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WGP #30 Card Featuring Alex Pereira Defending His Title

  • Published in Kickboxing

WGP Kickboxing in Brazil returns with their 30th numbered event, headlined by WGP 85kg Champion Alex Pereira looking to defend his championship against Junior Alpha. Pereira, who has made a name for himself over the past few years in GLORY, will be looking to once again prove his dominance in the WGP ring and that he's one of the best in the world. The co-main event sees the 78.1kg championship on the line between the ever-awesome Thiago Michel and Diego Gaucho. 

WGP #30 happens on May 7th.

WGP 30

MAIN EVENT: Dispute Belt WGP Kickboxing 

K1 Rules / Weight-Cruiser (85 Kg) 

Alex Pereira (Heavyweight Team) vs Junior Alpha (Kingstar) 

CO-MAIN EVENT: Dispute Belt WGP Kickboxing 

K1 Rules / Weight-Super-Medio (78.1 kg) 

Thiago Michel (Ely Kickboxing) vs Diego Gaúcho (Inside Munil Adriano) 

Dispute Belt Panamericano WAKO 

Low Kicks / Weight-Medium (75 kg) 

Tadeu San Martino (San Martino Team / UFT - BRA) vs Nicolas Ryske (Picante Fight Club - ARG) 

SUPER FIGHT 7 

K1 Rules / Heavyweight (94 kg) 

Felipe Micheletti (Carseti Fight Team) vs. Haime Morais (Shotgan) 

SUPER FIGHT 6 

K1 Rules / Weight-Medium-Medium (71.8 kg) 

Bruno Gazani (ABC Union - BRA) vs Emanuel Ramponi (RC Kickboxing - ARG) 

SUPER FIGHT 5 

K1 Rules / Weight-Super-Lightweight (64.5 kg) 

Wilson Djavan (UFT) vs Marcus Vinicius (Rock Union Fight) 

WGP # 30: Super Fights 

SUPER FIGHT 4 

K1 Rules / Weight-Super-Lightweight (64.5 kg) 

Ivan Ibarbe (Team Rooms - BOL) vs Fernando Maestro (Corinthians Kickboxing - BRA) 

SUPER FIGHT 3 

K1 Rules / Weight-Super-East (78.1 kg) 

Thiago "Golden Boy" (Thailand Top Team) vs Inaftali Gomes (Serginho Team) 

SUPER FIGHT 2 

K1 Rules / Weight-Lightweight (60 kg) 

Felipe 'Artillero' Bocaz (Company Top Fight - CHI) vs Jhonatan Leuch (CT Celio Rodrigues - BRA) 

SUPER FIGHT 1 

K1 Rules / Weight-Super-Lightweight (64.5 kg) 

Robson "Minotinho" (Coliseum Team) vs. Henrique Silva (Arena Team) 

WGP # 30: Undercard 

FIGHT 3 

K1 Rules / Weight-Super Heavyweight (+94 kg) 

Johnny Klever (Yoshinaga Fight Team) vs. Junior Cassiano (Elite / RFW) 

FIGHT 2 

K1 Rules / Weight-Medium-Medium (71.8 kg) 

Daniel Dias (ABC Union) vs. Luis "Predator" Santos (2PA ARENA) 

FIGHT 1 

K1 Rules / Weight-Medium-Medium (71.8 kg) 

Marcus 'Jonn Jones' (China Team) vs Yanco 'Popo' (CT Benacci Team / Pure Impact) 

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Badr Hari Once Again Involved in Bar Attack Incident

  • Published in Kickboxing

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In what feels like a broken record, Badr Hari has once again found himself in trouble with the law due to his notorious temper. After his name resurfaced in the realm of kickboxing due to talks of Badr Hari vs. Rico Verhoeven heating up, Hari couldn't go more than a matter of days before finding himself assaulting yet another member of the public. 

According to multiple reports, Badr Hari was at the Sofitel Hotel in Marrakesh, Morocco when he assaulted a waiter. According to reports, Badr requested "vodka" and when it was brought to him he snapped on the waiter, throwing him to the ground and pounding on him only for a hotel patron to attempt to pry Badr off of the waiter and end up in the hospital for his intrusion. The most famous case of Hari's temper was the beating of Koen Everink, which resulted in prison time for Hari, some of which he's still awaiting to serve.

The troubled kickboxer was looking to have a retirement fight this year, most likely against Rico Verhoeven after the recent press blitz. Hilariously enough, right when it looked like the gears were in motion to make the fight (rumors of GLORY looking into a one-off fight with Hari, even), Hari lost his temper and most likely ensured that the fight will never be made.  

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Kunlun Fight 43 Fight Card

  • Published in Kickboxing

Kunlun Fight 43 will take place on April 23 in Zhoukou, China. As usual they have top names on their card including one incredible match up between Murthel Groenhart and Artur Kyshenko. These two fought in 2012 in the final of the K-1 Max tournament and Murthel won by KO but since then both fighters have gone up in weight so it should be interesting. Also Sittichai Sitsongpeenong will be back in action against Morrocan fighter Walid Hamid

Kunlun Fight 43 Fight Card

70kgs Qualifiers - Semi-Finals

Sittichai Sitsongpeenong (Tha) vs Walid Hamid (Mor)

Youssef Boulahtari (Bel) vs Aziz Kallah (Ned)

Josh Aragon (USA) vs Kong Lingfeng (Chn)

Kim Minsoo (Kor) vs Zhao Yan (Chn)

Super Fights

Murthel Groenhart (Ned) vs Artur Kyshenko (Ukr) -80kg

Rachel Adamus (Ned) vs Wang Kehan (Chn) -65kg

Pascal Koster (Ned) vs Wei Ninghui (Chn) -64kg

Keijiro Kyakoshi (Jap) vs Lee Chan Hyeong (Kor) -63kg

Takashi Noto (Jap) vs Zhang Lipeng (Chn) -75kg MMA

Faisal Zakaria (Sud) vs Asihati (Chn) -100kg+ 

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Badr Hari and Rico Verhoeven Spar in the Media, But For What?

  • Published in Kickboxing

The other evening on Dutch TV the GLORY Heavyweight Champion Rico Verhoeven laid out a challenge at perennial bad boy Badr Hari for a fight. The two of them have been taking potshots at each other through social media for a while now. Without a doubt Rico Verhoeven is the top heavyweight in the world right now and the man to beat, while Badr Hari was at one time the man to beat but his legal problems and interesting choices in friends have led him to simply be a headline-snatching name in the news on occasion. 

Video (in Dutch)

Badr Hari was quick to reply on Twitter with a "challenge accepted."

To which Verhoeven replied via Instagram.

The question right now is simple, though; what does this actually mean. Fans are already excited at the prospect of these two goliaths clashing in the ring, but there are a lot of hurdles involved in making a fight. Kickboxing has not worked like boxing, historically. In boxing the way it works is that a fighter has a manager and a promoter, that promoter will set up the fights. Kickboxing has always worked in more of a pro wrestling model where there is a promotion and the fighters are contracted by the promotion and at their whim. Verhoeven is currently the GLORY Heavyweight Champion, but reports claim that Verhoeven is without a contract at the moment and in negotiations with the promotion for the future. 

As for Badr? He's been holding out for a retirement fight, claiming to have one more fight left in him and that he's looking for potentially huge money. Badr has been fighting for whatever strange, upstart promoter wants to toss money into a pit and get to go on social media to bro out with Hari. Hell, he even fought for a warlord in his last fight. The big question is if the fight were to happen under Kadyrov in Akhmat if it would actually be a fair fight. I can't stress this enough, Kadyrov is an accused Russian war criminal with an incredibly checkered past. He's apparently stepping down this month, but he's an incredibly powerful figure in Russia. He's still running fight shows, though.

If I'm Rico Verhoeven I'm not going to Chechnya to fight Badr Hari. If I'm Badr Hari I'm probably never going to be able to fight in the Netherlands because of his legal history. Who promotes this fight? Who puts up the money for it? There are still far too many questions before anyone can begin to get excited about this.

