LiverKick

Switch to desktop Register Login

Latest Episode of The Reem Follows Overeem in Albuquerque

  • Published in Kickboxing

We'll never stop posting about Alistair Overeem. Why? Because he's the 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, that's why. That's a pretty big deal and we continue to honor the fact that Ubereem made a huge impact on the kickboxing world in just a short span of time. Hell, we want to see him fight for GLORY, desperately. It's okay that he's in the UFC now, though. We want him to succeed because it'd be really cool to see Alistair Overeem become UFC Heavyweight Champion and have held the two most prestigious titles in two different combat sports like that. 

Alistair Overeem is training here in Albuquerque now, which is kind of a trip to me. I don't get starstruck by much, I mean, Keith Jardine almost sideswiped me on the way to work one day, I was doing laundry next to him once, I saw GSP and Rashad out at a bar once and all of these things were just whatever. Hell, I even physically bumped into Robert Downey Junior when they were filming the Avengers and didn't mind (although I was upset that I missed Joss Whedon hanging out in that same bar), but Overeem? Pfft.

That's awesome. Anyway, here's the latest episode of The Reem, featuring Overeem training in Albuquerque and a whole hell of a lot more.

THE REEM SEASON 3 EPISODE 6: THE FOUNDATION from THE REEM on Vimeo.

Read more...

Lion Fight 17 Fight Card Changes

  • Published in Muay Thai

Lion Fight 17 has changed quite drastically since we last announced it. It was supposed to be the US debut of Thepnimit "Mr. Knock" Sitmonchai but since he had visa issues he is not able to fight. His opponent Dean James got injured at the same time, so this fight had to be scrapped.

Now the co-main event Malaipet Sasiprapa Vs. Justin Greskiewicz has been bumped up to the main event, which hopefully is going to make both men want it more and fight harder for the fans especially considering Malaipet can sometimes be lazy. As for the new co-main event two fighters have stepped up on short notice Brazil's Cosmo Alexandre and Thai champion Jo Nattawut.

As much as I wanted to see Thepnimit fight I feel Cosmo and Nattawu have saved this card by stepping in last minute and adding some real world class Muay Thai to an event who's main event was cancelled. 

Read more...

Paul Daley's K-1 Debut Happening on October 4th

  • Published in K-1

UFC and Bellator veteran Paul Daley has been in the news this past week after it was announced that Scott Coker has resigned the British fighter to Bellator, hoping that he'll make his debut in the near future. K-1 fires back by announcing Paul Daley's K-1 debut fight will happen on October 4th at the K-1 World MAX Finals in Thailand. The event is headlined by the Buakaw vs. Kehl rematch for the K-1 MAX title (which we are told will be defended on its own, outside of tournaments in the future), but will also see the debut of Paul Daley.

Daley is 4-0 this year alone in kickboxing since he's returned, leading to there being a lot of hype behind his K-1 debut. His opponent has been announced as Mohammad Ghaedibardeh and the fight will be at 80kg. 

Read more...

Shin on Shin Series: Europe Final Trailer

  • Published in Kickboxing

Our bud Steven Wright has been keeping himself busy over the last few years. If you aren't familiar with Steven, his podcast, Steven the Warman Wright's Kickfighting Show has been long-running and is always on top of everything in Kickboxing and Muay Thai. Of course, his day job is working as the striking coach at Team Takedown, with some of his work being seen in UFC Welterweight Champion Johny Hendricks of late. Then, to top it off, Steven has written about ten young adult fantasy novels in his free time.

All of that has been going on while he's been working on a documentary about Kickboxing and Muay Thai. Crazy, right? Here's the latest trailer that he just released today, enjoy.

Read more...

Best Of Glory On Spike TV, Tell Your Friends!

  • Published in Glory

Spike TV will be showing a one hour long segment on the best of Glory at 11pm ET/8pm PT right after Bellator's live show. For people who are already Glory Kickboxing fans this is a good time to watch some of the most exciting fights and hardest knockouts to excite you for their next event. It's also a good time to invite your die hard UFC fan boy friends to come and watch real excitement. There is no way that a fan of any combat sports will not enjoy one hour of Glory's best moments, from five round wars, to first round jumping, spinning heel kick knock outs Glory has it all.

This a perfect time for all the Kickboxing fans to support kickboxing and spread the word about Glory, it's free, one hour long and just enough time to get everyone hooked.

Check out Spike TV's Glory Page for extra information.

 

Read more...

A Look at the Rise of Saulo Cavalari

  • Published in Glory

Although best known for a stellar roster of first class MMA artists, Brazil is becoming equally as well known for kick boxers and muay thai specialists thanks, most recently to GLORY World Series. Today, Saulo Cavalari, Anderson Silva and Alex Perira are well on their way to becoming household names due largely in part to their performances on the GLORY stage. All having made strong and very positive impressions in their match-ups in GLORY; each has also come to GLORY with records of success and titles from their affiliations with other organizations.

Saulo Cavalari, in particular, has quickly become a favorite among fans, photographers and writers alike, largely due to his great personality and brutal knockout power, as evidenced at GLORY 12 in his match-up with Mourad Bouzidi. Cavalari made his debut in October 2013 at GLORY 11 where he faced off against Filip Verlinden. Saulo took the victory home with a decision win in that bout. Since that time it has only been up for this young lion who hails from Curitiba, whose dedication to his craft is well over ten years in the making. Currently Cavalari is ranked number 3 in the light heavyweight category. His record is now 2-1 record in GLORY, having been defeated by Tyrone Spong at GLORY 15 in Instanbul. Even in this bout, Cavalari held his own against the more experienced Spong and lost only due to points. Outside the ring Cavalari exudes warmth, humility and a sense of calm, qualities that greatly contribute to his popularity. Inside the ring, however, is an entirely different matter. His fierceness as a fighter and warrior mentality is destined to make Cavalari one of the most feared men in his division. Saulo comes to the ring ready to destroy and his fists have proven to have brutal force.

