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Results From K-1 Japan Lightweight World Grand Prix

  • Published in K-1

K-1 Japan has done it again. By that I mean ran another successful event that has the kickboxing world talking. They've been on a bit of a hot streak of late and look to continue that heading into their big 2018 event at the Saitama Super Arena. This event featured a Lightweight tournament at 62.5kg featuring some of the best talents from around the world. On top of that it saw HINATA return to the K-1 ring and the 60kg title on the line between Hirotaka Urabe and Taiga.

Hirotaka Urabe lost his championship to Taiga in a three round war on a night that Koya Urabe, arguably one of the favorites in the tournament, was defeated by Gonnapar Weerasakrek. The tournament had its own twists and turns with Ren Hiramoto living up to his billing from a few years ago as a top prospect with a win over Brice Delval, a knockout over Gonnapar and making it all the way to the finals against Wei Rui before dropping a close split decision to crown Wei Rei as the winner of the tournament. 

K-1 Japan Lightweight Tournament

K-1 Japan 60kg Championship: Taiga (R3 - Decision) Urabe Hirotaka (C)

Hinata (R3 - Decision) Matsukura Shintaro 

Noiri Masaaki (R3 - Decision) Younes Smaili 

Ibrahim El Bouni (R2 - KO) Uehara Makoto 

Lightweight Tournament (62.5kg)

Tournament Final: Wei Rui (R3 - Split Decision) Hiramoto Ren 

Tournament Semi-Final: Wei Rui (R3 - Decision) Cristian Spetcu 

Tournament Semi-Final: Hiramoto Ren (R1 - KO) Gonnapar Weerasakrek 

Tournament Quarterfinal: Cristian Spetcu (R3 - Decision) Taniyama Toshiki 

Tournament Quarterfinal: Wei Rui (R2 - TKO) Sasaki Daizo 

Tournament Quarterfinal: Gonnapar Weerasakrek (R3 - Decision) Urabe Koya 

Tournament Quarterfinal: Hiramoto Ren (R3 - Majority Decision) Brice Delval 

Tournament Reserve: Rukiya (R2- KO) Mizumachi Hiroshi 

 

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GLORY 38 Live Results and Discussion

  • Published in Glory

GLORY 38 goes down tonight! Live from Chicago, Illinois featuring a night of light heavyweight action and much more. We'll be bringing you live results and updates from the event as they happen. The one bit of news is that Zack Mwekassa has been pulled from the card for an undisclosed medical reason, with Brian Collette serving as his replacement against Zinedine Hameur-Lain.

The GLORY 38 SuperFight Series starts at 8pm Eastern time on UFC Fight Pass, GLORY 38 live at 10:30pm Eastern time on ESPN3.

GLORY 38 Chicago

Light Heavyweight World Title Headline Bout: Artem Vakhitov (Rd2 - TKO) Saulo Cavalari - Rd1: Great first round with both guys throwing hand combinations and low kicks while the other covers up and doesn't allow punches through. Vakhitov lands 1 good overhand right in the middle of a Cavalari combo near the end of the round. Rd2: Vakhitov drops Cavalari with an amazing combination of a right high kick followed by a left hook, right hook combo. Cavalari beats the count but gets clipped with another right hand and goes down again. Once again Cavalari gets up on 8 but Vakhitov corners him and lands punch after punch until the ref had seen enough.

Light Heavyweight Tournament Final Bout: Ariel Machado (Rd1 - KO) Zinedine Hameur-Lain - Rd1: Machado throwing heavy punches early while Zinedine looks lethargic and not throwing much. Zinedine lands a few nice grazing right high kicks but Machado takes them well and lands a good straight right, Zinedine turns his back and gets hit with a body shot then falls to his knees, the ref starts counting and Zinedine gets up too late.

Welterweight Co-Headline Bout: Antoine Pinto (Rd3 - Split Decision) Richard Abraham - Rd1: Pinto's kicks vs Abrahams punches is going to be the story of this fight, Pinto was controlling distance well with this kicks and didn't get hit by many punches. Rd2: Abraham has found a way to land his punches to the body once he gets inside but overall a slow paced round with Pinto keeping Abraham at bay with kicks. Rd3: Pinto comes out bouncing and moving a little more and throwing jabs but quickly reverts back to throwing body and high kicks. Late in the round Abraham finds a home for his right low kick and pushes Pinto off balance but the ref sees its a slip.

Light Heavyweight Tournament Semifinal Bout B: Ariel Machado (Rd3 - Decision) Danyo Ilunga - Rd1: Looks like its going to be another Ilunga war, Machado gets a cut on the top of his head from a headbutt but Ilunga getting caught with small punches when he throws his wide hooks. Rd2: Ilunga trying to box too much and not using his kicks and knees which he used to be so successful with. Machado catching Ilunga with shots and Ilunga too wild. Rd3: Bit of a controversial knockdown call by the ref giving the round to Machado, Ilunga landed a few punches at the end of the round but its too little too late.

Light Heavyweight Tournament Semifinal Bout A: Zinedine Hameur-Lain (Rd2 - KO) Brian Collette - Rd1: Zinedine proving to be a bit too much for Collette in the first. Nothing Colette did was effective and Zinedine dropped him with a good combo finished by a liver kick. Rd2: Zinedine show boating a little this round and eating a few right hands for it, then he lands an overhand right of his own and causes a video game like KO where Collette spun around and his chin bounced off the canvas.

GLORY 38 SuperFight Series

Heavyweight Headline Bout: Benjamin Adegbuyi (ExRd - Decision) Anderson Silva - Rd1: Slow round with both guys feeling each other out and picking their shots. Silva landed a good left hook which was probably the best punch of the round. Rd2: Another slow round but Silva landed a great left high kick and wobbled Benny and was also slipping and countering with his left hook nicely. Rd3: Benny starts working his combos and low kicks and Silva is blocking no low kicks at all, eventually Benny kicks out both of Silvas legs with one kick and the ref gives Silva an 8 count. Both guys swing a few punches at the end and Benny gets the worst of it and is wobbled with a left hook. ExRD: Benny lands a good right uppercut, left hook combo and drops Silva. Silva gets up and walks forward for the rest of the but cant land much of importance to get that point back.

Heavyweight Co-Headline Bout: Catalin Morosanu (Rd2 - KO) Maurice Greene  - Rd1: Greene misses a big high kick early and that allows Morosanu to get in and throw some bombs but nothing cleans lands. Greene landing some good counters through the round while Moroasnu swings at air. Rd2: Morosanu comes out swinging again and lands a left hook on Greenes chin and thats a wrap Greene goes down and the ref waves it off.

