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Time to Give Back: Help UK Fighter Kevin Harper Out

  • Published in Kickboxing
Harper and Vinny
Kevin Harper (top right) with Vinny Shoreman

So the whole Kickboxing and Muay Thai community around the world is a bit fractured and strange sometimes, but there are always good reasons to come together and bond and right now seems like one of those moments. I was talking earlier with a guy that most of you know pretty well, Vinny Shoreman, formerly the color commentator on It's Showtime and has also done work with K-1, Yokkao, LEGEND, Enfusion and more. Vinny is a guy that has been around the UK Kickboxing and Muay Thai scene and become an important figure and he's looking to do something good for the community, something which I completely support.

You might know the name of Kevin Harper, you might not, it depends on how much you've paid attention to the Kickboxing and Muay Thai scene out there. Harper has been doing some tremendous work over in the UK as a fighter, trainer and promoter, but things haven't been smooth sailing for Harper. Harper and his son, Oliver, have just gone through what has to be one of the worst nightmares imaginable, as Kevin's wife has lost her long battle to cancer. This leaves Kevin in an awful spot and Oliver without a mother, something that no child should have to endure.

Kevin is going through a lot right now and the next few years are not going to be an easier for him, so it's time for the community to give back. It doesn't matter where you are from, which style of fighting you prefer or who your favorite fighter is in this case, this is just someone from our community who is going through one of the most difficult times in his life. Vinny is going to be taking collections to help Kevin out, maybe even send him and his son on a vacation to try to get their minds off of this. So please consider giving back, even if it is just a little bit. You can reach Vinny at; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tyrone Spong has already offered up his gloves from his upcoming bout with Nathan Corbett to the highest bidder, with the proceeds going to Kevin.

Thanks.

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LiverKick Podcast - Volume 7

  • Published in LK Podcast

LiverKick is on top of your kickboxing needs, as always, and after a weekend like this, well, your needs should be met. If they aren't, we are here to help. If you aren't one of those guys who frequents forums, then there is a chance that you haven't had your fill of banter, you are in the right place. That's right, instead of resting on our laurels, Rian Scalia and myself sat down and talked the talk that was needed after the two big shows this weekend. We dissect both the Glory World Series event as well as the K-1 card, take a look at the good, the bad and the downright ugly, as well as what to look for in the future.

without further ado, go ahead and take a listen.

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Steven 'The Warman' Wright's Women's Pound-for-Pound List: May 2016

  • Published in Rankings

In putting together this women's pound for pound lists I must first make it clear that there is no difficulty in finding talented women. The difficulty lives in how many talented women there are. I could make a list for several weight classes, but it gets so thin after number five, that I thought a better representation for female Muay Thai and kickboxing fighters is to do a p4p list. 

My criteria is simple; the total number of victories over solid opposition is number one. Another way to put it; who did you beat and how did you beat them. A win is good, a KO win is better. Championships mean little, because there is a world champion in 90 percent of the gyms in the world. It means more to travel or import top talent and test ones self in that way than it is to remain undefeated against familiar opposition. Volume of fights is huge. If you flirt with boxing and MMA from time to time and do not build your kickboxing and Muay Thai resumes, fighters can jump you. Also if you are predominately a stadium Muay Thai fighter this is not the list for you. The major stadiums do not have female fights as of right now so all the champs are from regional stadiums. Muay Thai contributor Sylvie Duuglas Ittu has a great list for those that want lighter weight stadium fighters. Without further a due, your Liverkick.com female pound for pound(p4p) rankings. 

Honorable mentions, (Marianna Kalergi, Ilona Wijmans, Miriam Nakamoto (not sure if she is returning, but she is elite) Julia Berezikova (would be in the top 15 if she didn't compete in MMA so much, still an elite fighter with a good resume) Lucia Krajcovic, Lucy Payne and Rachel Adamus.

15. Anissa Haddaoui HOLLAND/MOROCCO

Fresh off a tournament win over all action star Ilona Wijman's and Sheena Windershoven she enters the top 15. She will have to be more consistent to move up in the rankings.

