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The Official LiverKick.com Rankings

  • Published in Rankings
Heavyweight (Per 7/17)

1 Rico Verhoeven
2 Daniel Ghita
3 Errol Zimmerman
4 Anderson Silva
5 Benjamin Adegbuyi
6 Peter Aerts
7 Hesdy Gerges
8 Mirko Filipovic
9 Ben Edwards
10 Zabit Samedov

Light

Heavyweight (Per 7/17)

1 Gokhan Saki
2 Tyrone Spong
3 Danyo Ilunga
4 Nathan Corbett
5 Saulo Cavalari
6 Artem Vakhitov
7 Mourad Bouzidi
8 Igor Jukovic
9 Michael Duut
10 Andrei Stoica
Middleweight (Per 7/17)

1 Artem Levin
2 Joe Schilling
3 Wayne Barrett
4 Filip Verlinden
5 Simon Marcus
6 Alex Pereira
7 Sahak Parparyan
8 Melvin Manhoef
9 Jason Wilnis
10 Israel Adesanya
Welterweight (Per 7/17)

1 Nieky Holzken
2 Joseph Valtellini
3 Marc De Bonte
4 Karapet Karapetyan
5 Artur Kyshenko
6 Raymond Daniels
7 Karim Ghajji
8 Aussie Ouzgni
9 Alexander Stetsurenko
10 Paul Daley
Lightweight (Per 7/17)

1 Davit Kiria
2 Andy Ristie
3 Robin Van Roosmalen
4 Giorgio Petrosyan
5 Murthel Groenhart
6 Buakaw Banchamek
7 Dzhabar Askerov
8 Andy Souwer
9 Ky Hollenbeck
10 Aikpracha
Featherweight (Per 7/17)

1 Mosab Amrani
2 Yuta Kubo
3 Masaaki Noiri
4 Gabriel Varga
5 Sagetdao
6 Liam Harrison
7 Shane Oblonsky
8 Yodkhupon Sitmonchai
9 Chibin Lim
10 Marcus Vinicius
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Badr Hari vs. Tony Gregory Official For It's Showtime, May 14 in Lyon, France

  • Published in Kickboxing

The Bad Boy is Back!They say that the news never sleeps, and in that regard, neither do I, apparently. Keeping Dutch hours leads you to find pretty cool stuff in the wee hours of the morning, and it turns out that Badr Hari's return opponent has been announced by It's Showtime, officially, as has the rest of the Lyon card and it is lining up to be absolutely incredible.

The main event features the return of the Bad Boy, Badr Hari! Badr will be coming back after a year layoff due to some nagging legal issues, and his return opponent has been hotly debated for the past few weeks or so. The long-standing rumor was that the fight between Gokhan Saki and Badr Hari that was originally airmarked for the Amsterdam ArenA show would materialize in Lyon, but instead local kickboxer Tony Gregory has been called back into action to fight Badr Hari. This is a great return bout for Badr Hari, as it gives him a chance to hone his skills and gives him a bit of a cushion before heading back into the deep waters. Tony Gregory retired from kickboxing a few years ago to pursue a boxing career, but after disappointing results he finds himself back in the kickboxing mix, this time against one of the most dangerous fighters in the kickboxing world.

Tyrone Spong steps back into the It's Showtime ring, this time at Heavyweight as he'll take on Igor Mihaljevic, a Croatian Heavyweight. Igor provides a stiff challenge at Heavyweight for Spong, who is right now training with King Mo Lawal in Holland. Spong looks to cement his spot as one of the elite Heavyweights in the world by taking the fight to Igor here. Paul Slowinski's jam-packed year doesn't stop just yet, as he will take on the man that is more of a beast, the Romanian Daniel Ghita. Ghita looks to be heading into his fight with Hesdy Gerges in a few weeks, and a fight against Slowinski will provide another challenge, but will Slowinski just be a stepping stone for Ghita?

Then we move down from Heavyweight to Middleweight, as It's Showtime's 70kg MAX division fills out the rest of the card, with two-time K-1 MAX World Grand Prix Champion Giorgio Petrosyan takes on a fighter that last year put on one of the best fights imaginable against Mike Zambidis, Chahid Oulad El Hadj. This is a huge fight for Chahid, and for Petrosyan it is just another day at the office. With It's Showtime planning a 70kg MAX tournament in July and both men rumored to be involved, a win here is huge for momentum.

It's Showtime's 70kg MAX champion defends his crown finally, as Chris Ngimbi looks to ward off Willy Borrell. Ngimbi's title win has been disputed by some fans, so a strong performance by Ngimbi can help solidify his spot in It's Showtime this year and help build momentum for the MAX tournament in Russia this July. Rounding out the card is Abder Penda facing off against Marat Grigorian at 70kg, with both men looking to leave a big impression on the international kickboxing scene.

