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Andy Souwer Calls Out Giorgio Petrosyan For a Third Clash

  • Published in Kickboxing

When it comes to the world famous Giorgio Petrosyan, there are a number of fights that his fans want to see, but perhaps won't ever get to see those fights happen. Fights with Masato, Buakaw and Yodsanklai are perhaps never going to happen, as most likely we won't see the rematch with Ristie at this point either. Chances of a Sitthichai showdown seem slim considering Sitthichai is with GLORY and Petrosyan is with Bellator.

But what about one of the men that Petrosyan beat to cement his status as one of the all-time greats, Andy Souwer? 

That is the exact question that Andy Souwer posed via Facebook earlier today, when he replied to Petrosyan posting footage from their last clash in K-1 MAX. Andy Souwer would like a third chance to fight Giorgio Petrosyan and honestly, who wouldn't want to see that fight? Petrosyan's next scheduled bout is W5 Grand Prix KITEK XXXIX against Artem Pashporin on February 18th and he'll probably participate in the April Oktagon/Bellator event. Other than that? Things seem rather wide open for a potential rematch with another all-time great.

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LiverKick 2016 Awards: Knockout of the Year - Guto Inocente

  • Published in Glory

Continuing in the fine tradition of the LiverKick 2016 Awards, we move on to the Knockout of the Year. This was, perhaps, the most difficult category as there was such a wide array of dazzling knockouts throughout the year. Everything from head kicks to brutal punches and even spinning stuff. Hell, there was a Japanese event called KNOCK OUT where five out of the six fights ended in KO. 

Needless to say, lots of good fighters got put to sleep this past year.

Our pick for the Knockout of the Year is rather dazzling and even brutal. Both Jay and I had the same guttural reaction of "man, poor Demoreo" when it happened, because damn. Guto Inocente's spinning back kick just slept the poor guy. What made it so amazing was that it was a legitimate heavyweight doing a move that would have been brutal from a much lighter fighter, yet it was a heavyweight. Heavyweights are known for having power in their fists and even in their head kicks, but a move like this is usually left to the smaller guys.

But nobody told Guto that, nor did they tell Demoreo to expect it. 

The 2016 LiverKick Awards

For more, listen to our year-end podcast.

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LiverKick 2016 Awards: Fighter of the Year - Cedric Doumbe

  • Published in Glory

When it came to selecting who the fighter of the year was for 2016, the choice seemed rather cut-and-dry. While a lot of fighters had good years -- fighters like Superbon, Sitthichai, Rico Verhoeven and others, there was only one man who rose up to prominence in meteoric fashion and did so in a way where many didn't see it coming.

You have to admit -- Nieky Holzken seemed unbeatable for a long, long time at Welterweight. Sure, it seemed like Murthel Groenhart came dangerously close to defeating him before, but Nieky still knew exactly how to pull off the victory. His hands felt unparalleled in the sport and his fight IQ is off the charts. Yet. Yet.

Cedric Doumbe's greatness snuck up on a lot of people, but heading into the Holzken fight he was able to get inside of Nieky's head, then in the ring, he was able to avoid Nieky's hands while imposing his will. It felt like the end of an era, the changing of the guard and that Cedric Doumbe's era had arrived. In fact, it's difficult not to appreciate Doumbe for his personality, his skills and his sportsmanship.

He was the very clear 2016 Fighter of the Year.

The 2016 LiverKick Awards

For more, listen to our year-end podcast.

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Glory of Heroes 6: Genesis Card for January 13th

  • Published in Kickboxing

Glory of Heroes returns at 9am Eastern time streaming on YY.com with Glory of Heroes 6, featuring their 57.5kg tournament finals. The card, featuring recognizable names like Kem Sitsongpeenong, Zhou Zhipeng, Sergio Wielzen, Maykol Yurk and more promises to deliver on action. 

Card via Kiksie.

57.5kg Tournament Semifinals

Wang Junguang (China) vs. Youshida Akira (Japan)

Yun Qi (China) vs. Hamech Hakim

68kg

Tie Yinghua (China) vs. Maykol Yurk (Brazil)

63kg

Deng Zeqi (China) vs. Stavros Exakoustidis (Greece)

67kg

Yang Zhuo (China) vs. Charles Francois (France)

63kg

Wei Rui (China) vs. Petpanomrung Kiatmoo9 (Thailand)

66kg

Qiu Jianliang (China) vs. Kem Sitsongpeenong (Thailand)

73kg

Zhou Zhipeng (China) vs. Seyedisa Alamdarnezam (Iran)

60kg

Li Ning (China) vs. Sergio Wielzen (Netherlands)

57.5kg Tournament Final

TBA vs. TBA

 

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Wu Lin Feng Card including Kaew and Kubo

  • Published in Kickboxing

Wu Lin Feng (WLF) will be holding a show this weekend Jan 14 at the Henan TV Studio 8 in Zhengzhou, Henan, China. Thanks to our friends at kiksie.com we have the full card and still hoping for a link. This card has some huge names like the current K-1 65kgs champ Kaew Weerasakreck, Yi long, Fang Bian, Yuta Kubo, Saiyok plus a great 70kg 4-man tournament featuring Enriko Kehl and also an 8-man 63kgs tournament.

Full Card

70kg Tournament Reserve Fight - Song Shaoqiu (China) vs. Hassan Toy (Netherlands)

16-man 70kg Tournament Semifinals

Semifinal 1 - Farkhad Akhmejanau (Belarus) vs. Enriko Kehl (Germany)

Semifinal 2 - Jiao Fukai (China) vs. Shamil Gasanbekov (Russia)

 

8-man 63kg Tournament Quarterfinals

Quarter Final 1 - Wang Zhiwei (China) vs. Adrian Maxim (Romania)

Quarter Final 2 - Jin Ying (China) vs. Joan Canaveral (Colombia)

Quarter Final 3 - Zhao Fuxiang (China) vs. Joey Baylon (New Zealand)

Quarter Final 4 - Liu Wei (China) vs. Tamerlan Bashirov (Russia)

 

73.5kg - Sun Weiqiang (China) vs. Saiyok Pumpanmuang (Thailand)

67.5kg - Xie Lei (China) vs. Yuta Kubo (Japan)

65kg - Wang Pengfei (China) vs. Kaew Weerasakreck (Thailand)

75kg - Yi Long (China) vs. Marco Piqué (Suriname)

 

63kg Tournament Semifinals

Winner Quarter Final 1 vs. Winner Quarter Final 2

Winner Quarter Final 3 vs. Winner Quarter Final 4

 

70kg Tournament Final - Winner Semifinal 1 vs. Winner Semifinal 2

 

80kg - Fang Bian (China) vs. Berat Aliu (Germany)

93kg - Hao Guanghua (China) vs. Oleg Primachev (Ukraine)

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First Details on February 18th Enfusion Live Card

  • Published in Kickboxing

Enfusion Live returns on February 18th with their next event, Enfusion Live #46, featuring Daniel Sam vs. Fikri Ameziane, Yassin Baitar vs. Crice Boussoukou and the rematch that everyone has been waiting for in Nordin Ben Moh against Mohammed Jaraya. The first fight between the two was perhaps the fight of the year in 2016 and expectations are extremely high for this bout.

Enfusion World Title: Ilias Bulaid vs. Zakaria Zouggary

Ismael Lazaar vs. Martin Pacas

Ibrahim El Boustati vs. Ulrik Bokeme

Enfusion League: Tafun Ozcan vs. Jonay Risco

Enfusion League: Nordin Ben-Moh vs. Mohammed Jaraya

Enfusion League: Yassin Baitar vs. Crice Boussoukou

Samantha Van Doorn vs. Georgina Van Der linden

Fikri Ameziane vs. Daniel Sam

Aziz Kallah vs. Endy Semeleer

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Card for SuperStar Fight VII on Jan. 13th featuring Cosmo, Nattawut and More

  • Published in Kickboxing

On January 13th Chinese promotion SuperStar Fight will run their seventh event. The promotion, a subsidiary of Chinese congolomerate Huahua Media, looks to meld together entertainment with sport by featuring not only fighting stars of multiple disciplines per show (kickboxing muay thai, MMA), but also featuring film, television and cosplay stars during their events. 

Here's a look at their upcoming card.

Shiqiang Song(CHN) VS Li Yang(CHN)---62Kg of Kickboxing 3R/3M

Wu Zhang(CHN) VS Xuchao Gao(CHN)---66Kg of Kickboxing 3R/3M

Xianchao Zhao(CHN) VS Zhijie Deng(CHN)---65Kg of MMA 3R/5M

Alexin Donnie(USA) VS Riguleng Baoshe(CHN)---75Kg Tournament,Semi-final 3R/3M

Carlos Hicks(NZL) VS Shiyuan Li(CHN)---75Kg Tournament,Semi-final 3R/3M

Jo Nattawut(TH) VS Yan Zhao(CHN)---70Kg of Kickboxing 3R/3M

Cosmo Alexandre(BRA) VS Xiaofeng Tan(CHN)---77Kg of Muay Thai 3R/3M

KANG JIN HEE(KOR) VS Dandan Hu(CHN)---63Kg of MMA (Fighting Goddess)  3R/5M

Naoya Fukuoka(JPN) VS Dongqiang Lu(CHN)---65Kg of Kickboxing 3R/3M

Beno Adamia(GEO) VS Buren Wuliji(CHN)---63Kg of MMA  3R/5M

Mohammadhos Sein Doroudian(IR) VS Zhenyou Huang(CHN)---75Kg of Kickboxing  3R/3M

Nuralizoda Fozil(TJK) VS Rong Fan(CHN)---85Kg of MMA  3R/5M

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Badr Hari Wants Rico Verhoeven Rematch in May or June

  • Published in Glory

The fight that many believed would never happen between Badr Hari and Rico Verhoeven did happen, but the ending was perhaps bittersweet and exactly the kind of letdown that fans have grown accustomed to when it comes to the sport of kickboxing under-delivering on big promises. So while the fight was put together, the fighters ready to brawl and the arena packed full of passionate fans, the outcome was Badr Hari forfeiting thanks to an injury. 

Rico Verhoeven immediately offered Badr a rematch in the ring, to which Badr Hari replied in amiable fashion to, although still denigrating his opponent. The scorecards reflected that the judges had Badr Hari winning the first round, but the fight was far from over, especially considering a strike from Verhoeven is ultimately what injured Hari and forced the stoppage. For fans a conclusion to this fight is not only desirable, but almost a necessity. In an interview with John O'Regan, Hari claimed that he was looking to plan for a rematch in May or June, although he still didn't seem to respect his opponent.

“That's why it was so sour that I had to stop. But be honest, did you see me worrying, or in trouble? Like I said in the ring [after the fight], he became a man but he needs to be more to beat me. He is still not in my league.”

Hari's punching power and explosiveness are legendary, as are his temper both in and out of the ring. Legal issues have kept him away from the ring during what could have been the prime of his career and still haunt him to this day, everything from where he can actually get a license to fight to working around court dates and the uncertainty of the future. 

A rematch seems in order as long as both men are up for it and the asking prices don't fly through the roof. Right now the sport needs the rematch, if not to clear up the debate of who is the better fighter, to deliver on a promise and help build up the reputation of the sport once again.

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VIDEO: Masato's Fight With Takanori Gomi From New Year's Eve

  • Published in Kickboxing

While the legendary Masato may be retired, that doesn't mean that he doesn't like to entertain audiences from time-to-time. For the second year in a row, Masato participated in an exhibition bout for the New Year's Eve variety show Kyokugen in Japan. Last year was a bout with rival KID Yamamoto, while this year was a kickboxing exhibition bout with PRIDE lightweight legend Takanori Gomi.

Both men were a huge part of the boom years of Japan's obsession with kakutougi and this fight did take a back seat to RIZIN due to its nature, but it's still worth a watch and has some really crazy moments for two guys fighting for essentially nothing but fun.

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Updated Card for KNOCK OUT vol.1 on Feb. 12th

  • Published in Kickboxing

KNOCK OUT has provided an updated look at their second event, KNOCK OUT vol.1, which takes place on February 12th from the Ota-city General Gym in Japan. The card features now two-time MMA veteran Tenshin Nasukawa who made his MMA debut at RIZIN in the final days of December, scoring a TKO victory only to come back two days later and score a submission victory, making an even bigger name for himself in Japan. He's still without an opponent, but the main event promises to be a big one with Genji Umeno taking on Juan Mario Kaewsamrit.