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WLF's Glory of Heroes Card and Streams for April 2nd

  • Published in Kickboxing

On April 2nd in China WLF kicks off their Glory of Heroes events with a pretty big card featuring some familiar names. While the undercard is mostly local showcases, the main card features Israel Adesanya against Alex Pereira, which is a huge fight, Yi Long against Enriko Kehl and Xu Yan against Josh Jauncey in the main event. 

Kiksie has a breakdown of all of the stream options available for this card (and there are a LOT), so check those out.

(Stream – Starting around 18.10 Local Time)

Kickboxing – 70KG

Zhang Dezheng (China) vs. Andrei Ostrovanu (Romania)

Kickboxing – 56KG

Gong Yanli (China) vs. Christi Brereton (United Kingdom)

Kickboxing – 70KG

Zhao Chunyang (China) vs. Harley Love (New Zealand)

Kickboxing – 85KG

Guo Qiang (China) vs. Yurii Zubchuk (Ukraine)

Kickboxing – 70KG

Hu Yafei (China) vs. Daniel Solaja (Germany)

MMA – 63KG

Ji Xian (China) vs. Ilia Kurzanov (Russia)

Kickboxing – 70KG

Jixiang Adai (China) vs. Imamura Takuya (Japan)

(Henan TV Broadcast – Starting around 21.15 Local Time)

Kickboxing – 60KG

Kong Long (China) vs. Nogami Yusuke (Japan)

Kickboxing – 68KG

Tie Yinghua (China) vs. Fabio Pinca (France)

Kickboxing – 85KG

Israel Adesanya (New Zealand) vs. Alex Pereira (Brazil)

Kickboxing – 63KG

Wei Rui (China) vs. Nakamura Yukiya (Japan)

Kickboxing – 71KG

Yi Long (China) vs. Enriko Kehl (Germany)

Kickboxing – 63KG

Deng Zeqi (China) vs. Joan Manuel Lique Cañaveral (Colombia)

Kickboxing – 67KG

Qiu Jianliang (China) vs. Jomthong Chuwattana (Thailand)

Kickboxing – 70KG

Xu Yan (China) vs. Josh Jauncey (Canada)

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Jordan Watson Out, Ravy Brunow in Against Giorgio Petrosyan on April 16th

  • Published in Kickboxing

At the big Oktagon/Bellator super show on April 16th Giorgio Petrosyan is set to put his skills on display for the world. His opponent has changed already, leaving us with UK muay thai specialist Jordan Watson, but after his last bout contested for Yokkao it looks like Watson won't be prepared for Petrosyan. This left promoters in a lurch heading into the Venum Victory World Series portion of the card, with Giorgio Petrosyan's fight as the centerpiece of the entire event for many. 

Organizer Carlo di Blasi began searching for a formidable opponent and went to GLORY matchmaker Cor Hemmers for advice, Hemmers proposing Brazilian standout Ravy Brunow. Ravy Brunow has been making waves in Brazil for a while now under the WGP banner, recently competing at WGP 28 in December, where he defended the 71.8kg title. He should make for an interesting opponent for Petrosyan.

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Kunlun Fight 39 Results and Kunlun Acquires Series B Financing, Making Them a Chinese Powerhouse

  • Published in Kickboxing

This past weekend Kunun Fight returned with their 39th numbered event in which we saw two more 70kg tournaments to decide who moves on to the next stage. Those two men are Artem Pashporin and Zhao Shuai, both men picking up decisions on their way to the top. Aso on the event we saw Buakaw defeat Kong Lingfeng via decision and Gu Gui defeat Abert Kraus.

To top things off, Kunlun Fight also secured its B round of financing today, securing 200 million RMB from Morningside Ventures. This places their valuation at over 350 million USD, which makes them the most valuable startup in combat sports in all of China. According to their investors sports in America make up for 3% of the GDP while in China it is currently only sitting at .3% of their GDP, meaning that there is a lot of room for expansion in the Chinese marketplace, which is only exasperated by the interest that promotions like Kunlun Fight have gained in just the last two years. 

Kunlun Fight 39

Buakaw Banchamek (R3 - Decision) Kong Lingfeng

Gu Gui (R3 - Decision) Albert Kraus

Zhang Meng (R3 - Decision) Ulrich Emmanuel

70kg Tournament Group C Semi: Artem Pashporin (R3 - Decision) Victor Nagbe

70kg Tournament Group C Semi: Li Zhuangzhuag (R3 - Decision) Bruno Miranda

70kg Tournament Group C Final: Artem Pashporin (R3 - Decision) Li Zhuangzhuag

70kg Tournament Group D Semi: Vladimir Konsky (R3 - Decision) Hakim Att Hma

70kg Tournament Group D Semi: Zhao Shuai (R3 - Decision) Seyedisa Alamdrnezam

70kg Tournament Group D Final: Zhao Shuai (R3 - Decision) Vladimir Konsky

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WLF - Glory of Heroes Fight Card

  • Published in Kickboxing

On April 2nd, WLF will be hosting their Glory of Heroes event in Shenzhen, China. WLF is the biggest fighting promotion in China at the moment and they don`t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

For this card they had an interesting concept. They have 4 fighters (2 Chinese and 2 Foreigners) at the 63kgs, 67kgs, and 70kgs weight class and they allowed the fans to vote on the match ups. Pretty cool idea and it has made for some great match ups with the amazing talent they have.

Fight Card

Super Fight - Israel Adesanya vs Alex Pereira

70kgs - Enriko Kehl vs Yi Long

70kgs - Josh Jauncey vs Xu Yan

67kgs - Fabio Pinca vs Yinghua Tie

67kgs - Jomthong vs Qiujian Liang

63kgs - Yukiya Nakamura vs Wei Rui

63kgs - Emmanuel Lique Cañaveral vs Deng Zeqi

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Card for Kunlun Fight 39, Featuring Buakaw

  • Published in Kickboxing

Kunlun Fight returns yet again this weekend with one of the kickboxing world's most familiar faces in Buakaw Banchamek at Kunlun Fight 39. This card, like most Kunlun cards, promises a lot of quality kickboxing and some spectacle thrown in as well for good measure. Their Clash of Titans tournament continues with some solid bouts across two blocks, with Artem Pashporin against Victor Nagbe in the C-block looking like one of the bigger fights of the evening. 

Albert Kraus is in action against Liu Mingzhi in a bout where the young Mingzhi will have a chance against a true legend of the sport, but Kraus has shown himself to be durable, even if he's been active for quite some time now and is showing some signs of aging. The big bout, of course, is Buakaw Banchamek against Kong Linfeng. This bout will, most likely, see Banchamek walk away victorious, but as we've seen prior, Kunlun isn't exactly pulling punches when it comes to Buakaw and simply handing him fights that he can breeze through anymore.

Kunlun Fight 39 will air on Jiangsu TV as usual.

95 kg: Yang Yu (16-4) vs. Nikolay Gusniev (17-2-1)

67 kg: Kim Minsoo (23-2) vs. Deng Li (23-8)

64 kg: Wei Ninghui (28-10) vs. Giorgi Khupenia (39-3)

72 kg: Albert Kraus (78-19-3) vs. Liu Mingzhi (14-4)

70 kg: Buakaw Banchamek (264-42-12) vs. Kong Lingfeng (13-3)

Clash of Titans Group D Semifinal: Mustafa Lakhsem vs. Seyedisa Alamdrnezam (31-9)

Clash of Titans Group D Semifinal: Zhao Shuai (13-3) vs Takuma Konishi

Clash of Titans Group C Semifinal: Bruno Miranda (28-6) vs Li Zhuangzhuang (13-3)

Clash of Titans Group C Semifinal: Artem Pashporin (18-6) vs Victor Nagbe (28-7-2)

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A Look at the SuperKombat Puerto Rico Event on March 26th

  • Published in Kickboxing

On March 26th SuperKombat will kick off their 2016 season with their first event, this one happening in the United States territory of Puerto Rico. The event is themed as the "USA vs. Rest of the World" (sic) and will feature some of SuperKombat's heavy hitters on the show. While there has been no official fight card released yet, there is one floating around right now and is most likely pretty accurate.