14. Mio JAPAN

Mio is a KO artist that campaigns at 48kgs, the smallest weight class in competitive fighting. She will struggle to move up in the rankings due to lack of depth in the weight class. However she has been the girl to beat in Shootboxing's smallest division for some time now. Her KO over Yuuki is violent stuff

13. Samantha van Doorn HOLLAND

Samantha is on fire right now. Sure, she has been beaten by the top women on this list. But she has won three straight over Australia's Sam Brown, Ilona Wijmans(2015 Fight of the Year), and Patrizia Gibelli

12. Eva Naranjo SPAIN

Eva has a controversial win over Iman Barlow and a solid win over Sam Brown. However her boxing focus has taken away from her kickboxing resume of late so she can only be on the list at 12.

11. Anke van Gestel BELGIUM

Its hard to find a more active fighter than the 22yr old Anke van Gestal. She fights anyone, and despite some loses to the better women in the sport she has just beaten Rachida Bouhout and Aleide Lawant, Bouhout was a higher weight Enfusion champion. Anke has also beaten Lindsey Haycraft Sheer, veteran Claire Haigh, Sarah Debaieb, and Ilona Wijmans in an Awesome fight.

10. Antonina Shevchenko PERU

Sister of All time Great Muay Thai fighter Valentina Shevchenko, Antonina has built quite the resume herself. Fresh off a Enfusion reality show tournament win over Laetitia Bakissy and Shana Lammers. Antonina started the year off right and then signed with Lion Fight. If all goes well, she will get one fight to showcase her skill and then a title shot with Jorina Baars later in the year. Lack of opponents could mean the Jorina fight is next. 

9. Jemyma Betrian HOLLAND/SURINAME 

Activity is the only reason why Jemyma isn't higher. Outside of a draw to Tiffany van Soest, Betrian is unblemished. No loses in kickboxing and wins over Christi Brereton, E Meidie, and Wang Kehan in an epic fight. She hasn't fought kickboxing in two years, but also hasn't committed to MMA full so she makes the list. 

8. E Meidie CHINA

Though controversial, E Meidie has the biggest win on this list in an extra round decision victory over Anissa Mekson. She also beat Isis Verbeek and won six times in eleven months. She will need more total fights to move up, but she is in the elite women's weight class so opportunities will come.

7. Wang Kehan CHINA

Despite E Medie having the big win, the best fighter in China is Wang Kehan. She burst on the scene when she almost stopped Jemyma Betrian in the first round. Since that fight, she trains with Betrian and hasn't lost a fight sense. Irena Mazepa, Michaela Michl, and Masha Valent. Unlike Meidie, Wang has left the country and has had success without the favoring of hometown judges, winning in the US, Belarus, and the Philippines. She just stopped Rachel Adamus on Kunlun so she is adding to her resume every month. 

6. Tiffany van Soest USA

The American super star has been Lion Fight Champion pretty much since it has aired on TV. She has wins over Ashley Nichols, Bernise Aldis, Lucy Payne(twice) and Alexis Rufus. Tiffany had a tough 2014 losing to Muay Thai Legend Caley Reece and Denist Kielholtz. But she bounced back to regain her Lion Fight title and is now signed to Glory kickboxing. She is seen as the premiere signing in the women's division and now fighting between 52 and 54kgs she will have plenty of chances to move up in the rankings. 

5. Rena JAPAN

The Shootboxing queen hasn't lost since she was 19yrs old in 2011. Sense then she is beating and stopping opponents. Elli Maria Ekstrom, Christina Jurjevic(Twice), Ai Takahashi, and her most important victory, a 5rd decision over Erika Kamimura, who would be on this list had illness not end her career. Rena is a talent and her KOs of Za Za Sor Aree and Reinthong are brutal and beautiful.

4. Denise Keilholtz HOLLAND/SURINAME

She is the best 57kg fighter on the planet. Denise has wins over Ilona Wijmans(controversial), Lindsey Haycraft Sheer, Vicky Church, Lucy Payne, Lucia Krajcovic, Cindy Huyer, and a big win over Tiffany van Soest at a time when most felt they were one and two in the world. Denise is fresh off a win in Bellator's kickboxing league so more to come from the Dutch/Suriname fighter

3. Jorina Baars HOLLAND

Jorina Baars is amazing. She has the combination to low kick game down, uses her length well, and is getting victories in Muay Thai, which isn't even her best stand up sport(she is a better kickboxer). Victories over Martina Jindrova(twice), Chantel Ughi (twice), Anissa Haddaoui and the most important win in the history of women's Muay Thai, a dominate victory over the unbeatable MMA star Cyborg Santos. Outside of that there isn't much talent in the higher weight classes so her inevitable fight with new Lion Fight signee Antonina Shevchenko is an opportunity to move up. 

