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

  • Published in K-1

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

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

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Liverkick Throwback: Branko Cikatic Vs Ernesto Hoost II

  • Published in Kickboxing

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

Branco Cikatic was the original Croatian heavyweight Kickboxer and the first Croation born fighter to achieve international success. K-1 didn't start until 1993, Branko was 38 years old already, but he made the most of it and became the very first K-1 grand prix champion and won all three fights in one night by knockout. Cikatic had a rock-solid chin and huge power in both hands, he wasn't the most technical fighter but he was more of a take a punch to land my harder punch type. Branco tried a few MMA fights after winning K-1 and jumped in the Pride ring, now Cikatic was never the cleanest of fighters and that ended up causing most of his Pride fights to end in DQ or No contest.

This fight with the legend Ernesto Hoost was for the K-1 grand prix 1993 Finals in Tokyo, Japan. Hoost was 10 years younger than Cikatic and had already beat Peter Aerts and Maurice Smith in the quarter and semi finals. I feel Hoost was easily winning this fight up until Branko did what he does best and landed a huge right on poor Ernesto's chin and cause a heavy KO.

 

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With K-1's Spike TV Deal in Hand, It's Time to Re-evaluate K-1

  • Published in K-1

K-1

It was announced today that Spike TV and K-1 have come to terms and that Spike TV will be the new home of K-1. For the Kickboxing world in the United States, this could completely change everything in the blink of an eye, as K-1 has not had a chance like this in a very long time. K-1 did, for a brief period of time, have a broadcast deal with ESPN, but it was mostly for filler content on ESPN 2 late at night and was never given its proper due.

This time around, it is different as K-1 has been turning its attention to the United States in a big way with their new management. Of the four events left for the rest of the year, two of them are slated to take place in the United States, with the K-1 World Grand Prix Finals happening in New York City on December 26th, for the first time outside of Japan. The recent fracturing of the Kickboxing world has left talent scattered between K-1 and GLORY or in the middle of a legal limbo with contracts with both It’s Showtime (which Glory acquired) and K-1. The names that K-1 has been announcing might not be captivating the old K-1 fans like they’d wish, but the real question right now is; does that matter?

K-1 has the unique opportunity to start anew with this television deal on Spike TV. Yes, K-1 does have a rich history and there are a lot of legendary fighters who helped build the brand to be what it is today, but at the beginning of this year, EMCOM became the new owners of K-1 and the team in charge of operations is entirely new. For the UFC, Spike TV served as a savior of sorts, giving them a chance to show off their unique product and even developed a reality show which helped appeal to a broader audience and push MMA to the masses unlike ever before. There is a good chance that K-1 has a very similar opportunity with Spike TV, and that it might be time to stop turning to the past.

If there ever was a time to build K-1 up with a different format, different approach and with different stars, right now is it. Many of us are certain that some of the fighters on the K-1 Los Angeles show are not going to be the new stars that they are looking for. Rick Roufus, Mighty Mo and Seth Petruzelli have all had their time in the spotlight in one place or another, and this time might not be their time to shine. Instead, K-1 has signed a few new fighters that will participate on the card, including Jarrell Miller, Jack May, Randy Blake, Xavier Vigney, Justin Greskiewicz and more. These fighters, and possibly others, could be the names that truly impress and help re-launch K-1.

As much as we all love the one-night tournament format and the fighters that made K-1 what it is today, it might be time to simply let go of the K-1 of the past. There is a good chance that the “Japanese production” style could also be one of the relics of the past that is not needed to make K-1 a success in the United States, with that possibly deterring new fans due to the spectacle nature with less focus on the sport itself. Time can only tell what will work and what K-1 will ultimately do with this new television deal, but what is clear is that they have a very big opportunity placed in their laps right now, and that failure would probably mean the end of K-1.