UPDATE: 1/11

They've added a few more fights to the mix, including Tenshin Nasukawa getting an opponent in Amnat Ruenroeng. It's another former Thai champion for the young Tenshin.

2017.2.12 "KNOCK OUT vol.1" Ota-city General Gymnasium

3×5R 61.5kg 135lb

Genji Umeno(37W,7L,3D) vs juan mario kaewsamrit (88W,40L,4D)

3×5R 67kg 147lb

Kenta(44W,16L,4D) vs Indo Shinya(14W,5L,1D)

3×5R 64kg 141lb

Fukashi(28W,8L,2D) vs Yamaguti Hiroto(20W,9L)

Tenshin Nasukawa(17W) vs Amnat Ruenroeng(67勝34敗15D)

Hikaru Machida(30W,12L,3D) vs DJ.taiki(4W2L)

Hirotoshi Murata(21W8L2D) vs Yosuke Morii(36W7L3D)

Hiroya Haga(16W5L3D) vs Eisaku Ogasawara(23W3L)

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LiverKick 2016 Awards: Fight of the Year - Jaraya vs. Ben Moh

  • Published in News

There were a ton of great fights in 2016, so it was difficult for Jay and myself to pick the fight that best encapsulated what was 2016. We wanted to select what was an exciting fight, but not sloppy or too much of a brawl. Part of what makes kickboxing so exciting is when fights can not only be fun to watch, but technical and fast as well. 

So while Danyo Ilunga vs. Michael Duut and a number of other fights seemed like solid contenders, it was pretty easy to rest on Mohammed Jaraya vs. Nordin Ben Moh from Enfusion Live on February 26th of 2016. Both guys went toe-to-toe and the fight was simply insanity. I urge you to watch it below, if you haven't already. They also have a rematch coming up, which means that 2017 should start off with yet another top contender.

The 2016 LiverKick Awards

For more, listen to our year-end podcast.

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LiverKick Podcast January 15, 2017: GLORY 37 Preview and 2016 Awards

  • Published in LK Podcast

Oh yes, it's back. The LiverKick Podcast is back for the second episode of this iteration where Jay Jauncey and myself talk about kickboxing and hopefully keep you, our fine readers and listeners, happy. 

Last time we talked about GLORY: Collision, rankings, the state of kickboxing and how much we missed Japanese kickboxing. It was kind of a blast, let me tell you. Now here we are, back again, this time with talk about the kickboxing-related stuff that went down at RIZIN at the end of the year, we do a full preview of the GLORY 37 Los Angeles card and even bring back the LiverKick Year-End Awards! 

So no, you aren't really going to get fully-fleshed out predictions on these fights, but you'll get us talking about the fighters, where they're at, what we expect to see and why we are excited about each fight. This leads us to having an in-depth discussion about how these one-night, four-man tournaments probably aren't worth doing anymore and how the SuperFight Series has continually been the best part of GLORY events since they signed on with UFC Fight Pass. 

We close out the show with our LiverKick Year-End Awards, which we'll be writing up in more detail for each award over the coming days and week(s). Excuse the fact that I have a pretty nasty head cold and have been running on four hours of sleep for the past few months due to the twins, but such is life. Enjoy.

We've also done away with SoundCloud for the embed since we got a few complaints. Hopefully the embedded player ins't too much of a bummer. The podcast should be showing up on iTunes shortly, I'll insert the link to that when it's up.


Download | Listen on Stitcher | Subscribe on iTunes

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LiverKick Rankings December 2016: A New Welterweight King

  • Published in Rankings

The cursed year of 2016 is drawing to a close and this seemed like an opportune time for LiverKick to update its rankings.

The LiverKick rankings date back to 2010 when Fraser Coffeen and myself began ranking fighters across multiple divisions, with the only way to move up the rankings (or being added to them) being defeating a ranked opponent. Therefore, these rankings are based upon who beats who, not talent, potential or anything else. They are also current, meaning that past wins or losses are not taken into account when ranking a fighter.

For the year-end update there was an unusual amount of movement since our previous update at the end of September. The top heavyweights stayed the same and we fixed an odd error on our part where we somehow neglected to rank Roman Kryklia after an early 2016 win. We rectified that situation, which did set some other parts of the division into chaos, but there were also wins and losses that shook things up, such as Jamal Ben Saddik's defeating the top GLORY contender in Ismael Londt and Mladen Brestovac defeating would-be top contender Jahfarr Wilnis. Drops happened accordingly and Andrei Gerasimachuk has been dropped from the rankings after no wins of consequence to the rankings.

Light Heavyweight didn't change that much, but there are three new names in the mix, which is noteworthy. Michael Duut defeated Danyo Ilunga, securing himself a spot in the top five, which sadly drops Ilunga to 6. Roman Kryklia plowed through K-1's European 95kg Championship tournament including wins over Fabio Kwasi. Kwasi earned himself a spot with a win over Mladen Kujundzic while Jorge Loren dropped. Ionut Iftimoaie was dropped as his last win was his retirement fight and his ranking was merely honorary for the spot he earned if he hadn't retired. Andrei Stoica and Luis Tavares drop out due to attrition.

Middleweight sees a robbery rectified and things return to where they were prior to the last update, with Filip Verlinden's loss to el Boustati overturned and literally everyone gets bumped up and Fang Bian returns to his rightful spot on the rankings.

Welterweight saw a huge shake-up with only Murthel Groenhart holding onto his #4 spot and everyone else shifting thanks to Cedric Doumbe's win over long-reigning champion Nieky Holzken. Artur Kyshenko dropped simply because of the reshuffling, not due to any sort of loss. Dmitry Valent defeated Hicham El Goaui to earn a spot in the top ten, while Alexander Stetsurenko picked up a win over him, earning him a spot and everyone else simply shuffled, Mustapha Haida losing his #10 position and Karim Ghajji being bumped.

The biggest shake-up at Lightweight came when Cedric Manhoef defeated Wu Xuesong, which caused some downshifts and Christian Baya's win over Josh Jauncey bumped the young Canadian from the list for the time being. Dylan Salvador lands on the rankings, though, which is long overdue.

Featherweight saw one huge jump in China's very, very good Qiu Jianliang getting his just due in the rankings when he defeated Enfusion's posterboy of Ilias Bulaid. Everyone shifted down from there, including Massaro Glunder and Gabriel Varga was at 10, but was defeated by Robin van Roosmalen. This serves as only one of two categories where the current, reigning GLORY champion does not hold the top spot in a division. If anything, it is indicative of how deep the talent pools are for both Lightweight and Featherweight in Japan and China right now.  

LiverKick Rankings Updated on 12/29/2016

Heavyweight (Per 12/16)

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

Light

Heavyweight (Per 12/16)

1 Artem Vakhitov
2 Saulo Cavalari
3 Zack Mwekassa 
4 Mourad Bouzidi 
5 Michael Duut *
6 Danyo Ilunga v
7 Roman Kryklia *
8 Fabio Kwasi *
9 Mladen Kujundzic v
10 Jorge Loren v
Middleweight (Per 12/16)

1 Jason Wilnis 
2 Simon Marcus 
3 Artem Levin 
4 Israel Adesenya 
5 Filip Verlinden ^
6 Alex Pereira ^
7 Joe Schilling ^
8 Dustin Jacoby ^
9 Cedric Doumbe ^
10 Fang Bian *
Welterweight (Per 12/16)

1 Cedric Doumbe ^
2 Nieky Holzken v
3 Artur Kyshenko v
4 Murthel Groenhart
5 Alexander Stetsurenko
6 Dmitry Valent *
7 Hicham El Gaoui v
8 Raymond Daniels v
9 Yoann Kongolo v
10 Zoltan Laszak v
Lightweight (Per 12/16)

1 Superbon Banchamek
2 Sitthichai
3 Robin van Roosmalen 
4 Giorgio Petrosyan
5 Marat Grigorian 
6 Cedric Manhoef *
7 Wu Xuesong v
8 Tayfun Ozcan v
9 Dylan Salvador *
10 Anatoly Moiseev v
Featherweight (Per 12/16)

1 Kaew Weerasakreck
2 Qiu Jianliang *
3 Ilias Bulaid v
4 Hidaeki Yamazaki v
5 Masaaki Noiri v
6 Minoru Kimura v
7 WEi Ninghui v
8 Abdellah Ezbiri v
9 Kim Minsoo v
10 Robin van Roosmalen *

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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KNOCK OUT Releases Entire First Show Via YouTube

  • Published in Video

After kickboxing promotion KNOCK OUT began to pick up steam after their last event, they are looking to reach a wider audience than simply the Japanese fans that witnessed the event either live or via their YouTube channel later on. The promotion has gone ahead and released the entirety of the event via YouTube and now have created an English language channel for western fans to view the fights in an easier fashion. I know that a lot of you checked it out when they updated their original YouTube, but this is a great effort from the new promotion to reach out to fans outside of Japan.

Genji Umeno vs Sirimongkol PK Saenchaigym

Tenshin Nasukawa vs Wanchalong PK Saenchaigym 

Takuya Imamura vs Youichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima

Yosuke Morii vs Yodwandee Nitisamui

Haruaki Otsuki vs Starboy

Keisuke Miyamoto vs Eisaku Ogasawara

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LiverKick Podcast Revival: December 15th, 2016 GLORY: Collision Fallout and More

  • Published in LK Podcast

So. It's been a while since LiverKick has done a podcast, hasn't it? In fact, I don't even want to know how long it's been. That's okay, though, because we made the conscious decision to jump right back into it and the fallout from GLORY: Collision seemed like the perfect opportunity for that. All it took was near-perfect timing for Jay and I, a time when our kids were asleep and not being crazy, then we were a go. 

There was a lot to talk about, that's for sure. The topics range from Badr Hari vs. Rico fallout, talk about the logistics, fights and disappointments of GLORY: Collision, GLORY's future in 2017 and less of a focus on the United States and then veered into other European kickboxing topics like SuperKombat's new television deal, Enfusion Live's push for top-level Thais but having a broadcast platform that nobody wants to pay for and then we get to Asia. Both Jay and myself miss Japanese kickboxing, but try to give Chinese kickboxing a chance, so we try to put our finger on what exactly Kunlun is missing to make it recapture that feel that old K-1 had.

This, of course, sent us down the rabbit hole. The strict runsheet that I had keeping us to an hour was thrown out the window and we delved into why old K-1 was so great, how their production was an important part to creating the big-match feels and everything in between. This includes talking about K-1 Japan being the best pound-for-pound promotion in the world, but still not old K-1 and even a brief reprieve into Japanese pro wrestling history to explain why KNOCK OUT's parent company, Bushi Road, could, in fact, be the savior of Japanese kickboxing after they were able to rehabilitate New Japan Pro Wrestling. 

We had fun, so we hope that you have fun listening. 


| Download | Listen on Stitcher | Subscribe on iTunes

 

 

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Video: Kunlun Fight Top 10 KO's of 2016

  • Published in Video

Kunlun Fight has been putting on shows almost every 2nd weekend for all of 2016. Most of the shows were kickboxing with the focus being on their huge 70kgs tournament which will be coming to an end soon. Even though they have only been around since 2014 they are quickly becoming one of the very top promotions in the world having most of top tier fighters on their shows. The best thing about Kunlun is that they have so many shows which allows fighters to stay active even if they are signed exclusively to them, for example Sittichai Sitsongpeenong even though he is not exclusive to Kunlun fought for them 6 times already in 2016 and still has at least one or two more to go, maybe with promotions putting on shows like this kickboxers can actually make a decent living soon.

Here is an amazing video Kunlun Fight has made of their Top 10 KO's of the year, Enjoy.

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Richard Abraham's Sacrifices and Coincidences Leading to GLORY 34

  • Published in Interviews

What sacrifices are you willing to make to realize your dream? Would you pay to work in your chosen profession? Would you exercise diligence in your pursuit, following up on every possibility? Could you be a chameleon, assuming all the roles necessary to win the prize.  Maybe you wouldn't, but Richard Abraham has, does and will.  One of the newest faces in the welterweight division at Glory, Abraham comes to the ring with a professional record of 10-3-0, with three wins already with Glory.  He has trained extensively in Thailand and arrived back home ready to work.  Hailing from Itasca, Illinois, Abraham found in kickboxing a positive way to deal with anger and a life that could have gone very wrong.  When asked what he'd be doing if he weren't fighting, he replied, "Probably nothing good."  

