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Former K-1 Head Kazuyoshi Ishii Making Headlines in Japan Again

Ikumi Yoshimatsu

Former K-1 owner and founder Kazuyoshi Ishii is making waves in Japan again, only this time outside of the ring.

In December, Ikumi Yoshimatsu, the current Miss International, filed criminal and civil charges against one of Japan’s most powerful talent agencies’ executives for stalking her and attempting to ruin her career.

Yoshimatsu filed the complaint against Genichi Taniguchi, a powerful executive with the talent agency K-Dash and president of the firm Pearl Dash.

Ishii entered a meeting and demanded Yoshimatsu ride with him to the most powerful talent agency in Japan, Burning Productions. Ishii then introduced her to "the Don" of the Japanese entertainment industry, Ikuo Suho. Burning Productions has a tainted past and in 2007 was listed as a client company of the Yamaguchi-gumi.

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Pat Barry Returns to Kickboxing; The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Pat Barry

Earlier this week UFC fighter Pat Barry announced his retirement from MMA and the UFC, that the UFC had granted him a full release and that he intends to keep fighting, just not where he needs wrestling. This means, by name, that he called out Kickboxing as his intended target and what better time for Pat Barry to consider Kickboxing? When Pat Barry was Kickboxing before his choices were limited, as he fought in the WCL and in K-1 USA events, which had very limited appeal. Kickboxing in 2014 is a whole different world.

The question is, while a return to Kickboxing in 2014 is the right move for Pat Barry, what does it mean for the sport of Kickboxing?

The Good

Pat Barry has appeared on twelve UFC events over the past few years and built up quite a reputation and following here in the United States. To say that Pat Barry will bring eyes to whichever organization he chooses is an understatement, because Pat Barry will bring eyes and mainstream (MMA) media coverage, something that Kickboxing has to claw for here in the United States. Pat Barry has also always been an undersized Heavyweight in the UFC, but in Kickboxing he’d be more in line with the rest of the division, or with GLORY having a burgeoning Light Heavyweight division he could easily end up at Light Heavyweight and feel at home.

The Bad

Pat Barry washed out of the UFC, let’s be honest here. He’s leaving behind an 8-7 career that includes him being Knocked Out a total of four times. Pat Barry might not like grappling and looks to leave wrestling behind, but not all of those losses were on the ground, either, some were standing up and not exactly against the best guys the UFC had to offer. No doubt a major Kickboxing organization is going to pick Pat Barry up, but they have to really take into account how they market him, because Pat Barry is a very exciting fighter but to sell him as a world beater will make the promotion and the sport look weak in comparison, that a 5-7 UFC fighter can come in and clean up in a different sport.

The Ugly

Pat Barry’s Kickboxing career ended in 2007 and the end came with two losses to smaller, less powerful Heavyweights in the Kickboxing world by the way of Zabit Samedov and Freddy Kemayo. Both are good fighters in their own right, but neither fighter was ever a top ten fighter, nor will they probably ever be. Both men probably belonged in a Light Heavyweight or Cruiserweight division, just like Pat Barry would. Pat Barry probably would have problems against a guy like Rico Verhoeven or Daniel Ghita, but Pat Barry always refused to cut weight in MMA which would have probably seen him be more competitive at Light Heavyweight than at Heavyweight. Pat Barry is going to be a major investment and for that investment to pay off there will need to be some compromises.

At age 34 I’m not sure that Pat Barry has that many years left for a competitive career, but he could still make a very real go at Kickboxing, especially with things looking up for both GLORY and K-1 at the moment.

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LiverKick Best of 2013: WTF Moment of the Year

Photo (C) Legend

The year 2013 was a tremendous year for the sport of Kickboxing as we saw GLORY take aim at America as one of its home bases and really made some strides that I honestly thought we’d never see for the sport here. GLORY not only ran shows, but they ran a bunch of shows and those shows were attended by a good number of paying customers. Then, to top it off, GLORY moved from CBS Sports Network and internet PPVs to Spike TV, picking up steam and viewers with every show. That was a big deal.

GLORY wasn’t the only organization to make moves, either, as we saw another season of the SuperKombat World Grand Prix, the birth of LEGEND in Russia and K-1 starting to get the gears in motion by running both a Heavyweight World Grand Prix and a World MAX tournament within the same year. But which company did what doesn’t really matter, what matters are the fights and the fighters.

