Results from the international kickboxing scene this weekend:
Mike Zambidis took home the title at the W5 Grand Prix event in Moscow, although it wasn’t an easy road. In the semi-finals, Enriko Gogokhia provided a tough challenge, taking the fight into the extension round before Zambo could score the decision win. In semi-final #2, Dzhabar Askerov took a decision against William Diender, setting up Zambidis vs. Askerov 2 for the final. The two men once again went to war, and once again it was Zambidis claiming the win via unanimous decision. With that win, Zambidis has won 7 of his last 8, with the only loss coming against Giorgio Petrosyan. Prior to this run, he was on a 2-4 streak, and looked like his days at the top could be finished; it’s been great to see the veteran fighter make this resurgence. Also at W5: Vladimir Mineev won over Vitaly Shemetov by doctor stopage at the end of round 1, Alexandr Stetsurenko def. Vasily Tershonok by decision in the extension round, and Roman Mailov def. Ramil Novruzov via decision.
Evolution 23 took place in Australia on Saturday. As always, the Australian Muay Thai show delivered, with a number of exciting fights. In the main event, one of the scene’s big names, Bruce “The Preacher” Macfie dropped a unanimous decision to Franki Giorgi. Giorgi had defeated Macfie by stoppage at the last card to set up this rematch, and while the Preacher went the distance this time, reports indicate the result was never in doubt.
Elsewhere in the card there was some controversy in a fight between Eli Madigan and Jason Scerri, which Madigan won. Post-show, Scerri’s corner has been very critical of Madigan and Evolution, claiming that when they agreed to the fight, they requested there be no elbows used, as Scerri no longer fights under full Muay Thai rules. According to Scerri’s camp at Jabout Gym, both Evolution and Madigan’s team agreed to this, however when the fight started, Madigan used numerous elbows to cut open his opponent. Scerri’s corner threw in the towel as they felt they were being cheated. Bit of an ugly situation there.
One final note from the show – much credit is due to Glen Purvis, who came in on very short notice to face the tough and experienced Dane Daddy Kool when Dane’s original opponent had to bow out. Taking a fight against a fighter at that level on just a few days notice is impressive. Even more impressive? Purvis is only 16 years old. Hats off to him for stepping in there.
Full results from Evolution 23 in the complete entry.
And finally, top Muay Thai fighter Saenchai Sinbi (the former Saenchai Sor Kingstar) was in action in England. Saenchai faced top ranked UK Muay Thai fighter Liam Harrison. Reports say this was an excellent fight with Harrisoin giving it his all, but in the end, Saenchai was too much and took the unanimous decision win. He’s now 2-0 against Harrison after a 2009 decision victory. If you’re unfamiliar with Saenchai, get to YouTube and check him out – truly one of the most gifted athletes in the world in any combat sports discipline.
Consider this some of the most exciting news that we all saw from a mile away to happen in quite a while. After the recent movement in Buakaw's legal status and camp and MAX posting about the "best is back" on their Facebook page it was very clear what was going down. It is now, apparently, official according to their Facebook page.
On August 10th MAX Muay Thai will originate from Zhengzhou, China and feature a four-man tournament. The four men in the 68kg tournament are Liam Harrison, Sagetdao Petchphayathai, Zhang De Zeng and Martin Ahktar. Those four make for a pretty interesting tournament, although you could argue that Segetdao and Harrison are the clear favorites to meet in the Finals, but that's OK with us.
They also have confirmed that Buakaw Banchamek will be making his official return to the ring, meaning actually fighting and not involved in an exhibition, at this event. His opponent has yet to be named and on a month's notice I do not suspect that it will be a huge fight like everyone wants, but be patient.
By Daniel Fletcher
Every champion falls, every great fighter declines, and every star burns out or fades away. It is the nature of the beast; as inherent and inexorable a fact as that the Earth orbits the Sun, that grass is green and that Michael Schiavello will scream "Goodnight Irene!" during a fight broadcast when a fighter gets sparked. To get proverbial, what goes up must come down, and as a promising young fighter embarks on his career, the ageing warrior must one day reach the point where the journey must end.
Andy Howson lost his ISKA world title last night, and subsequently announced his retirement. He was cheered by a raucous following, and hugged by the friend that had just relieved him of his championship belt. The show was over.
After 13yrs, he admitted that the young had usurped the (comparatively) old, and that his time was done. "After 13yrs, a lot of hard fights and a few world titles" was his own way of putting it, but he neglected to mention the respect of his peers, the support of his friends and his team, and the fact he went out being cheered. Hey, home town or not, even legends get booed at the end... just ask Nigel Benn. Going out to cheers and applause is a pinnacle.