Through the sport, however, he has found the discipline and skills needed to be successful in life.  So far he's enjoying the ride at Glory and is on a three fight win streak having defeated Pawel Jedrzejczyk in his Glory debut as well as Casey Greene and Francois Ambang at Glory 30 in Los Angeles.  Interestingly enough, prior to his debut at Glory 27, he had planned to return to Thailand.  The gods, however, were with him and he answered Glory's call.  Coincidentally, although he was scheduled to fight at Max Muay Thai stadium in Thailand, the stadium caught fire making Glory his blessing in disguise. Abraham expresses little fear in the face of any opponent his main goal is to be matched with fighters that will challenge him and take his skill level even higher and he doesn't mind being an underdog.  Being able to fight and be successful at his craft is his primary goal.  Abraham is a  self described well rounded fighter, with the ability to fight off multiple different styles. He is also keenly aware of the need for a synthesis between not only physical conditioning but also the mental aspect of fighting.  It's mind, body and soul.  

At Glory 34 Abraham prepares to face "The Blood Diamond" Mike Mathetha.  While not much is known about this opponent, Abraham is confident and prepared. Richard extends many thanks to all the fans for their support and he plans to continue to push hard and to show the world that he is a force.  For those interested in continue to watch this fighter on his journey you can follow him on both Twitter and Instagram @muaythaichicago or via his Facebook fan page Richard Maximus Abraham.  It's fight night on Friday, October 21st at Glory 34 Denver and another opportunity for this fighter to prove what he's made of.  

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Casey 'Go' Greene and Whatever It Takes at GLORY 34

  • Published in Interviews

Ready. Set. Go. Casey "Go" Greene that is. It's always great to talk to someone who is invested in advancing to the highest level of their craft.  What's even better is when you meet someone who attacks their goal with such tenacity that it would seem that their very life depended on it.  That is what you get when you meet Casey Greene.  The California native has joined the team and it's all or nothing.  Actually it's all for Greene, there is no other option.  Using the hashtag #Project WIT, Greene is living his philosophy, "Whatever it takes" (WIT).  Whatever it takes to be the best, whatever it takes to stay on top.  Whatever it takes to be the best man he can be in all aspects of his life. As kickboxing in the US steadily climbs in popularity, Greene plans to fulfill his dream of being on another level as well as taking the sport to another level.    

With a 4-3 record in Glory and currently ranked at #6, Greene is determined to set the welterweight division aflame.  A California native, Greene embarked upon his kickboxing journey fearlessly and with the idea in mind that becoming the best means training with the best, Carlos Dekkers, brother of the late and great Ramon Dekkers.  While seven fights does not a champion make, Greene has in this short time faced some of the best and brightest in Glory including Mike Lemaire, Dustin Jacoby and Francois Ambang.  Greene states that he works toward becoming a well rounded fighter and with experience in MMA, he counts his ability to stand and bang as an asset.

This Friday, October 21st, Greene is prepared  to do whatever it takes as he faces Glory newcomer Thongchai Sitsonpeenong at Glory 34 in Denver.  While his opponent has a record of more than 100 fights a fact like that doesn't phase Greene as he is willing to take on all comers as he continues to climb the ranks in his division.  

So if you haven't heard the name before, remember it, you'll be hearing it again and again. 

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September 2016 LiverKick Rankings Update: Featherweight In Chaos

  • Published in Rankings

As we leave the summer behind there were a lot of changes in the LiverKick rankings. From a personal standpoint, my wife and I just had twins, which accounts for why this is later than we would have liked. That just meant that Jay and I had a lot of work to do for these. 

The LiverKick rankings date back to 2010 when Fraser Coffeen and myself began ranking fighters across multiple divisions, with the only way to move up the rankings (or being added to them) being defeating a ranked opponent. Therefore, these rankings are based upon who beats who, not talent, potential or anything else. They are also current, meaning that past wins or losses are not taken into account when ranking a fighter. 

 There wasn't a ton of movement at Heavyweight this time out. The biggest changes come by the way of Hesdy Gerges finding his way back onto the rankings and Andrei Gerasmichuk drops down accordingly. Light Heavyweight saw Zack Mwekassa become the Interim GLORY champion, defeating Mourad Bouzidi, which caused a few slides. Ionut Iftimoaie makes his debut after defeating Jorge Loren.

Middleweight is where there was some serious action. Jason Wilnis is the new GLORY champ, usurping Simon Marcus. Israel Adesenya has had a tremendous run since our last update in May and Ibrahim El Boustati makes his way onto the rankings thanks to a big win over Verlinden. Joe Schilling's drop is entirely because of the loss to Hisaki Kato, who immediately "retired" from kickboxing afterwards. It'll be interesting to see what else shakes up in this division.

Welterweight has been relatively static, mostly because Nieky Holzken is still the king and nobody has beaten him. The only movement comes thanks to Bellator Kickboxing's shake-up at the top of their division, with Zoltan Laszak defeating Karim Ghajji.

The lighter weight classes are where things get really odd. Superbon Banchamek is a beast and made Sitthichai look human, which is kind of amazing. There were a few omissions this time out due to activity issues of Yodsanklai and yet another "I'm leaving kickboxing," this time from Enriko Gogokhia, who has moved to the US to pursue a boxing career. Wu Xuesong has continued to be impressive, as has Tayfun Ozcan. Josh Jauncey hit a rough patch, but due to departures moved up and Jomthong makes his rankings debut.

Featherweight is where the shake-up was, with super-hyped Ilias Bulaid making his rankings debut at #2 thanks to a strong performance in the K-1 tournament. The real shake-up came from Massaro Glunder losing. For those of you who might not grasp how ridiculous these rankings can be to tabulate, Glunder's loss to Kim Minsoo then opened up the division for Wei Ninghui and Abdallah Ezbiri, meaning that some of the names on the list had to drop. 

As an aside, Gabriel Varga remains in his spot even though he did win the GLORY championship. The reality is that Featherweight is the most competitive division in the entire sport and it is also a fractured division. Due to these shake-ups, mainstays like Yuta Kubo had to be removed, as did former champion Serhiy Adamchuk. Remember, these rankings began a while back and rely on who-beats-who. One loss to someone outside of the rankings can -- and does -- create chaos. 

LiverKick Rankings Updated on 9/28/2016

Heavyweight (Per 9/16)

1 Rico Verhoeven
2 Benjamin Adegbuyi
3 Ismael Londt
4 Jahfarr Wilnis
5 Fabio Kwasi
6 Guto Inocente
7 Jamal Ben Saddik
8 Anderson Silva
9 Hesdy Gerges *
10 Andrei Gerasmichuk v

Light

Heavyweight (Per 9/16)

1 Artem Vakhitov
2 Saulo Cavalari
3 Zack Mwekassa ^
4 Mourad Bouzidi v
5 Danyo Ilunga v
6 Mladen Kujundzic v
7 Ionut Iftimoaie *
8 Jorge Loren v 
9 Andrei Stoica v
10 Luis Tavares
Middleweight (Per 9/16)

1 Jason Wilnis ^
2 Simon Marcus v
3 Artem Levin v
4 Israel Adesenya ^
5 Ibrahim El Boustati *
6 Filip Verlinden v
7 Alex Pereira v
8 Joe Schilling v
9 Dustin Jacoby v
10 Cedric Doumbe v
Welterweight (Per 9/16)

1 Nieky Holzken
2 Artur Kyshenko
3 Cedric Doumbe
4 Murthel Groenhart
5 Hicham El Gaoui
6 Raymond Daniels
7 Yoann Kongolo
8 Zoltan Laszak *
9 Karim Ghajji
10 Mustapha Haida v
Lightweight (Per 9/16)

1 Superbon Banchamek *
2 Sitthichai
3 Robin van Roosmalen v
4 Giorgio Petrosyan
5 Marat Grigorian ^
6 Wu Xuesong ^
7 Tayfun Ozcan ^
8 Anatoly Moiseev *
9 Josh Jauncey ^
10 Jomthong Chuwattana *
Featherweight (Per 9/16)

1 Kaew Weerasakreck
2 Ilias Bulaid *
3 Hidaeki Yamazaki v
4 Masaaki Noiri v
5 Minoru Kimura v
6 Wei Ninghui *
7 Abdallah Ezbiri *
8 Kim Minsoo *
9 Gabriel Varga
10 Massaro Glunder v

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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K-1

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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Brackets Released For K-1 World Grand Prix Europe -85kg Tournament

  • Published in K-1

After the success of the K-1 World Grand Prix Euro -95kg tournament K-1 Global is looking to take full advantage of this momentum by announcing their next tournament, the K-1 World Grand Prix Euro -85kg tournament. It features a mix of recognizable names as well as hot prospect newcomers and will look to provide the same kind of entertainment that we've come to know and want from the K-1 name. 

Here's the card thus far:

World Grand Prix Euro -85kg Tournament

David Radeff (France) vs. Nikola Noveski (Serbia)

Igor Emkic (BiH) vs. Guiseppe de Domenico (Italy)

Agron Preteni (Croatia) vs. Radoslaw Packuski (Poland)

Timu Aylyarov (Russia) vs. Vasil Ducar (Czech Republic)

Super Fights

Mesud Selimovic (BiH) vs. Imanol Rodriguez (Spain)

Giannis Skordilis (Greece) vs. Maycon Oller (Brazil)

Broslav Vujanovic (BiH) vs. Aundre Groce (England)

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K-1 World GP in Japan: Featherweight Championship Tournament Results

  • Published in K-1

K-1 crowned a Featherweight Champion in Japan last night and it was -- of course -- the ultra-violent Takeru who took the crown. Here are the quick results from the fights.

11.03.2016

Yoyogi National Gymnasium

Tokyo Japan

Live on AbemaTV (fight channel) 16:00 JP / 12AM PST / 3AM EST

~Prelims~

Yuki Egawa def Ryota (Punches, left to liver then head)

Ryuya Mineyama def Yuto Shinohara DEC (Unanimous)

Rukiya def Hisaki Hashimoto DEC (Unanimous)

~Opening Ceromony~

~K-1 Featherweight Championship Grand Prix~

reserve bout : Hirotaka Asahisa def Yuta Otaki DEC (Unanimous)

K-1 World GP Featherweight Quarter Final #1 : Ozawa Kaito def Josh Tonna KO 1R (Flying knee to the body)

K-1 World GP Featherweight Quarter Final #2 : Elias Mahmoudi def Ryuma Tobe DEC (Unanimous)

K-1 World GP Featherweight Quarter Final #3 : Yun Qi def Shota Kanbe KO 3R ( Two knockdowns, punches & flying knee )

K-1 World GP Featherweight Quarter Final #4 : Takeru def Jamie Whelan DEC (Unanimous)

K-1 Koshien 2016 -55kg Final : Taito Gunji def Ryuya Tsubakihara DEC (Unanimous)

K-1 Koshien 2016 -60kg Final : Yuma Saikyo def Takumi Yokoyama DEC (Unanimous)

K-1 Koshien 2016 -65kg Final : Kensei Kondo def Umi Honma DEC (Unanimous)

~intermission~

K-1 World GP Featherweight Semifinal #1 Kaito Ozawa def Elias Mohmoudi DEC (Unanimous)

K-1 World GP Featherweight Semifinal #2 Takeru def Yun Qi KO 2R (Punches)

Yasuomi Soda def Fawad Seddiqi DEC (Unanimous)

Yuta Kubo def Keita Makihira DEC (Unanimous)

Sanny Dahlbeck def Yashuhiro Kido KO 2R (Punches and Knee)

K-1 World GP Featherweight GP Championship Final Takeru def Kaito Ozawa Dec (Unanimous, Takeru dominated this rematch from the beginning and he dropped Kaito twice with flurries near the end of round one. Takeru didn't fight with caution as both slugged it out until the end)

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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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Fight Card for K-1 World Grand Prix Europe -95kg

  • Published in K-1

After the runaway success that K-1 Japan has had, K-1 Global is looking to bring that level of excitement and interest to K-1 in Europe with their K-1 World Grand Prix Euro -95kg tournament. K-1's Ned Kuruc had discussed the idea of moving away from the eight-man tournaments in the past, but K-1 has done an about-face in seeing the high demand for these tournaments and the excitement that they can create. 