Who will be his next opponent? It's anyone's guess. While a match-up between Saulo and GLORY's number 1 contender, Danyo Ilunga would be exciting, an equally exciting and definitely more explosive match-up would be a fight between Cavalari and Gohkan Saki, who now holds the number one spot in the division. In fact, sources close to Saulo indicate that he is very interested in meeting Saki in the ring. Until next time, we'll be all left to watch and wonder who will next fall prey the man known as "Cassius Clay."

 

Read more...

Interesting Note on Tyrone Spong's Contractual Status with GLORY

  • Published in Glory

Over the weekend there was some commotion about the possibility of Tyrone Spong heading to the UFC. Of course, that didn't seem to be in the cards considering Spong's favorable status with GLORY, where he is one of the top fighters in the organization. That means that he's also one of the better-paid fighters in the organization, in case you missed it. So Spong showing up at the UFC event and asking Dana White for a contract was a bit of a shock, but seemed more of a heat-of-the-moment thing than a possibility.

Well, hold on a second. 

This video from Sherdog (featuring the dulcet tones of our bud John O'Regan asking the questions) gives us some new insight into the contractual status of Tyrone Spong. According to Spong he is currently done with his GLORY contract. If he had won the GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship there would be a clause that put his contract into perpetuity, but that did not happen. This means that Spong may indeed be a free agent at the moment. He seems willing to work out a new contract with GLORY and if I'm GLORY I make sure that Spong is happy, but this is truly an interesting new twist.

Read more...

Bellator Embraces Kickboxing by Signing Paul Daley and Melvin Manhoef

  • Published in Kickboxing

When we said that Scott Coker joining Bellator would be a good thing for the sport of kickboxing we weren't lying. In fact, Scott Coker's involvement with the sport of MMA again only opens the door to more good things down the line. Fans have already been clamoring for GLORY and Bellator crossovers, which might not happen just yet, but we know that there have been some very unofficial talks between the two parties. There has at least been a dialogue. 

So the start of it, in some form, has come. Today Bellator announced the signing of two Kickboxing talents who also have made their names in MMA by the way of Paul Daley and Melvin Manhoef. Paul Daley has been fighting in kickboxing throughout 2014 and the man is just an animal, with it being announced that he signed to K-1 a few months ago, although he has yet to fight for the promotion. The other signing in Melvin Manhoef doesn't have to be explained. Manhoef was just involved in GLORY's Last Man Standing Middleweight tournament and has a long, rich history from K-1 and MMA. 

Interestingly enough, in the original release from Bellator the name K-1 was mentioned in regards to Melvin, but not GLORY.

Read more...

It's Improbable That Tyrone Spong Can Fight for the UFC Any Time Soon

  • Published in Glory

The news today out of UFC's event in Dublin was that Tyrone Spong was in attendance (we already knew that from his seminar schedule) and that he spoke with Dana White, asking for a one-fight deal to fight for the UFC in Dublin, Ireland. Dana White reported this during the post-fight press conference to illustrate the point of everyone wanting to fight for the UFC in Dublin thanks to what was a rather crazy, raucous crowd. This has the MMA world chattering about Tyrone Spong and fantasy booking him in the UFC already.

Well, hold on a minute. 

Tyrone Spong is signed by both GLORY Sports International and World Series of Fighting, GLORY for kickboxing and WSoF for MMA. The GLORY deal came first and while they are open to allowing fighters to work outside of GLORY, there are restrictions. I have seen some GLORY contracts from a while ago and heard about more recent ones. Most, not all, include clauses about taking outside bookings, such as they must be approved through GLORY's management prior to accepting them, with some restrictions. One of those restrictions? That the UFC was out of the question. 

It's not clear what Spong's contract status is with GLORY at the moment, but one would have to think that he's still under contract and since he's one of their better-paid athletes, that they have a long-term, binding contract in place with Spong. So, not to dash your hopes and dreams, but it's pretty unlikely at the moment. Sorry.

Read more...

Lion Fight 18: Yodsanklai Fairtex and Jorina Baars Defending Belts.

  • Published in Muay Thai

Lion Fight 18 will take place on September 5 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. They announced today here that it will include Yodsanklai Fairtex and Jorina Baars defending their Lion Fight World Titles.

Yodsanklai Fairtex won his World Title at Lion Fight 10 a year ago with a unanimous decision over Chike Lindsay. He hasn't lost a fight since November 2011 and has looked like a rejuvenated man since then. Yodsanklai has been showing up in the best shape he has ever been in, and his skills have looked very sharp. I have actually spoke with a few fighters that have fought Yod and they all have the same thing to say, "it's never a good time, and its the hardest left kick I have ever felt." In my opinion Yodsanklai is one of the most exciting and skilled fighters out of Thailand and I'm glad they are finally bringing him back to the US to defend his title, now I wonder who they will match him with. I can't think of anyone on the Lion Fight middleweight roster at the moment that is going to pose a threat to that title.

