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Only in Japan: Jerome Le Banner vs. Josh Barnett Set for August

  • Published in Kickboxing

I'm not joking, Josh Barnett and Jerome Le Banner will square off on August 27th at the Ryogoku Kokugikan -- Japan's Sumo Hall, and this bout between the titans will be for a world championship. Who is promoting this bout? None other than Antonio Inoki, the grandfather of MMA in Japan and a pro wrestling celebrity. It is hard to believe that the MMA world and the Kickboxing world will be colliding like this, until you realize that it is under Inoki's IGF banner, which is professional wrestling.

Yes, Josh Barnett of Strikeforce fame will take on Jerome Le Banner of K-1 fame to declare the first IGF World Champion in August. IGF ran a tournament on the 10th in Japan that involved some pretty big names, including Ray Sefo, Eric Hammer, Josh Barnett, Jerome Le Banner and Bobby Lashley. Eric Hammer tapped Ray Sefo out in the qualifying round with an armbar, Josh Barnett tapped Bobby Lashley out with an armbar as well in the semi-finals. Hammer met Jerome Le Banner in the semi-finals by knocking him down five times, which sets up Barnett vs. Le Banner in the finals.

Something about this just reeks of awesomeness.

Barnett, Inoki, JLB

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Photos of the Day: K-1 Keeps it Real in IGF

  • Published in Kickboxing

Inoki Genome Federation, Antonio Inoki's professional wrestling promotion that is co-promoting the upcoming Real Entertainment New Year's Eve event, Genki Desuka! As par for the course with IGF, there are a lot of MMA and K-1 fighters involved in these cards, including a main event between Jerome Le Banner and Josh Barnett. JLB defended his IGF Championship against Barnett by doing what he does best; rearranging faces.

The event also featured a few other K-1 alumni, including Yuichiro Jienotsu Nagashima against Bob Sapp, with Jienotsu using a school boy on Sapp.

Then of course, everyone's favorite, Peter Aerts was in a tag team bout, partnering with former WWE wrestler and Strikeforce fighter Bobby Lashley, where Aerts was able to make mince meat of their opponents, former PRIDE FC fighters and NJPW wrestlers Kendo KaShin and Kaz Fujita. [Photos (C) SportsNavi]

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Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima's Pro Wrestling Opponent Set

  • Published in K-1

NagashimaYuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima is, as we all know, a very colorful fighter. Outside of his power and skill he comes to the ring in cosplaying costumes, much to the derision to some in the West and some at home, but it is hard to argue with his successes in the ring, especially over the past year. He announced earlier in the year his intention to step into the pro wrestling ring, namely of Zero-One MAX. Zero-One MAX for the uninitiated was the brain child of former New Japan Pro Wrestling owner, and one of the true god father's of MMA, Antonio Inoki's grand scheme to meld Mixed Martial Arts and Professioal Wrestling together, blurring the lines even further.

It started when it's chosen leader, Shin'ya Hashimoto was "shamed" into retirement by defeats from a MMA invasion of sorts by way of Olympic Judoka and MMA fighter Naoya Ogawa. At the time, due to Inoki and NJPW blurring the lines between wrestling and MMA, Hashimoto was "defending" his "sport" against MMA and was booked to lose, quickly. This pushed for the formation of a new promotion specifically for the two men and has since continued on after the death of Hashimoto.

Nagashima's opponent on 5/5/2011 will be none other than one of Hashimoto's former students and former Shooto fighter Kohei Sato. Sato started off in Shooto's amateur program, becoming a champion in their amateur ranks before moving up and having a few professional fights before entering professional wrestling.

All of this is a primer so you'll understand that Sato has a legitimate martial arts background and that his professional wrestling matches tend to look more like worked MMA bouts than anything else. His matches look more like submission grappling exhibitions than what you'll see on a standard WWE program. Video after the break, with Sato being the one in the kickpads.