The idea behind this tournament is to blend together some well-known -95kg fighters along with some lesser known, younger talents to create a new, thriving division. K-1 Japan has been focused on the smaller weights and K-1 Europe is going to focus on the heavier weights. 

Of course, this is not without controversy. K-1 ran a World Grand Prix event in Croatia -- the one that Cro Cop won -- in cooperation with Cro Cop's former manager and Final Fight promoter Orsat Zovko. Orsat has spoken about the poor relationship with K-1 and how there were financial disagreements in the past, but now the claims have resurfaced, namely from the Zovko-affiliated FightSite, which has published a number of pieces now of fighters claiming to still be owed money from the 2013 event. This is not the first that we've heard of this, but it has been a while since this has been discussed. K-1 Global has not replied to the claims, but were aware of them. 

Regardless of past, broken business relationships, there are high hopes for K-1's new start in Europe with the -95kg tournament. Well known fighters like Mladen Kujundzic, Fabio Kwasi, Emmanuel Payet and Igor Bugaenko are involved in the tournament alongside up-and-comers. 

K-1 World Grand Prix Euro -95kg Tournament

Igor Bugaenko (Belarus) vs. Tomasz Sarara (Poland)

Atha Kasapis (Germany) vs. Aundre Groce (England)

Fabio Kwasi (Holland) vs. Mladen Kujundzic (Croatia)

Rade Opacic (Serbia) vs. Emmanuel Payet (France)

Reserve Fight

Vasil Ducar (Czech Republic) vs. Bahrudin Mahmic (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Super Fights

60kg Women - Marina Spasic (Serbia) vs. Merima Basic (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

71kg Men - Marko Adamovic (Serbia) vs. Sayfullah Hambahadov (Russia)

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K-1 WGP in Japan 2016 - 60kgs World Tournament Results

  • Published in K-1

So the K-1 60kgs tournament took place this morning in Tokyo, Japan. The co-main event was supposed to feature Kaew Weerasakreck against the winner of the 2016 65kgs tournament Hideaki Yamazaki but Kaew`s teammate Gon`Napar fought instead and what a fight it was. Here are all the results thanks to Mr. Jordan Booth.

Results

60kgs Tournament Final - Koya Urabe Def Taiga KO 1ST RND (Punches, 3 Knockdowns) Koya looked fantastic tonight, really utilized that great boxing of his.

65kgs Superfight - Gon'Napar Weerasakreck Def Hideaki Yamazaki Unanimous Dec (28-26,28-26,28-26) Both were dropped in the first round from punches. Yamazaki looked good in the first but at some point in the second ate few to many leg kicks and was clearly on sore legs the rest of the fight. He was barely walking after the match. good fight.

Mokoto Uehara Def Koichi Pettas Unanimous Dec (30-28,29-28,29-28)

Kenta Hayashi Def Yuji "kyoken" Takeuchi KO 1ST RND (Punches, 3 Knockdowns)

60kgs Semi 1 - Koya Urabe Def Paulo Tebar KO 2ND RND (Punches, 2 Knockdowns) 

60kgs Semi 2 - Taiga Def Hirotaka Urabe Unanimous Dec (30-27,30-27,30-26)

Makoto Kozu forest vs Hong Chin'yao KO 3RD RND 

Morii Kokai Def Michitaka Uchida Majority Dec (29-28,29-29,29-28)

Kuwata Yuta Def Yu Nomura KO 3rd RND

60kgs Quarterfinal - Kosuke Komiyama Def Paulo Tebar Unanimous Dec (30-28,29-28,30-28) (Komiyama inured so Tebar advanced)

60kgs Quarterfinal - Koya Urabe Def Karim Bennoui Unanimous Dec (30-27,30-27,30-27)

60kgs Quarterfinal - Hirotaka Urabe Def Johannes Wolf Unanimous Dec (29-28,29-28,29-28)

60kgs Quarterfinal - Taiga Def Javier Hernandez TKO 2ND RND (Downed with Liver kick, survived the round then left the ring)

Koji Def Toshi Unanimous Dec (30-29,30-29,30-29)

Masanobu Goshu Def Dynamite Yuta Takahashi Majority Dec (30-29,29-29,30-28)

K-Jee Def Yoshinari KO 2RND (Punches, 3KD)

Kento Ito vs Ryusei Asizawa DRAW (29-27,27-27,28-28)

 

 

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K-1 Europe Planning 95kg World Grand Prix on October 27th

  • Published in K-1

While K-1 Japan has been putting on some of the best shows in the world, K-1 outside of Japan has been rather quiet. K-1 GLOBAL was running events in China, but the ongoing details of setting up shop in China have considerably slowed down their approach on China for the moment. 

For fans across the world the K-1 name is still the standard for which all kickboxing is measured and K-1 is returning to Europe, kickboxing's spiritual home. K-1 Europe will operate much in the same vein that K-1 Japan does, operating shows based out of Europe highlighting the best talents around, but while K-1 Japan has lighter weights covered, K-1 Europe will be focusing on heavier weights. Everything kicks off on October 27th in Belgrade, Serbia with the K-1 Europe 95kg World Grand Prix.

This will be a one-night, eight-man tournament, returning to K-1's roots and while no names have been announced yet, the promotion is going to focus on talented up-and-comers as well as established talents in the weight division, with some of the names that I've heard being kicked around as definite crowd-pleasers.

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K-1 WORLD GP 60kgs Tournament Fight Card

  • Published in K-1

K-1 WGP 2016 60kgs Tournament takes place this weekend September 19th in Tokyo Japan at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium. This will as usual be an am

azing card with an 8-man tournament at 60kgs where there is a high possibility that the Urabe brothers are going to fight in the finals again. As hard as it is for me to watch two brothers fight (they have already fought each other multiple times) they do make an exciting fight everytime. Also Kaew Weerasakreck will be defending his 65kgs belt against Hideaki Yamazaki. The last time they fought was in 2014 and Kaew won by decision but Yamazaki has got a lot better so this should be interesting.

Full Card

60kgs Tournament Final - 

65kgs Title - Kaew vs Hideaki Yamazaki

Mokoto Uehara vs Koichi Pettas

Yuji "kyoken" takeuchi vs Kenta Hayashi

60kgs Semi 1 - 

60kgs Semi 2 - 

Makoto Kozu forest vs Hong Chin'yao

Morii Kokai vs Michitaka Uchida

Kuwata Yuta vs Yu Nomura

60kgs Quarterfinal - Kosuke Komiyama vs Paulo Tebar

60kgs Quarterfinal - Koya Urabe vs Karim Bennoui

60kgs Quarterfinal - Hirotaka Urabe vs Johannes Wolf

60kgs Quarterfinal - Taiga vs Javier Hernandez

Toshi vs Koji

Dynamite Yuta Takahashi vs Masanobi Goshu

K-Jee vs Yoshinari 

Kento Ito vs Ryusei Asizawa

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K-1 Japan Holding -57.5kg Tournament For New World Title in November

  • Published in K-1

Fans of K-1 Japan know better than to mess with Takeru, the K-1 -55kg Champion, a truly violent force in kickboxing. Yet, it appears that K-1 is moving the goalpost a bit for Takeru's brand of violence by adjusting the division's weight to -57.5kg, where they will crown a new champion. This goes down on November 5th at Yoyogi National Stadium and will be an 8-man tournament.

K-1 Japan -57.5kg GP

Tournament: Ozawa Kaito vs Josh Tonna

Tournament: Tobe Ryuma vs Elias Mahmoudi

Tournament: Kanbe Shota vs Yun Qi

Tournament: Takeru vs. Jamie Whelan

Reserve: Otaki Yuta VS Asahisa Yuki

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Absolutely Do Not Push Takeru While He's Wearing His K-1 Championship

  • Published in K-1

K-1 Japan has another, star-studded and most likely knockout-filled card approaching on the 24th of June, featuring a 65kg tournament. Also featured on the card will be K-1 -55kg Champion Takeru taking on Ozawa Kaito. At a recent press conference for the event both men stared down and Kaito decided to get cute with Takeru. Takeru is, of course, a beautiful, violent soul, which is to say that it didn't work out too well. Here's the thing, don't come at Takeru while he's wearing his belt.

Apparently he's kind of invincible while wearing it, because this one-handed judo takedown is just a thing of beauty.

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LiverKick 2016 Awards: Knockout of the Year - Guto Inocente

  • Published in Glory

Continuing in the fine tradition of the LiverKick 2016 Awards, we move on to the Knockout of the Year. This was, perhaps, the most difficult category as there was such a wide array of dazzling knockouts throughout the year. Everything from head kicks to brutal punches and even spinning stuff. Hell, there was a Japanese event called KNOCK OUT where five out of the six fights ended in KO. 

Needless to say, lots of good fighters got put to sleep this past year.

Our pick for the Knockout of the Year is rather dazzling and even brutal. Both Jay and I had the same guttural reaction of "man, poor Demoreo" when it happened, because damn. Guto Inocente's spinning back kick just slept the poor guy. What made it so amazing was that it was a legitimate heavyweight doing a move that would have been brutal from a much lighter fighter, yet it was a heavyweight. Heavyweights are known for having power in their fists and even in their head kicks, but a move like this is usually left to the smaller guys.

But nobody told Guto that, nor did they tell Demoreo to expect it. 

The 2016 LiverKick Awards

For more, listen to our year-end podcast.

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LiverKick 2016 Awards: Fighter of the Year - Cedric Doumbe

  • Published in Glory

When it came to selecting who the fighter of the year was for 2016, the choice seemed rather cut-and-dry. While a lot of fighters had good years -- fighters like Superbon, Sitthichai, Rico Verhoeven and others, there was only one man who rose up to prominence in meteoric fashion and did so in a way where many didn't see it coming.

You have to admit -- Nieky Holzken seemed unbeatable for a long, long time at Welterweight. Sure, it seemed like Murthel Groenhart came dangerously close to defeating him before, but Nieky still knew exactly how to pull off the victory. His hands felt unparalleled in the sport and his fight IQ is off the charts. Yet. Yet.

Cedric Doumbe's greatness snuck up on a lot of people, but heading into the Holzken fight he was able to get inside of Nieky's head, then in the ring, he was able to avoid Nieky's hands while imposing his will. It felt like the end of an era, the changing of the guard and that Cedric Doumbe's era had arrived. In fact, it's difficult not to appreciate Doumbe for his personality, his skills and his sportsmanship.

He was the very clear 2016 Fighter of the Year.

The 2016 LiverKick Awards

For more, listen to our year-end podcast.

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Badr Hari Wants Rico Verhoeven Rematch in May or June

  • Published in Glory

The fight that many believed would never happen between Badr Hari and Rico Verhoeven did happen, but the ending was perhaps bittersweet and exactly the kind of letdown that fans have grown accustomed to when it comes to the sport of kickboxing under-delivering on big promises. So while the fight was put together, the fighters ready to brawl and the arena packed full of passionate fans, the outcome was Badr Hari forfeiting thanks to an injury. 

Rico Verhoeven immediately offered Badr a rematch in the ring, to which Badr Hari replied in amiable fashion to, although still denigrating his opponent. The scorecards reflected that the judges had Badr Hari winning the first round, but the fight was far from over, especially considering a strike from Verhoeven is ultimately what injured Hari and forced the stoppage. For fans a conclusion to this fight is not only desirable, but almost a necessity. In an interview with John O'Regan, Hari claimed that he was looking to plan for a rematch in May or June, although he still didn't seem to respect his opponent.

“That's why it was so sour that I had to stop. But be honest, did you see me worrying, or in trouble? Like I said in the ring [after the fight], he became a man but he needs to be more to beat me. He is still not in my league.”

Hari's punching power and explosiveness are legendary, as are his temper both in and out of the ring. Legal issues have kept him away from the ring during what could have been the prime of his career and still haunt him to this day, everything from where he can actually get a license to fight to working around court dates and the uncertainty of the future. 

A rematch seems in order as long as both men are up for it and the asking prices don't fly through the roof. Right now the sport needs the rematch, if not to clear up the debate of who is the better fighter, to deliver on a promise and help build up the reputation of the sport once again.