SuperKombat - USA VS Rest Of The World | Main Card

Main Event - SK Light Heavyweight Championship Bout

César Almeida VS Moisés Baute

 

Co-Main Event - SK Heavyweight Championship Elimination Bout

Daniel Sam VS Cătălin Moroșanu 

 

SK WGP 2016 HW Final Elimination Bouts

James Wilson VS Enver Šljivar

D'Angelo Marshall VS Jack May

Adenilson Clementino VS Kirk Krouba

Anthony McDonald VS Justin Milo

 

César CausinVSAdrián Torres

 

SUPERKOMBAT New Heroes Card (FightBox HD)

SK New Heroes Women's Lightweight Championship Bout

Angela Whitley VS Cristiana Stancu

 

Alex Berrios Jr. VS Alex Filip

 

SK New Heroes Lightweight Championship Bout

Turan Hasanov VS Cristian Spetcu

 

Carlos Vargas VS Bryan Daye

Dumitru Țopai VS Mark MacKinnon

Damian Johansen VS Adrian Frias

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An argument for why now is the best time ever to be a kickboxing fan

  • Published in Kickboxing

As usual, I began my weekly prep of the Warman Kickfighting podcast show by writing out my notes. I watched the Thai stadium muay thai fights for critical breakdown. Then I rewatched fights from the Glory 28 participants before this weekends event. As I watched them, I realize that I had just done this for a Glory card two weeks ago. Then it hit me that there seems to be multiple major cards every week. From Enfusion having their most successful card, to Lion Fight having another stoppage filled event, every weekend has been full of fights. In the next two months we have Yokkao, Bellator's kickboxing league, Holland's World Fighting League, and another Glory card. I have been a kickboxing fan for a long time. I cannot remember a better time to be a kickboxing fan, and yet we may be held back from enjoying it by our oldest fan base.

BLESSED AND CURSED BY OUR HISTORY

In the 90s, when K-1 emerged muay thai and kickboxing didn't just have several events. They dominated the martial arts sporting combat culture. UFC at that time was considered street fighting. The term mixed martial artist was not in use. A skilled martial artist tested themselves in kickboxing or muay thai. They had the K-1 World Grand Prix, which put the value of state and country driven world titles and put the athletes to the test in a tournament field of the best. Names like Aerts, Hoost, Bernardo, Hug, and Lebanner emerge as consistent victors and major international stars. But just as important as the star, the major K-1 tournament produced a holy place. Everyone wanted to one day fight in Japan, where there was borderline idol worship of elite combatants. 

Along with this came the advancement of technology. Computers went from novelty to mandatory in homes across the world. With this brought the emergence of fight forums, where people from all around the world would weigh in on the events of their region, stars to look out for, and of course, long breakdowns of the major K-1 fight cards. European based Super League got some attention, but clearly, the leagues of note were K-1’s Heavyweight and 70kg Max divisions. 

Flash Forward to 2011. K-1, due to multiple reasons, ran into financial trouble. They began to do less and less shows and eventually had to cancel their World Cup. They had no K-1 WGP that year. Interests down, the emergence of mixed martial arts and the UFC as the new leader in the culture of combat sports, and many proclaimed the end of kickboxing. 

THE TURN

Then, the Glory group attempted to buy K-1. They decided against it after seeing the mess of contracts and debt they would be absorbing. But, rich people play the game of business best, and they were able to purchase Simon Rutz's It’s Showtime management team. Rutz had almost every major European K-1 star under his roster and they were pulled from K-1 and began fighting in Glory on a regular basis. 

K-1 was also hit with a fantastic turn for the best. The K-1 Global Holdings Ltd. attempted to recreate the old flame of K-1s greatness. A failed attempt of an event in USA and a K-1 World Grand Prix that did not have the best fighters in the world ruined the brand more than helped it. The group that took over at the end of the K-1 Global run decided to focus on smaller weights and remain in the Asian Market of which they had great history. 

In the last two years both companies have overcome rocky starts and have begun to have consistent success. Glory had the early mistake. A failed PPV event and the longest fight card ever on NYE did not push the brand. However, they signed major US television deals with Spike and now ESPN, something K-1 never accomplished. Just as important as being seen is creating stars. Nieky Holzken and Rico Verhoeven are Glory brand created stars. Sure a young Holzken fought in K-1 and lost to superstar Buakaw. That drained down version wasn't his best showing, though. Holzken, now fighting at 77kgs, is considered the must see guy in the sport. His combinations, body shots, knockout power, and fight flow are amazing. Verhoeven went from journeyman heavyweight with no punching pop, to the unchallenged best in the world and the KO power to match his awesome technique. 

Improved K-1 too had some failure. A K-1 Max GP that ended in scandal as one of the fighters(Two time champ Buakaw) said that he was warned of foul play in the judges and refused to fight the extra round of a K-1 MAX FINAL MATCH. Since then they have focused on weight classes that have elite Japanese athletes. K-1 had their most success with Masato, a young, exciting fighter who the girls loved and had the skill to beat the elite. As many of Japan's elite combat sport athletes are shorter, focusing on weight classes like 65kgs, 60kgs, and now 55kgs has produced several athletes from Japan that create Japanese television interests. Masaaki Noiri, brothers Koya and Hirotaka Urabe, Japanese adopted Kimura "Phillip" Minoru and 55kg stud Takeru are their homegrown stars. K-1 puts on five solid shows a year and though they don't have the production value of events past, the crowd and ring action are excellent every card. 

With the success of these two super powers, we have solid paychecks from China. Kunlun is hard to follow because it has a lot of fights, but not a lot of narrative. However they have put together some fantastic 4 man tournaments and super fights on their cards. Kunlun is also not exclusive, meaning that K-1 and Glory athletes are able to pick up a fight here and there and grab good paydays, as long as it doesn't conflict with their major promotions events. 

As for women, this is also the best time to be in the sport. When I first fell in love with kickboxing and Muay Thai it was a three woman list at most. Names like Rijker, De Randamie, Kitchen, Rivera-Parr, and Elmont were amazing competitors, but got very little recognition. Thanks to Enfusion, Kunlun and now Bellator's kickboxing league. There aren't just good paydays out there. There are great exposure opportunities as well. Iman Barlow was the first woman pushed by Enfusion and after a reality show victory, they began pushing Anissa Meksen as well. Denise Keilholtz is an Enfusion champion who will now be fighting for Bellator's kickboxing company as well. Lion Fight was birthed on champions like American Tiffany van Soest. We are truly in a different age. Despite this, older fans are still missing the above improvements and continuing to think kickboxing remains in a down period.

CHANGING MINDS

The struggle with noticing the improvement is the old guard of kickboxing fans that misunderstood success in the kickboxing prime of 1994-2003. They judge today's athletes with old expectations. They recognize kickboxing as K-1, the way people recognize MMA as UFC. With no heavyweights winning tournaments in Japan once a year, they assume the sport is down.

They also struggled to grasp the movement of technology. I think a major reason why older fans feel the sport is dead is because it lived on fight forums. As "Lord Gaul" I was a 1000+ post man on several sites. We would talk about every punch in every fight for months before and after. With that being absent, people see the sport as dead. 