Jorina Baars shocked the world by beating Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino at Lion Fights 14 on March 28th of this year. Cyborg was the favourite and not only did Baars win, but she dropped her several times with perfect knees and kicks to show who was the better Muay Thai fighter. She fought a great fight against an opponent who was physically a lot stronger by keeping her away with her long kicks and dominating most of the fight for the unanimous decision win. Jorina is confident that no matter who Lion Fights puts in front of her on September 5th she will take care of them as she did Cyborg and retain her Welterweight title.

This is one Lion Fights card I am actually looking forward too, Yodsanklai is one of my favourite Muay Thai fighters, and Baars left a huge impression on me her last fight, I can't imagine a card with both these incredible fighters not being one of their best shows yet.

Read more...

LiverKick Throwback: Ramon Dekkers and Rayen Simson Double Knockdown

  • Published in News

The world of kickboxing has a rich history to fall back upon so we here at LiverKick figure, why not? Why not give a glimpse into some of the fights from the past that have made up this wonderful sport and tie it all in to the present. The kids on the Instagram and Twitter like to call Thursdays "Throwback Thursdays," I'm just going to say that this is a LiverKick Throwback.

This week we head back to 1997 when "The Diamond" Ramon Dekkers was already over ten years into what would be one of the most storied careers of any Dutch Kickboxer and he went against the very tough Dutch fighter Rayen Simson. Simson was on the rise at this time, qualifying for the 1997 Shoot Boxing S-cup, which he went on to win after his bout with Dekkers, but that's neither here nor there. What we are talking about now is Dekkers vs. Simson.

This was a classic Dutch style fight with both men showcasing stylistic nuances that we see to this very day. Of course, it is no shock due to Ramon Dekkers training with Cor Hemmers for many years, but it's still interesting to note how his style has led to so many other fighters' utilizing a similar style to his and seeing great success. Most of this fight is Dekkers in control, but when things get wild, well, they get really wild. This fight is perhaps best known for the crazy double knockdown that happens, with Simson fighting to his feet first.

Dekkers was forced to stop fighting due to an eye injury and the corner stopping the bout, but damn, what a slugfest. 

Read more...

Iman Barlow on Enfusion Win, Her Start in Martial Arts and More

  • Published in Interviews

Iman Barlow is somewhat of a phenom in Women’s Muay Thai. The 21-year old from Melton Mowbray, UK, defended her 54kg Women’s Enfusion world title this past weekend with a decisive victory over challenger Iman Ghablou.

JS: So first off Miss Barlow, congratulations on another dominant victory this past weekend, how did you evaluate your own performance and what was your game plan coming into the bout?

IB: The fight went well, I thought I won every round convincingly. After the first round I felt in control and from there I just enjoyed the fight and was sampling different techniques. We (My Dad and I) knew Iman Ghablou was a good boxer so our plan was to utilize the teep a lot but apart from that was just to go out there and bring my title back home to England.

JS: It's interesting that you mention your usage of the teep as that was something I was going to ask you about. The vast majority of strikers look to utilize the teep to the body, in this bout you looked to throw it regularly to the chin of Ghablou. Is this a technique you specifically drilled for this opponent or is it a move we can expect to see from you more often?

IB: Yes, I looked to throw it but then I saw she was open a lot for straight shots, like down the middle with teeps and straight punches. I saw the gaps and went for them but also I heard my Dad in my corner and he had also seen the gaps.

JS: It was a fairly one-sided affair and was your seventh appearance with the Enfusion promotion. Are there any current fighters on the Enfusion roster or outside the organization, which you would like to fight next? 

IB: Haha it was actually my 8th bout! Not really I am happy where I am at the moment, Enfusion have given me the opportunity of a lifetime to travel around the world doing what I love. I don't really like to call fighters out but all I will say is that I will fight the best to become the best slowly but surely. -54kg is dangerous division with me in for many years to come.

JS: You've already travelled to various different locations throughout your career, are there any other countries you wish to compete in?

IB: Yes I've seen some amazing places and the best thing about the whole experience is the people you meet along the way, I have friends from this sport all around the world it's amazing! Of course I've always said I'd love to fight in America that's my number one choice. Australia would also be pretty cool. 

JS: I've read previously online that you were introduced to martial arts at the age of 2! Could you give us a brief insight on your introduction and the martial arts you have trained?

IB: Yes my Dad Mark Barlow and my Mum Maxine Adams run Assassins Muay Thai gym so when I was little I used to go and sit down while they used to teach and I started to join in when I was around 2 and a half. I used to hit the bag and the fighters used to mess around with me and take me on the pads. I had my first fight when I was 4. I've always been into Muay Thai and it's all I have ever known, I’ve struggled to get fights sometimes when I was younger so I have done a few kickboxing and K-1 rules fights to keep busy. 

JS: Have you ever trained in other disciplines or would consider making the switch over to MMA?

IB: I've trained in Boxing before and a little bit of Judo. Apart from that I once had a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lesson with a friend but I don't think it's for me I much prefer to be a stand up fighter. I can't see myself going into MMA but I'd never rule it out. 

JS: Last but not least, your hometown of Melton Mowbray is renowned for it’s pork pies and Stilton cheese. Now your fight is out the way, will you be indulging in either or do you have another post-fight snack of preference?

IB: Haha it sure is. They’re definitely not on my list of favorites to indulge in; my problem is that I love food of all kinds. I love pad thai and also a good Nandos after a fight makes me happy, I also drink a lot of tea so it's nice to drink that after a fight also. I'm not indulging too much as my next fight will be on Enfusion’s reality show victory The Vixen in September and to win you have to have four fights in the space of about 5 days so I'll have a few days off and get back into training for that; sixteen women and only one winner. It's going be one of the hardest things I’ll go through but that will make it even more rewarding when I win.