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Badr Hari Suffered a Muscle Tear, Not Broken Arm Against Rico Verhoeven

  • Published in Glory

All throughout the past week kickboxing fans have been running through the video of the huge showdown between Badr Hari and Rico Verhoeven, studying it like the Zapruder film trying to find the phantom bullet that broke Badr Hari's arm and ended the dream match to end all dream matches early. Clinch and a knee. Clinch and a knee. A kick and a block. Back and to the left?

While multiple theories have floated around -- including conspiracy theories about foul play -- no one has really been quite able to figure out the exact moment that it happened. The reason behind that is simple; there was no bone break. According to Mike Passenier, it was only a muscle tear, not a break that Badr suffered on Saturday. He has returned to Morocco where he is currently healing up and planning his next move. 

This report is also in sharp contrast to earlier reports, where a photograph of an x-ray with a broken arm has been floating around social media, with claims being sent out by representatives of Hari to explain away why the fight ended early. Mike Passenier initially denied that image was true, but then said that Badr's arm was broken. As always with Badr Hari, everything needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Before anyone gets excited about a potential rematch, remember that Badr is also due in court in January about one of his assault cases and that a future rematch with Rico Verhoeven might depend on the outcome of that court case. [source]

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Remy Bonjasky Accepts Gokhan Saki's Challenge Via Social Media

  • Published in Glory

The fires within Saki have been stoked after over a year away from the ring. After seeing a packed arena for GLORY: Collision, former GLORY Light Heavyweight Champion Gokhan Saki was quick to toss his name into the hat for a big money fight with the champion, calling out Verhoeven. Claiming to be aiming to be a two-division champion (Saki still argues his claim to the Light Heavyweight Champion even though the promotion has moved on).

Of course, Remy Bonjasky had gone on Dutch television days prior to GLORY: Collision to say that he'd be willing to come out of retirement and fight Badr Hari. So it seemed only natural for the two of them to get into a social media battle of their own. So they did, with Saki saying that he'd fight Bonjasky as well. It didn't take long for the now-retired Remy Bonjasky to reply and accept the fight via a video on his Instagram. 

 

Saki seemed pleased with it, using it as a platform to continue calling out Rico Verhoeven. 

So while the two legends seem set to fight each other in the GLORY ring, currently only Gokhan Saki has a contract with GLORY. That means that they'd have to renegotiate with Remy Bonjasky and in the past that has been an issue with the three-time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion usually demanding a rather hefty purse for his fights. Will GLORY be willing to pay that? Considering his last few fights with the promotion didn't draw huge numbers for them and were a bit underwhelming, I would assume not, so it would be in Bonjasky's interest if he really wants to fight to be open to negotiations. 

The two met in 2008 in the K-1 World Grand Prix Semi-Finals where Bonjasky scored a highlight reel knockout via a flying kick to the midsection.

Remy Bonjasky's last fight was at GLORY 14 where he narrowly defeated Mirko Cro Cop in 2014. Gokhan Saki's last fight was in 2015 for GFC where he fought at heavyweight against Sebastian Ciobanu, picking up a decision victory. His last GLORY appearance was in 2014 at GLORY 14 where he won the GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship tournament by defeating both Nathan Corbett and Tyrone Spong.

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Rico Verhoeven and Badr Hari's Historic Clash Sees Unfortunate Ending

  • Published in Glory

The most anticipated heavyweight kickboxing fight in years went down tonight in Germany at GLORY: Collision. The atmosphere was beyond electric when Rico Verhoeven came down the ramp first, ignoring his champion status for the crowd favorite and living legend Badr Hari. Hari was second, making his typical entrance through the crowd. The crowd absolutely mobbed Hari, to the point where when Hari stepped into the ring about seventy or so fans attempted to follow him, jumping the railing, filling up the ramp and trying to storm the ring.

To say that it was chaos would be an understatement.

After minutes of the team attempting to clear the ring, they finally did and it was underway. Both men were staring daggers at each other and the first round was perhaps one of the most tense rounds that we've seen in years. Badr was landing his jabs, but Rico was controlling the ring and scoring with low, middle and the occasional high kicks. 

The second round saw Hari land a big hook, but Verhoeven land a big head kick. Rico, frustrated with Hari went for a clinch and pushed him against the ropes, landing two big knees to the arm. When they broke, Badr turned his back and walked to the corner, referee Atsushi Onari starting a count with Badr not answering the count. Apparently he suffered an injury to his arm and did not wish to continue. 

Rico agreed to fight Badr Hari again and was complimentary while Hari was somewhat complimentary, but wasn't willing to call him the best just yet. Badr called Rico over. "Next year, I swear, I'll knock you the fuck out."

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Cedric Doumbe Puts On the Performance of a Lifetime, Usurping Nieky Holzken

  • Published in Glory

After years on top of the Welterweight division, the king, Nieky Holzken, has been dethroned. His loss came by the hands of the man who has quietly ascended the rankings over the past few years without much hype or fanfare in Cedric Doumbe. Doumbe has been looking incredible in all of his recent fights and going into this fight it was hard to discount him.

What ensued was a masterful performance, the exact fight that had to happen against the once-dominant Nieky Holzken by mixing up his strikes, controlling the ring and sneaking in his dangerous uppercuts after landing serious low kicks. Doumbe found a formula to keep Holzken from hitting his groove and carried it through to a resounding victory.

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GLORY Announces GLORY 38 Chicago

  • Published in Glory

On Friday, February 24th GLORY makes their return to Chicago with GLORY 38: Chicago. The event will go down at the Sears Center and features a headline bout between GLORY Lightweight Champion Artem Vakhitov and former champion Saulo Cavalari. The two fights have a win apiece against each other and the title will be on the line this time out. 

The SuperFight Series will feature an interesting brawl-to-end-all-brawls in Chi Lewis-Parry squaring off against Romanian slugger Catalin Morosanu. Seriously, that fight doesn't see the second round and should be insane. 

More bouts are to be announced shortly.

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VIDEO: GLORY Pays Tribute to Marc de Bonte

  • Published in Glory

During the GLORY: Collision event in Oberhausen, Germany GLORY paid tribute to the fallen former GLORY Welterweight Champion, Marc de Bonte. They did so with a tasteful video reflecting on de Bonte's GLORY 16 title win, his impact on the sport and the people around him and the hole that his passing left in the sport.

 

GLORY, of course, weren't the only ones paying tribute to de Bonte, as Kunlun Fight held their Welterweight tournament today, which de Bonte was scheduled to be a part of. 

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Michael Duut and Danyo Ilunga Beat The Snot Out of Each Other In Extra Round Thriller

  • Published in Glory

After what has been a rather tepid night of fights in Germany for GLORY, the main event of the GLORY SuperFight Series delivered in a huge way. In a rematch between Danyo Ilunga and Michael Duut both men decided to go all-out and beat the ever-living snot out of each other. While the term is thrown out a bit too often, this could easily be considered the fight of the year by most metrics.

While the fight wasn't a marvel of technical acumen and precision, it was a fight that helped to encapsulate all of the great things about kickboxing. Duut went out there looking to entertain and Ilunga was swiftly swept up into that vortex of violence, with both men trading downs throughout the fight leading to a majority draw. That meant extra round. 

Extra violence. 

The extension round went as the rest of the fight did; both men trading blows, wobbling each other and making roaring come backs before Duut finally dropped Ilunga with just seconds left to go. Ilunga was able to fight back to his feet, but that was enough to seal the deal for Duut and to even up the series between the two fighters at one win apiece. If you missed it, the fight can be viewed on UFC Fight Pass.

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Richard Abraham's Sacrifices and Coincidences Leading to GLORY 34

  • Published in Interviews

What sacrifices are you willing to make to realize your dream? Would you pay to work in your chosen profession? Would you exercise diligence in your pursuit, following up on every possibility? Could you be a chameleon, assuming all the roles necessary to win the prize.  Maybe you wouldn't, but Richard Abraham has, does and will.  One of the newest faces in the welterweight division at Glory, Abraham comes to the ring with a professional record of 10-3-0, with three wins already with Glory.  He has trained extensively in Thailand and arrived back home ready to work.  Hailing from Itasca, Illinois, Abraham found in kickboxing a positive way to deal with anger and a life that could have gone very wrong.  When asked what he'd be doing if he weren't fighting, he replied, "Probably nothing good."  

Through the sport, however, he has found the discipline and skills needed to be successful in life.  So far he's enjoying the ride at Glory and is on a three fight win streak having defeated Pawel Jedrzejczyk in his Glory debut as well as Casey Greene and Francois Ambang at Glory 30 in Los Angeles.  Interestingly enough, prior to his debut at Glory 27, he had planned to return to Thailand.  The gods, however, were with him and he answered Glory's call.  Coincidentally, although he was scheduled to fight at Max Muay Thai stadium in Thailand, the stadium caught fire making Glory his blessing in disguise. Abraham expresses little fear in the face of any opponent his main goal is to be matched with fighters that will challenge him and take his skill level even higher and he doesn't mind being an underdog.  Being able to fight and be successful at his craft is his primary goal.  Abraham is a  self described well rounded fighter, with the ability to fight off multiple different styles. He is also keenly aware of the need for a synthesis between not only physical conditioning but also the mental aspect of fighting.  It's mind, body and soul.  

At Glory 34 Abraham prepares to face "The Blood Diamond" Mike Mathetha.  While not much is known about this opponent, Abraham is confident and prepared. Richard extends many thanks to all the fans for their support and he plans to continue to push hard and to show the world that he is a force.  For those interested in continue to watch this fighter on his journey you can follow him on both Twitter and Instagram @muaythaichicago or via his Facebook fan page Richard Maximus Abraham.  It's fight night on Friday, October 21st at Glory 34 Denver and another opportunity for this fighter to prove what he's made of.  

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Casey 'Go' Greene and Whatever It Takes at GLORY 34

  • Published in Interviews

Ready. Set. Go. Casey "Go" Greene that is. It's always great to talk to someone who is invested in advancing to the highest level of their craft.  What's even better is when you meet someone who attacks their goal with such tenacity that it would seem that their very life depended on it.  That is what you get when you meet Casey Greene.  The California native has joined the team and it's all or nothing.  Actually it's all for Greene, there is no other option.  Using the hashtag #Project WIT, Greene is living his philosophy, "Whatever it takes" (WIT).  Whatever it takes to be the best, whatever it takes to stay on top.  Whatever it takes to be the best man he can be in all aspects of his life. As kickboxing in the US steadily climbs in popularity, Greene plans to fulfill his dream of being on another level as well as taking the sport to another level.    

With a 4-3 record in Glory and currently ranked at #6, Greene is determined to set the welterweight division aflame.  A California native, Greene embarked upon his kickboxing journey fearlessly and with the idea in mind that becoming the best means training with the best, Carlos Dekkers, brother of the late and great Ramon Dekkers.  While seven fights does not a champion make, Greene has in this short time faced some of the best and brightest in Glory including Mike Lemaire, Dustin Jacoby and Francois Ambang.  Greene states that he works toward becoming a well rounded fighter and with experience in MMA, he counts his ability to stand and bang as an asset.

This Friday, October 21st, Greene is prepared  to do whatever it takes as he faces Glory newcomer Thongchai Sitsonpeenong at Glory 34 in Denver.  While his opponent has a record of more than 100 fights a fact like that doesn't phase Greene as he is willing to take on all comers as he continues to climb the ranks in his division.  

So if you haven't heard the name before, remember it, you'll be hearing it again and again. 

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Randy 'Boom Boom' Blake On Martial Arts and a Long Career

  • Published in Interviews

It's the sound of thunder.  It's the sound of his fists or knees connecting with his opponent's body.  It's the sound of the other guy hitting the canvas.  It's his tagline -- #BOOM!  Randy Blake Oklahoma's favorite son continues his climb to dominance in the kickboxing world.  With more than 30 fights under his belt, and over half of them ending in KOs, Blake continues to prove himself as a fierce competitor in the ring and a benevolent advocate for the sport.  In addition to exhibiting dominance on his local circuit and climbing the ranks at Glory, Blake has held the XFL Light Heavyweight and ISKA World Heavyweight titles.  Blake’s other credentials include:

  • 4th Degree Black Belt in Karate, Kickboxing, and Jiu-Jitsu under 5 time world champion Dale "Apollo" Cook;
  • 2nd Degree Black Belt in Ketsugo under Herold Brosious;
  • Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under RCJ Machado.
  • Beginning his training at age six at Hillcrest Academy Dojo under Sylvester Meola in Ohio, Randy set himself on a lifelong path of the discipline required in martial arts.  After relocating to Oklahoma, Blake continued to hone is skills under 5x world champion Dale Apollo Cook at Apollo's Martial Arts.  Like many of his peers, Blake's early inspiration to begin this journey was the film, Bloodsport. Blake's interest in the prowess displayed by Van Damme on screen and his determination to perfect every move earned him punching bag for Christmas, a present he is thankful for until this very day.