Throughout the coming week we’ll be looking at the best of 2013 throughout multiple categories, with Monday featuring Fighter of the Year, Tuesday featuring Fight of the Year, Wednesday being Knockout of the Year and Thursday being Comeback of the Year. Today we’re going to go a little bit off of the beaten track and look at the WTF Moment of the Year. The moment that raised the most questions, disbelief and generated a lot of discussion -- both positive and negative.

LiverKick 2013 WTF Moment of the Year: Zabit Samedov Knocks Out Badr Hari at LEGEND

Maybe this should be the wasted potential award? Badr Hari is a guy who always grabs the big international headlines but it’s usually not for anything that happens in the ring. Some people are just magnets for awful press and Badr Hari seems to be that guy. You either love him or hate him, there is no in between. His first fight back after a jail stay was in March at the K-1 World Grand Prix event in Zagreb, Croatia where he fought Zabit Samedov.

The Badr Hari that we saw against Zabit Samedov didn’t look like the Badr Hari that fought Gokhan Saki in 2012 and looked like a world beater, instead there were holes in his game and Zabit Samedov was connecting. Badr was able to hold out until he got a decision victory, although he had to drop out of the tournament with an injured foot. When the Russian promoter behind LEGEND Fight Show wanted a big name, he looked to Badr Hari. When he wanted an opponent, he looked to Russian-born fighter Zabit Samedov, the man who took Badr Hari to his limits just months before.

Then the fight happened and what looked like the impossible happened; Zabit Samedov, a truly undersized Heavyweight, knocked out Badr Hari. All the signs of Samedov having the toolbox to take Badr Hari down were evident, it’s just that no one expected it to happen as it did, or for it to end with Badr Hari knocked out. It did, though.

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LiverKick Best of 2013: Comeback of the Year

Photo (C) Pink Elephant Photography

The year 2013 was a tremendous year for the sport of Kickboxing as we saw GLORY take aim at America as one of its home bases and really made some strides that I honestly thought we’d never see for the sport here. GLORY not only ran shows, but they ran a bunch of shows and those shows were attended by a good number of paying customers. Then, to top it off, GLORY moved from CBS Sports Network and internet PPVs to Spike TV, picking up steam and viewers with every show. That was a big deal.

GLORY wasn’t the only organization to make moves, either, as we saw another season of the SuperKombat World Grand Prix, the birth of LEGEND in Russia and K-1 starting to get the gears in motion by running both a Heavyweight World Grand Prix and a World MAX tournament within the same year. But which company did what doesn’t really matter, what matters are the fights and the fighters.

Throughout the coming week we’ll be looking at the best of 2013 throughout multiple categories, with Monday featuring Fighter of the Year, Tuesday featuring Fight of the Year and Wednesday being Knockout of the Year. Today’s category is a little bit more fluid and up for discussion than the others, as today is Comeback of the Year. There have been a few fighters who either came back from a long layoff or returned to the big leagues and made a solid impression, making it an interesting topic.

LiverKick 2013 Comeback of the Year: Buakaw Banchamek

Few names in Kickboxing and Muay Thai hold the weight that Buakaw Banchamek’s does. Buakaw is a legend in every sense of the word, as in Thailand he might not be known as the best Thai Boxer, but he’s one of the most famous. This comes with its own set of consequences, though, as Buakaw has had a bumpy last few years that has seen him step back from a higher level of competition and instead get into the rhythm of taking either easier or exhibition bouts depending on the circumstances.

Buakaw fought his last fight for Thai Fight in December of 2012 and then that was it from Banchamek for months. In fact, he didn’t fight again until August of 2013 for MAX Muay Thai after yet another lawsuit, this time with Thai Fight, was settled. His year began at MAX Muay Thai 3 against Dong Wenfei in a bout that barely saw Buakaw warm up, leaving us all to fear that Buakaw would be back in “Thai Fight mode” just taking easier fights and having fun. Then, after years of rumors of him joining GLORY a huge announcement came out that Buakaw had signed with K-1 and would be entering the World MAX tournament.

His complete decimation of David Calvo in the Final 16 was proof enough that Buakaw was back and ready to show the Kickboxing world what they were missing out on. The rest of his year saw him defeat both Yoshihiro Sato and Enriko Kehl in MAX Muay Thai and in both fights looking like the Buakaw of old. Then on December 28th he battled a very game Zhou Zhi Peng before turning up the heat in the fourth round and dominating him.

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