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Video: Masato vs. KID Yamamoto II From Kyokugen

  • Published in Video

Rizin FF has come and gone, there was some insanity there for sure, but there are always other New Year's Eve shows in Japan and one of those shows was Kyokugen. Kyokugen was a variety show on TBS in Japan that decided to throw together a dream fight. That dream fight was Masato vs. KID Yamamoto. Masato has been retired for a while now and KID Yamamoto is under contract to the UFC still, so the chances of them having an actual fight was slim-to-none.

Instead they had an exhibition, which was legal under KID's contract. KID, who has taken on quite a few new tattoos since his last appearance fighting on Japanese television, was forced to fight with a rash guard on due to Japan's broadcast laws against such yakuza-ish things. That being said, this still happened and damn is it cool to watch. 

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K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16 Rumored for Japan

  • Published in K-1

K-1

The K-1 Open Tryouts in Los Angeles were on Thursday, on top of that, tickets for the K-1 Los Angeles event were released. If that feels like a deluge of information about K-1, it is, but be prepared for more. On top of that, it appears that there is a rumor about the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16. According to Fightsite.hr, the news has come from Mirko Cro Cop's management that Cro Cop will be participating in the Final 16 in Japan on the 14th of October. Apparently, December in New York is the projected date for the K-1 World Grand Prix Finals.

Still nothing official yet, or a card for the Los Angeles event, but according to sources there should be announcement in short order from K-1 with more news. Stay tuned, as always. [source]

UPDATE: Douglas Kaplan has confirmed the date of October 14 for the World Grand Prix Final 16.

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K-1 News and Notes, Fueled by Tanikawa and K-1's New Investors/Buyers

  • Published in K-1

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.

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No, Gokhan Saki Didn't Leave Glory, Is Training at Mike's Gym

  • Published in Kickboxing

An interesting rumor has been circulating the past few days in the Kickboxing world, the rumor being that Gokhan Saki has left Golden Glory and instead set up shop at Mike's Gym. The rumor does have some truths in it, but the truth part is a bit minor in the grand scheme of things. Maritjn de Jong has been quoted saying that Gokhan Saki has indeed been doing some training at Mike's Gym, but it does not mean that he has left team Golden Glory. The Dutch kickboxing world is just a small world and while there are gym rivalries, they are usually exaggerated in the press and most gyms are rather friendly with each other.

Anyway, here is the video that really sparked this rumor.

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Live Stream for WGP #22 Tonight

  • Published in Kickboxing

Today at 8pm Eastern time WGP Kickboxing in Brazil will present WGP#22 live via internet PPV. You will be able to view the event for $10 via their website or by purchasing the event below. The card is as follows.

Under Card

K1 Rules (64.5 kg): Samuel Pereira vs Wellington Lopes

K1 Rules (71.800 kg): Fabiano “Mineiro” Silva vs Marcelo Dionisio

WAKO PRO Brazilian Title - Low Kicks (66.800 kg): Valmir Theiss vs Édipo Herbert Lima 

Main Card

60kg GP Semi-Final - K1 Rules (60 kg): Ignacio Capllonch (ARG) vs Gustavo Piacentini (BRA) 

60kg GP Semi-Final - K1 Rules (60 kg): Rafael “Coruja” Xavier vs Paulo Tebar

WAKO PRO Brazilian Title - Low Kicks (69.100 kg): Wellington Tom vs Bruno Gazani

WAKO PRO Brazilian Title - Low Kicks (94,100 kg): Wallyson “Maguila” Carvalho vs Felipe Micheletti

WAKO PRO Brazilian Title - Low Kicks (85 kg): Francisco Araújo vs Cesar Almeida 

60kg GP Finals - K1 Rules (60 kg): Winner Fight 1 x Winner Fight 2

K1 Rules (85 kg): Robert Thomas (CAN) x Alex “Po Atan” Pereira (BRA)

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Daniel Ghita Rumored for Participating in K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16

  • Published in K-1

GhitaSo far a lot of the attention for K-1 has been focused with a laser-sharp precision on the K-1 Rising US GP in Los Angeles event, and of course with good reason, as it is the next event that K-1 is holding. The event, while getting a good deal of press and groaning from hardcore fans, is the US GP, though, a qualifier for the World Grand Prix and for the World MAX tournament for US fighters. For the actual K-1 World Grand Prix there has been little news outside of a date of October 14th in Tokyo outside of Cro Cop looking to participate in the Final 16.

