Yesterday there was some troubling news about one of the most beloved stars in kickboxing and muay thai when a video surfaced, originally posted on his Instagram account, that showed him "playing" with a dog. The video depicted Banchamek on top of the dog, taking its paw and slapping it in the face before using more force, with the dog increasingly crying out in what was a bit of a disturbing video. Buakaw and his team have today issued a statement in regards to the video.
To anyone who watched this video, I want to apologize if you were offended in anyway. The dog you saw in this video is name Milo. When he and his brothers were little, people tried to poison them to get rid of them. We at. the gym adopted Milo and his brother cafe, and gave them a home and love. I was playing with the dog and it was misinterpreted, I did not mean to hurt the dog. The video was deleted and someone hacked the video. We ask. you to please not share or comment any bad opinions of this misunderstanding. Know that Milo has a great family with us and is well taken care of! Sorry again. Buakaw Banchamek the fans and the people involved.
Definitely more along the lines of what we expect from Buakaw. Hopefully there was some sort of lesson learned here as well.
The news about Badr's possible assault case continues to roll in while we do our best to filter through all of it and pass along what appears to be pertinent. The latest comes from acclaimed Dutch crime reporter John van den Heuvel who claims that Badr was indeed present at the scene, and he actually may have kicked Everink while he was down before fleeing the scene. By fleeing the scene, he left not through the doorway of the VIP Box, but instead through the bleachers underneath the box. Those at the scene say they saw a towel covering his hand, possibly with blood on it.
Peter Steenbakkers, the man who rented the VIP Box, claims that he saw nothing and that it was a great shame that it happened in his VIP Box. We've heard from reliable sources that Steenbakkers is a very close friend of Hari's and actually drives his expensive sports cars around town.
The K-1 World MAX Finals are live now, with K-1 airing four of the fights live right now. You can watch it right here on LiverKick. I am with headache, so be gentle. We'll be keeping you updated both here and on Twitter so stay tuned.
K-1 World MAX Final: Enriko Kehl (R4 - Forfeit) Buakaw Banchamek - This fight was close. Kehl was landing the clean shots while Buakaw was using his clinch to throw Kehl around. While that is all well and good, that doesn't score you points in K-1 rules. Buakaw should know that. When it was announced as a draw going into an extra round Buakaw literally walked out. Not kidding, he walked out. Probably some of the least professional behavior that we've seen in a long time, especially on this level. Enriko Kehl wins via forfeit. Wow.
Paul “Semtex” Daley (R3 - Dec.) Mohammad Ghaedibardeh - Ghaedibardeh is a tough, tough guy who took a ton of damage. His reach was pretty crazy and he was using his kicks to keep Daley pushed back. If you could give Ghaedibardeh round one, rounds two and three were all Daley, with Daley dropping him twice in R2 and once in R3. I mean, there was no question that Daley won, but you gotta give Ghaedibardeh credit for staying in the fight.
Maximo Suarez (R2 - TKO) Tural Bayramov - This fight started off strong with both guys looking for the knockout early on. Suarez dropped Tural early on in R1 and it looked like Tural injured his arm at some point. Tural came back for R2 but was unable to continue, giving Maximo the victory.
Andre “Dida” Amade (R3 - Dec.) Li Yankun - This served as Andre Dida's return to professional competition after a few years away from the ring. Needless to say he looked good, but there was some ring rust. Yankun is an up-and-coming Chinese fighter who showed a few flashes of brilliance, but ultimately fell short to Dida.
There is a shroud of mystery surrounding Buakaw Banchamek's actions at the K-1 World MAX Finals event from Saturday night. In the lead-up to the event Buakaw was in the press where he made multiple statements in regards to K-1 that all amounted to claims that he never substantiated. So it wasn't a surprise that something went down on Saturday, but no one expected Buakaw to just walk out before the decision was ever read, that's for sure.
Yesterday K-1 held a press conference and issued a statement where they refuted Buakaw's claims against them and implied if Buakaw continued to talk in the press about the organization that they'd pursue legal action. Today in Bangkok Buakaw held his own press conference, which began with Superpro Samui's Robbie Timmers as a character witness. While it's not clear to us what he said, our best guess was that it was about Murthel Groenhart's prize money fiasco due to Timmers and his links with Black Label fighter management, which is now linked with GLORY.
Buakaw really did not say much that we didn't already hear in the past few days. His claims were that he knew that the fight was fixed and left in protest, that he did not understand the K-1 rules due to a poor translation that was provided to him and that he was concerned with possible illegal gambling operations. What I've been explaining to people over the last few days that in cases like this the onus is on the accuser to present strong evidence and possibly even proof to validate the claims. This press conference was supposed to be the day that things were clarified and instead it was the same vague claims without a scrap of evidence or proof.
The court of public opinion has already spoken and firmly sided with Mr. Banchamek, regardless of this.