Welterweight Bout: Murthel Groenhart (R3 - KO) Thongchai Sitsongpeenong - Rd1: Thongchai starts off with some hard right low kicks until 1 is blocked and it looks to hurt his chin. Thonchai clinching quite a bit and lands a low knee. Once Groenhart gets up he lands some hard punches and wobbles Thongchai with multiple punches who gets saved by the bell. Rd2: Thongchai lands another knee to the groin early and the ref deducts a point but not much lands for the rest of the round for either fighter. Rd3: Murthel finds a home for his right uppercut, then follows up with a triple left hook to drop Thonhchai. He gets up on 8 and Murthel lands the uppercut and more left hooks, down goes Thongchai who doesn't beat the count this time.

Welterweight Bout: Daniel Morales (R3 - Decision) Pawel Jedrzejczyk - Pawel was completely cutting the ring off throughout most of the first round. Morales was throwing some decent punches, but mostly on the defensive early on. But Morales found a home for his uppercuts and began to find his range in the second half. Second round saw Pawel look to control the ring again, but Morales has found his range and looks a lot more comfortable. He's starting to mix in more kicks and his hands were landing with a bit more ease. The third round saw Pawel come to life a bit more, landing a lot more punches. 

Lightweight Bout: Niclas Larsen (R3 - Decision) Lukasz Plawecki - First round was an interesting one, Larsen dictating the pace and location of the fight. Plawecki looks a bit slow in comparison. Rounds two and three were pretty similar.

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LiverKick Blow-by-Blow: GLORY 38 Edition

  • Published in Glory

On Friday night, February 24th live from Chicago, Illinois, GLORY returns to the ring with GLORY 38. The event is set to make some further sense out of the ultra-competitive light heavyweight division by showcasing a GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship bout and also deciding a new contender in a tournament, with the winners of each going on to fight for the title at GLORY 40. 

GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship: Artem Vakhitov (Champion) vs. Saulo Cavalari (Challenger)

This is a rubber match between two of the divisions top fighters for one of the most important and prestigious of GLORY's titles. So no, that magical Gokhan Saki return didn't happen, but the division has proven itself to be one of the promotion's strongest even in his stead with fighters like Mwekassa, Cavalari and Vakhitov stepping up and proving themselves to be worthy. Each man holds a win over the other, but perhaps their last meeting where Vakhitov was able to wrestle the title free of Cavalari's grasp told us the most about what to expect from their third clash. 

While Cavalari has proven himself to be a scary presence in the division with heavy hands and the technique to go along with it, Vakhitov feels like he's moving on to a different level. Where Cavalari is more likely to brawl and grow sloppy, Vakhitov reins it in and tightens his game up. Cavalari walked away with a split decision in their first meeting and in their second Vakhitov had made sure to change his game plan up enough to where he could pick up a decisive win. So yeah, Cavalari is a knockout artist, but Vakhitov has the defenses to weather the storm and the offense that is able to nullify Cavalari's offense and keep him off balance enough for Vakhitov to impose his will. I think we actually see a more decisive Vakhitov win this time out, especially considering how he absolutely destroyed Mwekassa in his first title defense.

Winner: Vakhitov.

GLORY Light Heavyweight Tournament: Zack Mwekassa vs. Zinedine Hameur-Lain, Danyo Ilunga vs. Ariel Machado

The winner of the main event will fight the winner of this tournament at GLORY 40, giving us a really good feel for the division and where it's headed. That being said, all four men are entering the tournament with at least one loss, which is a bit confusing when crowning a contender for a title. For example, Danyo Ilunga just lost to Michael Duut. Where's Michael Duut? Zinedine Hameur-Lain lost to Pavel Zhuravlev, where's Pavel? In Machado his loss was to a fighter in another weight class, so it feels weird but excusable, and for Mwekassa he lost his last title fight, which once again, feels excusable. 

Still, I'd be remiss if I wouldn't prefer this as Pavel Zhuravlev vs. Ariel Machado II and Mwekassa vs. Michael Duut. But I'm sure there are contractual situations, injuries and the usual chaff to worry about, so we've got what we've got and outside of those losses, there isn't a lot to complain about. While I initially see Danyo Ilunga vs. Zack Mwekassa in the finals, I'm not entirely sure that Ariel Machado doesn't beat Ilunga and fight Mwekassa. If so, I'm not sure that I pick Mwekassa over Machado considering Mwekassa still shows weaknesses to kick-heavy fighters. 

So yeah, if it's Danyo Ilunga against Mwekassa, I pick Mwekassa to win it all. But Machado is absolutely the dark horse here.

Winner: Mwekassa.

Richard Abraham vs. Antoine Pinto

For a while this fight baffled me. Why would this be on the main card in what is essentially the co-main event position? Abraham has a series of impressive wins, but not against any top fighters with any really visible knockouts and Pinto is making his debut. Then it struck me; Abraham is a local guy and there is this phenomenon in the United States where the arenas get packed full of friends and family of the local fighters on the card. After their guy fights, they leave. So while you might see a packed arena during the SuperFight Series, by the time the main event rolls around it's a sea of empty seats. So yeah, put Richard Abraham near the top of the card and you'll retain a lot of that crowd. 

I still don't get that mindset and why you would attend a show and not care about seeing some of the best fighters from around the world -- even out of curiosity -- but whatever. 

Pinto's brother made his debut recently and showed that coming from muay thai you really do need to adjust to kickboxing rules if you aren't a kick-punch kind of fighter. Has Antoine learned this lesson? My bet is not really, or at least not in enough time to properly figure it out. Abraham feels like GLORY's next American star and that's pretty cool.

Winner: Abraham.

Benjamin Adegbuyi vs. Anderson "Braddock" Silva

Man, it's just tough to be a Braddock Silva fan sometimes. He's talented, skilled and destroys fighters outside of the top ten, but he takes on all-comers without fear and sometimes it just doesn't work out. Adegbuyi is a guy who has improved with every fight and I don't see that stopping any time soon. So power, technique and now cardio are all within his toolbelt heading into this fight. Is it just a tune-up fight? I guess so, but never count Braddock out.

Winner: Adegbuyi.

Murthel Groenhart vs. Thongchai

GLORY's Welterweight division has been tipped on its head with Nieky Holzken being dethroned by Cedric Doumbe, leaving the rest of the division in a state of flux. Who will be the next challenger and who will emerge as the next rising star? For Murthel Groenhart, who arguably held two wins over Holzken in everyone's eyes but the judges, this is a chance for a fresh start against a man who has only beaten him once prior. But his first draw is an incredibly tough opponent in Thongchai Sitsongpeenong.

Thongchai is a former Lumpinee Champion and current Rajadamnern 160lbs Champion, meaning that he's essentially one of the best in the world without question. His first foray into the GLORY ring was an impressive win over Casey Greene that showed that he didn't need to have a long adjustment period to the rules, he was just ready to go. Of all of the fights on this card, this is perhaps the most pick 'em. I think that Thongchai is incredibly skilled and tough, but this is Murthel's fight to lose. To Murthel this is a chance at redemption and to solidify his status as the uncrowned champion, for Thongchai it's just another fight.

Winner: Groenhart.