Blake has had a long journey from his days of emulating Jean-Claude Van Damme to the present. Already, he has faced some of the best and brightest in the kickboxing community including Mirko “CroCop” Filipovic, Dustin Jacoby, Koichi, Mourad Bouzidi and others.  Today he not only derives his inspiration from his instructors, his peers and the generation he seeks to inspire, but also his mother. You see, Randy isn’t the only one with talent in the family when it comes to martial arts, meet Mrs. Blake.

Blake describes his mother as amazing!  When asked how he learned of his mother’s interest in martial arts, Blake recounted, “I got a phone call one day from her after high school saying ‘Guess what I’m doing?’ and as I said, ‘What?”, she said, ‘Karate!’  Blake went on to say that while he initially thought the idea humorous, his mother did in fact begin her own journey to excellence in martial arts and has competed in semi-contact rules and grappling events. Among Ms. Blake’s many accolades, she has thirteen OKA (Oklahoma Karate Association) sanctioned State Championships for Black Belt Executive Women in Kata and sparring.  She additionally has competed in NAGA (The North American Grappling Association), where she received one (1) Silver, one (1) Bronze and three (3) Gold medals.  Ms. Blake is not only a physical participant in martial arts, but she has taken her love for this discipline to another level by involving herself in organizations and projects designed to foster a love for martial arts in others.  She is not only a board member for the Oklahoma Karate Association but also a member of Girls in Gis, an organization whose goal is to unite girls and women of all ages who train Brazilian jiu-jitsu.  The organization strives to build camaraderie among the women as well as help them to crate their niche in BJJ.

Like his mother, Randy too shares her commitment to bringing the joy of martial arts to others.  Blake related that teaching and working with children is one of his passions.  A foundation in martial arts, according to Blake, gives children confidence and fosters a pattern of thinking that encourages children to do and be whatever they set as their goal. Blake stated that he experienced these principles in action growing up and wants nothing more than to give back and to be a positive role model.

In looking toward the future Blake plans to stay healthy, continue to fight and to be successful.  Blake would also like to continue to give back through motivational speaking and conducting seminars across the country.  Ultimately he would like to open a gym, but at twenty-nine years of age Blake has more to do inside the ring before heading to the sidelines.  Whether inside or outside the ring, what is clear is, whatever Randy Blake decides to do he will wow his fans and also inspire martial arts students around the world.

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IKSA's Cory Schafer Talks Controversial Refereeing, Judging and More

  • Published in Interviews

The sport of kickboxing is one that has waxed and waned with the times. Currently the sport is attempting to grow into new markets and find its niche and, accordingly, the rules and regulations that go into making kickboxing events happen have come under fire of late. Much like MMA, which has seen its share of controversy in the past few years, kickboxing has seen its share of controversial decisions and actions by referees that have been uniformly frowned upon by fans, fighters and many others within the sport.

We reached out to ISKA President Cory Schafer, who is in charge of overseeing most of the bigger events that have been happening worldwide, including GLORY events, for his thoughts on these controversies and applications of the rules.

The first thing that comes to mind is just how many controversies there have been of late, which Schafer seems sympathetic towards. “I fiercely defend every fan’s right to question, criticize or complain about the officiating.  That is a privilege that they earn with the ‘price of admission’ or their support of the televised broadcast,” he explained. “I am however realistic about the legitimacy of these questions and/or criticism.  Very few fans are adequately educated on the rules or the judges scoring criteria.  Fans and the media as well fail to realize that there is a world of difference between ‘watching a fight’ and ‘judging a fight.’  They are two completely different cognitive processes.  Of course when the bout result is obvious they will lead to the same result but when the contest is less obvious often they will not.  For the past two years I’ve been part of an event called MEDIA DAY in California where we allow members of the media to attend a judges training seminar and then actually sit next to the real judges during the event and cast (unofficial) ballots.  Interestingly enough at the last media day there was a ‘controversial’ decision.  Everyone on media row had FIGHTER A winning.  All of the judges however had FIGHTER B winning.  Interestingly enough the three media shadow judges who had attended the judges seminar all had FIGHTER B winning as well.  It was a great case study in the difference between ‘watching’ and ‘judging.’”

Schafer’s position is understandable; that he stands behind the rules and regulations that he oversees and that there is a difference between having to professional judge a fight and simply watching as a spectator. But, there has to be more, right? With so many people watching and so many disagreeing, where exactly is the line drawn? Exactly how accountable are referees and judges considering that their jobs are based on split-second decisions based on -- at times -- different rules depending on the event that they are working. 

“The first obligation of an official is to be worthy of the athletes and of the sport,” Schafer said of the officials that ISKA utilize. “ Considering the commitment that the fighters (and the promotion) make to their craft – our officials need to be dedicated and always on-point.  If they can’t handle the stress then they need to take a seat in the audience.  Every official is reviewed and held accountable.  At every event that I attend I hold a post event debrief where each aspect of the officiating (controversial or not) is reviewed.  Every event needs to provide a learning experience so that the officials can advance their skills.  If officials are not ‘getting better’ they are ‘getting worse.’”

When it comes to controversy it’s difficult not to bring up Levin vs. Marcus III, a fight that ended in a disqualification and saw Artem Levin storm out of the ring. There was actually a written agreement in place for this fight considering how volatile they expected it to be.

“The first time a fighter holds the referee will likely caution the fighters without stopping the action.  The second time it occurs in the same round, the referee may do the same or stop the action and issue an official warning. If it occurs again, the fighter will be penalized a point.  Further holding will not require additional cautions or warnings unless there is a great deal of time between infractions.  If two points have been taken away and the fighter continues to foul by holding then at the point when it would be appropriate to penalize the fighter a third time the fighter should be disqualified.   The referee retains full authority to caution, warn, penalize and disqualify according to his perception of the violations.”

“Wichger’s acted consistent with the interpretation above,” Schafer added. He was in agreement that the knockdown when Levin went through the ropes was perhaps up for contention, in part due to the angle caught by the television cameras not being clear enough at the time, although when viewing from an overhead shot a week later they were able to determine that Marcus did connect with a knee that contributed to Levin falling down, thus negating any further controversy. Schafer’s final take on that fight is one in which he held nothing back, either.

“In my final evaluation, Levin’s performance in both bouts against Marcus was nothing less than disgraceful,” he frankly stated. “He intentionally and constantly fouled and fought in a way that he knew was contrary to the spirit and intention of Glory rules.  I personally spent 30 minutes with his team and a Russian interpreter prior to the first bout in order to guarantee that there could be no misunderstanding.  The written document addressing the clinching vs. holding rules was sent to all fight teams in advance, handed out at the rules meeting, read aloud at the group rules meeting and reviewed by the referee at the one-on-one rules meeting.  Levin executed three different fouling techniques in the first 30 seconds of the first round.  He tried to bully his opponent and the referee and when it didn’t work he did what most bullys do – they quit.  In my opinion he should not have been paid because he failed to live up to the terms of his contract.”

As for consistent implementation of the rules, Schafer feels that the ISKA and its officials have been consistent and that the onus lies within the fighter and the trainers to understand and obey the rules. “It’s difficult to answer that question since I don’t really feel like the rules have been implemented inconsistently.  I place the responsibility on the fighters.  Those that fight according to the rules don’t have any issue with the officiating.”

It is an interesting concept, because for less clinch-heavy fighters there really aren’t many problems with officiating. There might be a controversial knockdown or decisions like the two van Roosmalen vs. Sitthichai fights that will always be up for discussion. Are officials getting too involved, though? So many of the fighters compete across MMA, muay thai, kickboxing and boxing that their reflexes may compel them to go to certain things in desperation (like a clinch), at what point is leniency proper or should rules be followed to the letter? 

“I don’t think that leniency is the proper construct.  I think that the referee has the power to caution, warn, penalize and disqualify and they are trained on how to use those tools (along with the pre-fight one on one rules meeting, the group rules meeting and the written documents provided to the fight teams in advance) in order to avoid having the take points away.  But when a fighter breaks the rules to the extent that it is damaging his opponent’s ability to be successful then the referee must take action in order to insure a fair contest.  I don’t see the fact that kickboxing is close to both Muay Thai and MMA as any kind of mitigating factor.  These are professional fight teams who accept a contract to participate in unique sport.  Their professional obligation is to be prepared to fight according to the rules that are provided.”

Modern kickboxing’s roots are from Japan, where K-1 was notorious for handing out the drawn rounds to push for extra rounds, yet that has become less-and-less prevalent in modern kickboxing outside of Japan. When asked if this is something that officials are aware of, or intentionally avoid Schafer was clear. “If you allow officials to score rounds even than the line at which they have to make a decision will continue to degrade.  They will begin using 10-10 too often and only award a round when a fighter dominates.  I know this as a fact from 30 years of experience.  The discussion also is kind of moot since that scoring procedure is determined by the SAC and they are very strict about this.”

As most of us have seen, when a fighter feels robbed or like something went wrong in a fight, they tend to turn to social media in an attempt to garner sympathy towards them. Being frustrating is understandable, but what kind of official channels are in place for fighters who feel wronged by the system? “Fight teams may submit a written protest addressing any misapplication of the rules or evidence of collusion.”

Schafer even went as far as to pen an article explaining the differences in how judges watch fights and how fans watch fights, which you can read here.

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Artem Levin Talks About the Fallout From GLORY 27, the Future and More

  • Published in Interviews

On Friday, February 27th Glory returned to Chicago and headlining the event was the third installment of the epic battle between Simon Marcus and Artem Levin. Glory 27 did not disappoint from the first bout to the last, fighters electrified the crowd with stunning knockouts and hard fought battles. The main event was not without drama. The night ended with reigning champion Artem Levin being disqualified after he failed to continue fighting. In a statement he later released to the public, Levin apologized to his fans for letting them down, however, he revealed that he felt self respect was far more important than winning or losing. In a follow-up conversation with Levin, he expressed his view point and gave an idea of what is to come.

Levin: The refereeing was strange from the very beginning. There were thoughts after the fight, perhaps, I overreacted and ended the fight early, but after another time I’ve watched the fight, I realized that I was right about everything. The referee was charged-up from the start, beginning with the fictitious knockdown. They’ve taken way the belt for the second time using this referee. The 4-man tournament in Los Angeles in 2013 involved the referee beginning the count after a punch to shoulder in the extra round. Also during this event the referee began the count in the first round and took points from me in the next rounds due to mutual clinching. This referee has done the same thing each time refereeing my fights. I decided in the third round to exit and to stop the absurdness and nonsense. Some say, that I should have continued and fight until the final bell, but the referee would have taken a point another time and I’d be disqualified by him. So I thought I should make a decision. I rely on me only, I decide my fate myself, thus I made the decision! Numerous Americans, Canadians, and websites around the world supported me. I am sure that I’ve done the right thing!

As far as his immediate plans, Levin continued: I’ve got many suggestions, but I’ve signed with GLORY at the current time. The future is interesting, time will show whether I will be perfoming. I’d like to leave it without comment. I will say that one of my main aim is to perform in Russia I've been fighting abroad through all my career in foreign promotions, with foreign supporters, with foreign referees. Now I’d like to fight for my native fans in my country with the best opponents!

As I footnote to Levin's comments, I asked Glory CEO, Jon Franklin to give some of his feedback on the incident.

Jon Franklin: ISKA held a special session during the rules meeting to triple check that the athletes understood clinching and holding rules. The rules are available to the athletes and it is the responsibility of the athletes to know and understand all rules of competition. If an athlete has a question about the referee or judging, there is a proper procedure in place for review after the bouts. One of the rules is that refusing to fight will result in a disqualification. That is what happened.

It remains to be seen whether Levin will in some way attempt to appeal the disqualification on some ground or if he will just prepare himself for Levin-Marcus IV.