Today’s announcement from It’s Showtime about K-1 contracting some of their top fighters confirms months upon months of rumors and discussion about what would happen with K-1. There has been a behind-the-scenes war of sorts between two factions; Golden Glory and It’s Showtime. Without a doubt both factions are where the power lies within the Kickboxing world right now, with top names working on both sides and there being some crossover when at all possible.
A good example of crossover would be Robin van Roosmalen, the It’s Showtime Fast and Furious 70kg MAX 2011 Champion. In a world without K-1, the Fast and Furious tournament was without a shadow of the doubt the biggest tournament for 70kg fighters. Van Roosmalen worked his way through the most prestigious tournament possible while representing Golden Glory. On top of that, Errol Zimmerman and Gokhan Saki appeared on It’s Showtime’s latest card, with the rumor being that both men worked out their own deals in the fall to participate on the card.
Both factions have the very best talent in the top weight divisions in the world, making cards featuring both fight camps imperative to see the best competition and best fights in the world. When talks surfaced of both sides looking to become closer to the troubled K-1 over the past six months or so, it was clear that whomever won the race to latch onto K-1 would leave the other one in a predicament. It turns out that Golden Glory lost their bid for K-1, but with the help of investor and partner Total Sports Asia, have been assembling three huge tournaments at Heavyweight, 85kg and 70kg, with a total of $1 million as a prize.
This announcement of K-1 working with It’s Showtime to help acquire talent for K-1 events comes and it appears that the rumors of It’s Showtime working with Mr. Kim to help rebuild K-1 seem to be true. That comes along with Golden Glory talking about their extreme displeasure with Mr. Kim, who bought K-1 out from under their noses, which leads the reality to Golden Glory probably not looking to work with Mr. Kim any time soon.
The reality of these announcements is that unless both sides can work together, a fractured Kickboxing scene is looking to come to fruition within short order. For the Glory World Series tournaments, it could mean that Daniel Ghita, Hesdy Gerges, Tyrone Spong, Melvin Manhoef, Sahak Paparyan, Andy Souwer and many more might be off-limits. For K-1, it could means that in the World Grand Prix and World MAX Tournament we could be looking at tournaments that do not include Semmy Schilt, Errol Zimmerman, Gokhan Saki, Sergei Kharitonov, Mark Miller, Robin van Roosmalen, Nieky Holzken and others.
The other reality is, for fighters who have fallen out with It’s Showtime, it could mean a hard time working with K-1. The big name that I am thinking about here is Giorgio Petrosyan, who recently broke away from It’s Showtime over monetary disputes. We do know that K-1 has been in talks with fighters outside of It’s Showtime’s management, and for now we can only speculate and hope that K-1 is able to bring in the other big names in the Kickboxing world and is willing to come to an agreement with Golden Glory, and vice versa, for the Glory World Series.
As those of us who’ve been around for a while might say, when it comes to the sport of kickboxing, no news is typically bad news. We’ve been hearing a lot of rumors about Glory in the past few months--from murky accounts of an organization on dire straits to assurances by some of our professional kickboxing journalist pals that they have the exclusive scoop on BIG NEWS which has simply been embargoed by Glory for the time being. The fact remains that we haven’t heard anything substantive from Glory since July. There was talk of more SpikeTV content and of an event to be held at the end of October--we’re still waiting for any of these things to materialize. This behavior is worrisome for those of us who followed the scene as recently as 2012, when K-1 made promise after promise of a big comeback that ultimately never took place. It would be sad to see Glory succumb to the same fate as its ambitious predecessors, with K-1 and It’s Showtime telling the tale of how unforgiving the fight business can be.
Kickboxing in particular is a very strange industry, one that appears very active at a glance but which tells a far more sobering story beneath the surface. If we judged the scene solely on the number of events held annually, we might think that things look pretty good, with organizations like LEGEND, Global FC, Top King, A-1, and SuperKombat making news on sites like this one with fight cards featuring big name talent. While the accessibility of this content is highly variable, from robust TV broadcasts to mislabeled camera phone footage posted on YouTube, there are nevertheless fights happening all over the world and subsequently news and results which we can report to you.
But the difference between offering you a survey of sundry action from around the globe and a developing narrative that you can follow and become engrossed in is the difference between Kickboxing as a mere curiosity and as a sport in its own right. There are plenty of Kickboxing and Muay Thai videos that show up on MMA sites, but as much as their readers might appreciate them, they will never get the same first person experience of being there when iconic and spectacular moments unfold--memories of being glued to your TV when Andy Hug landed that spinning back kick or when Joe Schilling knocked Simon Marcus out cold. These moments were real, and they made us believe in this sport and dream about the possibilities. Call it a pet peeve, but I find it a little heartbreaking when brilliant retrospectives of great kickboxing moments wind up on MMA sites under “look at what this might teach us about MMA technique!” headings.