Now it looks like one fighter who has been a hot topic of late, Daniel Ghita, has finally landed on one side for now, and that appears to be K-1. Daniel Ghita was one of the key fighters for either side to land, and as of last week when we spoke with Anil Dubar, Ghita's trainer, it seemed like a frustrating situation for all involved. They were not sure which contract was valid and who he would fight for, and it felt like Ghita, one of the best Heavyweights in the world, was being used as a pawn in a powerplay to gain headway in the Kickboxing world. Now today reports close to Ghita's camp are coming out that Daniel Ghita will fight in the Final 16 and the Final 8 before he most likely departs to fight for GLORY and test his skills in that tournament.

Ghita has always been quoted wanting to be the K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, and to many it feels like no matter who they get, K-1 will not be able to find a real challenge for him, especially with Badr Hari sitting in a Dutch prison.

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It's Time for the Smaller Weight Classes to Shine

  • Published in Kickboxing

Kickboxing has long been all about the heavyweight weight classes. If you were to ask anyone about K-1 the first thing that would come to mind would be the K-1 World Grand Prix. Of course, there is a good reason for that. When modern kickboxing in the form of K-1 began in Japan it was to appeal to the local audiences with a blend of Kyokushin, Karate and professional wrestling. The Japanese public was always attracted to the idea of the clash of titans (I mean, really, isn’t everybody?) so K-1 focused heavily on the Heavyweights. 

If you look at GLORY, SuperKombat and even promotions like Enfusion you’ll see that the focus is still largely on the heavier weight classes. No matter what Badr Hari is doing it is news, if Peter Aerts is in a pro wrestling match in Japan everyone cares and people still ask if Sem Schilt will ever return to the ring. Speculation over Alistair Overeem leaving the UFC to return to kickboxing has been healthy for his entire UFC run. Needless to say, the big guys draw eyeballs.

The one real anomaly is the rise of K-1’s MAX division in the 2000’s. It was an idea created to promote the handsome and talented MASATO originally, but the reality was that it created a good number of stars and helped to make something outside of Heavyweight sustainable. We’ve seen the rise of a few stars like Giorgio Petrosyan, Buakaw Banchamek, Andy Ristie, Robin van Roosmalen and many more. It’s Showtime helped to push forward with expanded weight classes and GLORY is continuing along the path with the Light Heavyweight and Middleweight classes a big focus over the last year.

If we look at other sports the focus isn’t always just on huge, lumbering titans, though. While American Football might have a few such characters, a lot of the time the smaller, more agile players end up a focal point. The home run sluggers in baseball might draw eyeballs, but not all baseball players are Mark Mcguire. In football (you know, soccer) it is even more clear that you don’t (and shouldn’t) be a giant to be successful. Look no further than some of the lines at betting at William Hill to see how diverse the playing field can be. 

At GLORY 20 Gabriel Varga and Mosab Amrani will compete for the GLORY Featherweight Championship. It’s a solid first step, although there is confusion as to if this will air on the SuperFight Series or on Spike TV. Last that I’ve heard it was the SuperFight Series. Even so, it will be the headliner for that show that will air on CBS Sports Network and across the globe as its own show. 

Then, of course, is K-1’s 55kg World Grand Prix going down in Japan on April 19th. K-1 Japan has been putting out a steady stream of events featuring smaller weight classes and has been wildly entertaining. As long as the big players in kickboxing keep focusing on smaller weight classes there is still hope that the lighter, more technical and quick weight classes can shine in the near future. 

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