JS: Best of luck with your fights in September and thank you very much for your time Iman, is there anything else you wish to say, anyone to thank?

JB: Yes, I'd like to first thank my family for always being a great support system and for helping me follow my dreams, all of Enfusion family, Vinny Shoreman and my sponsors Gold standard nutrition, Fairtex UK, Booost oxygen, Dirty 3rd Clothing and thank you to everyone for their continued support and messages, they always means a lot.

Read more...

Where Does Glory Go From Here?

  • Published in News

I made a pretty big deal about PPV buyrates and their impact on the future direction of Glory, but in fact, I didn’t have lofty expectations as to how the Last Man Standing tournament would perform. Modest results were anticipated, although putting a number on that and interpreting its significance is hard to do. This event was a picture-perfect example of a combat sports PPV done right, but some might be wondering: in light of the projected numbers, where does Glory stand? I would argue that Glory stands on perfectly solid ground and in arguably a position better suited to take on the American combat sports market.

We’ve learned a number of important things from following the TV ratings and watching the fight cards themselves: 1) Glory is a consistent performer on SpikeTV, generating ratings on par with or slightly below Bellator and better than WSOF. 2) Glory has found a consistent formula for their 2-hour time slot, staging 4-man contender tournaments, co-main title fights, and a main event SuperFight--that’s a lot of quality kickboxing in one night. 3) Glory has developed a stable of marketable talent that could headline future events. Joe Schilling and Joseph Valtellini are superstars tailor made for SpikeTV with the skills to sell a fight and the exciting styles to deliver on fight night.

For the two and a half years that Glory has spent trying to establish an identity and a consistent product to deliver to American audiences, it seems like the end result has finally been achieved, and it is 100% solid. Each card features a couple of well-known headliners and a contender tournament with prospects who are still making their name. This keeps costs low by not breaking bank on a mega card full of 6-figure talent, and it allows Glory to book and sell-out smaller venues that it can continually revisit. This model has been successfully followed by Strikeforce, It’s Showtime, and now Lion Fight.

Does this mean that Glory won’t stage big PPV shows anymore? No, but it does mean that Glory will need to be strategic and creative in how it plans future events. The SpikeTV formula will work well in the United States when Glory must necessarily operate in 2,000 to 3,000 person venues, but if places like Istanbul can really put more than 10,000 butts in seats, then there are greater possibilities. Co-promotion with Bellator would also be a major boon to Glory. While Glory may not have the muscle right now to be a PPV success, it could easily enhance the marketability of a Bellator PPV. Bellator/Glory Dynamite 2014 on PPV, anyone? Bellator and Glory could not be in a better position to attempt something like this, especially with Scott Coker in the driver’s seat clearing the way to stable co-promotion. Having multiple smaller shows with only a couple of big shows per year is the right step to sustainability long-term.

Finally, let’s remind ourselves of where Glory truly stands. In terms of its success, Glory is nowhere close to being the UFC, and neither is it close to being Bellator. It is a big, international organization that does slightly better than or about the same as a regional fight promotion. It has shouldered substantial loss to get to where it is now. However, it is unequivocally gaining momentum. The combat sports community is interested in Glory and wants to see more, and every event is gaining more traction in the hearts of fight fans. The ratings, while not a skyrocketing success, are stable. The stage is set for Glory to have its breakthrough moment with the right talent, the right broadcast deals, and the right formula in place. Glory needs to keep putting itself on TV with more small shows while waiting for the right moment to bring out the big guns. It may not happen this year, but that moment will come eventually. Until then, it’s up to us to keep tuning in, to keep supporting the sport, and to keep spreading the word. Kickboxing is alive, and it is finally here.

Read more...

Liverkick Throwback: Changpuek Kietsongrit vs Ivan Hippolyte

  • Published in News

This fight took place in Nagoya, Japan at the K-3 Grand Prix '95 Quarter-final, Ivan Hippolyte went on to beat Toshiyuki Atokawa and Taiei Kin to win the tournament. Changpuek was one of the first Thai's to go abroad and fight in all types of disciplines, he was often taken advantage of and put against much bigger fighters. He was only between 70 and 80kilos (154-175lbs) but yet he has fought most of the k-1 heavyweights like Ernesto Hoost, Branko Cikatic and Andy Hug.

Ivan Hippolyte is a Dutch kickboxing pioneer, as you can see in this fight he still has a very Muay Thai style stance but his hands were amazing. He is still known as one of the best kickboxers to come out of Holland. Hippolyte is now the trainer at Vos Gym, one of the best gyms in Amsterdam, Netherlands and has trained champions like Remy Bonjasky, Mirko CroCop, and Warren Stevelmans.

Read more...

Washing Away the Myth of the Eurocentric Kickboxing Machine

  • Published in News

I want to preface this by saying that without a doubt the sport of Kickboxing owes a lot to its European roots. Without some of the pioneers in Europe the sport of Kickboxing would absolutely not be what it is today. That being said, I feel like after GLORY 17 and Last Man Standing we can effectively say that Kickboxing belongs to no one country or continent. Sure, some of the all-time greats are Dutch and yes, the original home of K-1 was without a doubt Japan, but it’s 2014 and the world has become a smaller place. Talent is no longer concentrated to secretive gyms or trainers, instead it is being spread out and being found across the world.