What those fans have missed in these two examples is that K-1 was only good for the heavyweights and Max weight guys. Dimitri Shukuta and Joeri Mes were the elite 77kg fighters of their era. But they had no home. The moment Super League went away they were forced to look for single fights. Mes at the end of his career was able to lean down and take a few K-1 fights. But for the majority of those in-between the weight classes, this was a loss. Guys like Kamel Jamel, Anuwat, Liam Harrison were too small, and guys like Clifton Brown and Nathan Corbett were stuck in the middle. Imagine if they had a middleweight K-1 belt to battle for. Tyrone Spong moving up the weight classes would have gotten even more attention if he won the K-1 belt at every single weight on his way up to heavyweight. We are in a special time when the most prominent company has a home for the majority of the world's weight classes.

The technology evolved for the best. YouTube was pretty new when I got into kickboxing and it was actually looked down upon in kickboxing communities. People wanted links to download for their hard drives. Sendspace and Megaupload where the acceptable modes of sharing and those that didn't share were called "leechers." We are 10plus years past that now. YouTube is the heavyweight champ in the video world. Not only can you find most videos there, but the major promotions upload content for you to watch, as advertising money can be made with viewership. So of course the number of visitors to the fight forums would go down once access to the videos got easier. Twitter is another addition. We use to post and then press reload to see other peoples post. It is far easier posting on the ever scrolling wall of twitter. You can now watch a stream of the event on your computer and tweet on your phone...or vice versa. 

Now I am not saying this changes cover everything we had in the prime years. I personally dreamed of the Japanese crowd when I pursued a kickboxing career. The K-1 tournament was indeed a special event exclusive to kickboxing, with its awesome white belt and massive trophy prize. Also all the cultural challenged aren't gone. Now stand up fighters see kickboxing and Muay Thai as something they do in preparation for MMA careers. However I can't help but be excited for the next generation of kickboxers. Enfusion and Glory do ten plus shows a year. K-1 and Yokkao do five plus, and Kunlun does fifteen plus. There are more opportunities to fight in front of large audiences, have access to more television and online stream exposure, make better paydays, and they can pursue kickboxing combat sports careers with more opportunities to compete than ever before. 

 

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Badr Hari Attack Victim Koen Everink Murdered in his Home

  • Published in Kickboxing

When analyzing some of the most important names in kickboxing from the past twenty years there will be a lot of champions on that list, a lot of influential trainers and even some of the millionaires that have kept kickboxing afloat during tough times, but one of the most important names has also been a non-combatant of any kind in the Netherland's Koen Everink. Everink, a Dutch businessman who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time while Badr Hari was at a dance party and was feeling rowdy in 2012, had his life forever changed on that fateful night when Hari attacked him and left him forever damaged. 

The importance of Everink is that this effectively put an end to Badr Hari's career as a top kickboxer. Multiple stints in prison, retirements and returns, fighting for warlord buddies and rich playboys looking to hang out with a legitimate tough guy, has been the name of the game for Hari since then. He was recently sentenced to finish out his term in prison and has been talking about fighting one more fight, but had that decision overturned in the Supreme Court. The once-promising career for Badr Hari took a turn for taking whatever fights he could scrounge up for his large asking price, with the results being mixed, at best. 

When someone is as talented as Badr Hari is, being taken from his sport at a young age is always a shame, even if its his own damned fault. Hari had moved on and it seemed that Everink would be able to move on as well, so it seemed like everything was done, but apparently Everink still lived in the shadow of that case. Not going out into public often, or when he did flanked by private security, was the life that he was left with due to numerous threats on his life due to the Hari incident. 

Apparently, either related or not, that is all over now as Koen Everink was found dead in his living room by his seven year old daughter this morning. Police believe that someone had broken into his home during the night, Everink had confronted them and was murdered. It's still unknown who was responsible for the murder, if it was simply coincidence or not. Regardless, Koen Everink did have a huge impact on the sport of kickboxing, like it or not. 

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K-1 Japan -65kg Japan Tournament This Week

  • Published in Kickboxing

After a pretty uneventful January and February we're ready to kick things into high gear with a few huge fight cards coming up. The first of which is on March 4th in Japan and it's K-1 Japan's -65kg Japan tournament. The winner moves on to the world stage of their -65kg tournament later this year and my god is this card amazing. The tournament features Masaaki Noiri vs. Minoru Kimura, Terasaki Naoki against HIROYA, Soda Yasuomi against Teruaki Yamazaki and Yuta Kubo against Noman.

The Superfights are absolutely nothing to turn your nose up at, either, as Makoto Uehara takes on Nori in a heavyweight bout, Hirotaka Urabe fights Johanne Wolf and perhaps one of the best fights on paper this year thus far is Kaew Weerasakreck (formerly Fairtex) against Massaro Glunder.

Yep.

65kg Japan Tournament - Quarter Finals

Noiri Masaaki VS Kimura Minoru

Terasaki Naoki VS Hiroya

Soda Yasuomi VS Yamazaki Teruaki

Kubo Yuta VS Noman

Superfights

Kaew Weerasakreck VS Massaro Glunder

Urabe Hirotaka VS Johannes Wolf

Makoto Uehara VS Nori

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Saenchai's Influence Even Bleeds Over into WWE

  • Published in Kickboxing

The influence of Saenchai is almost impossible to ignore at this point. Like we talked about before, he called out UFC megastar Conor McGregor in a fight that has real fight fans salivating at just the thought, and now? Well, the famous Saenchai one-handed cartwheel kick has made its way to professional wrestling. We've seen American muay thai fighters do the move before, but it definitely was within their lexicon. What fighter wouldn't look at Saenchai as a potential hero? 

But in pro wrestling? That's kinda weird, right? The other night WWE's own Shane McMahon tweeted out some training footage from the Wat in New York with Phil Nurse. What exactly did he tweet? Himself doing the "Saenchai Kick."

Shane McMahon is no stranger to to the world of professional fighting and was even attempting to buy into the UFC at one point. Hell, he tried to convince his father to have the WWE build its own MMA promotion, which never came to fruition because Vince didn't see the point in building stars that he couldn't control the destiny for. Shane McMahon is scheduled to appear at this year's Wrestlemania squaring against WWE legend the Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match and, uh, Shane will probably do this kick as well as fall from a really, really high place.

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Saenchai Calling Out Conor McGregor? Sure, Why Not.

  • Published in Kickboxing

Arguing against Saenchai being one of the all-time greats in muay thai is pretty much wasting your time at this point. He's earned his spot and wowed enough audiences worldwide to have earned his spot at the top and now it looks like Saenchai is trying to get paid. The biggest payday in combat sports outside of fighting Floyd Mayweather right now? It's probably fighting UFC's Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor. 

McGregor is the rare pairing of a guy who can talk and captivate audiences on top of a guy with some real knock out power to back up that talk. His next fight is against Nate Diaz, which seems to have MMA fans all hot-and-bothered, but this week Saenchai decided to toss his name into the hat for the McGregor games as well. Saenchai says that he's accomplished plenty in muay thai and is looking for a new challenge.

Dear god, imagine Saenchai annihilating dudes in the UFC?

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Enfusion Live #37 Card Shows One of the Better Early Cards of 2016

  • Published in Kickboxing

Enfusion knows where their bread is buttered, and thusly their cards in the Netherlands tends to have a bigger feel than the rest of their cards. Looking at the card for Enfusion Live #37 is proof of that as we get a one-night 70kg tournament, a heavyweight title fight and a few fights featuring some of the names that they've built into stars. The headline attraction is an Enfusion Heavyweight Championship bout between champion Ismael Lazaar and top ranked heavyweight Jahfarr Wilnis. Wilnis made a name for himself by winning Kunlun Fight's heavyweight tournament last year and then a strong performance in a GLORY contender tournament just cemented his top spot. This will be a huge challenge for Lazaar and is definitely a heavily-anticipated bout.