I'll say this, It's Showtime hasn't disappointed yet and keeps marching forward for what looks to be a banner year. I know many fans are upset with the lack of K-1, but It's Showtime is really churning out the big cards. [source]

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Exclusive Simon Rutz Interview

  • Published in Interviews

SimonRutzAmidst all the bad K-1 news, Europe’s top fighting organization, It’s Showtime, has been a hot topic of conversation lately.  As plans for 2011 come together, we’re seeing more and more events announced by the company, who find themselves constantly expanding their product throughout the world.  But in the middle of all the positive news came an unfortunate announcement last week – due to a planned co-promotion with K-1 falling through, It’s Showtime would not run their big annual show at the Amsterdam Arena in 2011.

Between this latest news, all the rumors swirling around K-1, Badr Hari’s return, and various other stories, now seemed like a good time to speak to the always forthcoming It’s Showtime president Simon Rutz.  As always, Mr. Rutz offered plenty of insight into their dealings with K-1 and so much more.

Read on for part 1 of this 2 part exclusive LiverKick.com interview, as we get the story on exactly what happened with the canceled Amsterdam Arena event and the state of affairs for K-1 and It’s Showtime.

LiverKick.com: It’s a shame you may not run in the Amsterdam Arena this year. When did you begin to think this show might not happen?

Simon Rutz: We have already known for many years that K-1 has big problems, but a few months ago they said to me that they have a new investor.  That was the reason why I agreed to cooperate on the Amsterdam Arena event in May this year.  Around Christmas I felt that there was something wrong with their situation because they didn’t answer my requests anymore.

LK: What were the plans for the show? Did you have fighters already lined up?

SR: When It’s Showtime and K-1 cooperate I always give my suggestions, and most of the time they use them.  My suggestions for this year were: Badr Hari vs. Gokhan Saki; Peter Aerts vs. Tyrone Spong; and Hesdy Gerges vs. Alistair Overeem, Errol Zimmerman, or someone else.

LK: We’ve heard a lot about K-1 not paying fighters, and I know Giorgio Petrosyan had problems with that last year. Are there It’s Showtime or Black Label fighters who are waiting to be paid by K-1?

SR: Yes, the following fighters have not been paid for a fight: Melvin Manhoef, Tyrone Spong, Daniel Ghita, Hesdy Gerges, Gago Drago, Pajonsuk, Dzevad Poturak, Chahid, and Giorgio Petrosyan still needs his win bonus from the last K-1 MAX tournament.  It is a lot of money! I never let our fighters fight before they are paid for their last fight.  I hear that some other fighters haven’t gotten their money for 4 fights.  It is a sad situation for all the fighters.

LK:  Given all these problems, what, in your opinion, does K-1 need to do to survive?

SR: They need a lot of money, and they must ask my advice (and do something with that advice) because they do a lot of stupid things.

LK: If they don’t get that money, and they don’t survive, what will it mean for kickboxing and for It’s Showtime?

SR: If they don’t survive it is very bad for the sport and for many fighters.  For It’s Showtime, it would mean that we are the number 1 kickboxing organization in the world and everybody will look to us.  We are getting busy like never before.  We have already seen a movement from K-1 to It’s Showtime.  Almost every day I talk with people around the world who want to organize an It’s Showtime event in their country.

LK: Would you ever consider buying out K-1?

SR: Why should I do that?  I have my own brand and company who is healthy and is going very well.  Also, what am I buying then?  Only a lot of problems!  The [K-1] name is very strong, but I already have a good name.  I will keep my money in my pocket!

LK: You said you are talking with people around the world, and this looks like a huge year for you with new events in England, Germany, and Spain. Any details on those shows?

SR: Our schedule for the year is now: March 6 – Amsterdam, Holland; March 26 – Brussels, Belgium; May 14 – Lyon, France (not signed yet); May – Manheim, Germany (not signed yet); June 11 – Warsaw, Poland; July 23 – Sochi, Russia; August 27 – Sarajevo, Bosnia; September 18 – Amsterdam, Holland; September 24 – Manchester, England (not signed yet); October 8 – Geneva, Switzerland; End of December in Amsterdam for the It’s Showtime Christmas Edition again.  We are also talking about It’s Showtime events in Spain, Ukraine, and Australia.  As you see, we are really busy.  We have at least 10 big events this year, maybe 12.

LK: You know I have to ask – any further info on possibly running in the United States?

SR: I am getting more and more interest for It’s Showtime events in the US.  Last week, one of the TV stations from the US bought our It’s Showtime events, so that is starting.  I also am speaking with several people to see what the possibilities are in the US.  But when we start, we will start slowly with events for 2,000 people.

