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The 11th World Karate Championships – WKO Shinkyokushin


Kyokushin Karate has always been a breeding ground for professional full-contact fighters. Nicholas Pettas, Andy Hug, Francisco Filho, Glaube Feitosa, and Sam Greco, to name a few. Not to mention Georges St. Pierre, former Welterweight Champion of the UFC.

In more recent time, Full-contact karate is beginning to have it’s own “professional” bouts, with organizations like the World Fighting Kyokushin Organization sanctioning professional tournaments for prize. However, it is at the amateur level where these fighters get their start.

Since the passing of Masutatsu (Mas) Oyama in 1994, the founder of Kyokushin Karate, there have been many splinter groups formed by former students of his. While this has been good in some ways for the spread of what is known as the “Strongest Karate”, it has also created infighting amongst groups, and many groups have become siloed within their own organizations. Thus, tournaments are only for practitioners within a specific group. This is not uncommon within martial arts when there is a passing of a founder.

Some groups however, within Kyokushin, are beginning to open its doors. Forming larger tournaments, open to different organizations. The Kyokushin World Union, a non partial organization, with leaders from different organizations, is know for this. And most recently, the WKO Shinkyokushinkai, led by former Champion Kenji Midori, has opened it’s doors to others. This is will undoubtedly help in the push to have Full-Contact Karate be accepted into the Olympic games. A long-time goal of Kenji Midori.

This coming November the WKO will be hosting their 11th World Karate Championships, in Tokyo, Japan. An open weight tournament held once every four years. What makes this one different however is that the WKO has invited fighters from other organizations to participate.

Among those invited were Knockdown fighters from the International Karate Federation (IFK Kyokushin, which is a member of the Kyokushin World Union). The IFK have selected two Russian men and Emma Markwell from the United Kingdom. British fighter Emma Markwell, from the IFK / KWU, is well known in the British Open Championship and is currently the IFK European Champion. Aside from this, Markwell will also be fighting in the KWU World Tournament and the Kyokushinkan All Japan.

Emma Markwell

Other organization fighter within the female division includes:

  • Takayo Kimura - Buritsu Kaikan, Japan
  • Yui Kikukawa - Ashihara Kaikan, Japan
  • Irina Kriazheva – KWU, Russia
  • Momoka Oba – KWU, Japan

The men’s division includes:

  • Nikolay Maslennikov – KWU, Russia
  • Naoki Morita – KWU, Japan
  • Artem Nazaretian – KWU, Russia
  • Vasily Samadurov – KWU, Russia
  • Masaki Yamaoto – KWU, Japan
  • Igor Ryadnov – KWU, Russia
  • Alexander Komanov - KWU, Bulgaria
  • Yordan Yanev - KWU, Bulgaria

Many people are eager to see fighter Valeri Dimitrov of Bulgaria. Known as the “Prodigy”. Dimitrov is the 3-time World champion in Weight Categories, 3-time European champion in open weight and 12-times European champion in weight categories. Known for his humble and quiet appearance and his extremely dynamic fighting style.

Valeri Dimitrov

Other fighters to watch include Yuji Shimamoto, 2014 All Japan Champion and Kazufumi Shimamoto, 2010/11 WKO All-Japan weight Champion.

This tournament will prove to be a large event in Japan, with spectators and participants from around the world and will create better exposure for full-contact karate. And who knows. Perhaps it will spawn the next great Professional Full Contact fighter!



Keri Anne Melendez vs. Hadley Griffith Added to Bellator MMA Dynamite 1 Kickboxing Main Card

The unfortunate reality of Gabriel Varga being forced to drop out of Bellator MMA Dynamite 1's GLORY portion of the card has led to what looks to be a replacement of sorts coming from the Bellator side of the equation, making that two fights on the GLORY portion of the card that have their origins in Bellator. The first was the Paul Daley bout and the second is the recently-signed Keri Anne Melendez (wife of Gilbert Melendez) will be competing on the GLORY portion of the card against Hadley Griffith.

Bellator announced the signing of Keri Anne Melendez late in the summer, claiming that her contract was both for kickboxing and MMA, so the her addition to this card is not surprising in the least. 


Giorgio Petrosyan Fighting on GLORY 25 Monza

There hasn't been word from GLORY just yet as they are still promoting their involvement in Dynamite 1 and the upcoming GLORY 24, but Fight 1 out of Italy announced that it's official: Giorgio Petrosyan returns to the GLORY ring on November 6th in Monza, Italy. You might be seeing rumors for match ups around the internet, but nothing is official just yet on that front. One would think the Ristie rematch would be in order, but there are some hurdles involved with Ristie fighting for GLORY without his now-banned trainer. 

Hopefully we'll see a card start coming together for this soon. Also, for the conspiracy theorists out there this show is taking place on a Friday, a move which GLORY made to please Spike TV and fit into their programming schedule of having fights on Fridays. Of course, there is also a Bellator event on that day, so unless they are planning on a double header with a taped GLORY event things could be afoot. 


GLORY's Future on TV Could Be With Showtime

Over the years the name "Showtime" has come up many times when it has to do with GLORY on American television. In fact, early on for the organization they were looking to Showtime as a potential home. This began with the relationship with CBS Sports Network, which aired some of their earlier events on tape delay, and many thought would lead to a deal with Showtime until Spike TV came along. Spike had initially reached an agreement with K-1 Global to bring kickboxing to the United States on Spike TV. That deal began with web streams on and after a few events both sides decided that it was best to move on.

That left Spike hungry for what they saw as potentially the next MMA in the United States and they looked no further than GLORY. Since then there have been ups and downs when it comes to GLORY on Spike TV. Kickboxing is a growing sport and as soon as Scott Coker took the helm of Bellator MMA Viacom's focus was on making Bellator MMA a viable brand and moneymaker for them. That is still a work in progress and somewhere along the way GLORY was left in the wake of the cult of personality that is Scott Coker. Bellator MMA has grown in popularity and television ratings since then while GLORY has been struggling with its identity within the Spike TV universe. 

The Spike TV/GLORY deal comes to an end in the near future and right now we are in the part of the deal where both sides consider the future. A part of that consideration is for GLORY to check for other deals and of course, Showtime once again is in their sights. Rumors earlier this year involved Floyd Mayweather possibly becoming involved with the promotion, which seemed like a backdoor of sorts onto Showtime, although things never quite panned out in that regard. Now we see GLORY's SuperFight Series airing on CBS Sports Network and FrontRowBrian tweeting about GLORY CEO Jon J. Franklin meeting with CBS officials. We've had confirmation on that for days now, but it all is just a part of the puzzle. 

Our friend John Joe O'Regan at BloodyElbow spoke with Franklin today and Franklin confirmed that there were talks, but that it is just business. The relationship with Spike is still there and it is safe to note that Franklin was the impetus for the Spike TV deal in the first place, before he worked in an official capacity for GLORY.

"Operating in the best interests of all Glory stakeholders, it behooves us to discuss broadcast opportunities with all networks that reach out to us," Franklin told Bloody Elbow.

What is clear is that GLORY is ensuring that fans in the United States will be able to consume GLORY programming moving forward. Where GLORY will be airing in a few months is still a mystery, but there are plenty of options it seems. Franklin's background in boxing and television can only help. If Showtime is where GLORY wants to go and that is within their reach it could be a truly interesting time for them. Showtime has less of a reach of a Spike TV, but as a premium network with a rich history of their sports broadcasting with boxing and Strikeforce previously, it would deliver GLORY to an engaged audience and also have Showtime's PPV know-how at their disposal. Never mind the possibility of airing on CBS proper. 


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