For the longest time fans had to hear that American Kickboxers sucked. The history that came with American Kickboxing, the fighters like Benny Urquidez, Don Wilson, Rick Roufus and the many other who cut their teeth across the world against the best of the best was somewhat washed aside. I mean, why not? Names like Rob Kamen, Ramon Dekkers and Cor Hemmers carry a lot of weight with them, as do the names of fighters like Peter Aerts, Remy Bonjasky, Semmy Schilt and many others. How could American fighters compare?

At GLORY 17 and Last Man Standing North America got to show the world just how seriously Kickboxers from this continent need to be taken and should leave fans open to talent from other nations as well. Joe Schilling once again found himself in a tough finals against Artem Levin, this time Levin walking away victorious, with North American fighters Wayne Barrett and Simon Marcus having incredibly strong showings as well. Joseph Valtellini showed the world what a kid from Canada can do when given a chance, bringing home the GLORY Welterweight Championship in a tough fight against Marc de Bonte. Then on GLORY 17 Canadian Gabriel Varga proved himself to be one of the best Featherweights in the world, ready to take on the best of the best and vye for the GLORY Featherweight Championship. 

At this point it’s hard to argue that America and Canada aren’t producing top talents, because both nations are producing some of the very best that the world has to offer. Is Europe still producing some of the absolute best talents in the world in Kickboxing? Absolutely. It’s impossible to argue against the talents we are seeing coming from the Netherlands, the UK, France, Germany and many others, but it’s no longer a monopoly. For a while Dutch Kickboxing was the alpha and omega and while Dutch Kickboxing is still very strong, it would be crass to ignore the talents coming from all across the world to prove themselves as the best of the best. 

Kickboxing is a global sport and the name on the gym or the prestige of the nation are no longer deciding factors alone. The amount of work put in, the quality of the training, the talent and the desire are what matter at the end of the day. I, for one, look forward to continue to watch fighters from all corners of the world stepping up their game on a regular basis.

Read more...

Talking With Al Wichgers Glory Referee

  • Published in Interviews

Safety, fairness and entertainment are the primary goals of Glory referee, Al Wichgers. A thirty-seven year veteran this is a man who has seen nearly everything and made the calls that people sometimes love to hate. In anticipation of Glory 17 and The Last Man Standing event, I had the pleasure of talking to Al about his career as well as about kickboxing in the United States. Currently a referee at Glory, Al has also, over the course of his career, been the man in the middle for K-1 the UFC, Strikeforce and Bellator. His knowledge of combat sports is not unfounded as he also has spent time facing off against other fighters as a boxer as well as being a practitioner of martial arts. When asked what is the key to being a good referee he cites his mantra of striving to ensure safety for the fighters as well as making sure the fight is fair and at the same time entertaining. Al also cites that knowing the fighters is a critical element in determining when a fight should be stopped. It’s a much more difficult situation being the referee with fighters you don’t know. Knowing the fighter’s limits and how they react to a punch makes the difference between ending it early or letting the fight continue. When asked about his favorite fight, he cites a K-1 bout between Hong Man Choi and Sylvester Terkay as particularly amusing if for no other reason than the sheer amazement at the size of Choi (2.18m) and the possible dilemma of how he would go about stopping such a large fighter.

His response to the inevitable criticism that comes from fans and the fight community when it comes to fight stoppages, is that it’s all about perspective. Being inside the ring and understanding the figher’s body language is what often makes the difference. It is a completely different experience viewing the fight in the arena or on television. Those vantage points don’t allow an observer to pick up on many of the cues that indicate when a fighter has had enough. Thirty-seven years of experience doesn’t hurt either. On maintaining professionalism in the ring, Al states that it’s his job and that’s the way he handles it, he also emphasizes the importance of being objective. Surprisingly enough with the amount of adrenaline pump during fights Al states that his relationships with the fighters all over the world have been relatively peaceful with some fighters even thanking him afterward for stopping the fight.

Having experience with boxing, kickboxing and MMA, Al expresses a particular love for kickboxing with its fast pace and non-stop action. Finally we spoke about whether Glory will succeed in their mission to repopularize kickboxing in the United States. On this subject he reveals optimism, having been around since the heyday of K-1, but acknowledges that efforts to interest the public in anything new is often a hard sell. Al, however appears to be in it for the long haul and the combat sports community should feel grateful to have him in their ranks.  

Read more...

Melvin Manhoef Pre-GLORY Last Man Standing Interview

  • Published in Interviews

(C) Esther Linn/MMAFighting.com

They call him “No Mercy” and that is exactly what you will get in the ring.  Melvin Manhoef, a man whose professional career has spanned nearly two decades takes the stage at Glory’s inaugural PPV event, The Last Man Standing on Saturday, June 21, 2014 at The Forum.  Since 1995, Melvin Manhoef has delivered brutal blows in both MMA and kickboxing also showing the world that he is dangerous in nearly every weight class.  Who has he fought? A better question probably would be who hasn’t he fought?  In the kickboxing ring he has faced the likes of Spong, Bonjasky, Leko, Karaev and Slowinksi.  Although in all of these match-ups he has not been the victor, one thing is certain, a match involving Melvin promises to bring heavy hits and hardcore action.  It is well and widely known that Manhoef is a knockout artist and does it very well.  For those who know Melvin Manhoef, they are well aware that he is dangerous from all angles, having brutalized his opponents with left hooks, right hooks and knees.  He is legend.  In anticipation of his debut with Glory I had the opportunity to talk to Melvin about his past, present and his vision for the future. 