LK:  With all this expansion, where do you want It’s Showtime to be in 2 years?

SR: Pff......... 6 months ago I said that in 5 years It’s Showtime would organize between 15 and 20 events a year, but we are going so fast, maybe next year we will already be doing 15 events a year!

Check back tomorrow for the conclusion of this interview as we discuss Remy Bonjasky’s retirement, Cosmo Alexandre, the Hesdy Gerges/Semmy Schilt controversy, and of course, Badr Hari.

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LiverKick.com Podcast Vol. 22: GLORY Middleweight Champion Joe Schilling

  • Published in LK Podcast

Podcast

Ha! Just when you thought you were done having to listen to me (@dvewlsh / @LiverKickdotcom) ramble on about Kickboxing, you were wrong. This time I'm joined by a very special guest by the way of GLORY 10 Middleweight Champion Joe Schilling as we discuss his big victory at GLORY 10 as well as how he felt going into the tournament and how his life has changed after it. Joe also weighs in on the GLORY 11 card coming up this week and that his next fight will be at GLORY 12 New York.

Don't forget to check Joe out on Facebook, Twitter and to keep tabs on Can't Stop Crazy.

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Estelle Cruijff Breaks it Off With Badr Hari

  • Published in K-1

Badr

K-1 fighter Badr Hari lives a pretty crazy life that has seen a great deal of controversy, with some of that controversy revolving around his relationship with Estelle Cruijff, the former wife of football star Ruud Gullit. It looks like the odd love affair, punctuated by Badr Hari's brawl at the Amsterdam ArenA that left Koen Everink in rough shape, has finally come to an end and has hit the Dutch tabloids. The relationship between the two was fodder for the press for quite a while and it looks like today will be no different.

It is interesting to note that Badr Hari's next court date is in October and that the relationship couldn't outlast the charges accrued during it. Maybe Badr Hari will finally find some peace and get back into fighting shape in time for the K-1 World Grand Prix this time around.

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LiverKick.com Podcast Volume 13: Glory 3 Rome - Petrosyan Rules

  • Published in LK Podcast

Podcast

Whew, what a weekend, right? Glory 3 Rome happened and it was pretty incredible. Giorgio Petrosyan continued his reign of dominance in the world of 70kg Kickboxing and shows no signs of relenting, but fighters like Sanny Dahlback and Davit Kiria came from out of nowhere and impressed the world. Listen to Rian Scalia (@rianscalia) and myself (@LiverKickdotcom / @dvewlsh) as we discuss the latest and greatest in Kickboxing news.

Also note that we've changed software, so going forward the Podcast will be using the player below. You can still download the episode by right clicking on the player and choosing download. You can also subscribe by clicking the button on the left and it should be up on iTunes shortly. See, we listen to your feedback.

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LiverKick.com Heavyweight Rankings: May 2011

  • Published in Rankings

Heavyweight

1. Semmy Schilt
2. Badr Hari
3. Peter Aerts
4. Gokhan Saki
5. Hesdy Gerges
6. Daniel Ghita
7. Tyrone Spong
8. Kyotaro
9. Ewerton Teixeira
10. Jerome Le Banner

Welcome back to the LiverKick.com rankings. These rankings are an attempt to break down the top 10 fighters in three different weight classes - Heavyweight, for fighters above the 85kg limit, Middleweight, for fighters at the 70-72.5kg limit, and Light Heavyweight, for fighters at the 77-84kg limit. Our rankings are based on in-ring accomplishments and recent wins and loses. We hope they reflect where these fighters currently stand, although we recognize that all rankings are inherently subjective.

May 2011

We've decided to take a different approach to the rankings, in the past Fraser Coffeen handled them, but as many are aware, Fraser has since had to step down from his responsibilities at LiverKick.com and has since moved on to other ventures. Our Top 10 list a while back moved on to being a top 25 to reflect a uniformity with our then home of SBNation. We've decided to move back to only including the Top 10 and to opt for the inclusion of Light Heavyweight (77kg - 84kg) to reflect the depth of talent in that weight class.

Former #1 Alistair Overeem has been removed from the rankings after some intense discussion, we've come to the conclusion that as long as he is contracted with Zuffa the chances of Overeem fighting in another organization as a kickboxer has decreased to about zero. We are sad to see a talent such as his be confined to only Mixed Martial Arts but will continue to cheer him on.

This means that there was a lot of reshuffling to the weight classes for them to make sense, as with K-1's silence and a sincere doubt that there will be a K-1 World Heavyweight Grand Prix this year, we take a more global look at the weight classes and rankings for them. It is without dispute that the most accomplished kickboxer at Heavyweight/Super Heavyweight, and the man to beat is Semmy Schilt. Schilt does hold a WGP loss to Peter Aerts in 2011 and a loss to Badr Hari in 2010, but outside of that his record is pristine.