Catalin Morosanu vs. Maurice Greene

All due respect to Maurice Greene, but holy shit. Catalin Morosanu is an incredibly tough, incredibly exciting fighter who has proven himself time and time again as one of the best heavyweights in the world. In the latter half of 2016 Morosanu looked pretty rough and his signature cardio wasn't there, but he was suffering from a bad back injury that kept him out of the gym. Hopefully that is shored up.

The Romanian who credits Bob Sapp as his hero and inspiration has already proven himself to be a much, much better version of Bob Sapp. Shorter? Yes, but hits just as hard. Less muscular? Yes, but he's got incredible cardio and it means that he can throw bombs all night without slowing down. That has led to some incredibly exciting fights and it's very rarely that you'll walk away from a Morosanu fight without a surge of adrenaline running through your system. This is perhaps the most exciting GLORY signing at heavyweight in a long, long time.

Winner: Morosanu.

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Wilnis vs. Marcus III Headlines GLORY 40 Copenhagen

  • Published in Glory

Just ahead of GLORY 38 this coming week, GLORY has been on fire with announcing upcoming events. Looking to keep pace with itself, they have released the main event for GLORY 40 Copenhagen, which takes place on April 29th, which will be GLORY Middleweight Champion Jason Wilnis against former champion Simon Marcus. The two have built up a rivalry in GLORY over the Middleweight Championship and this rubber match is where they will hopefully settle the score once and for all.

Also featured on the card will be a Middleweight tournament featuring Alex Pereira against Burim Rama and Yousri Belgaroui vs. Agron Preteni. The SuperFight Series will feature a Light Heavyweight Title fight, the participants which will be decided at GLORY 38 this week thanks to a title fight and tournament. Josh Jauncey will return to the GLORY ring against Antonio Gomez and Freddy Kemayo will test his mettle against Imad Hadar.

GLORY 40 Copenhagen

Middleweight World Title Headline Bout: Jason Wilnis vs. Simon Marcus

Lightweight Co-Headline Bout: Niclas Larsen vs. TBA

Middleweight Tournament Final Bout: Winner of Bout A vs. Winner of Bout B

Middleweight Tournament Semifinal Bout B: Alex Pereira vs. Burim Rama

Middleweight Tournament Semifinal Bout A: Yousri Belgaroui vs. Agron Preteni

GLORY 40 SuperFight Series

Light Heavyweight World Title Headline Bout: TBD vs. TBA

Lightweight Bout: Mohammed El-Mir vs. TBA

Light Heavyweight Bout: Freddy Kemayo vs. Imad Hadar

Lightweight Bout: Josh Janucey vs. Antonio Gomez

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Updated Fight Card for GLORY 39 Brussels

  • Published in Glory

While GLORY 38 is only a week away, GLORY is still hard at work on March's GLORY 39 Brussels. While most of the card has been assembled prior, they've went ahead and updated it with the participants in the GLORY Featherweight Tournament featured on the card. The tournament features former champion Serhiy Adamchuk vs. Anvar Boynazarov and Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao vs. Alexei Ulyanov.

GLORY 39 Brussels

Weltwerweight World Title Headline Bout: Cédric Doumbé vs. Yoann Kongolo

Featherweight Tournament Final Bout: Winner of Bout A vs. Winner of Bout B

Heavyweight Co-Headline Bout: Jamal Ben Saddik vs. Guto Inocente

Featherweight Tournament Semifinal Bout B: Serhiy Adamchuk vs. Anvar Boynazarov

Featherweight Tournament Semifinal Bout A: Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao vs. Alexei Ulyanov

GLORY 39 SuperFight Series

Lightweight World Title Headline Bout: Sittichai vs. Dylan Salvador

Lightweight Co-Headline Bout: Marat Grigorian vs. Hysni Beqiri

Heavyweight Bout: Hesdy Gerges vs. Chi Lewis-Parry

Welterweight Bout: Karim Benmansour vs. Harut Grigorian

Lightweight Bout: Tyjani Beztati vs. TBA

Catchweight (150 lb / 68 kg) Bout: Junus Majandinov vs. TBA

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Full Card for Tomorrow's W5 KITEK Event Featuring Giorgio Petrosyan

  • Published in Kickboxing

This Saturday in Moscow one of the most-decorated champions of all-time, Giorgio Petrosyan, will head to Russia to leave his mark on the country. The bout will be contested at 71kg against Artem Pashporin for the W5 World Championship. Pashporin is the current world champion and interestingly enough, will be an underdog going into this fight, as just about everyone is against the legendary Petrosyan. But it should be an incredible bout considering Pashporin's recent accomplishments and Petrosyan's return to form since his return to the ring.

Also featured are two other world title fights, at 81kg and 61kg, featuring the 81kg World Champion Alexander Stetsurenko against Vladimir Idranyi and the 61kg World Champion Sergio Wielzen against Timur Nadrov. 

This, plus the host of super fights makes for an interesting card. The card will air on W5kick.tv at 5pm CET/9am Eastern.

Full fight card of the W5 Grand Prix Moscow “KITEK” 

W5 World title bout

71 kg, Artem Pashporin (Russia) Vs. Giorgio Petrosyan (Italy), 5 rounds, W5 World Championship belt

W5 World title bout

81 kg, Alexander Stetsurenko (Russia) Vs. Vladimir Idranyi (Slovakia), 5 rounds, W5 World Championship belt

W5 World title bout

61 kg, Sergio Wielzen (the Netherlands) Vs Timur Nadrov (Russia), 5 rounds, W5 World Championship belt

Superfights

95+ Turpal Tokarev (Russia) Vs. Coulibaly Abderhmane (France)

71 kg, Vladislav Tuinov (Russia) Vs. Ali Cakir (Turkey)

Stanislav Kazancev (Russia) Vs. Marko Adamovic (Serbia)

Rashid Salikhov (Russia) Vs. Max Spodarenko (the Republic of Belarus)

Rating fights

Ivan Semiglyadov (Russia) Vs. Ruslan Ataev (Russia)

Danil Gavrilov (Russia) Vs. Ilya Bikmaev (Russia)

Vadim Davydov (Russia) Vs. Nikita Surovezhkin (Russia)

 

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Yokkao Saenchai Seminars Across the US Continue This Month

  • Published in Muay Thai

The opportunity to train with legendary muay thai fighter Saenchai is not one that anyone should take lightly, which is why it's so exciting that Yokkao has been doing their month-long series of events with Saenchai in the United States. Heading to gyms all around the country alongside Yokkao's Stefania Picelli, Saenchai has been bringing his unique talents and experience to gyms and helping fighters both experienced and new to sharpen their muay thai techniques. 

In addition to these seminars going down, Yokkao has been streaming them on Facebook Live for the world to see.

The rest of the schedule is available on Yokkao's website, with the next date in Columbus, Ohio on the 15th.

In addition, we've learned that Yokkao's commitment to bringing their brand to the United States has only gotten bigger as they plan on opening up a Yokkao warehouse in Las Vegas for distribution of their products, which has caught on like wildfire in the past few years for both professional fighters and trainers alike. 