Enfusion Live #37 Eindhoven, The Netherlands Saturday 27.02.2016

21.00 Local start time (20.00 GMT)

3X3                                                                  -72.5Kg

Serginio Kanters (Surinam) Vs   Yassin Baitar (Morocco)

3X3                                                                  -57Kg Female

Samantha Van Doorn (The Netherlands) Vs Patrizia Gibelli (Poland)

3X3      TOURNAMENT                         -70Kg

Nordin Ben Moh (Morocco) Vs Mohammed Jaraya (Morocco)

3X3      TOURNAMENT                        -70Kg

Tayfun Ozcan (Turkey) Vs Madicke Kamara (France)

3X3                                                            -85Kg    

Ibrahim El Boustati (Morocco) Vs Patrick Van Rees (The Netherlands)

3X3                                                                  -67Kg    

Ilias Bulaid (Morocco) Vs Edson Fortes (Cape Verde)

5X3      ENFUSION WORLD TITLE         Heavyweight

Ismael Lazaar (Morocco) Vs Jahfarr Wilnis (The Netherlands)

3X3      TOURNAMENT FINAL              -70Kg

Winner Fight 3 Vs Winner Fight 4

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SuperKombat Kicks Off 2016 Season in Puerto Rico

  • Published in Kickboxing

SuperKombat pledged to take on the United States in 2016 and in their season opener they aren't exactly in America yet, but getting closer. Their first event of the year will happen on March 26th in Puerto Rico with a main event featuring Daniel Sam vs. Catalin Morosanu. 

"After months of negotiations, we are happy to announce that Superkombat events will be hosted also in the USA. For that, we have selected a strategic partner in our team, Mr. Richy Miranda – Cortese to support our efforts and who will develop the Superkombat concept in the whole American continent.”

“The first USA event will be in Puerto Rico, but we will continue also in other countries from the American continent and now we are thinking about Colombia, Mexico and Dominican Republic. As we did in Europe, we will discover new heroes in America through the Superkombat academy system which will be developed all around the world. The event for March 26 will be called USA vs Rest of the world," said Mr. Irimia.

There will be more information on this event in the coming weeks. [source]

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Kunlun Fight Sets Sights on Europe

  • Published in Kickboxing

China's Kunlun Fight has one of the best kickboxing products around right now, employing some of the very best fighters from around the world as well as top Chinese prospects. Their tournaments have made new champions and brought to light lesser-known talents who have turned out to be some of the very best in the world. The only problem is that much of their product appeals to a wider audience, just that this wider audience has no way of finding these shows.

That seems to be changing with Kunlun's expansion into Europe. A recent report has slated them as working out television deals in Europe with both Eurosport and Canal+ thanks to a working agreement with Amibo TV productions. 

There have also been talks of running events in Europe as well. Neither of those television deals are going to net big money, but they will make the product more accessible to fans outside of China, at least. This comes hot off of the heels of Kunlun announcing its "Superstar Fight" series that will take place monthly in China and be focused on MMA over kickboxing.

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Free Agent Alistair Overeem Could Revitalize Kickboxing's Heavyweight Division

  • Published in Kickboxing

(C) Dan Herbertson

Today Bellator announced the signing of former WEC and UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson. Henderson was a free agent after his UFC contract expired and him moving to Bellator is yet another big deal in the wake of UFC's grasp on the industry starting to wane thanks to Viacom's hefty check book and moves by the UFC like the Reebok deal that made fighting in the UFC a lot less attractive to fighters. There is another free agent out there that has interest from many sides and that free agent also has our interest as well, that is Alistair Overeem. 

Overeem's UFC career has been solid, if not average at 5-3 with big wins over Brock Lesnar, Frank Mir and Junior Dos Santos. But now he finds himself as a free agent and it seemingly comes down to taking a lesser offer from the UFC in hopes of getting a run at the UFC Heavyweight Championship, or to look for greener pastures. 

The question on lots of fans' minds is this; will he end up in Bellator. My question is a bit different; will he kickbox again? 

In a way it seems impossible, right? With all due respect to GLORY, the chances of them paying Overeem what he wants seems slim-to-none at this point and no other big kickboxing organization would really benefit from adding Overeem to their roster at his high price point. That is, if you are looking at things in a traditional, binary way of a promotion having only this or that, or just being MMA or just kickboxing. What if a promotion could offer both?

We've known about Bellator's Scott Coker looking to expand into kickboxing for almost a year now, but the wheels seem to be in motion starting at the April Oktagon event (although Bellator has yet to comment on this yet), with Joe Schilling confirming in his recent Reddit AMA that Bellator was going to venture into kickboxing. All of a sudden Bellator seems not only like a logical destination for a fighter like Alistair Overeem's MMA career, but for the final K-1 World Grand Prix Champion (at least under the FEG banner, I guess, are we counting Cro Cop's win?) to return to kickboxing and shake things up in heavyweight kickboxing. 

A huge part of why heavyweight kickboxing has felt so hollow over the past few years has been not only the dissolution of K-1's legendary heavyweight division, but the retirement or fading away of the stars that made that division so great. Alistair Overeem was the man to win the last real K-1 World Grand Prix while K-1 still had its roster in tact. A big part of why the division hasn't felt as vibrant would have to be that for years the champion would continue fighting in tournaments and when a new champion was crowned there were no lingering doubts because the system was clear. The system was incredibly simple; the champion won a one-night, eight man tournament each year. Period. That's it. 

GLORY has held tournaments since then, and K-1 held a World Grand Prix in 2012 that Mirko Cro Cop won, but all of these tournaments felt like they were missing something. In that period of time Rico Verhoeven has risen up to the very top of the food chain, but finding someone to challenge him has been a chore for GLORY. On top of that, some fans still don't accept him as the "real" champion for god know's what reason. I'd argue that a big part of that feeling is that the chain was broken and the champion didn't go on to fight in another tournament. There was no passing of the torch, so to speak. 

If Bellator is truly going to have their own kickboxing promotion this year who better to help build that promotion around than Alistair Overeem, former K-1 World Grand Prix Champion? And yes, he could do that while still fighting in MMA for them as well. Overeem's star power is undeniable at this point and while promotional logistics would make a potential clash between Overeem and Verhoeven difficult, never say never. 

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Opponent Announced for Robin van Roosmalen's MMA Debut and More at FFC 22

  • Published in Kickboxing

Robin van Roosmalen will be making his MMA debut at FFC 22 in Athens on February 19th, that much we knew, but his opponent was unknown still. Now we know that he'll be fighting 6-5 Greek fighter Theo Michailidis, currently fighting out of the UK at -66kg. This should be an interesting challenge for van Roosmalen as it'll involve weight cutting as well as fighting an opponent who is experienced in MMA, although not seemingly a world beater. 

Another fight to look forward to is at -95kg in kickboxing between Pavel Zhuravlev and Brian Douwes. Douwes has proven himself many times over after a few mediocre showings in It's Showtime early on in his career and this fight is a pretty big deal at -95kg.

FFC 22  Athens

19/2/2015, 8PM

 

MMA:

Robin Van Roosmalen (NED) vs. Theo Michailidis (GRE), -66kg

Darko Stošić (SER) vs. Emil Zahariev (BUL), HW

Pavel Doroftei (MOL) vs. TBA, -84kg

David Vasić (CRO) vs. Zauri Maisuradze (GE), -84kg

Alexander Papadimitriou (GRE) vs. Vladislav Genov (BUL), -70kg

TBA vs. TBA

KB:

Pavel Zhuravlev (UKR) vs. Brian Douwes (NED), -95kg

Samo Petje (SLO) vs. Meletis Kakaoubavas (GRE), -70kg

Antonio Plazibat (CRO) vs. Sergei Masloboev (LT), -95kg

Tomislav Čikotić (CRO) vs. Marius Munteanu (ROM), HW

Marko Adamović (SER) vs. Florian Marku (ALB), -70kg

JAsmin Bajrović (CRO) vs. Dimitris Chiotis (GRE), -77kg

 

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Full Card for Jan. 23 Wu Lin Feng Card Featuring Petrosyan and More

  • Published in Kickboxing

China, man, are they starting to get a vice grip on kickboxing or what? Wu Lin Feng's upcoming show on January 23rd is proof enough that they are doing some big things. That 67kg tournament is truly interesting, with names like Andrei Kubelin, Xie Lei, UMA and Nathan Robson. On top of that the legendary Yi Long is competing against Eyedisa Alamdarnezam and Pakorn is fighting Wei Rui.