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Artem Levin Talks Marcus Rematch, Vaseline and What Went Down Leading Into GLORY 25

  • Published in Interviews

To many he's an enigma, quiet, stealthy and calculating. A man of few words outside the ring where afterall, he's let his knees, fists and elbows do most of his talking.  On the other side of the ropes Levin is relaxed with the disarming smile of a school boy and someone who would seem incapable of the brutality he often inflicts upon his opponents. With the precision of some of his idols, Artem Levin has taken the world of kickboxing and muay thai by storm and is preparing to indelibly leave his mark on the sport. Currently Levin is top man in the Middleweight division, a title he earned in 2014 and one which he is determined to maintain for years to come. On Friday, February 27th Levin will again defend his title as he for the third time faces Simon Marcus. In what is bound to be one of the most exciting face-offs of the year, Levin and Marcus will participate in an extremely emotional battle which most recently erupted at Glory 21 in San Diego. Ahead of this trilogy, I had an opportunity to pose some questions to Levin and find out what beats within the heart of "The Lion".

On his beginnings:

I was born in a small provincial town of Prokopyevsk. It’s a mine town. There were no other good professions other than coalminer in the 1990s. There were three ways to make living: be a coalminer, a criminal or a sportsman, so I joined my brothers at the gym. They were going in for boxing and then muay thai became my sport. My influence was the fact that there had been some muay thai fighters with world and European titles and golden medals at that time in town, and not any boxing champions.

What was your family's response to you pursuing kickboxing as a profession?

Definitely my parents and my family are my main fans, my support, my base of power. They support me and make me comfortable. My mother is distressed for me as any mother would be. She always waits for the ending of this “nightmare”, but at the same time she understands my choice and that it’s useless to dispute with me. I’m really proud of my family. They had waited for me to quit during the first years of my sports experience, but everyone knows that it’s my life choice now.

Had you not pursued a career in combat sports what other kind of career would you have chosen?

It’s hard for me to say. I’ve been in sports since I remember myself, I began with muay thai when I was 10. I always have seen myself with a career in sports. I see myself as comprehensive person: I read books and I have many hobbies. All that happens through sports. I guess, nothing good can come without sport, but I haven’t known another life.

Describe a typical training day when you are preparing for a fight.

It’s not exciting. My usual routine: wake up, have a breakfast, go to morning workout for an approximately 1.5-2 hour session of drills and techniques, speed or strength endurance exercises.  It depends on preparation stage but then lunch, sleep and on to a second workout which usually includes an intensive 3 hour session of sparring and using special equipment.  After training I usually take a walk, have dinner, do some reading before bed and then sleep and it all begins again.

You are becoming widely known for your boxing and defensive strategy, what do you feel are some of your other strengths as a fighter?

I don’t focus narrowly on one thing. Perhaps, I act instinctively in a fight and I’m training in all aspects. I try to become comprehensive. My work is based on defense firstly. I appreciate my health, that’s why I don’t want to join in an exchange of blows or to let a punch get through. It's my goal to keep being healthy during my entire career  so as to take more fights with sober mind, without injures, with fresh body.

Who inspires you as a fighter?

I’m inspired by legendary athletes, even though not martial artists, such as Mike Tyson and Muhammed Ali – they became iconic for thousands around the world. I admire Michael Jordan, Usain Bolte, Michael Phelps and others who became a hero in their sport. Those who proved that nothing is impossible.

Aside from fighting Joe Schilling and possibly Simon Marcus again, are there any other fighters with whom you'd be interested in being matched up against.

It doesn’t matter who’s the opponent. If you want to be the best, to leave a mark in kickboxing or muay thai history, it doesn’t matter who you fight against. You don’t choose opponents, you just defeat the best and prove that you are the best. The question: who I’d be interested in fighting against? I don’t have any preference. I want to fight no matter against who.

How many years have you've been living in San Diego? How did you choose that city? Has the transition between the two countries been difficult?

Well I can’t say I’ve moved here yet. I still live in Russia. One of my training camps is here and there are valuable opportunities here to develop and work on my career. The transition was quite easy, my friends from The Boxing Club in San Diego have helped. I chose San Diego as it is a warm city by the ocean with a mild climate and beautiful places to live in. It’s a simple choice after cold Siberia.  

Your fight with Simon Marcus in San Diego was a bit controversial. Both of you felt that you had won the match. Additionally during the post-fight press conference, you expressed a concern that he had not been called on excessive holding. Can you talk more about that fight from your perspective in terms of the calls by the referee and how the match was scored. How do you feel it should have been scored.

Definitely I won the fight. As for Simon Marcus, he played foul. He was slippery with vaseline. I guess it was a trick to rub on the vaseline a few hours before the fight, for skin to dry and then to become slippery with sweat. We are not allowed to apply anything besides vaseline to our face. As for points, I wonder why a point was reduced from my score and none from Simon’s, the clinch was mutual. Thus I think I won three rounds undoubtedly at least. If I gave away two rounds to him, I still don’t think that I lost them.  A draw is a gift to him from the judges and referees. From the referee especially, I’d say. He can thank the referee personally.

Also you have been highly criticized by Joe Schilling. Most recently following the Glory 25 event Schilling stated that he feels that you are in fact avoiding him. You were set to face Schilling for the third time in Denver this year but had to withdraw due to injury. Can you talk about what happened and where you are with your recovery?

I was injured during training camp before the amateur world championships in Thailand in August. The injury was not severe but it was such that it could keep me from proper preparation for the fight.  I was informed about the fight six weeks before it was scheduled and it was to be held in a high mountain region. I am the champion of the promotion. It would be foolish to go on with that risk and to demonstrate disrespect in that way to Schilling. If I took a fight as insignificant and began preparation within 6 weeks, and taking into account that I had  been to Thailand at that time, then - 5 weeks, and I could take normal proper workout sessions in a week after then perhaps. That’s why I did not and I also saw the prospect of coming to a fight with an injury and without proper preparation as disrespectful to GLORY’s executives. I won a WKN title bout recently and I am recovered and  motivated.  I’m ready to fight anywhere. I’d rather watch Joe Schilling fight outside  the USA. Is he able to fight outside California or USA? He needs helpful judges.

I know that continuing to defend your title is a priority for you in the coming year. Do you have any other plans for 2016?

The main priority is my title defense obviously, but also to fight more, in any promotion, even if it would be not GLORY.  I took the WKN muay thai belt and now my aim is leave a mark in muaythai and kickboxing, for people to remember me even after the my career is finished.

Any message to your fans?

Enjoy spectacular fights. Thank you for your support. Follow me on Instagram and watch my career. I will try my best to reward you with my victories.

Reminiscent of the Thrilla in Manila, Glory 27 is expected to bring the drama from which only one man can walk away victorious.  Levin has the confidence and the experience -- Marcus, the determination and the desire to bring to fruition a lifetime of dedication.  Friday night at the Sears Centre it will be time.  

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Steven Banks on His Time in Kunlun Fight and How Phuket Top Team Transformed Him as a Fighter

  • Published in Interviews

Before GLORY came to America and helped to bring kickboxing back into the discourse of the average combat sports fan kickboxing in America was a very different beast. There was a small cluster of names that you'd hear all of the time who would be fighting throughout the country without a lot of fanfare, one of those was Steven Banks. Banks, a larger heavyweight was doing his best to capture the attention of bigger international leagues but it has always been a bit of a slow road for Banks.

This included fighting in shows in Europe on short notice for bad pay, taking fights that weren't going to be good for his career because it was worth a shot and everything else in between. Things finally seem to be turning around for Banks and a lot of that he credits to his time training in Thailand at Phuket Top Team. His time in China has helped to give him a new perspective on fighting and on October 31st he'll return to China for Kunlun Fight 33. We caught up with Banks to talk to him about the past, the present and the future.

LK: So you’ve done both MMA and kickboxing in your professional career, what is it about kickboxing and muay thai that has drawn you in as a fighter as opposed to focusing solely on MMA like so many fighters today?

SB: I love the art of striking. I enjoy every bit of it, the culture and the tradition... my 1st love was and will always be Muay Thai... I think the reason that I prefer to do Muay Thai or kickboxing over MMA is because alot of fighters will go out there and get a takedown, and cuddle for a win... I actually still train for MMA as well...I will be fighting in MMA again soon...

LK: You are an American living and training in Thailand right now. What prompted that move and what kind of results have you seen?

SB: When Phuket Top Team offered me the chance to train full time,  I had to take it! Best decision I have ever made... I have seen amazing results... it was really hard to try and train effectively while having a full-time job, competing against the best in the world is tough already... most of the guys I have been fighting were training full-time already... I decided that if I wanted to go out and become one of the best American heavyweights I needed to go and train with some of the best... training full-time and having a camp that pushes you to become better and better each day is incredible... my head trainer Neung pushes me everyday, Neung took me under his wing as soon as I got to PTT... no day is easy...its put all the effort in it... getting to train everyday with world class trainers is a great way to spend your time...

LK: You’ve gone through your share of a transformation when it comes to your body, from what I understand losing a great deal of weight. How has that impacted your career?

SB: Oh yes... since I have been training at PTT... I have dropped over 60 pounds... I have been told by promotions that I didnt look "pretty" enough for the sponsors of the show.  As a heavyweight, I have always been one of the heavier fighters... I'm a fighter, not a model... I love food... since dropping this weight I have noticed my cardio is 100 times better than ever... when I finished my last fight, I walked over to my coach and told him I felt like I could go a couple more rounds and that I felt great... my coaches at Phuket Top Team have made it a point to push me to become one of the best...

LK: I’ve gotta ask -- the fight with Lungu where you guys spilled out of the ring. What went through your mind at that moment and when the fight was declared a loss for you?

SB: Oh man... I wish I could get that changed on my record... that accident should have been called a no contest... we knew he was going to try and take me to the ground from the very beginning of the fight... just wasn't expecting the ropes to be so low...  the ropes were at the correct height, but when you have almost 700 plus pounds moving in 1 direction its hard to stop... I didnt understand why they gave Lungu the win. I have asked for several rematches to set the record straight... but to no luck...

LK: You’ve seen some success of late in Kunlun Fight in China and are currently preparing to fight in a few weeks time here, how has your experience fighting in China been thus far?

SB: Yes, I fight again for Kunlun Fight October 31st against another Chinese fighter...I absolutely love fighting in China... they treat every fighter with so much respect. I have fought in China 6 times... and every time I have, it has never been a bad experience...I got my nickname from fighting in China... I have so much respect for the fans. I will stay after the fights to meet as many fans as i can... I wamt them to know how much I respect them as a fighter...

LK: Your success in China has been interesting, with your only loss to the guy who beat Rico Verhoeven, do you see yourself as a threat to these guys on the top tier of the division?

SB: That loss was my 1st loss in China... he caught me with a great jumping knee to the ribs... I really believe I can beat many of the guys on the top tier of the division...  I was able to compete against top level guys with part-time training. Now its time to show everyone what I can really do... I see guys fight and I feel that I can trade with the best there is... I might not be pretty, but I will give the crowd a show they will never forget...

LK: Do you think that kickboxing or muay thai will ever really take off in the United States, especially after seeing China of late and how it’s growing there?

SB: I really hope it does take off in the United States... I know that it is currently growing... I think the reason more fighters choose to go to MMA rather than kickboxing or Muay Thai is because they have a background in wrestling... not like most of the dominant countries in the world of Muay Thai or kickboxing...

LK: You started off in football and transitioned to fighting, have you been able to take anything from your time in football with you into combat sports?

SB: One of the biggest things that I have been able to take to fighting from football has been the will not to give up. With all sports comes injuries... I played football for many years, I finally started to listen to my body on recovery and injuries...I think that has helped me to stay active in fighting over and over...

LK: What can we expect in the future from Steve Banks?

SB: Keep your ears and eyes open... I am planning on dominating the heavyweight division... I want to take on everyone... I will be fighting in Muay Thai,  kickboxing, boxing,  and MMA in the very near future...  to be the best, you got to take on the best... I'm here to do that... we make our own future... I'm here to show everyone that America does have great heavyweight Muay Thai and kickboxers... and we will be taking on all...