 

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JCVD's The Kickboxer Being Remade with GSP and Bastista

  • Published in Kickboxing

JCVD

I feel like the title alone and how instrumental the Jean-Claude Van Damme movies were in the 80's into making Kickboxing a more popular sport here in the United States warrants coverage, but damn, they are remaking The Kickboxer. This is really a classic film in the world of martial arts, Kickboxing specifically. It featured Dennis Alexio as JCVD's brother, who was training and fighting in Thailand before he ran into the devious Thai Boxer Tong Po, who crippled him. This led JCVD on a mission of revenge and to learn Muay Thai.

What wasn't to like about it?

Now it looks like it is being remade with an interesting cast of characters to back it up. Alain Moussi will be the lead actor, best known for his marital arts-based stunt work in big budget films like Pacific Rim, White House Down, Brick Houses and many others. Hong Kong actor/producer/director Steven Fung will be directing the remake. It sounds like they change things up a little bit, with Eric (the Dennis Alexio character) being murdered by Tong Po, but hey, why not, right?

The film is also set to feature former UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre as well as WWE wrestler Batista (Dave Bautista), although it isn't clear which roles they will play. I'd have to say that Batista would make for a convincing Tong Po, wouldn't you agree.?

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The Voice Versus Hulk Hogan Teaser Trailer

  • Published in Kickboxing

Our good friend Michael Schiavello has a wonderful interview series on HDnet that features him in a sit-down interview with various names from the world of combat sports. It appears we still might have a ways to go before we can see the Voice Versus Badr Hari, but we can hold out hope, can't we? The latest in the series is the Voice Versus Hulk Hogan. This time it is a bit of an interesting departure from the norm, opting to interview a legendary professional wrestler. Knowing Schiavello, I fully expect a few questions about Antonio Inoki and the Axe Bomber from his time in Japan.

The show debuts May 20th at 10 PM Eastern.

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Brock Lesnar Wants Pat Barry to Retire

  • Published in Glory

GLORY

Recently fans got to witness Pat Barry make his way back into professional Kickboxing at GLORY 16 where he was brutally knocked out by African slugger Zack Mwekassa. If we are honest with ourselves, we saw it coming from a mile away after Barry's last few UFC fights, but it still came as a shock. In a way it was brutal. Just brutal. To the point where I'm not sure that I want to see Pat Barry step into the ring again if it is going to end like this. His UFC career didn't get tough because of wrestling and submissions, it got tough because he started getting knocked out.

Pat Barry has some friends, though, scary friends. Who could be scarier than former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar? Brock Lesnar, apparently, considers Pat to be a close friend of his and strongly wants Pat Barry to retire, so much so that he reached out to Dana White for help in getting Pat Barry to retire. Dana White, of course, felt he had no place in the matter as Pat isn't one of the UFC's famed "millionaires" that they've made, nor does he have a strong relationship with Dana White, plus he's moved on to work for GLORY. Dana White implied that it was up to Pat's friends, family and for State Athletic Commissions to make Pat Barry retire.

Kind of a sticky spot for GLORY right now, huh? [source]

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Former K-1 USA Fighter Sean O'Haire Passes Away at 43

  • Published in Kickboxing

Sad news today that former WCW/WWE wrestler and former K-1 fighter Sean O'Haire passed away yesterday at the age of 43. O'Haire's career began in WCW where he entered the WCW Power Planet where they trained new wrestlers. From there he ended up on WCW television in 2000 until the company was sold to WWE in 2001. He continued on to WWE (WWF at the time) where he competed under numerous gimmicks before he was released in 2004.

It was no secret that he loved fighting sports and was soon given an offer to compete for K-1 in 2004. O'Haire's focus was split between MMA, kickboxing and professional wrestling for most of his time in the ring, but he wasn't without controversy. K-1 had claimed that O'Haire had a 10-1 kickboxing record and 8-0 MMA record, which of course he had two MMA fights in 2004 that he won and zero kickboxing bouts until he made his K-1 debut. O'Haire couldn't quite hang in K-1, but brought them a lot of attention until he retired from kickboxing and MMA to settle down and be a barber in South Carolina.

Condolences to his friends, family and fans across the world. 

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