The man that knocked out Simon Marcus, Fang Bian, is in action as well, taking on France's Cedric Doumbe. The big fight for most of us is Giorgio Petrosyan's first bout of the year against Jiao Fukai in what is looking to be an incredibly busy year for the Doctor early on.

Card is courtesy of our friends at Kiksie.

Wu Lin Feng

January 23, 2016

Shanghai, China

Broadcast on Henan TV

Tournament Quarterfinal #1 - 67kg

Qiu Jiangliang (China) vs. Nathan Robson (Australia)

Tournament Quarterfinal #2 - 67kg

Lu Jianbo (China) vs. Melsik Bagdasaryan (USA)

Tournament Quarterfinal #3 - 67kg

Xie Lei (China) vs. UMA (Japan)

Tournament Quarterfinal #4 - 67kg

Feng Jie (China) vs. Andrei Kulebin (Belarus)

65kg

Deng Zeqi (China) vs. Jomthong Chuwattana (Thailand)

67kg

Yang Zhuo (China) vs. Craig Dickson (United Kingdom)

73kg

Yi Long (China) vs. Seyedisa Alamdarnezam (Iran)

63kg

Wei Rui (China) vs. Pakorn PKSaenchaimuaythaigym (Thailand)

Tournament Semifinal #1 - 67kg

Quarterfinal #1 Winner vs. Quarterfinal #2 Winner

Tournament Semifinal #2 - 67kg

Quarterfinal #3 Winner  vs. Quarterfinal #4 Winner

81kg

Wang Honxiang (China) vs. TBA

71kg

Jiao Fukai (China) vs. Giorgio Petrosyan (Italy)

80kg

Fang Bian (China) vs. Cedric Doumbe (France)

Tournament Final - 67kg

Semifinal #1 Winner vs. Semifinal #2 Winner

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Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Enriko Gogokhia Set for Bellator/Oktagon Event in Italy

  • Published in Kickboxing

A cursory glance at Giorgio Petrosyan's schedule for this year would make any sane person wonder if the Doctor has lost his mind. In just a matter of days Petrosyan will be competing in China for Hero Legend's and has at least one other fight that we've heard of, two more rumored. This all being said, the Doctor being back in full force is a welcome change after his relative inactivity and gradual return in 2015. 

At Oktagon's big April 16th event Petrosyan will fight Enriko Gogokhia. While there were rumors of a possible showdown with Yodsanklai for many months, his opponent is of a different flavor, Enriko Gogokhia. Gogokhia might not have a big name from competing in leagues like GLORY, but he is absolutely one of the best fighters in the world at this weight class and should prove to be an interesting challenge to the fighter that many consider one of the greatest of all time. 

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The April WFL Card is Amazing

  • Published in Kickboxing

Remember Melvin Manhoef's World Fighting League? Well they aren't going anywhere any time soon, that's for sure. They have announced their first card for this year in April and there isn't much to say about it other than this; wow. What they have scheduled thus far is a pretty big deal, and there are a lot of solid names without opponents yet as well, meaning that only more great fights will be added. Of course, unless you are in the Netherlands the chances of ever seeing this card are pretty close to nil, but hey.

The main attraction is Andy Souwer vs. Mohammed Khamal in what is an absolutely incredible bout. Khamal has been in some of the most exciting bouts of the last five years or so and Andy Souwer is just coming off of a big MMA debut win at Rizin FF against Jienotsu Nagashima, showing that he's still young and has a lot of years left in him. The other exciting fight is that Enfusion's Ilias Bulaid is about to get the test of a lifetime against Shoot Boxing star Zakari Zouggary.

Andy Souwer VS Mohammed Khamal

Heavyweight Tournament: Raul Catinas VS Brian Douwes

Heavyweight Tournament: Marcello Adriaansz VS Sam Tevette

Zakaria Zouggary VS Ilias Bulaid

Ibrahim El Bouni VS Fred Sikking

Chahid Oulad El Hadj VS Mohammed Messaoudi

Also on the card are Marco Pique, Kevin Hessling and Murthel Groenhart.

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Kunlun Fight 37 Fight Card

  • Published in Kickboxing

Kunlun Fight 37 will take place on January 23rd 2016 in Sanya, China. This card includes the semi finals of the Kunlun 70kg max tournament where Sittichai Sitsongpeenong will be matched against fellow countryman Superball Banchamek and Enriko Gogokhia will take on Victor Nagbe.

Full Card

70kg Max Semifinal - Superbon "Superball" Banchamek (THA) vs Sittichai Sitsongpeenong (THA)

70kg Max Semifinal - Enriko Gogokhia (UKR) vs Victor Nagbe (AUS)

Jonay Risco (SPA) vs Anatoly Moiseev (RUS)

Aikpracha Meenayothin (THA) vs Dzhabar Askerov (RUS)

Jason Wilnis (NLD) vs Wang Chongyang (CHN)

Nurla Mulali (CHN) vs Xu Zhen Guang (CHN)

Yang Yu (CHN) vs Ivan Bartek (SVK)

Sung Hyun Lee (KOR) vs Jlao Daobo (CHN)

Zhang Lipeng (CHN) vs Beibit Nazarov (HAK)

Martizandra Hersisia (NLD) vs. Liu Lingling (CHN)

 

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Robin van Roosmalen's MMA Debut Gets Dated; FFC 22 on Feb. 19th

  • Published in Kickboxing

GLORY Lightweight Champion Robin van Roosmalen is set to make his MMA debut this year at an FFC event, we knew this much, but today it was announced that van Roosmalen will headline FFC's 22nd event in Athens, Greece on February 19th. The card will also feature Pavel Zhuravlev, Samo Petje and Igor Pokrajac. 

His debut opponent has not been announced yet, but we assume that will be coming shortly. 

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Giorgio Petrosyan Scheduled for Fight in China on January 23rd

  • Published in Kickboxing

When it comes to being a top level kickboxer activity is important, especially if you are as good as Giorgio Petrosyan. Giorgio Petrosyan may have just fought Josh Jauncey at GLORY 25, but he's already set to start the new year off right with a fight in China. It's been known for a few weeks now that Petrosyan was scheduled to fight at WLF on January 23rd, but the rumored opponent was the legendary monk, Yi Long.

This week he finally got an opponent in Jiao Fukai. China is yet again bringing the goods when it comes to delivering on big name fighters and starting 2016 off with a bit of a bang. There are other rumors for where else we'll see Petrosyan in the coming months, but that is still in progress.

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'The Godfather of Kickboxing' Thom Harinck Back Into the Mix

  • Published in Kickboxing

In 1972, director Francis Ford Coppola breathed life into Mario Puzo's most famous crime drama, The Godfather. The story and its subsequent sequels chronicled the story of the Corleone family from their origins in Sicily, rise to power and finally the efforts of the family to legitimize the family's name and fortune. One of the best scenes in trilogy is when an exasperated Michael Corleone exclaims, "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!"

Why even bring up The Godfather on a kickboxing site?

Why, because sometimes the truth can be stranger than fiction. On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, something else big was happening in 1972, the founding of Chakuriki Gym in Amsterdam by Thom Harinck. The 'Chakuriki' style which represents a fusion of techniques from boxing, Kyokushin karate, judo, jujitsu wrestling, Muay Thai and Savate for over forty years became a dominant influence on the fighting styles of many of the biggest names in kickboxing. Among his many talented pupils standouts such as Peter Aerts, Andy Hug, Badr Hari, Melvin Manhoef, Branko Cikatic, Hesdy Gerges, Pedro Rizzo, Jerome LeBanner and countless others have had their careers and fighting style shaped by Harinck's Chakuriki philosophy. In 2013, however, one of the most influential men in the sport decided to retire. At that time Harinck stated that he would continue to support the sport from the sidelines focusing his energy on the completion of a book about his life, spending time with his family, participating in European forums regarding kickboxing, and of course doing seminars all over the world.