2. Iman Barlow ENGLAND

In truth, no one has a better resume than Iman Barlow. No female fighter on the planet, in boxing, MMA, or Muay Thai fights as much and win's as much as Iman. She has wins over, Samantha van Doorn(twice), Alexis Rufus, Maria Lobo, Adi Rotem, Mellony Geugjes, Johanna Ryberg, Ferial Ameeroedien, and Fani Peloumpi to name a few of many. The only reason she isn't number one is because of a stoppage loss to Anissa Meksen in the Enfusion reality show tournament. Outside of that, the girl who beat the boys Iman Barlow is a prodigy in the sport and has been fighting in Muay Thai since she was 3...that isn't a joke. She has more than 150 fights. 

1. Anissa Meksen FRANCE

French fighter Anissa Meksen is he number one p4p female fighter on the planet due to her resume and the way she won. She has victories over Isis Verbeek, Maria Lobo, and Ashley Nichols. But she has stoppage wins over Adi Rotem, Johanna Ryberg, Phet Yodying, and the win that makes her number 1, a stoppage victory over p4p number 2 Iman Barlow. A controversial loss to E Meidie is the only blemish to her otherwise stellar record. She should remain at the top spot, but the arrival of Glory's female division could mean a possible fight with Tiffany van Soest and a rematch with Iman Barlow. Yet as it stands, Anissa Meksen is the number one p4p female kickboxing/Muay Thai fighter on the planet.

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Japan Gets Embarrassed By Shoot Boxing's S-Cup

  • Published in Kickboxing

There’s a belief in the fight community that when you go to Japan that you need to be prepared for anything. You could say that for any fighter going into another country where they are to fight local fighters they have their backs against the wall and fear the “hometown decision,” but in Japan it always seems amplified. A part of that is the marriage of professional wrestling and professional fighting that has existed for a very long time in the world of “kakutougi.”

In fact, if you were to look at Shoot Boxing’s S-Cup event there was a professional wrestling bout on the card featuring New Japan Pro Wrestling Junior Heavyweight sensation Kota Ibushi against former DDT Pro Wrestling colleague Michael Nakazawa. It was originally labeled as an “exhibition match” under Shoot Boxing rules and was scheduled to be against Kazushi Sakuraba, but that fell through thanks to Metamoris 5. 

That should set the tone for you.

This S-Cup was one of the few that I’ve seen more than the usual fans excited over, which was in part due to the card that they put together. Mosab Amrani, Pornasae, Hiroaki Suzuki, Michiko Omigawa, Hiroki Shishido and American Muay Thai fighter Kevin Ross were all a part of the tournament, while legend Andy Souwer and Shoot Boxing hero RENA were in Super Fights. 

It felt like one of the bigger shows that Shoot Boxing had put on in a very, very long time and then Shoot Boxing went and put on a shameful display for all of the world to see. 

The draw for American fans was muay thai standout Kevin Ross being in the tournament. Ross went into the tournament against his toughest test by the way of former Sengoku, DREAM and UFC alumnus Michihiro Omigawa. Omigawa was a champion Judoka who rose to prominence in the Japanese MMA scene and after his UFC stint gave a shot at Shoot Boxing. Much like Toby Imada in the past, his grappling skills were able to help him against seasoned kickboxers and 2014 was his second attempt at Shoot Boxing gold.

By all accounts Omigawa was winning the first round handily thanks to his throws, which score heavily under Shoot Boxing rules, but there was a clash of heads that led to a nasty cut on Omigawa's face. In the second round the cut was a major factor, leading the ref to stopping the bout. The referee awarded the fight in favor of Ross due to the stoppage, while backstage there was a different story and Shoot Boxing organizers informed Ross that the fight was being rendered a No Contest and that he would not continue on in the tournament. 

The rules are a bit unclear at a time like this, where it isn’t clear who was at fault, or if it was accidental. What the referee most likely saw and ruled was that the cut was due to Omigawa’s own “negligence” (section 10) and ruled it in favor of Ross. Shoot Boxing might have been arguing that it was due to both men, which would make things a lot muddier. The truth of the matter is, the referee awarded Ross the win in the ring and any time the decision is reversed backstage it will be a tough sell to anyone that it was on the up-and-up.

