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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 2016 Awards: Knockout of the Year - Guto Inocente

  • Published in Glory

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

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

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

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

The 2016 LiverKick Awards

For more, listen to our year-end podcast.

Read more...

LiverKick 2016 Awards: Prospect of the Year - Tenshin Nasukawa

  • Published in Kickboxing

Part of kickboxing's struggles has been in introducing new talent in the face of the ongoing growth of MMA. MMA pays better, there are more opportunities in it and for a top-level striker the transition to MMA can often feel like an easy one (until they meet the limitations of their grappling abilities). That's why when a new star is born in kickboxing it feels special. That is what happened this past year with Tenshin Nasukawa. At the tail end of the year the 18-year-old dynamo who made a name for himself as an amateur in Japan and through his limited muay thai fights fought in the new Japanese promotion KNOCK OUT.

The show lived up to its name and Tenshin's fight was perhaps the best example of that. He made short work of Wanchalong and it become one of the most-talked-about knockouts of the year. Then he made his MMA debut in December for RIZIN with a dramatic submission escape only to finish off his opponent. He then took the house mic and demanded another fight in two days at the next event, to which the promotion was happy to oblige. In his second MMA fight he won via submission and, really, he's a muay thai fighter/kickboxer who won via submission in his second MMA fight.

There is a lot of Japanese talent right now in kickboxing, but none of them have broken through like Masato was able to, facilitating the creation of K-1 MAX. Is Tenshin that guy? Perhaps. It is also a lot of pressure to put on a young fighter, but there is a lot of potential there and he has the world's attention.

The 2016 LiverKick Awards

For more, listen to our year-end podcast.

 

Read more...

LiverKick 2016 Awards: Fighter of the Year - Cedric Doumbe

  • Published in Glory

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

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

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

He was the very clear 2016 Fighter of the Year.

The 2016 LiverKick Awards

For more, listen to our year-end podcast.

 

Read more...

LiverKick 2016 Awards: Event of the Year - GLORY Collision

  • Published in Glory

When it came to deciding which of the many events that happened in 2016 was the event of the year it wasn't an easy decision. What metrics do you weigh this by? Attendance? Hype? Quality on paper? How exciting the show was? In a lot of ways, there wasn't one show that embodied all of these things, or even a majority of them. Unlike in the past where a K-1 World Grand Prix show would easily be the event of the year, now kickboxing is fractured and spread across the world. China is putting on shows that millions of people are watching, each show an epic, day-long affair. K-1 Japan is putting on some of the most exciting shows in the world and KNOCK OUT burst onto the scene with a KO-heavy first event.

Yet, which event actually did the most for the sport of kickboxing? That answer was simple; GLORY Collision. The sold out event in Germany was a triple-header, featuring title fights, tournaments and the dream bout between Rico Verhoeven and Badr Hari. While the question can be asked if the event actually delivered the action promised, the reality was that it was a full arena, it had fans across the world interested in kickboxing and there was a big fight feel for the first time in a very long time. How GLORY is able to capitalize on that is up to them, but it has people in Europe reconsidering kickboxing as a big sport again and had more eyes than kickboxing has had in quite a while. 

 

The 2016 LiverKick Awards

For more, listen to our year-end podcast.

Read more...
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