During his first year of retirement, Thom Harinck was still one of the busiest retirees I had ever met. In 2015, one of his former pupils, current Glory light heavyweight champion, Saulo Cavalari reached out to him for management services. Always one to support the sport and his former pupils, Harinck agreed. With one foot already back in the game, 2016, Thom Harinck has decided to take Chakuriki full throttle again, coaching a small number of his former pupils including Saulo Cavalari, Hesdy Gerges and Amir Zeyada. Just when he thought he was out, they pulled him back in. His comeback has not been unconditional. While Harinck has sold his old gym in Amsterdam, he has found another place to train and it, like before, is under the Chakuriki system: hard training, no talking, no drugs. The Chakuriki style according to Harinck is not just a fight style, it's a lifestyle and in 2016 it begins again. For forty years Thom Harinck dedicated his life to training boys to be the best men in the ring and as long as he has his health, he's dedicated to training for many more. Watch out Glory, K-1, SuperKombat......Harinck's back.

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Robin van Roosmalen Signs with FFC for Upcoming MMA Debut

  • Published in Kickboxing

GLORY Lightweight Champion Robin van Roosmalen has been training to make his MMA debut for a while now. He's been one of those names that has come up as training with high profile UFC fighters, sparring with big names and has been one of the few kickboxers that many fans see having potential to be a big crossover star. That MMA debut will happen in 2016 and the promotion that it will happen in with be FFC.

FFC, Final Fight Championship, based out of Croatia, blend together MMA and kickboxing on their shows, booking some higher profile stars across both sports in Europe over the past few years. Van Roosmalen signing with them allows him the flexibility to compete in MMA for them while still remaining the GLORY Lightweight Champion.

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Robin van Roosmalen, Benjamin Adegbuyi, Alex Pereira and More Reflect on 2015 and Look forward to 2016

  • Published in Kickboxing

Goodbye 2015, hello 2016! This article has to be one of my favorites to write each year. Every year I try to evaluate my progress towards my goals or lack thereof. It was hit and miss for me this year, but I'm always going to keep trying. But, should I subject only myself to this sometimes angst filled exercise? As usual I've invited some people from the combat sports community to share with the fans at Liverkick an assessment of the year that was and give us a sneak peek of what's to come in 2016.

Mike Lemaire:

2015 was a successful year for me going 4-0 and improving my record to 17-2. The last two fights were absolute wars and both fights of the night. My goal for 2016 is to get some big fights and go undefeated.

Frank Mach:

2015: On a personal level, it was in some cases a disappointing year. I had to deal with a lot of setbacks like health issues, cancellation of K1 Royal and the workshop with Remy, Ernesto and Peter. On the other hand, I made a successful transition into the soccer business by accompanying approximately 15 young talents as well as continuing to manage known top fighters. I also look back on good points like the last Glory event in Amsterdam which was amazing. I don' t mean Danyo' s result, its more the atmosphere and to see that big events are back in Europe. All in all 2015 was a more than grateful year. I learned from my personal defeats and setbacks and will come out stronger in 2016. In 2016, I am really looking forward to placing my fighters at big events all over the world and soccer players into clubs in higher leagues. Especially I am looking forward to work with Danyo Ilunga, Janosch Nietlispach, Bilal Messoudi and my teammates Asmir Burgic and Remy Bonjasky. I personally have a good feeling about big events and challenges coming for the three fighters. I am very confident with Stefan Leko, and will be placing him in events in 2016. I am really proud of working with these people and look forward to the Glory events as well., but also other big promotions are in my focus. For our Rough Diamonds League it looks as though we have already fixed the first two dates of 2016. Besides the sports business I run a small consulting business specializing on small startups. I hope to help lots of people to realize their goals and dreams regarding entrepreneurship. My message for not only the readers of Liverkick is to follow your dreams, work hard and be patient when you fail. Always stand up one more time. Wishing all the fight sports fans a merry Christmas time and happy new year 2016.

Robin van Roosmalen:

2015 was a difficult year for me, in my personal life but also in sports. I fought 3 fights, won them all, but they didn't go how I wanted. I think my career has just started and there is still a lot to come. I'm not close to my prime yet. 2016 I will stay the champion , and I will make my name in MMA.

Birol Topuz:

In 2015 we at Topuz Sports Management mainly concentrated on Boxing and Kickboxing. In Kickboxing our athletes competed in Glory, W5 and SuperKombat. In Boxing we worked as a consultant and as a reporter for the Amateur Boxing Associations AIBA. We helped them organize the APB Pro Boxing organizations in Turkey with upmost effort and devotion. In 2016 we will organize our brand organization called Ring Masters Olympia in the International Boxing and the Kickboxing arena. We also decided to invest in Professional Boxing together with our Heavy weight and Middle weight boxers by finding the best possible sponsors in Turkey. Turkey is a very strategic area close to Europe, Asia and Middle East and we can use this to our advantage by being a fast acting mobile company. We feel that Topuz Sports Management Company is the best candidate in Turkey to contribute and fulfill the sports organizations plans and needs for 2016 due to the fact that we have the best local and international connections. Best regards, Birol Topuz and Topuz Sports Management

Alex Pereira:

Hi, I am Alex Pereira, currently 5th on Glory’s middleweight division. And current WGP (biggest kickboxing event on Latin America) champion. This year I’ve had good fights, here in Brazil everything went as expected, I’ve waged fierce battles and achieved satisfying results. In Glory I’ve had a chance to rematch against Jason Wilnis, unfortunately I couldn’t get the victory even having made a great fight. My expectation was to be able to have more fights on Glory, however I didn’t have the opportunity to display my work. A very important happening on 2015 was to have my first MMA fight and I intend to continue in those two modalities as other fighters have. My plans for 2016 is to chase Glory champion belt and honor my people and ancestors, even with the possibility to move to EUA and be nearer to my dream, which is to be the best middleweight in the world.

Tim Hughes:

As 2015 comes to a close we finally have a chance to catch our breath and look back on the year that was for Glory kickboxing. Virginia, Dubai, San Diego, Las Vegas, Lille France, San Jose, Denver, Milan and Amsterdam. It has been an extreme privilege to stand center ring for these great athletes and for all of these hard working and dedicated GSI staff and production members behind the scenes who do what they do every day to accomplish one goal, to shine a spotlight on the most exciting combat sport on the planet. After years of sitting ringside for MMA both in the ring and in the cage, there is no comparison to the speed, power and accuracy of top level kickboxing talent! All we can hope for in 2016 is that more fans will embrace the sport and that with the ESPN platform to showcase these talents, more fans will have the opportunity to see what Glory is all about! The return to kickboxing's spiritual home of Amsterdam was the icing on the 2015 cake and I know that the Glory staff and these amazing athletes have a real Sweet Tooth for what's to come in the New Year!

Benny Adegbuyi:

A week ago, after my loss I had the feeling that everything was bad. But looking back over the entire year I could say I had a good year, with some important wins, also with two title shots that I have lost but my motivation is bigger now. I learned from my mistakes and I know what to change for the next year! For 2016 I'm planning to win all the fights and even though I'm not sure if I will attack the title soon and I have a lack of experience comparing to the others top fighters, I still want to be ranked on the highest position possible.