As for the fight itself, it was a counter-striking technician against a shorter, more brawling orientated scrapper in Andy. Dean James used his range well, and though he initially showed Howson a great deal of respect in a cautious opening round, he turned it up a notch in the final minute of the second. A standing elbow landed precisely, arcing down onto Howson's head and cutting him open. The blitzkrieg was expected from the defending champion in the third, but it was this round that the downfall continuted; while Andy pressed, James began to pick him off and avoiding the inside work, landed another elbow from the clinch. Wobbled, Howson was forced back to the ropes, and a short elbow from the clinch dropped him. He survived the round.
(Photo courtesy of http://muaythaiphotos.com)
The fourth round spelled the end. As one fan put it, Howson "went crazy as only he can", and tried flurrying to turn the contest into an all out brawl. James complied to some extent, and should be credited for not playing an overly cautious technical game in his victory; this was an exciting contest. Alas, it had to end, and after allowing the bout to continue following a check up, the referee called another halt as the two head wounds spat blood, some of which was running down into Howson's eyes. An audible groan went round, as Dean James was declared the new ISKA World Bantamweight champion, and Howson's reign was ended.
Ultimate respect to Andy Howson, one of Leeds, Yorkshire and England's best Muay Thai fighters, and a very likeable guy.
Jordan Watson did not compete on the card, as his recent title defence over Cedric Mueller of France was still reminding his body about it. He did, however, speak very candidly with me about the 70kg MAX division he competes in, and there will be more on that in my next upload. Stay tuned.
Howson's retirement and Watson's non-participation didn't entirely cast ill-omen on Bad Company at the event, and they had their moments of triumph too. Lee Mundin outpointed Jo Boffey, thanks to a Herculean comeback in the final two rounds. Boffey had nudged ahead on the scorecards leading into the fourth, but Mundin earned a win for Bad Company in handsomely outlanding and outworking Boffey and taking the decision victory.
Also a victor was "Nice Guy" Eddie Long. The unassuming 78kg fighter has a peculiar hunched stance, his chin tucked and hands held outwards Remy style. It led me to ask his sparring partner, "The Myth" whether or not Long had a glass jaw that needed protecting at all costs. Not only the answer he gave, but the fight in question proved that he certainly didn't - Lee Keegan was unable to hurt him, and struggled to deal with the leg kicks dished out by the Bad Company man. At the end of the first round, his right leg was visibly wilting, with redness showing at the back of his thigh, and the expected finish came soon after. Despite his outward calm, Keegan backed into his corner and was more focused on blocking Long's leg kicks as opposed to dishing out his own offence, and after one too many right lowkicks, he buckled, and was unable to beat the count.
Off to a winning start for Long, who will look to compete at a forthcoming HGH Promotions or Bad Company promoted show. Who says nice guys finish last?
Yokkao 8 happened on March 8th in the UK and the most frustrating thing about it was seeing a long line of UK fighters, personalities and fans talking about how incredible the event was without being able to watch it. Thankfully Yokkao has uploaded the most-talked about fight from Yokkao 8, Liam Harrison vs. Houcine Bennoui. This fight was nonstop action with both men putting it all on the line against each other, neither man could feel even a bit of shame over their performance.
Of course, fans in the UK felt that Liam won and fans in France have been saying that they thought that Houcine won. Now you get to decide for yourself and watch.
On June 7th in Bolton, England The Main Event will go down, a Muay Thai card featuring Greg Wooten vs. Liam Harrison, as well as a few other big name British fighters participating as well. Here is a look at the card as it stands right now;
On March 21st in the UK Yokkao will return with Yokkao 12 and 13, featuring some of the world's best muay thai fighters in what has quickly become one of the most talked-about promotions in muay thai. The event is set to be headlined by a huge world title match between defending champion Pakorn and the UK's own Liam Harrison. Harrison has received universal acclaim over the past few years as one of the UK's top fighters by fighting anyone and everyone all across the world.
He'll have a chance to vie for Yokkao's newly-crowned 65kg World Championship facing off against one of Thailand's most exciting exports in Pakorn PK Saenchai MuayThaiGym. Pakorn won that championship at Yokkao 11 against the very tough Greg Wootton.
On Saturday, March 21st Yokkao 13 goes down in the UK where Pakorn will meet Liam Harrison in one of this year's most anticipated bouts thus far. Yokkao promoter Stefania Picelli caught up with Pakorn to talk about the upcoming fight as well as training with Saenchai for the fight. Saenchai, of course, famously fought Harrison before, so it seems like the perfect training partner for Pakorn to prepare for the big world title fight against Harrison at Yokkao 13.