SW: Melvin, you made it here to Glory and this very exciting event.  How do you feel?

MM: I think I am ready.  I had very good training and I am prepared.

SW: Is there anyone in particular that you would like to fight?

MM: No, I’m a fighter and I will fight whoever they put in front of me.  All of the guys are dangerous in the tournament but I feel prepared to fight any of them. 

SW: You are known for having a very aggressive style and have had some brutal knockouts in kickboxing and MMA. Do you have any prediction about how your fight with Verlindin will end?

MM: I like the knock out, but we will just see, but of course I like the knockout!  My goal is to be the champion. 

SW: For your training, you were training at Mike’s Gym or somewhere else?

MM: Well I train at Mike’s Gym sometimes but I also have my own gym.

SW: Many fighters have their own gym is this your eventual plan to do as maybe you move away from fighting in the ring, spending more time as a coach?

MM: Well I do that now in my gym and I won’t be fighting until the point that I can’t see.  Right now, I feel good and don’t think it’s any problem for me to fight. No injuries right now, so I’m ready. 

SW: Kickboxing or MMA, which do you prefer?

MM: I have a lot of experience in both.  With kickboxing, it’s very fast and there’s a lot of action.  I like MMA too, it’s just a different style of fighting.

SW: Glory is doing some very exciting things, revitalizing kickboxing in America. 

MM: Yes, and I am happy to be a part of this.  I thank Glory for having me at this event, it is very big.  June 21st will be very good for the fans.

Read more...

Glory 17: Glory Prepares to Distinguish Itself As a Combat Sports Brand

  • Published in News

Glory 17 is a turning point for Glory in many ways, marking its entry into the American PPV market by staging the largest, most significant kickboxing tournament on American soil in decades. But even more noteworthy than that, this event signifies the opportunity for Glory to truly distinguish itself as a unique combat sports product that is capable of delivering where other brands may falter, particularly the UFC. The UFC’s present difficulties are well known: problems with a ballooning roster, complaints about “boring” fights, and problems marketing fighters have led to great inconsistency in the quality of UFC events. Glory, on the other hand, has experienced few to no difficulties in this regard--and for very interesting reasons. In this article, I will talk about some of the things that I think make Glory a fairly unique entity in the combat sports world.

1. Each Glory weight class has more elite fighters than a single card can accommodate.

The Last Man Standing tournament is essentially a display of the entire Middleweight division, and it is a scary division, featuring Artem Levin, Joe Schilling, Simon Marcus, Wayne Barrett, Filip Verlinden, and Melvin Manhoef as well as dangerous contenders like Alex Pereira--all of these men are either champions, former champions, or fighters who have distinguished themselves against championship-level competition. Whereas some promotions might struggle to fill fight cards with less accomplished talent, Glory has the unique problem of struggling to fill fight cards with overqualified talent, bumping the likes of Levin to the non-televised SuperFight Series. If you ever find yourself wondering why a fighter like Giorgio Petrosyan gets to occupy the fourth slot on the Glory main card, it’s frequently because any Glory card could offer you a choice of several main event fights.

2. Glory has complete control of the rules of the sport.

No matter how many three or four-letter-name sanctioning bodies Glory will claim accountability to, the fact remains that Glory, as an organization in today’s combat sports market, is unique because of the complete control that it has on the rules of the sport. By frequently changing its clinch rules, its knockdown rules, and its 8-count rules, Glory has crafted and refined a viewing experience that is more fast-paced and exciting, producing a high volume of memorable fights and highlight reel moments. This is an ability that neither the UFC nor any other MMA organization possess, and the end result for them is a perpetual struggle to reconcile the Unified Rules of MMA with the type of fights that UFC wants to sell. Glory, by contrast, can eliminate any rule that negatively affects the viewing experience.

The flipside is that we also don’t have to talk about drug testing in the sport of Kickboxing. Glory is in a peculiar position here as well, operating between the lines of an oversight structure that is very dated and arguably unequipped to handle a multimillion dollar professional sport. Indeed, WKA’s official rules, published in 2011, leave drug testing up to the discretion of the “WKA supervisor, tournament promoters, and the official doctor,” who “can and may perform tests” but don’t necessarily have to do so unless directed by local law, making WKA’s actual responsibility very unclear. The procedure, standards, and logistics of testing are either mentioned in vague terms or not outlined at all. Glory, for its part, hasn’t forced the issue, leaving us to enjoy the fruits of ambiguity. In other words: don’t ask, don’t tell, and Pride never die.

3. Glory is learning how to market its fighters.

This is an issue that we’ve discussed several times here on LiverKick and which Dave Walsh expounded on in his excellent piece comparing kickboxing to the history of regional pro wrestling promotion. Behind every fight is an evolving narrative with at least two central characters, and as viewers, we’re interested in not only the fight itself but also in how the fight will determine the next chapter of the story. The promoter’s job is to build anticipation and interest in the fight and to illustrate what it means in the grand scheme of the division. With Glory 17, Glory has been proactive in producing media which tells us the story, including an excellent video on the rivalry between Rico Verhoeven and Daniel Ghita. The authenticity of this rivalry (for the critics’ sake) is as irrelevant as the authenticity of the 2009 rivalry between Badr Hari and Alistair Overeem--it felt real at the time and it electrified the atmosphere at the Saitama Super Arena. As Glory gains screen time on television and PPV, promotional efforts like this will be increasingly vital to its success.