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KNOCK OUT vol.1 Delivers More KOs with Promotion's Second Show

  • Published in Kickboxing

In just their second event, Japanese promotion KNOCK OUT has delivered another exciting event featuring a host of big knock out finishes to the world. The show was headlined by Japanese legend Genji Umeno taking on Juan Mario Kaewsamrit, taking Juan Mario to the limit before walking away with the decision. The co-main saw Japanese rising star Tenshin Nasukawa defeat Amnat Ruenroeng via KO in the fourth round with a brutal array of body shots that put Amnat down and out. 

KNOCK OUT vol.1

Genji Umeno (R5 - Decision) Juan Mario Kaewsamrit

Tenshin Nasukawa (R4 - KO) Amnat Ruenroeng

Yuma Yamaguchi (R3 - TKO) Hikari Machida 

Tosuke Morii (R5 - Draw) Hirotoshi Murata

Kenta (R5 - TKO) Shinya Indo

Eisaku Ogasawara (R2 - TKO) Hiroya Haga

Fukashi (R3 - TKO) Hiroto Yamaguchi

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Demoreo Dennis is Ready to Unveil The New and Improved Demoreo in 2017

  • Published in Glory

Fulfilling the dream of being a top athlete is no easy task.  It’s not only physically demanding, but also calls for sacrifices in every aspect of your life.  It’s a challenge that few are actually willing to accept.  As armchair athletes, we all can talk at ease about what someone should or should not be doing; we can easily critique an athlete’s performance on their field of play.  When it comes down to visualizing a goal and putting that dream into action are you actually there or still on the sidelines?  The struggle is real, but Demoreo Dennis, no stranger to challenges is putting his foot down and has made up his mind to accept whatever challenges he faces and give it all to be the best. 

An Oklahoma native and the eldest of four children children, Demoreo was inspired to give martial arts a try on a whim to simply lose weight and remain active after leaving college.  Before that time, he and his brother Myron, who is now also a professional kickboxer and MMA fighter, had played football in college and in that arena the name of the game was to be big and athletic. Once football was over Demoreo found himself weighing 460 pounds and just being a self-described fat ass instead of an athlete.  It was at that time he and Myron stepped into Kentrick Coleman's Academy of Martial Arts.  The initial workouts, according to Demoreo were grueling but having never had anything in his life defeat him, his will to preserve inspired him to go further.

Today with a kickboxing record of 12-7 and an MMA record of 6-3, Demoreo has found a home with Glory Sports International and has marked 2017 as the time when he will show the world that all his hard work and effort has not been in vain. 

His road in Glory has been no easy trek; currently he has no wins in this organization. In his Glory debut he faced the Englishman, Chi Lewis Parry at Glory 21 in San Diego, this bout ended with a KO loss.  Next, in early 2016, Dennis faced Glory newcomer, Guto Inocente at Glory 27 in Chicago. In a bout that stunned fans and critics alike Dennis suffered a devastating  KO via spinning kick early in round one.  In reflecting on that fight, Dennis stated that he could not have anticipated the spinning body kick and admits that Inocente’s style is quite different than his usual opponents.  Instead of getting tired, however, Dennis became inspired. The most significant inspiration being derived from his decision to travel to Holland and spend a few weeks at Mike’s Gym learning some new skills. The time spent under the tutelage of Mike Passenier gave him a renewed hunger for the sport, some new skills and a reshaping of his strategy.   Passenier who has trained some of kickboxing’s superstars including Murthel Groenhart, Melvin Manhoef and Badr Hari, introduced him to techniques which Dennis feels have improved his speed, balance strength and intelligence which has in turn, taken his game to a new height.  Dennis speaks fondly of his time in Holland stating that since that time he’s grown tremendously and he’s chomping at the bit to showcase the skills he’s been honing.

Like the mythological phoenix rising from the ashes, Dennis is now even more determined to ascend the world heavyweight kickboxing ranks.  According to his new philosophy, there is no such thing as ring rust or a day off; 150% effort must be given at all times in the gym.  He is not willing to waste any of his training days. 

On what he loves about combat sports in general, Dennis stated, that he started in the game to be a mma athlete, a sport which he still loves and practices regularly.  Kickboxing however is where his head and heart lies.

While he has no immediate fight plans Demoreo states that he will continue to train hard until he gets another shot in the ring.  Does he have any opponents in mind? Dennis states that his toughest opponent has always been himself, so taking on his own tendency to over-analyze and becoming more at ease in the ring is his first challenge.  After that? He’s ready for anyone.

While 2017 is just beginning, it will be interesting to see exactly what tricks Demoreo Dennis has up his sleeve.  In the meantime you can follow his progress on social media @SuperDemoreo on Twitter or on Facebook on his page of the same name. 

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LiverKick Podcast Feb. 21 2017 - GLORY 38, Enfusion 46 and W5 KITEK

  • Published in LK Podcast

Don't tell me that we weren't gonna do this again, because it's the third episode of this iteration of the LiverKick podcast.

This time out Jay and myself get to talking about the latest in the kickboxing world, including Enfusion Live 46 featuring Jaraya vs. Ben Moh II, Bulaid vs. Zouggary and more. We also talk about W5's KITEK show, which included Giorgio Petrosyan taking home another world title and where he goes from there. Then, to cap it off, we look at this week's upcoming GLORY 38 event and how GLORY is announcing cards way in advance. 


Download | Listen on Stitcher | Subscribe on iTunes

 

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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

Results From K-1 Japan Lightweight World Grand Prix

  • Published in K-1

K-1 Japan has done it again. By that I mean ran another successful event that has the kickboxing world talking. They've been on a bit of a hot streak of late and look to continue that heading into their big 2018 event at the Saitama Super Arena. This event featured a Lightweight tournament at 62.5kg featuring some of the best talents from around the world. On top of that it saw HINATA return to the K-1 ring and the 60kg title on the line between Hirotaka Urabe and Taiga.

Hirotaka Urabe lost his championship to Taiga in a three round war on a night that Koya Urabe, arguably one of the favorites in the tournament, was defeated by Gonnapar Weerasakrek. The tournament had its own twists and turns with Ren Hiramoto living up to his billing from a few years ago as a top prospect with a win over Brice Delval, a knockout over Gonnapar and making it all the way to the finals against Wei Rui before dropping a close split decision to crown Wei Rei as the winner of the tournament. 