No one in particular is to blame for how things have turned out for kickboxing. Ultimately the success of any venture depends on the convergence of talent, a solid product, proper promotion, and a receptive market at an opportune moment in time. Kickboxing had various combinations of these things at different points in time, but the times and circumstances changed. The downfall of K-1 had as much to do with its management as it did with evolving trends in the Japanese entertainment market. Many factors came into play, but unfortunately, things ended for K-1 in an ugly way, leaving fighters with substantial outstanding earnings which they may never be able to fully collect. However, let us not kid ourselves about what it takes to build a real professional sport league. We’ve seen plenty of flamboyant millionaire playboys from around the world blow their money to party with celebrities and to book their favorite kickboxers for an evening of entertainment. Some of these mysterious rich dudes will even slap a label on their “organization” and take lots of photos with kickboxing bigwigs to make things look legit, but we all know that trying to produce a sustainable sports entertainment venue for the masses takes a lot more vision and tenacity than that. No matter how flashy their shows get, the playboys are not going to save Kickboxing, and neither will the small promotions like Top King (although we’ll give it a chance, just like we always do--that’s the story of Kickboxing, right?) that seem to come and go every year.
We really hope that Glory will actually make it. It seems like the formula’s been there--Glory had enough money, the right talent, the right TV deal, and an ostensible understanding of the business startup process (God knows there are enough smart-sounding former hedge fund/venture capital people on board--how many of them does it take to screw in a light bulb?). Where do things stand now? We really don’t know. We do know that there have been no shows in three months, and if it is indeed true that Glory is coming to Oklahoma on November 7, then that will make four months since its last show. We really hope that the lights will stay on at Glory because as kickboxing fans, we’ve looked forward for a long time to not living in the dark of the sports world.
Watch the above video and note some of the key words that Tanikawa uses and that he does seem dead set that not only will K-1 continue on, but that K-1 will be fine. While in the past I've felt that those were empty words, I can confirm now that things are indeed looking up. The PUJI deal has actually yielded some capital for K-1 and there are some investors (or possibly even buyers) who are serious about K-1 continuing and becoming a worldwide force. The show in China that Tanikawa mentions is currently airmarked for October and does indeed seem like a reality as opposed to "Japanese Grandstanding" that we hear about.
LiverKick.com has been made aware of who some of the investors are, and confirmed through a number of sources the accuracy of the information, but will continue to keep it under wraps until the deals are finalized on all sides and the exchange of money and power have been made. What we can say is that the companies investing in K-1 are very serious about kickboxing and K-1 and have the money to make sure there are not as many hurdles. It also means that K-1's typical Japan-centric approach will be compromised as it is not a viable business model, nor is it one these new investors would support. K-1 putting on one show is a big deal, as will be paying fighters who are owed money. For all the talk of Japanese television deals, while those will be important for K-1, they will no longer be the driving force of revenue and motivation like they once were if these deals go according to plan.
K-1 is lucky that they made themselves the undeniable brand in kickboxing, mainly by establishing a set of rules that were universally adopted and by running worldwide tournaments on a yearly basis to determine who the best are. Many promotions are able to book some of the top talent from K-1, but it seems like no one can pull in all of the exact names (granted, some like It's Showtime have their own pool of talent and exclude some headscratchers of names like Teixeira and Jaideep) and pit them against each other successfully.
A K-1 looking to take a global scale seriously is a K-1 that will have multiple revenue streams and actually build up its name internationally, with a focus on Japan as a homebase but not its only base there is a greater chance for the company to succeed and prosper. Expect big things to come from K-1 if things go according to plan.
K- is back and the time is drawing increasingly near. On May 27th the K-1 World MAX Final 16 goes down after a year's absence, and on top of that, two big heavyweight bouts including some of the biggest names like Daniel Ghita and Badr Hari. After a few weeks of radio silence, we are treated to a trailer which seems official but sounds and looks a lot like an It's Showtime promo video.
Part of the fun of the upcoming weeks will be watching, one-by-one, to see which fighter picks what side in the ongoing battle between K-1 and GLORY. Yesterday we announced that former World MAX Champion Albert Kraus has chosen to sign with GLORY Sports International, making him the second-biggest name in their tournament, and today Iron Mike Zambidis made an announcement on his official Facebook page saying that he will be participating in the K-1 World MAX Final 16 on May 27th in Madrid, Spain.
Zambidis might be one of the fighters who has never won a K-1 World MAX Championship, but in 2010 the world saw a resurgence of sorts that culminated in a loss to Giorgio Petrosyan in the World MAX semi-finals, but continued his tear through the world in 2011 in a world without K-1. Zambidis went 4-2 in 2011, with a loss to John Wayne Parr as well as a controversial loss to Batu Khasikov, losing his W5 title which he had won from Dzabar Askerov earlier on in the year in a four-man Grand Prix.
This leaves the projected World MAX field featuring names like; Zambidis, Chahid, Andy Souwer, Gago Drago, Artur Kyshenko, Harut Grigorian, Yasuhiro Kido, Yuji Nashiro, Su Hwan Lee, Abraham Roqueni, Longern Samui Pro (rumored) and Chris Ngimbi. One could argue that so far it is a better field than the field that GLORY has produced, but both still have open spots for fighters and there are still a few x-factors in the wild.