While Glory got off to a rough start, it seems like the organization has found its identity as a kickboxing promotion and major combat sports brand. It is undeniably a unique presence in today’s sports entertainment market. If this event is a success and the Glory audience continues to grow, I think that Glory could become a leading company. Until then, you will have to join me in keeping fingers tightly crossed.

Read more...

Why Kickboxing Fans Should Rejoice About Bellator's Changes

  • Published in News

In case you haven’t heard already, it was announced today by Bellator that Bjorn Rebney has departed from the organization and that his replacement is former Strikeforce head Scott Coker. Coker was restricted under his deal with Zuffa from competing with them until March of this year, which was when Viacom began making a play to push Rebney out and to replace him with Coker. The rumors are no longer rumors and it is indeed now fact; Scott Coker is the new head of Bellator and Bjorn Rebney is out.

Now, I’m sure that you are asking yourself; why does this matter to Kickboxing. The answer is a long one, which you already knew because I only give long answers. GLORY is on Spike TV and in case you haven’t noticed, GLORY has had problems gaining much power with Spike TV since they joined up with the network. GLORY’s ratings have been just as good as Bellator’s have been and they’ve done so with a whole lot less backing compared to Bellator.

See, Bellator had a majority share sold off to Viacom a few years ago, making them not only a part of the Spike TV family, but embedded into the very essence of the network. Viacom now had a stake in not only Bellator’s survival, but its growth and prosperity. While I can’t speak firsthand of Bjorn Rebney, there have been reports for years about how he does business and that the way in which he handled Bellator wasn’t much different. I remember balking at the leaked Bellator contracts when the promotion first began, then we all remember the contract disputes with guys like Eddie Alvarez and Ben Askren.

It’s safe to say that not many in the fight world are big fans of Bjorn Rebney. Kickboxing fans shouldn’t be, either. You’d think that with GLORY under the Spike TV umbrella that there were natural crossover appeals for Bellator and GLORY, in fact, better crossover appeal than between Bellator and TNA Wrestling. Yet the crossovers that we saw were between Bellator and TNA Wrestling, TNA being a distant second place to the WWE and has been in constant financial and creative turmoil for years now. Not even pro wrestling fans like TNA Wrestling (you could argue that MMA fans don’t like Bellator, either, but that’s another story). 

So why not work with GLORY?

The answer is simple; GLORY is a great, polished and professional product. It offers something exciting and if people watch it, they fall in love with it. Bellator on the other hand has had to struggle for any gains in viewers and at times had to sacrifice their “vision” of tournaments to even attract marginal attention from the MMA press and fan base. We’ve had many reports that Rebney considered GLORY as the competition for Spike’s and Viacom’s affections, not something that he could work with and form mutually-beneficial deals with.

GLORY is on the rise and is doing so through rather modest means, while Bellator has had to dip into Viacom’s coffers to push expensive stars like Rampage Jackson and Tito Ortiz as real competition. While I can’t speak to boardroom affairs or meetings that happened behind closed doors, there has been a sense that a reason why we haven’t seen more GLORY programming on Spike TV or more support for the GLORY brand had a lot to do with Rebney’s attitude towards Kickboxing and GLORY. 

This is why the inclusion of Scott Coker is like a beam of light through a cloudy day for GLORY and Kickboxing fans right now. Scott Coker’s history is one that is rich not only in Mixed Martial Arts, but Martial Arts in general. Scott Coker was a longtime Kickboxing promoter, even working for K-1 on their US events. Before you rag on those events, remember that K-1 gave him extremely limited resources for those events and that any of the good that came for K-1 USA came through Scott and his very talented and motivated team (later on Mike Kogan had similar struggles but did an admirable job as well).

Scott Coker isn’t afraid of Kickboxing, in fact, Scott Coker loves Kickboxing. Kickboxing is how he broke into the world of promoting fights and nobody in the United States did it as successfully as Coker did it. Scott Coker also isn’t afraid of working with other brands on mutually-beneficial arrangements. Strikeforce came into prominence through a landmark deal with EliteXC that brought Strikeforce’s fighters, following and respect to PPV with some of EliteXC’s big names that they had signed, making for truly memorable events. It later led to Strikeforce absorbing EliteXC and becoming the #2 promotion in the world overnight. 

Now, do we think that things are going to immediately get better? Probably not. In fact, it might take a while. Scott Coker might bring about change, but Scott Coker still has to answer to Viacom at the end of the day and without a financial stake in GLORY they might not see the value in pushing it too hard. Then again, there is a contract in place and they are paying GLORY for the programming, so it makes sense to maximize the brand to its fullest and I see no reason why Scott Coker and Bellator would turn away a chance at working with another successful, unique brand to help build credibility for both. 

Read more...

For Joe Schilling Last Man Standing is About His Legacy

  • Published in Interviews

This weekend at GLORY Last Man Standing Joe Schilling has a date with a second GLORY tournament. The first one was a victory for Schilling at GLORY 10, putting him atop of the heap of GLORY’s stacked Middleweight division. At least for that night. We can easily say that GLORY 10 was a great night for Schilling, but GLORY 12 was not a great night for Schilling, although he’ll be the first one to tell you that it wasn’t his best night.

Heading into GLORY’s Last Man Standing tournament Joe is faced with three past opponents in Wayne Barrett, Artem Levin and Simon Marcus, each of which are involved in the tournament in different parts of the bracket, with there being a chance of him meeting each one on Saturday if things turn out that way. Revenge doesn’t seem to be on the mind of Schilling this time, though, nor does calling out a round for a knockout. Instead, he seems refocused.