K-1 Japan Lightweight Tournament

K-1 Japan 60kg Championship: Taiga (R3 - Decision) Urabe Hirotaka (C)

Hinata (R3 - Decision) Matsukura Shintaro 

Noiri Masaaki (R3 - Decision) Younes Smaili 

Ibrahim El Bouni (R2 - KO) Uehara Makoto 

Lightweight Tournament (62.5kg)

Tournament Final: Wei Rui (R3 - Split Decision) Hiramoto Ren 

Tournament Semi-Final: Wei Rui (R3 - Decision) Cristian Spetcu 

Tournament Semi-Final: Hiramoto Ren (R1 - KO) Gonnapar Weerasakrek 

Tournament Quarterfinal: Cristian Spetcu (R3 - Decision) Taniyama Toshiki 

Tournament Quarterfinal: Wei Rui (R2 - TKO) Sasaki Daizo 

Tournament Quarterfinal: Gonnapar Weerasakrek (R3 - Decision) Urabe Koya 

Tournament Quarterfinal: Hiramoto Ren (R3 - Majority Decision) Brice Delval 

Tournament Reserve: Rukiya (R2- KO) Mizumachi Hiroshi 

 

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K-1 Japan Announces K-1's Return to Saitama Super Arena in 2018

  • Published in K-1

To say that kickboxing in Japan suffered a severe blow when FEG's K-1 went bankrupt would be an understatement. While the sport was already struggling in Japan from rounds of bad press, the dissolution of K-1 was effectively the end of kickboxing as we all came to know and love it. 

Since 2014 K-1 Japan -- under agreement with K-1 Global -- has been putting on some of the best kickboxing shows on the planet, highlighting lighter weight classes with fighters primarily from Japan, but also talent from all over the world. In those years they've made the best out of a bad situation and have been able to book stars like the Urabe brothers, HIROYA and Masaaki Noiri while building up new stars like TAKERU, Minoru Kimura and Kaew. At a press conference today in Saitama, K-1 gathered 56 of K-1's best fighters for an announcement that on March 21st, 2018 K-1 will return to the Saitama Super Arena.

The event, which will be held in the arena where many historic K-1 events took place, will be a triumphant return home for the sport of kickboxing and the K-1 brand in Japan. They believe that they will set the building up for 18,000 fans, although it should be noted that Saitama Super Arena can be configured to hold well over 20,000 fans. The organization wants the March 2018 event to serve as their big, yearly event much like the prior K-1 World Grand Prix for heavyweights in December or the K-1 World MAX tournaments became mainstays in both July and October. They will hold smaller events in Saitama Super Arena as well, but the March event will be the big one.

It's clearly too far away to predict who will be fighting, especially with K-1 Japan holding a ton of events this year, but it's safe to assume that they'll be putting their best foot forward on March 21st, 2018. In addition, K-1 Japan, KRUSH and Khaos will all be merged under the name "K-1 Japan Group" while keeping their individual show names moving forward, but talent-sharing will be across the board.

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Early Fight Card For K-1 Japan Super Bantamweight World Grand Prix

  • Published in K-1

K-1 Japan returns on April 22nd with the K-1 Japan Bantamweight World Grand Prix. The tournament brackets are set for the 55kg tournament, featuring recognizable names as well as a host of very interesting super fights. Takeru takes on Victor Saravia, Hiroya takes on Tetsuya Yamato and the main event is a Super Lightweight title fight between Kaew and Hideaki Yamazaki.

Credit to Rictor from Kakutougi.

55kg World Grand Prix Tournament

QuarterFinal #1

Ishida Keisuke VS Charles Bongiovanni

QuarterFinal #2

Takei Yoshiki VS Antonio Orden

QuarterFinal #3

Terado Nobuchika VS Jamie Whelan

QuarterFinal #4

Kubo Kenji VS Leung Pakyu

Tournament Reserve Fight

Izawa Namito VS Suzuki Yuya

SuperFights

Takeru VS Victor Saravia

Hiroya VS Yamato Tetsuya

Super Lightweight Title Fight

Kaew Weerasakreck VS Yamazaki Hideaki

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

  • Published in K-1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Haris Brko (R3 - Dec) Rafal Gorka 

Giannis Skordilis (R3 - Dec) Maycon Coller 

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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

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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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GLORY 38 Live Results and Discussion

  • Published in Glory

GLORY 38 goes down tonight! Live from Chicago, Illinois featuring a night of light heavyweight action and much more. We'll be bringing you live results and updates from the event as they happen. The one bit of news is that Zack Mwekassa has been pulled from the card for an undisclosed medical reason, with Brian Collette serving as his replacement against Zinedine Hameur-Lain.

The GLORY 38 SuperFight Series starts at 8pm Eastern time on UFC Fight Pass, GLORY 38 live at 10:30pm Eastern time on ESPN3.

GLORY 38 Chicago

Light Heavyweight World Title Headline Bout: Artem Vakhitov (Rd2 - TKO) Saulo Cavalari - Rd1: Great first round with both guys throwing hand combinations and low kicks while the other covers up and doesn't allow punches through. Vakhitov lands 1 good overhand right in the middle of a Cavalari combo near the end of the round. Rd2: Vakhitov drops Cavalari with an amazing combination of a right high kick followed by a left hook, right hook combo. Cavalari beats the count but gets clipped with another right hand and goes down again. Once again Cavalari gets up on 8 but Vakhitov corners him and lands punch after punch until the ref had seen enough.

Light Heavyweight Tournament Final Bout: Ariel Machado (Rd1 - KO) Zinedine Hameur-Lain - Rd1: Machado throwing heavy punches early while Zinedine looks lethargic and not throwing much. Zinedine lands a few nice grazing right high kicks but Machado takes them well and lands a good straight right, Zinedine turns his back and gets hit with a body shot then falls to his knees, the ref starts counting and Zinedine gets up too late.

Welterweight Co-Headline Bout: Antoine Pinto (Rd3 - Split Decision) Richard Abraham - Rd1: Pinto's kicks vs Abrahams punches is going to be the story of this fight, Pinto was controlling distance well with this kicks and didn't get hit by many punches. Rd2: Abraham has found a way to land his punches to the body once he gets inside but overall a slow paced round with Pinto keeping Abraham at bay with kicks. Rd3: Pinto comes out bouncing and moving a little more and throwing jabs but quickly reverts back to throwing body and high kicks. Late in the round Abraham finds a home for his right low kick and pushes Pinto off balance but the ref sees its a slip.

Light Heavyweight Tournament Semifinal Bout B: Ariel Machado (Rd3 - Decision) Danyo Ilunga - Rd1: Looks like its going to be another Ilunga war, Machado gets a cut on the top of his head from a headbutt but Ilunga getting caught with small punches when he throws his wide hooks. Rd2: Ilunga trying to box too much and not using his kicks and knees which he used to be so successful with. Machado catching Ilunga with shots and Ilunga too wild. Rd3: Bit of a controversial knockdown call by the ref giving the round to Machado, Ilunga landed a few punches at the end of the round but its too little too late.

Light Heavyweight Tournament Semifinal Bout A: Zinedine Hameur-Lain (Rd2 - KO) Brian Collette - Rd1: Zinedine proving to be a bit too much for Collette in the first. Nothing Colette did was effective and Zinedine dropped him with a good combo finished by a liver kick. Rd2: Zinedine show boating a little this round and eating a few right hands for it, then he lands an overhand right of his own and causes a video game like KO where Collette spun around and his chin bounced off the canvas.