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Wayne Barrett Ready to Return to Greatness at GLORY 24

  • Published in Interviews

This Friday at GLORY 24 Wayne Barrett is set to return from an absence from the ring to fight recent GLORY tournament winner Dustin Jacoby. For many, Wayne Barrett is one of those raw talents in kickboxing who could easily become a major player for years to come, which is especially rare considering that he is an American. Perhaps the feather in the cap of his relatively young kickboxing career is a win over Joe Schilling. The Schilling win came at a time when many saw Schilling as unstoppable, putting a considering dent in the armor of the myth that was Joe Schilling at the time. The win over Bogdan Stoica that came at GLORY’s Last Man Standing tournament was purely academic at that point.

After that, though, things haven’t been all sunshine and happiness for Wayne Barrett. On a three fight skid right now, Barrett elected to take time off to get his head back into the game. “You know, they offered me fights, man. They offered me fights to get myself a win, to build my confidence up and everyone thought that I should do it, but I turned them down. What’s the point if I’m not the Wayne Barrett that I truly believe that I can be? I took time for myself,” he explained. “And let me tell you, I feel incredible right now. This fight is all about me, it’s all about Wayne and getting everything right.”

What he means is that during his time away from the ring he made sure that everything was in order in his personal life as well as his professional life. As a father it was important to him to feel that he was doing his best and to set the right kind of example. A lot of that had to do with how he was training, as well. “I went through so many coaches at this point, I’ve had coaches telling me what to do, trying to change me and make me more of an orthodox fighter. But that isn’t who I am. I’ve got, for lack of a better word, a sort of swagger to me and how I fight. I’m unlike anyone else in the world in the ring and that’s what I bring to the table, so I’m not trying to be someone else anymore, I’m just being me right now.”

I brought up a young Rico Verhoeven, who at the time was incredibly talented with a ton of potential, but if you would go back and watch Rico’s early fights you’ll see a stiff, rigid and uncomfortable Verhoeven. The confidence to be himself wasn’t quite there yet compared to the Rico Verhoeven of today. “Oh man, absolutely,” he was getting excited now. “I love Rico, man. He’s just incredible. He’s his own man out there. Does he honor the whole Dutch style? Of course he does, but he’s making it his own, what he’s doing is an evolution. That’s how I view myself. They wanted me to do this you kick-I kick thing and that wasn’t who I am so it just didn’t work.”

Barrett, while in his late 20’s, is still relatively fresh into his professional career. “My second professional fight,” he said, “that was in the GLORY ring against a guy like Mike Lemaire.” Indeed it was his second professional fight, that fight being a knockout of Lemaire. What is astonishing about Barrett’s professional career is that upon joining GLORY he was immediately thrust into the spotlight, fighting some of the biggest names in the world. He stepped into the ring for his fourth professional fight against Joe Schilling, arguably the top dog in the division at that time, and he didn’t only handle himself well, but he won. There was no carefully curated career here, Barrett was simply there, with a rocket strapped to his back going full steam ahead.

When it came time for him to step into the ring with the notorious Romanian slugger Bogdan Stoica he felt ready, although the more that we talked about how kickboxing worked overseas, the more he opened up about how different his career has been. “There is no padding on my record,” he laughed. “I remember looking at Stoica’s record and thinking -- as a fan -- that I had no clue who some of these people that he was crushing were. Even some of the guys who beat him I had never heard of before.” The fight ended with Stoica going down to a left hook, Barrett moving forward in the tournament only to meet Joe Schilling. When I brought up the decision and how there was controversy over it he quickly interjected, “You could say that again.” 

Even if his next two fights were indeed losses, one to Jason Wilnis and one to Simon Marcus, they were still against two of the top fighters within the division. While most would look at that, shrug and take an easy fight, Barrett decided to go back to the drawing board and wait for another opportunity down the line. Now, though? “I’m going full force now,” he said. “I want to fight again this year, as long as they’ll let me. I think they probably will. Then next year I want to stay as active as I can.”

Tournaments, though, don’t seem to be in the immediate future for Wayne Barrett. “Nah,” he said. “Just single fights for me right now. Too much is out of your control in those tournaments. In the future? Yeah, if there is a big tournament I’ll be a part of it, but I want to focus on one opponent for right now and I want to prove to everyone that Wayne Barrett really is as good as everyone thinks that he can be. Man,” he laughed. “Now I’m talking in third person about myself. I still can’t believe that I’m at that point where I can talk to people about myself in third person.”

What I took away from my time talking to Wayne Barrett is that he’s in a very, very good place right now. He’s both mentally and physically ready for the road ahead and understands that while it was sort of shocking to initially see himself on a list as a top middleweight that he has to keep proving himself and earn his top spot. We’ll see what he brings to the table against Dustin Jacoby at GLORY 24 on Friday night in Denver.

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Joe Schilling Talks Once Again Chasing Artem Levin for Rubber Match and GLORY 24

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(C) Glory Sports International/James Law

Few names have become as synonymous with the American kickboxing movement within GLORY over the past few years like Joe Schilling. Schilling was originally a standout muay thai fighter who made a name for himself taking on all comers within his division and rising among the ranks until it was time to fight the top dogs in the world. There may have been some bumps, bruises and cuts along the way, but when it comes to Joe Schilling the word “pretty” isn’t often in the vocabulary. With a nickname like “Stitch ‘em Up” due to his proclivity for throwing lacerating elbows one can quickly understand why Joe Schilling rose up from being a cult favorite to one of GLORY’s American poster boys. 

This Friday evening at GLORY 24 he returns to the GLORY ring to face top middleweight Jason Wilnis. Originally Schilling was going to get his chance at a rubber match with career-adversary Artem Levin and his GLORY Middleweight championship, but an injury forced Levin off of the card and left Schilling with a tough, young and hungry Jason Wilnis looking to make a name off of one of the men who earned his spot on the Mount Rushmore of the division. For Schilling there is a lot riding on this fight outside of just another kickboxing fight, this is his first kickboxing fight since two back-to-back losses in Bellator, the latter being via knockout.

“You know, people have been talking a lot of shit, saying a lot of things, but really, I’m a multi-sport athlete,” he explained to us. “How many fighters can say that? I got caught in MMA, it happens, but now I have to show the world what I can and always have done in the ring and too bad for Wilnis, it’s going to be against him. I’m in demand right now, like they wanted me for the Dynamite show but the medical suspension got in the way of that happening.”

For a time the fight with Artem Levin was Schilling’s white whale, the one fight that eluded him. Scheduled and rescheduled a number of times in their respective pre-GLORY careers, their clash finally happened at GLORY 10 in the middleweight tournament that saw Schilling pull off the victory in an extension round of the finals. Once again Schilling finds himself frustrated with Levin pulling out of a fight with him. “I feel like I’m chasing him all over again. GLORY called me up and said they wanted me to fight Levin in Denver and, you know, this was the fight that I was asking them for, so I took it. Then a few weeks later they call and tell me that Levin was out and Wilnis is in and I was really pissed off.”

Schilling doesn’t seem certain that he’ll get that third fight with Levin any time soon, that he’ll be able to settle the score and have one man walk out victorious in their series, but he seems dead set on moving forward. As for where that future will be for Schilling, it seems to be on Spike TV for now. “I signed a new deal with Bellator, for MMA and kickboxing on Dynamite shows. I know not everyone loved that show, but it was incredible, a lot of vision went into that. There are going to be more and I’m gonna be fighting on them, be it kickboxing or MMA.”

The future within the GLORY ring seems to be less certain for Schilling, though, although he does seem open to more fights in the future. “Kickboxing is always my preference and if the offer is there and it’s the right offer I’ll take it without a second thought. The fights that I want are in GLORY right now.”

There has been a lot of talk about the future of kickboxing in America as well as GLORY’s future, which Schilling of course has had on his mind of late. His thoughts on the matter diverge from the common line of thought, though. “I never buy this line of bullshit about how you need an American champion to make it big here in the US. GLORY has been diluting their product in the name of finding this big American star and it has meant putting on weaker cards not featuring the top talents in the world. Put on big fights between the best fighters and the fans will react to that, who cares if they speak english or if they don’t? What matters is what happens in the ring, not the post-fight interviews.”

Schilling himself is of course one for leaving it all in the ring, with some of the most exciting fights in GLORY’s history under his belt, including the two dramatic fights with Artem Levin that have helped to define GLORY’s middleweight division. That doesn’t mean that he’s overlooking Wilnis on Friday at all, though. “Wilnis is a tough guy, he’s hungry and a win over me would mean a lot for his career. In no way am I overlooking Wilnis, though, I think that I’m on a mission here to prove those doubters wrong. That’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

Joe Schilling makes his return to GLORY on Friday at GLORY 24 against Jason Wilnis live on Spike TV in the main event.

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Prize Fighter Ben Edwards Ready for GLORY 24 Heavyweight Tournament

  • Published in Interviews

GLORY 24 will see a new heavyweight contender crowned, the winner moving on to fight champion Rico Verhoeven for the top spot in the world of heavyweight kickboxing. Over the past year we’ve seen Verhoeven fight Errol Zimmerman and Benjamin Adegbuyi, defeating both to retain his title. Fans have been starved for a good heavyweight tournament from GLORY, the last one at GLORY 16 Denver.

Interestingly enough, a man that we last saw at GLORY 16 Denver will be making his return to the GLORY ring at GLORY 24 looking for another crack at the GLORY Heavyweight Championship. That man is Australia’s own Ben Edwards. We caught up with Ben Edwards as he finishes up his preparations for the tournament and will be heading back to the United States.

Edwards had announced that he was leaving kickboxing after his loss last year, but the return is a welcome one for fans of the Aussie slugger. For Edwards, it is about making a living. “With kickboxing the last 3 of my last 4 losses were to guys pretty much the top 3 in the world (Rico, Errol and Overeem the year he won) and they are the guys that were at least making a living. If I couldn't crack that top tier I couldn't make a living and kickboxing is very hard to train for in Canberra so I decided to concentrate on boxing which is easy to train for in my home town. I won the national title 2 fights in returning to the sport so it wasn't a bad decision,” he explained. The offer from GLORY took him by surprise, actually. “The offer from Glory was unexpected and appreciated and I am very much looking forward to making the most of this second chance.”

Heavyweight kickboxing has seemed to be less of a focus of late, with the lighter weight classes taking a lot of the spotlight and there being a lot of fighters -- much like Edwards -- looking for opportunities outside of kickboxing. “As a hard-core combat sport fan I really feel kickboxing is the most exciting format. Its sad the sport has lost some of the bigger names but I still feel the sport has a healthy future.”

As for this tournament especially, Edwards seems ready to finally show the world what he’s made of after what he considered disappointments before. “The main difference in training is I've been spending a lot of time in Sydney, I've don't 6 trips in 5 weeks to train with Stu McKinnon and the boys at Castle Hill Bulldog,” he explained. “It’s world class padwork and sparring there and for the first time in  long time I am excited to fight. I had a lot of personal problems going into the last fight and I have fixed every single one and I am looking forward to being back to my best. I'm sick of feeling disappointed and letting people down, being considered a journeyman etc. Those days are over.”

When it comes to the first opponent for the night, Jahfarr Wilnis, Edwards seemed more focused on himself and his preparations, instead. “I only ever watch a little bit of footage on my opponent when the fight gets signed, get a feel for them, come up with a game plan then I don't think about them anymore. He appears to be a busy fighter with not much power which should leave plenty of openings to land one of my ghetto whoppers.”

Edwards has been a busy guy of late if you follow him on Facebook, taking a few acting gigs and looking happy to be going outside of his comfort zone. He explained to us how he found himself in front of the camera without gloves on. “I trained a guy who ended up being a producer on a local film that ended up starring Billy Zane, they have finished filming but they were running short on money to finish the production. Blue World Order is the film's name and they have a website to visit. This latest project stemmed from people I met on that, this one is called Tech Noir and the director is attempting to get it into the aussie short film festival Tropfest. I had a great experience on both films and definitely look forward to participating in more projects.”

What does the future hold for Edwards? Only time will tell. Edwards has done it all from boxing to kickboxing to even dog walking, but will he keep fighting even if he loses? “There will be plenty of dog walking, I can't express how much I enjoy doing that and I am a prize fighter, whatever the rules if there is a prize I'll be there.”

Any man who loves dogs is okay by me. The same with any man who genuinely loves fighting and Ben Edwards fits that bill. Ben Edwards is participating in the GLORY 24 Heavyweight tournament, facing Jahfarr Wilnis in the first round.

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