Dan Black:

Where to begin? 2015 was so busy, it seemed to just fly by, honestly it seemed like one event after another. 2015 started off interestingly as we were a big part of Nick Diaz's camp for the Anderson Silva fight and the timeline was perfect for Xavier's Glory fight in Virginia with Everett Simms. Previously, they were supposed to have fought as amateurs, but the fight never happened for whatever reason. Going into the fight everything was going well up until a few days out when Xavier got injured breaking up a fight with his dogs. That was a bit of stress but luckily he was healed up in time and it didn't affect anything with the fight. Next we were supposed to fight Chi in Dubai, but they also wanted him to fight in San Diego, so we decided to pass on Dubai and just focus on the tournament in San Diego. Things were again a bit interesting going into the fights as we didn't know too much about the opponents other than they were really big guys so we couldn't take them lightly. Xavier, however, had been in tournaments before so I was confident he would be ok. Up next was the fight with Daniel Sam which was a true test for him as he had a lot of obstacles outside the ring going into that fight not to mention the fact Sam is a veteran with more than 3x the experience on an international level. Despite all the roadblocks Xavier was able to blast thru them and was able to pull off the fight with Sam despite him being considered the underdog by most of the international kickboxing community. On the same card I had Matt Baker make his Glory debut as a reserve in the middleweight tournament. He won on points. Matt competed recently on the Legacy kickboxing show as the 209 lbs reserve fighter but his opponent stopped the bout after an accidental head-butt in the first round. Nick Pica made his Bellator MMA debut on this historic Glory/Bellator Dynamite card with a convincing win over veteran fighter, Mauricio Alonso. Xavier won another boxing match bringing his record in boxing to 3-0 with 2 KOs and his kickboxing record to 9-1 with 8 KOs.

2016 I see a lot of big things coming up both on the kickboxing and MMA fronts. Xavier is only going to have harder fights so we are trying to stay busy and have been training hard, preparing the team for what's ahead. I also have Carl Sunamanutafa fighting on an upcoming Bellator show in Fresno and Roy Boughton fighting for the heavyweight title on Westcoast Fighting Championship. With fights booked thru half the year so far so 2016 looks like it will be very busy.

Xavier Vigney:

2015! What a year it has been. It all started in February in Virginia. I believe it was Glory 19. I was matched against American amateur national champion Everett Simms. He was not known on the international scene at all, but a big strong athletic guy like him is always dangerous and he had nothing to lose (except maybe his life) when it came to fighting me. We started the fight getting straight to business throwing punches, kicks, and knees. I tested his chin early dropping him with two right hands in the first round. He had enough after I crumbled him with another right hand and the fight was over. I think the most difficult thing about going into this fight was a fact that I had injured my left knee 10 days prior to the match.. I won't get into it too much on how I injured my knee, but my boxer and my pit bull got into a little scuffle and I had to break it up. Next was Glory in San Diego for the heavyweight qualification tournament. In this four man tournament I was matched up against Maurice Jackson. He was an interesting character. On the other end of the bracket was "Chopper" Lewis-Parry from England vs Demario Dennis. Chi had a mouth on him and he liked to run it a lot, whether it be in interviews, Twitter or Instagram he had something to say. It wasn't the first time I had to deal with something like this, my pro debut in 2012 against Seth Petruzelli was very similar. Petruzelli liked to talk and try to be funny. But it didn't work out so well for him. Really Chi was only making it worse for himself. The night of the tournament I made quick work of Maurice Jackson knocking him out in the first round. He came out throwing some pretty hard and athletic high kicks to my head which I defended and countered with hard punches. This caused him to shell up and turn his back. I managed to sneak in another hard right uppercut as he turned away and it landed right on his chin snapping his head back. He went down and the fight was over. Next was Chopper vs. Dennis. As I was backstage watching the fight I was expecting it to be a war. Demario landed a couple decent shots but when Chi returned fire it hurt him and the fight was over in the first round. Chopper Chi won. Now it was time to shut Chopper's mouth for good. When he entered the ring I didn't take my eyes off him. I could see through the man. We had a very entertaining competitive first round we both landed some good shots on each other, but towards the end of the round I could see and feel him starting to break. The second round came and I started just as strong and hard as I did in the first. He too, was still game but eventually he could not stand the pressure and pace. I got him in the corner and rained down hard shots to the head and body. When he bent over in the corner Big John McCarthy had seen enough and stopped the fight. And I won the tournament.

Next was Glory Las Vegas and here I was matched up against veteran fighter Daniel Sam . He is a massive man and has good experience fighting against a number of the best kick boxers in the world. This was a serious fight for me and also it was a test. Come fight night as I stood across the ring from Sam I felt comfortable, confident and ready to fight. We had a good competitive fight and went distance. I clearly landed more shots and had superior boxing but I will give Sam credit where it is due, the man kicks like a horse and he landed some good kicks on my body and legs. I felt those kicks for a few weeks. When it was all said and done I won the match and perhaps a little bit of respect because a lot of people didn't think I was going to win the fight against such an experienced and powerful guy like Daniel Sam. So after I let my leg heal up a little bit it was time to fight yet again this time pro boxing in a what I consider local match taking place at Cache Creek Casino and Resort in the Sacramento area. I was matched up against a guy named Derrick Williams who had experience in pro kickboxing, boxing and also MMA. When I first met him at the weigh ins I looked him in the eye and I could tell he knew he was in over his head. A guy like that is always dangerous though, because he has nothing to lose by losing to me. Come night of the fight as I stood across from Williams I could see that he would be in there fighting for his life. The fight started and he came out pressing forward trying to land something but I caught him with a few hard shots and he went down. He got back up and a few seconds later I caught him with a left hook that landed flush to his temple he went down the fight was over. That fight was October 24th 2015. Now as I sit back and reflect on 2015, I have to be thankful for going 5-0 and for making it out healthy. It was a good year full of good fights and good learning experiences that will prepare me for what is to come in 2016 and beyond. I am in no rush and I will continue to be patient and take it one day at a time, one training session at a time, and one fight at a time (maybe 2 or 3 if it's a tournament haha). I do have goals and one of them for 2016 is to go 6-0 between both kickboxing and boxing. But even without fighting 2016 will be one of the biggest years of my life this much I know.

Michael Duut:

Last year in 2015, I had a lot of injuries. I had a hamstring injury as well as an injury with my bicep which I tore completely. The latter injury occurred two weeks before a Glory event during a sparring session. So it was bad luck. For next year, 2016, my plan is first to recover, only having had surgery a few weeks ago and in January I plan to have physical therapy and also to start training a bit and then we have to see. Of course it is my goal to have the light heavyweight belt, but first I have to be fit. I think in September or October I will be ready to fight again.

Niclas Larson:

Unfortunately, I only had one fight on Danish ground in 2015. I was supposed to fight a four man tournament in Glory with Sittichai, Davit Kiria and Josh Jauncey. I became ill with staphylococcus aureus and needed an operation on my foot. Unfortunately this happened two weeks before the tournament. After three weeks of inactivity in the hospital and month of recovering, I am confident I will comeback at the end of February. This will be a fight on Danish ground and then I will be back fighting in all the big promotions for muay thai, including K-1 and Glory. I can't wait to be back !! Glory is an awesome promotion!

Sheri Ellington:

This year has been has amazing. I've had the opportunity to travel to many new places, including several kickboxing events. I've continued to train in Atlanta with my Coach Manu Ntoh. In October, I fought at my 6th World Championship in Spain representing USA National team. This allowed me pick up my 6th World Championship medal. One of the most important events for me this year as a career change. I accepted a position at a dental practice in a different city. This will allow me to have more opportunities and has been a very positive change. 

2016, I will be very focused on my career. I really enjoy designing custom mouth guards for my friends that fight. So...I'm very excited about starting that again. As far as me fighting, I will continue to train with Coach Manu in Atlanta. If the right opportunity comes along and if Coach Manu agrees then I will. I'm interested in helping my teammates at Team Manu behind the scenes, like finding sponsorships, promotions, & training. I will also be helping my friend set up seminars here in the USA. Of course, I will be traveling as often as possible. I plan on visiting my old teammate George Hickman who is coaching at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket.

It is my hope that everyone has come at least one step closer to their dreams in 2015 and will acheive even more in 2016! Osu!

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