GLORY 38 SuperFight Series

Heavyweight Headline Bout: Benjamin Adegbuyi (ExRd - Decision) Anderson Silva - Rd1: Slow round with both guys feeling each other out and picking their shots. Silva landed a good left hook which was probably the best punch of the round. Rd2: Another slow round but Silva landed a great left high kick and wobbled Benny and was also slipping and countering with his left hook nicely. Rd3: Benny starts working his combos and low kicks and Silva is blocking no low kicks at all, eventually Benny kicks out both of Silvas legs with one kick and the ref gives Silva an 8 count. Both guys swing a few punches at the end and Benny gets the worst of it and is wobbled with a left hook. ExRD: Benny lands a good right uppercut, left hook combo and drops Silva. Silva gets up and walks forward for the rest of the but cant land much of importance to get that point back.

Heavyweight Co-Headline Bout: Catalin Morosanu (Rd2 - KO) Maurice Greene  - Rd1: Greene misses a big high kick early and that allows Morosanu to get in and throw some bombs but nothing cleans lands. Greene landing some good counters through the round while Moroasnu swings at air. Rd2: Morosanu comes out swinging again and lands a left hook on Greenes chin and thats a wrap Greene goes down and the ref waves it off.

Welterweight Bout: Murthel Groenhart (R3 - KO) Thongchai Sitsongpeenong - Rd1: Thongchai starts off with some hard right low kicks until 1 is blocked and it looks to hurt his chin. Thonchai clinching quite a bit and lands a low knee. Once Groenhart gets up he lands some hard punches and wobbles Thongchai with multiple punches who gets saved by the bell. Rd2: Thongchai lands another knee to the groin early and the ref deducts a point but not much lands for the rest of the round for either fighter. Rd3: Murthel finds a home for his right uppercut, then follows up with a triple left hook to drop Thonhchai. He gets up on 8 and Murthel lands the uppercut and more left hooks, down goes Thongchai who doesn't beat the count this time.

Welterweight Bout: Daniel Morales (R3 - Decision) Pawel Jedrzejczyk - Pawel was completely cutting the ring off throughout most of the first round. Morales was throwing some decent punches, but mostly on the defensive early on. But Morales found a home for his uppercuts and began to find his range in the second half. Second round saw Pawel look to control the ring again, but Morales has found his range and looks a lot more comfortable. He's starting to mix in more kicks and his hands were landing with a bit more ease. The third round saw Pawel come to life a bit more, landing a lot more punches. 

Lightweight Bout: Niclas Larsen (R3 - Decision) Lukasz Plawecki - First round was an interesting one, Larsen dictating the pace and location of the fight. Plawecki looks a bit slow in comparison. Rounds two and three were pretty similar.

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LiverKick Blow-by-Blow: GLORY 38 Edition

  • Published in Glory

On Friday night, February 24th live from Chicago, Illinois, GLORY returns to the ring with GLORY 38. The event is set to make some further sense out of the ultra-competitive light heavyweight division by showcasing a GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship bout and also deciding a new contender in a tournament, with the winners of each going on to fight for the title at GLORY 40. 

GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship: Artem Vakhitov (Champion) vs. Saulo Cavalari (Challenger)

This is a rubber match between two of the divisions top fighters for one of the most important and prestigious of GLORY's titles. So no, that magical Gokhan Saki return didn't happen, but the division has proven itself to be one of the promotion's strongest even in his stead with fighters like Mwekassa, Cavalari and Vakhitov stepping up and proving themselves to be worthy. Each man holds a win over the other, but perhaps their last meeting where Vakhitov was able to wrestle the title free of Cavalari's grasp told us the most about what to expect from their third clash. 

While Cavalari has proven himself to be a scary presence in the division with heavy hands and the technique to go along with it, Vakhitov feels like he's moving on to a different level. Where Cavalari is more likely to brawl and grow sloppy, Vakhitov reins it in and tightens his game up. Cavalari walked away with a split decision in their first meeting and in their second Vakhitov had made sure to change his game plan up enough to where he could pick up a decisive win. So yeah, Cavalari is a knockout artist, but Vakhitov has the defenses to weather the storm and the offense that is able to nullify Cavalari's offense and keep him off balance enough for Vakhitov to impose his will. I think we actually see a more decisive Vakhitov win this time out, especially considering how he absolutely destroyed Mwekassa in his first title defense.

Winner: Vakhitov.

GLORY Light Heavyweight Tournament: Zack Mwekassa vs. Zinedine Hameur-Lain, Danyo Ilunga vs. Ariel Machado

The winner of the main event will fight the winner of this tournament at GLORY 40, giving us a really good feel for the division and where it's headed. That being said, all four men are entering the tournament with at least one loss, which is a bit confusing when crowning a contender for a title. For example, Danyo Ilunga just lost to Michael Duut. Where's Michael Duut? Zinedine Hameur-Lain lost to Pavel Zhuravlev, where's Pavel? In Machado his loss was to a fighter in another weight class, so it feels weird but excusable, and for Mwekassa he lost his last title fight, which once again, feels excusable. 

Still, I'd be remiss if I wouldn't prefer this as Pavel Zhuravlev vs. Ariel Machado II and Mwekassa vs. Michael Duut. But I'm sure there are contractual situations, injuries and the usual chaff to worry about, so we've got what we've got and outside of those losses, there isn't a lot to complain about. While I initially see Danyo Ilunga vs. Zack Mwekassa in the finals, I'm not entirely sure that Ariel Machado doesn't beat Ilunga and fight Mwekassa. If so, I'm not sure that I pick Mwekassa over Machado considering Mwekassa still shows weaknesses to kick-heavy fighters. 

So yeah, if it's Danyo Ilunga against Mwekassa, I pick Mwekassa to win it all. But Machado is absolutely the dark horse here.

Winner: Mwekassa.

Richard Abraham vs. Antoine Pinto

For a while this fight baffled me. Why would this be on the main card in what is essentially the co-main event position? Abraham has a series of impressive wins, but not against any top fighters with any really visible knockouts and Pinto is making his debut. Then it struck me; Abraham is a local guy and there is this phenomenon in the United States where the arenas get packed full of friends and family of the local fighters on the card. After their guy fights, they leave. So while you might see a packed arena during the SuperFight Series, by the time the main event rolls around it's a sea of empty seats. So yeah, put Richard Abraham near the top of the card and you'll retain a lot of that crowd. 

I still don't get that mindset and why you would attend a show and not care about seeing some of the best fighters from around the world -- even out of curiosity -- but whatever. 

Pinto's brother made his debut recently and showed that coming from muay thai you really do need to adjust to kickboxing rules if you aren't a kick-punch kind of fighter. Has Antoine learned this lesson? My bet is not really, or at least not in enough time to properly figure it out. Abraham feels like GLORY's next American star and that's pretty cool.

