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Bushiroad Creates KNOCK OUT, Aiming To Take Over Kickboxing

Kickboxing's rise in popularity can almost entirely be thanked on behalf of Japan, K-1 in particular. Sure, lots of talent came from (and still comes from) Europe, but the shows never quite reached the level that K-1 did in Japan. Therefore, K-1 was kickboxing for a very, very long time. The death of FEG led to the fracturing of the sport. Now we have GLORY, K-1 Japan, K-1 Europe, SuperKombat, WGP, Kunlun and many other promotions in its wake. 

The reality here is that there are people who believe in kickboxing as a sport and all want to make it big again, but under their own terms. Would it take a rising in Japan for the sport to boom again? That's what KRUSH has been hoping for with their K-1 Japan. KRUSH originally began as a joint venture between the All Japan Kickboxing Federation and K-1, then when AJKF fell to the wayside KRUSH split off on its own. Ironically, KRUSH now is the brand keeping the K-1 name alive in Japan. But that doesn't mean that everyone has always relied upon the whole K-1/AJKF mindset when it comes to kickboxing.

There was the New Japan Kickboxing Federation as well, which split off from AJKF in the mid-90's. The promotion No Kick, No Life rose in the ashes of the whole "anti-K-1" brand of kickboxing, instead focusing on muay thai rules. Now, replacing NKNL is KIXROAD, a collaboration between NKNL and Bushiroad with their show KNOCK OUT. Confused yet? KNOCK OUT takes over No Kick, No Life's television slot on Tokyo MX starting in 2017 and is being backed by Bushiroad. If you are unfamiliar with Bushiroad they are a trading card company based out of Japan. In 2012 Bushiroad acquired New Japan Professional Wrestling and has since made the once-great Japanese wrestling promotion flourish with the help of placing New Japan's biggest stars in Hiroshi Tanahashi, Shinsuke Nakamura (now in WWE), Kazuchika Okada and Togi Makabe (what?!) back into the national spotlight. 

That is exactly what Bushiroad is looking to do with KNOCK OUT. Our pal karaevfan on Kakutougi (the best kickboxing message board, period) gave a full report and translations from their first press conference and they have huge plans. They noted that kickboxing has yet to have a global leader since FEG's K-1 disappeared. MMA has the UFC, pro wrestling has WWE (although Kriyama of Bushiroad notes that New Japan is 'working on that'), but kickboxing is fractured. 

Famed former New Japan Kickboxing champion Onodera Riki will be producing KNOCK OUT and looking to once again make kickboxing flourish. This will be straight-forward, traditional kickboxing, which means three minute rounds, three rounds for normal fights, five for title fights. As for the rules? It sounds like muay thai, but they are calling it kickboxing. Why muay thai? Because they mentioned elbows. 

The first event is scheduled for December 5th at the Tokyo Dome City Hall (formerly JCB Hall), which seats about 3,000 people. The card is threadbare for now, but they aren't focusing on exclusive talent acquisition for now, just partnering with RISE and taking freelancers. 

Yuichiro 'Jienotsu' Nagashima  vs. T-98 (Takuya Imanari)

Haruaki Otsukivs. StarBoy KwaythongGym

Tenshin Nasukawa vs TBA

Genji Umeno vs TBA

They plan on running shows every other month and don't plan on making money for two years. Everything seems ambitious, with them wanting to expand the kickboxing market and overtake their competition. I guess we'll have to wait and see what they do.

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Fight Card for EM Legend 16 (Emei Legend)

EM Legend in China continues hitting on all cylinders for their next event, which happens on September 24th in China. Their 65kg tournament continues with Quade Tarnaki against Anvar Boynazarov and Kunchai vs. Manas. Also featured on the card is Rasul against Hiroya and a few other big fights.

65kg Tournament: Quade Tarnaki vs. Anvar Boynazarov

65kg Tournament: Kunchai vs. Manas

60kg Christian vs. Ji Duo Yi Bu

63kg Antoine Habash vs. Zhao ChuanLin

64kg Jonnata vs. Zhang ChengLong

65kg Rasul vs. HIROYA

70kg Sasu Lucian vs. Zhao XiaoYu

70kg Magomedov vs. Bian Denis

70kg Mendes vs. Liang YuanHao

70kg Mo ZhuangWei YuLong vs. Valentino Thibaut

70kg Ying PengPeng vs. William Whipple

70kg Elizier vs. Liu Lei

75kg Bahram Abdolmaleki vs. Han KaiHu

80kg Alexei Liubchenko vs. Falcao

93kg Sergj vs. Carlos Ulberg

100kg Douglas Abror vs. Andrei Sen

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Legendary John Wayne Parr Heads to Bellator Kickboxing in 2017

Remember when John Wayne Parr retired?

I'm not sure that JWP remembers that, even, because he got the itch to come back and did. Back in 2012 he was going to retire, he fought his first Caged Muay Thai bout and got that itch after just a few months. He's now ten fights deep after his retirement and if you've ever spoken to or heard an interview with him, it shouldn't come as a shock to you. The guy just loves to fight. 

Last year he appeared in Lion Fight and America's interest in The Gunslinger is as real as ever. Now it looks like Bellator Kickboxing has scooped up the legendary JWP and he'll be making his Bellator Kickboxing debut in early 2017. Awesome, right?

 

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K-1 Europe Planning 95kg World Grand Prix on October 27th

While K-1 Japan has been putting on some of the best shows in the world, K-1 outside of Japan has been rather quiet. K-1 GLOBAL was running events in China, but the ongoing details of setting up shop in China have considerably slowed down their approach on China for the moment. 

For fans across the world the K-1 name is still the standard for which all kickboxing is measured and K-1 is returning to Europe, kickboxing's spiritual home. K-1 Europe will operate much in the same vein that K-1 Japan does, operating shows based out of Europe highlighting the best talents around, but while K-1 Japan has lighter weights covered, K-1 Europe will be focusing on heavier weights. Everything kicks off on October 27th in Belgrade, Serbia with the K-1 Europe 95kg World Grand Prix.

This will be a one-night, eight-man tournament, returning to K-1's roots and while no names have been announced yet, the promotion is going to focus on talented up-and-comers as well as established talents in the weight division, with some of the names that I've heard being kicked around as definite crowd-pleasers.

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