If that wasn’t frustrating enough, then there is the story of Zakaria Zouggari. Don’t know who Zakaria Zouggari is? Neither did we, but we sure as hell know now. Rob Emerson of MMA fame (fame?!) was scheduled to take part, but at the last minute was unable to secure a visa, which left Shoot Boxing in a bind and called up relative unknown Zakaria Zouggari to fill in for Emerson in a reserve bout. 

Zouggari defeated Shoot Boxing’s resident punching bag Bovy Sor. Udomson via cut stoppage in round two and, thanks to the Kevin Ross/Omigawa shenanigans, was called upon to fight in the tournament moving forward. 

That led to a fight with internationally-renowned Houcine Bennoui and for this amazing display.

Seriously. God damn.

So this unknown would move onto the finals. According to Andy Souwer after the event Zouggari literally got off of the plane, dropped his bag off in his hotel room then hopped on a bus and headed to the event without time to rest, eat or get acclimated. This was the man who went on to the finals against 2013 65kg S-Cup Champion Hiroaki Suzuki. This is where things went from bad to worse. Zouggari clearly had the fight won after three rounds, only for an extension round to be ordered. When that was too close a SECOND extension round happened where Suzuki was finally able to score a TKO over Zouggari and it looked like Shoot Boxing’s hand-picked champion had won again.

It was almost like they weren't trying to hide the favoritism and that they really, really wanted Suzuki vs. Omigawa in a rematch of last year's finals. 

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Watch GLORY World Series LIVE on LiverKick May 26th

  • Published in Kickboxing

GloryWe are very pleased to announce that on May 26th LiverKick.com will be partnering with Glory Sports International to bring you the live stream of the big Glory event in Stockholm, Sweden. On May 26th Glory will kickoff their World Series of Kickboxing tournaments with the First 16 for the 70kg division while also hosting a slew of super fights, including Gokhan Saki vs. Carter Williams and Semmy Schilt vs. Errol Zimmerman.

Head over to Glory's newly-redesigned site to get a glimpse of the rest of the card.

As mentioned, we will be partnering with Glory to host the PPV right here on LiverKick, so you do not need to leave your favorite source for Kickboxing news and coverage on fight day. The event costs $15 and will begin at 12:30pm Eastern time/9:30am Pacific time/18:30 GMT +2. Go ahead and bookmark this page, as this will be where you go to order the event on fight day. All you have to do is click the "play" arrow on the video and then click the "Buy Access to this Event" button and it should be pretty straightforward from there. If you just want to watch the event, make sure to click "Single Video Access" when you're in the process of buying it.

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LiverKick.com Podcast - Volume 5

  • Published in LK Podcast

podcast

It has been too long, hasn't it? The LiverKick Podcast makes its return after a few weeks of absence with all of the latest news from the Kickboxing world. This week we take a look at the Final Fight card that went down in Croatia, including the bout between Mirko Cro Cop and Ray Sefo, Daniel Ghita taking on Sergei Lascenko and more. Rian Scalia (@rianscalia) and myself (@liverkickdotcom / @locuststar) give our thoughts on the card, from the good to the bad to the downright ugly.

Then we turn our attention to some of the bigger news, including a possible date for the first K-1 show of 2012, Remy Bonjasky making a return to Kickboxing and a whole hell of a lot more.

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LiverKick Podcast - Vol. 3

  • Published in LK Podcast

After a bit of a break for the holidays and other assorted nonsense the LiverKick Podcast makes it's [mildly] glorious return. As always, Rian Scalia (@rianscalia) joins myself (@LiverKickdotcom / @LocustStar) as we discuss the latest happenings in the world of Kickboxing. We take a look at some of the huge announcements from Golden Glory, including a card announcement for March 23rd as well as them announcing three huge tournaments and the whole saga of them and the K-1 name. Then we move on to look at the Yokkao Extreme card that went down yesterday before bringing it all back to It's Showtime which goes down next week.

Fight the good fight and listen to the LiverKick Podcast. Intro and outtro music provided by Night Terrain (@nightterrain).

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Video: Artem Levin vs. Kaoklai

  • Published in Kickboxing

Here is a fight from last weekend that slipped under the radar: It's Showtime 77kg champion Artem Levin vs. WBC Muay Thai World Light Heavyweight champion Kaoklai Kaennorsing.  The fight was 5 rounds, full Muay Thai rules for Kaoklai's WBC title and took place at an event in Russia.