Winner: Abraham.

Benjamin Adegbuyi vs. Anderson "Braddock" Silva

Man, it's just tough to be a Braddock Silva fan sometimes. He's talented, skilled and destroys fighters outside of the top ten, but he takes on all-comers without fear and sometimes it just doesn't work out. Adegbuyi is a guy who has improved with every fight and I don't see that stopping any time soon. So power, technique and now cardio are all within his toolbelt heading into this fight. Is it just a tune-up fight? I guess so, but never count Braddock out.

Winner: Adegbuyi.

Murthel Groenhart vs. Thongchai

GLORY's Welterweight division has been tipped on its head with Nieky Holzken being dethroned by Cedric Doumbe, leaving the rest of the division in a state of flux. Who will be the next challenger and who will emerge as the next rising star? For Murthel Groenhart, who arguably held two wins over Holzken in everyone's eyes but the judges, this is a chance for a fresh start against a man who has only beaten him once prior. But his first draw is an incredibly tough opponent in Thongchai Sitsongpeenong.

Thongchai is a former Lumpinee Champion and current Rajadamnern 160lbs Champion, meaning that he's essentially one of the best in the world without question. His first foray into the GLORY ring was an impressive win over Casey Greene that showed that he didn't need to have a long adjustment period to the rules, he was just ready to go. Of all of the fights on this card, this is perhaps the most pick 'em. I think that Thongchai is incredibly skilled and tough, but this is Murthel's fight to lose. To Murthel this is a chance at redemption and to solidify his status as the uncrowned champion, for Thongchai it's just another fight.

Winner: Groenhart.

Catalin Morosanu vs. Maurice Greene

All due respect to Maurice Greene, but holy shit. Catalin Morosanu is an incredibly tough, incredibly exciting fighter who has proven himself time and time again as one of the best heavyweights in the world. In the latter half of 2016 Morosanu looked pretty rough and his signature cardio wasn't there, but he was suffering from a bad back injury that kept him out of the gym. Hopefully that is shored up.

The Romanian who credits Bob Sapp as his hero and inspiration has already proven himself to be a much, much better version of Bob Sapp. Shorter? Yes, but hits just as hard. Less muscular? Yes, but he's got incredible cardio and it means that he can throw bombs all night without slowing down. That has led to some incredibly exciting fights and it's very rarely that you'll walk away from a Morosanu fight without a surge of adrenaline running through your system. This is perhaps the most exciting GLORY signing at heavyweight in a long, long time.

Winner: Morosanu.

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Wilnis vs. Marcus III Headlines GLORY 40 Copenhagen

  • Published in Glory

Just ahead of GLORY 38 this coming week, GLORY has been on fire with announcing upcoming events. Looking to keep pace with itself, they have released the main event for GLORY 40 Copenhagen, which takes place on April 29th, which will be GLORY Middleweight Champion Jason Wilnis against former champion Simon Marcus. The two have built up a rivalry in GLORY over the Middleweight Championship and this rubber match is where they will hopefully settle the score once and for all.

Also featured on the card will be a Middleweight tournament featuring Alex Pereira against Burim Rama and Yousri Belgaroui vs. Agron Preteni. The SuperFight Series will feature a Light Heavyweight Title fight, the participants which will be decided at GLORY 38 this week thanks to a title fight and tournament. Josh Jauncey will return to the GLORY ring against Antonio Gomez and Freddy Kemayo will test his mettle against Imad Hadar.

GLORY 40 Copenhagen

Middleweight World Title Headline Bout: Jason Wilnis vs. Simon Marcus

Lightweight Co-Headline Bout: Niclas Larsen vs. TBA

Middleweight Tournament Final Bout: Winner of Bout A vs. Winner of Bout B

Middleweight Tournament Semifinal Bout B: Alex Pereira vs. Burim Rama

Middleweight Tournament Semifinal Bout A: Yousri Belgaroui vs. Agron Preteni

GLORY 40 SuperFight Series

Light Heavyweight World Title Headline Bout: TBD vs. TBA

Lightweight Bout: Mohammed El-Mir vs. TBA

Light Heavyweight Bout: Freddy Kemayo vs. Imad Hadar

Lightweight Bout: Josh Janucey vs. Antonio Gomez

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Updated Fight Card for GLORY 39 Brussels

  • Published in Glory

While GLORY 38 is only a week away, GLORY is still hard at work on March's GLORY 39 Brussels. While most of the card has been assembled prior, they've went ahead and updated it with the participants in the GLORY Featherweight Tournament featured on the card. The tournament features former champion Serhiy Adamchuk vs. Anvar Boynazarov and Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao vs. Alexei Ulyanov.

GLORY 39 Brussels

Weltwerweight World Title Headline Bout: Cédric Doumbé vs. Yoann Kongolo

Featherweight Tournament Final Bout: Winner of Bout A vs. Winner of Bout B

Heavyweight Co-Headline Bout: Jamal Ben Saddik vs. Guto Inocente

Featherweight Tournament Semifinal Bout B: Serhiy Adamchuk vs. Anvar Boynazarov

Featherweight Tournament Semifinal Bout A: Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao vs. Alexei Ulyanov

GLORY 39 SuperFight Series

Lightweight World Title Headline Bout: Sittichai vs. Dylan Salvador

Lightweight Co-Headline Bout: Marat Grigorian vs. Hysni Beqiri

Heavyweight Bout: Hesdy Gerges vs. Chi Lewis-Parry

Welterweight Bout: Karim Benmansour vs. Harut Grigorian

Lightweight Bout: Tyjani Beztati vs. TBA

Catchweight (150 lb / 68 kg) Bout: Junus Majandinov vs. TBA

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Demoreo Dennis is Ready to Unveil The New and Improved Demoreo in 2017

  • Published in Glory

Fulfilling the dream of being a top athlete is no easy task.  It’s not only physically demanding, but also calls for sacrifices in every aspect of your life.  It’s a challenge that few are actually willing to accept.  As armchair athletes, we all can talk at ease about what someone should or should not be doing; we can easily critique an athlete’s performance on their field of play.  When it comes down to visualizing a goal and putting that dream into action are you actually there or still on the sidelines?  The struggle is real, but Demoreo Dennis, no stranger to challenges is putting his foot down and has made up his mind to accept whatever challenges he faces and give it all to be the best. 

An Oklahoma native and the eldest of four children children, Demoreo was inspired to give martial arts a try on a whim to simply lose weight and remain active after leaving college.  Before that time, he and his brother Myron, who is now also a professional kickboxer and MMA fighter, had played football in college and in that arena the name of the game was to be big and athletic. Once football was over Demoreo found himself weighing 460 pounds and just being a self-described fat ass instead of an athlete.  It was at that time he and Myron stepped into Kentrick Coleman's Academy of Martial Arts.  The initial workouts, according to Demoreo were grueling but having never had anything in his life defeat him, his will to preserve inspired him to go further.