After a year of inaction, Badr Hari returned to the ring against a less-than-game Gregory Tony. Tony's performance might have been shameful, but Hari was in good shape, kept his cool and there is a promise of a bout with Tyrone Spong or Daniel Ghita on the horizon for It's Showtime in the Fall. For his recent accomplishments, though, without a doubt Badr Hari is one of the men to beat and secures his spot at #2. Mr. K1, Peter Aerts shocked the world taking it to Sem Schilt in December, making the Finals of the Heavyweight GP. Aerts had stated before the Grand Prix that it would be his last and he is contemplating retirement, so under those circumstances and for his recent accomplishments, the #3 slot is a great fit for him.

#4 Gokhan Saki is in action at the end of this month in the finals of the Glory World Series Heavyweight Tournament, where he'll take on Brice Guidon. While the tournament was not the toughest road for Saki, a win in it would further cement his spot in the top 5. We hope to see him against other top 5 competition soon. #5 Hesdy Gerges has once again been released from police custody and will be in action this weekend at It's Showtime. His bout with #6 Daniel Ghita was the biggest Heavyweight fight of the year so far and his win cemented his spot above Ghita. #7 Tyrone Spong is where things get messy, Spong holds a victory over #8 Kyotaro last year, who himself is largely inactive without K-1, but has a loss to #10 Jerome Le Banner. Le Banner of course has his forfeit loss to Kyotaro but little else outside of the Spong win recently. #9 Ewerton Teixeira is another fighter who only fights for K-1 so is in a state of limbo for the time being.

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Signs Point to Badr Hari Returning to K-1

  • Published in K-1

I feel like we have reached critical mass for the rumor of Badr Hari making his K-1 return. Ever since Badr Hari was talking about retirement, I've been telling people that for the right price and the right opportunity, Badr Hari would kickbox again. I strongly felt that it would be under the K-1 banner as there is a certain level of prestige that comes along with fighting for K-1, even if the company is presenting itself as a whole new company. To top it off, the money that is on the table for the K-1 World Grand Prix is a huge $1 million USD. That is a lot of money.

Over the past few weeks we've been getting a lot of reports on the goings on of Badr Hari, but felt like out of respect to some of our sources, we'd hold off. The reports have been interesting, to say the least. Reports are coming from New York from the last few weeks that not only was Badr Hari in town and working on his hands, he was working on his knees and kicks as well. We've heard from enough excited New Yorkers who've seen Badr Hari around or kicking the pads to know this isn't made up. Then there was talk of Badr Hari being back at Mike's Gym and training as well.

Now the rumor is circulating that Badr Hari has signed a new contract with It's Showtime which would place him in the K-1 field. Remember, for right now, this is a rumor, but one which we believe will materialize in short order.

UPDATE: Bloodstain Lane confirmed with Mike Passenier this morning, this is 100% true.

UPDATE 4/17: Lane retracted, saying he misunderstood Passenier. LiverKick stands by the evidence gathered that no matter what, it points to Badr Hari's return.

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Sem Schilt Retires

  • Published in Glory

Semmy Schilt Retired

Over the last few months there have been various reports that four-time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, 2012 Glory Grand Slam and Glory Heavyweight Champion Semmy Schilt will no longer be fighting. The rumors were first centered around his participation in future tournaments, as after his victory on New Year's Eve in 2012 he stated that he would not participate in future tournaments, although it was quickly brushed off. Since then there has been talk about him fighting Gokhan Saki with the Heavyweight title on the line, but there has also been talk of Schilt no longer fighting at all.

Since last night LiverKick has received numerous reports from reliable sources that Semmy Schilt is retired, effective immediately. The decision was apparently not an easy one for the Hightower, who was instructed to retire from his medical team due to a heart condition that was discovered. This marks the retirement of what may be the greatest Heavyweight Kickboxer of all time, with five big tournament victories under his belt and numerous world championships. Schilt was also a pioneer in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, making his debut in Pancrase in 1996, fighting in both the UFC and PRIDE over the course of his career.

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LiverKick Podcast - Volume 10: K-1 Returns, Again

  • Published in LK Podcast

K-1 is back and so are we. After a month without hearing Rian Scalia (@rianscalia) and myself (@liverkickdotcom / @dvewlsh) talking about Kickboxing, we are at it again. The K-1 World Grand Prix in Los Angeles happened and here are our thoughts from after the show.

Join myself and Rian Scalia as we prattle on for about 40 minutes about K-1.

{music}podcast{/music}

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