Levin came in off a career best year in 2010 that saw him quickly rise up the ranks.  In the last year, Levin claimed both the It's Showtime title and the Gold medal at the SportAccord Combat Games. Along the way he defeated two men who could each make a solid claim for being #1 at 77kg: Yodsaenklai Fairtex and L'houcine Ouzgni.  He's on a 12 fight win streak, and has to be considered the top man at 77kg at this point.

Kaoklai is a Muay Thai legend who K-1 fans may best know for his surprising 2004/2005 K-1 Grand Prix runs.  He's in the twilight of his superb career, although he did put together a 5-0 record in 2010 and is not yet completely finished.

Analysis after the jump.

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A Layman's Guide to Scoring a Muay Thai Fight

  • Published in Kickboxing

I wanted to write this article after seeing the scorecards for the Saenchai vs Kevin Ross fight and also in light of the scoring on the Cosmo Alexandre vs Cyrus Washington fight which was held in the US earlier this year.

Before I get started I should make it clear that I am not a qualified judge. For a definitive guide to how a Muay Thai fight should be scored you should check out this article by Tony Myers:

Judging a Muay Thai fight part onepart two

This is only intended to be a quick and rough guide for those who (like the judges in the US...) don't understand how a Muay Thai fight should be scored.

Muay Thai is not scored in the same way as boxing, K-1 or MMA so trying to apply the same criteria to a Muay Thai fight that you would any another combat sport is a waste of time.

The first two rounds of a Muay Thai fight are always scored a draw, unless one fighter absolutely dominates or visibly hurts his opponent. The opening rounds are only intended to be used as a feeling out process and good fighters will almost always treat them as such. Rounds one and two are an opportunity to size up your opponents and to begin to demonstrate your superiority to the judges BUT will generally have no effect on the scoring of the fight.

Rounds three, four and five are the decisive rounds and the result of them will settle the outcome of the fight unless there is a stoppage. Muay Thai rounds are not scored in isolation though so, for instance, if one fighter looked stronger in rounds one and two but round three is even the judges will often give round three to the fighter who looked stronger in the opening rounds.

A fighter who is already ahead normally seems to get the benefit of the doubt in a close round which means that once a fighter has taken a lead on the scorecards he only needs to be as good as his opponent to win the fight, whereas the opponent needs to clearly demonstrate that he is better. This may seem like merely a semantic difference but it is never the less an important one.

Another way that Muay Thai differs dramatically from other combat sports is in the way that different techniques are scored. Any strike which lands cleanly scores points but straight knees and kicks to the mid section seem to score more points than any other techniques.

Read more after the break...

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Sigh. Here's Buakaw Banchamek Abusing a Puppy

  • Published in Muay Thai

Sigh. Seriously, there's nothing pretty about this. This is stupid, this is obnoxious, it's kind of awful. Buakaw Banchamek is a guy who has been through a lot of crap and has had fans really pulling for him throughout. I've gone to bat for him a few times when he was claiming to being mistreated by his former camp and right now it's hard to feel bad for him. Abusing an animal of any kind is a really, really awful thing to do. Everything from simply hitting one in excess to the more horrible things like dog fighting and using weapons on them is just flat out wrong.

So you can only imagine the horror at this video that has been passed around the past two days. In this video Buakaw is sitting with a dog and playing with its paw. The problem is how he's playing with the dogs paw. He's taking the dog's paw and slapping it across the dog's face, then starts to get more aggressive as he goes on, jamming the paw into its mouth as the dog audibly cries out in pain. If you've ever owned a dog before, you know the sounds a dog makes when its in pain and it's not playing. Those are the sounds that this dog is making. Near the end of the video the dog is literally screaming out in pain.

It's hard to watch if you are a dog lover, or, hell, if you are just a decent human being. As an owner of two dogs there is never, ever a situation that would arise where a dog should be treated this way. Ever. This is not only in poor taste, but this is downright animal abuse. We live in an age of social media where stuff like this should not go unnoticed, if you follow him on social media tell him that this is not okay. It's hypocritical that he's posting photos on Instagram of him cuddling and playing with the same dog and kind of bothersome to see people defending his actions as "just playing" with the dog.

That wasn't just playing, that was being a shithead. The video is below and it is disturbing.

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