Today with a kickboxing record of 12-7 and an MMA record of 6-3, Demoreo has found a home with Glory Sports International and has marked 2017 as the time when he will show the world that all his hard work and effort has not been in vain. 

His road in Glory has been no easy trek; currently he has no wins in this organization. In his Glory debut he faced the Englishman, Chi Lewis Parry at Glory 21 in San Diego, this bout ended with a KO loss.  Next, in early 2016, Dennis faced Glory newcomer, Guto Inocente at Glory 27 in Chicago. In a bout that stunned fans and critics alike Dennis suffered a devastating  KO via spinning kick early in round one.  In reflecting on that fight, Dennis stated that he could not have anticipated the spinning body kick and admits that Inocente’s style is quite different than his usual opponents.  Instead of getting tired, however, Dennis became inspired. The most significant inspiration being derived from his decision to travel to Holland and spend a few weeks at Mike’s Gym learning some new skills. The time spent under the tutelage of Mike Passenier gave him a renewed hunger for the sport, some new skills and a reshaping of his strategy.   Passenier who has trained some of kickboxing’s superstars including Murthel Groenhart, Melvin Manhoef and Badr Hari, introduced him to techniques which Dennis feels have improved his speed, balance strength and intelligence which has in turn, taken his game to a new height.  Dennis speaks fondly of his time in Holland stating that since that time he’s grown tremendously and he’s chomping at the bit to showcase the skills he’s been honing.

Like the mythological phoenix rising from the ashes, Dennis is now even more determined to ascend the world heavyweight kickboxing ranks.  According to his new philosophy, there is no such thing as ring rust or a day off; 150% effort must be given at all times in the gym.  He is not willing to waste any of his training days. 

On what he loves about combat sports in general, Dennis stated, that he started in the game to be a mma athlete, a sport which he still loves and practices regularly.  Kickboxing however is where his head and heart lies.

While he has no immediate fight plans Demoreo states that he will continue to train hard until he gets another shot in the ring.  Does he have any opponents in mind? Dennis states that his toughest opponent has always been himself, so taking on his own tendency to over-analyze and becoming more at ease in the ring is his first challenge.  After that? He’s ready for anyone.

While 2017 is just beginning, it will be interesting to see exactly what tricks Demoreo Dennis has up his sleeve.  In the meantime you can follow his progress on social media @SuperDemoreo on Twitter or on Facebook on his page of the same name. 

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Badr Hari To Return to Dutch Jail For Assault Charges

  • Published in Glory

After Badr Hari's previous two-year sentence was partially suspended, Dutch Supreme Courts decided today that Badr Hari would need to return to jail to serve the remainder of his sentence. This comes as a blow to anyone hoping for a rematch between Badr Hari and Rico Verhoeven and also explains why the public talk shifted from that to Rico Verhoeven to Remy Bonjasky in recent weeks.

Badr Hari will now be forced to serve the remaining six months of his time in jail in a Dutch prison after his failed appeal. This should be the end of the long, sad tale of Koen Everink after the middle-aged business-man was assaulted at a Dutch dance party at the Amsterdam ArenA all the way back in 2012. Hari plead that he had only hit Everink once, but the evidence pointed towards a more sustained assault, including a plate in his skull and needing surgery on his ankle to hold him together. Everink was found murdered in March of last year in what looks to be an unrelated assault. 

With Everink deceased and Badr serving the remainder of his sentence this should all be behind us, for now. Of course, if Badr reports to prison. [source]

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GLORY Announces GLORY 39 Featuring Doumbe vs. Kongolo 3 and More

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With GLORY 38 rapidly approaching GLORY has announced GLORY 39 Brussels, which takes place on March 25th featuring a headliner between GLORY Welterweight Champion Cedric Doumbe and career-adversary Yoann Kongolo. These two have a lot of history between the two of them, with Kongolo one of the few men to beat Doumbe, never mind twice. Kongolo earned his shot with a recent tournament victory, placing these two on a collision course.

Also featured will be a Featherweight tournament, entrants to be determined. The winner gets a shot at the champion, but if Robin was stripped it's unclear who that will be. Also on the card is Jahfarr Wilnis against Jamal Ben Saddik. One would have to think that someone is in line for a shot at Rico at some point and that somewhere along the line the division will sort itself out, but perhaps not yet. Jamal Ben Saddik beat contender Ismael Londt and Wilnis just lost in a tournament to Mladen Brestovac before Brestovac lost to Adegbuyi.

The SuperFight Series delivers, as always, with Sitthichai looking to defend his Lightweight Championship title against Dylan Salvador. What makes this more interesting? Dylan Salvador has a win over Sitthichai. Marat Grigorian fights Hysni Beqiri, Hesdy Gerges against Chi Lewis-Parry and Karim Benmansour fights Harut Grigorian to round out the card. 

GLORY 39 Brussels

Weltwerweight World Title Headline Bout: Cédric Doumbé vs. Yoann Kongolo

Featherweight Tournament Final Bout: Winner of Bout A vs. Winner of Bout B

Heavyweight Co-Headline Bout: Jahfarr Wilnis vs. Jamal Ben Saddik

Featherweight Tournament Semifinal Bout B: TBA vs. TBA

Featherweight Tournament Semifinal Bout A: TBA vs. TBA

GLORY 39 SuperFight Series

Lightweight World Title Headline Bout: Sittichai vs. Dylan Salvador

Lightweight Co-Headline Bout: Marat Grigorian vs. Hysni Beqiri

Heavyweight Bout: Hesdy Gerges vs. Chi Lewis-Parry

Welterweight Bout: Karim Benmansour vs. Harut Grigorian

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Rico Verhoeven and Remy Bonjasky Agree to Fight

  • Published in Glory

If you thought that it sounded crazy that Rico Verhoeven and Remy Bonjasky would fight in 2017, you weren't the only one. As it turns out, it is perhaps closer to reality than we all thought. After the impossible happened last year and Rico Verhoeven stood toe-to-toe with Badr Hari in a GLORY ring, it looks like Remy Bonjasky will once again fight against the best in the world. 

Bonjasky, a three-time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, will look to make his return after his retirement bout in 2014 with Mirko Cro Cop. Bonjasky had retired once prior after a recurring eye injury sidelined him in late 2009, only to return in 2013 with mixed results. Bonjasky challenged the winner of Rico/Badr and now it looks like he has his sights set on fighting Verhoeven. The video below if from Fight Stadium, as is the text below.

There has been no official confirmation from GLORY on the bout just yet.

Short translation:

Rico challenged Remy after Rico beat Badr in December. Remy said in december he would fight the winner of this fight (he expected Badr to win).

Remy told the Dutch tv-host Humberto Tan that he accepted Rico's challenge and that he needs 6 months to prepare himself. Despite his age (41) he is convinced he will beat Rico because he is still healthy. Remy also referred to George Foreman who was a boxing world champion at the age of 55.

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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

  • Published in Interviews

(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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