd in China WLF kicks off their Glory of Heroes events with a pretty big card featuring some familiar names. While the undercard is mostly local showcases, the main card features Israel Adesanya against Alex Pereira, which is a huge fight, Yi Long against Enriko Kehl and Xu Yan against Josh Jauncey in the main event.
Kiksie has a breakdown of all of the stream options available for this card (and there are a LOT), so check those out.
(Stream – Starting around 18.10 Local Time)
Kickboxing – 70KG
Zhang Dezheng (China) vs. Andrei Ostrovanu (Romania)
Kickboxing – 56KG
Gong Yanli (China) vs. Christi Brereton (United Kingdom)
Kickboxing – 70KG
Zhao Chunyang (China) vs. Harley Love (New Zealand)
Kickboxing – 85KG
Guo Qiang (China) vs. Yurii Zubchuk (Ukraine)
Kickboxing – 70KG
Hu Yafei (China) vs. Daniel Solaja (Germany)
MMA – 63KG
Ji Xian (China) vs. Ilia Kurzanov (Russia)
Kickboxing – 70KG
Jixiang Adai (China) vs. Imamura Takuya (Japan)
(Henan TV Broadcast – Starting around 21.15 Local Time)
Kickboxing – 60KG
Kong Long (China) vs. Nogami Yusuke (Japan)
Kickboxing – 68KG
Tie Yinghua (China) vs. Fabio Pinca (France)
Kickboxing – 85KG
Israel Adesanya (New Zealand) vs. Alex Pereira (Brazil)
Kickboxing – 63KG
Wei Rui (China) vs. Nakamura Yukiya (Japan)
Kickboxing – 71KG
Yi Long (China) vs. Enriko Kehl (Germany)
Kickboxing – 63KG
Deng Zeqi (China) vs. Joan Manuel Lique Cañaveral (Colombia)
Kickboxing – 67KG
Qiu Jianliang (China) vs. Jomthong Chuwattana (Thailand)