At Last Man Standing Joe Schilling’s night starts off with not only a rematch, but a third meeting with an old adversary in Simon Marcus, but that is the furthest thing from his mind right now; “You know, everyone is asking me about rematches, they are all really excited about that. I guess there is more of an emotional connection to the previous fights than even I do. Rematch with Simon, rematch with Barrett, rematch with Levin, and I’m not thinking about that at all. It doesn’t even cross my mind, I’m a different fighter and I don’t expect them to be the same fighter. I’m really just focused on winning the tournament.

“Gotta go through Simon Marcus first, then I gotta go through Barrett, but if it’s Barrett I’ll beat Barrett, if it’s Stoica then I’ll be Stoica. Who even knows who comes through that other bracket. It’s crazy. I’m really focused I’m being the best Joe Schilling that I can be that night. I’ve made some changes in my game, in my lifestyle and the mental side of it. I feel like I’ll really be able to express what I’m capable of on the 21st. I’m really excited to show everybody what I’m capable of, but also show myself what I’m capable of. The rematches, though? They really mean nothing to me. At the end of the night, when I’m holding my belt, I’ll probably be laughing like, ‘Oh I knocked out Simon,’ but it’s not what I’m focused on right now.”

GLORY 12 was a tough night for Joe, but it wasn’t the first time that he’s had to face a loss in his career. “Yeah, when I lose a fight I really get very internal; why I lost the fight, what I was thinking, what I was doing. There are a lot of mistakes that I’ve been making for a long time in my career, stylistically, and we’ve really been focused on changing those things. The sparring has worked out really well and I’m really excited about it. After the Eddie Walker knockout I came back stronger, after I lost to Simon the second time I had to go to Thailand to fight Karapet on short notice, so I really look at my losses as big chunks of experience.

“I mean, look at the records of some of these other guys in the tournament. Sure, I have a much bigger record than Wayne Barrett, but for the most part I have less than everybody else in the tournament. Any and all experience that I can get I gotta take advantage of, but these losses are big for me, they are learning experiences. I’m humbled by my losses and it forces me to take a good look at me and it’s a good thing for my career.”

This brought about the topic of pressure and what kind of pressure that Joe feels going into this tournament. If you remember going into GLORY 10 Joe felt that he had to win the tournament to make a statement about Americans in Kickboxing, but now he sees more and more fighters from America stepping up and this is more about himself and his legacy. Joe is looking for not only a win, but a legacy like that of some of Kickboxing’s legends with back-to-back tournament wins.

“I’ve always put so much pressure on myself that I don’t really see other people’s pressure. I hold myself to a very high standard. In the past I’ve said stuff like, ‘well I’m gonna knock him out in this round’ and put even more pressure on myself, but for me there’s a ton of pressure on this fight for myself. I want to prove and really cement my legacy in Kickboxing. It means the world to me that I was the first American to win a global combat sports tournament like this and it’s really important for me to do it twice in a row. I want to go down in history with like Peter Aerts and Semmy Schilt, that’s the pressure that I feel. I don’t want to be in the back shaking my head and apologizing like I was after the Barrett fight and I have 100% myself to blame for that. I took him too lightly and I just,” Joe paused for a few seconds, searching for the right words. “I screwed up. I didn’t fight my fight, that wasn’t the best Joe Schilling.

“That won’t happen again,” he added, in regards to his frustrations in the fight with Barrett. “I was in there and I was frustrated, not even with Wayne, but I was frustrated with myself. Things picked up in the third round but even then it was sloppy, it was careless, it wasn’t me. So there is a ton of pressure for me not to do that again in this fight, but I feel like with the changes we’ve made there’s no chance of that happening again. There’s a lot less pressure knowing that I’m fighting the best fighters in the world. No one has ever watched a K-1 World Grand Prix and thought, ‘well that guy sucks.’ Everybody in there belongs in there, seven of us, the best Middleweights in the world, are gonna lose on Saturday. It’s gonna be a tough night, I’m not gonna be dancing afterwards. I have the utmost respect for all of the guys in the tournament, but it’s gonna be my night. It’s in my home city in front of my family and my friends, it’s gonna be epic.”

It’s also interesting to note that Schilling does have the homefield advantage going into this tournament, something that he had for the GLORY 10 Middleweight tournament as well. It was something that he was missing at GLORY 12 when he fought Wayne Barrett in New York, though; “Yeah, you know, I walked out and was getting booed. It’s happened twice in my career and both times it’s taken me out of my game. Actually, both times it was on the East coast, maybe I need to not fight on the East coast anymore?” He joked. “But for sure, I’m a lot more comfortable when I fight at home. No one wants to lose in front of their friends.”

So for Joe Schilling at GLORY Last Man Standing there isn’t revenge on his mind, instead it’s his legacy and taking his place as one of the greats in Kickboxing by winning consecutive tournaments. It is without a doubt a tall order considering the talent involved, but Schilling seems just as excited to watch the fights at Last Man Standing and GLORY 17 as he is to compete. He’s a kickboxing fan first and a fighter second and it’s very clear that this Joe Schilling is humbled and mentally prepared for what is before him.

Will it be his night again? Tune in on Saturday night at 10pm Eastern time on PPV for GLORY Last Man Standing, immediately following GLORY 17 on Spike TV at 8pm Eastern time. For more information, head to http://www.gloryppv.com

 

Read more...

Copyright 2010 - 2014 LiverKick.com. All Rights Reserved.

Top Desktop version