|Heavyweight (Per 10/13)|
|1.||Semmy Schilt (?)|
|7.||Mirko Cro Cop|
|Light HW (per 10/13)|
|Middleweight (per 11/25)|
|Welterweight (per 10/13)|
|70kg (Per 11/25)|
|2.||Robin van Roosmalen|
|65kg (per 10/6)|
After announcing 12 of the 16 competitors for the round of 16 of their Under-22 Supernova Tournament on October 10th, Krush has announced the final 4 participants. The first is Silver Wolf's Shota Fukuda. Next is K&K Boxing Club's Hiroshi Matsui who is an interesting choice considering he's a welterweight and won a J-NETWORK rookie tournament at the weight. Hopefully, he'll be on weight. The last two competitors are Yukimitsu Takahashi and a fighter that goes by the name Violence. Honestly, I know nothing about any of these four, but if any were to make a splash, I'd say Matsui has the best credentials.
Also announced were the round of 16 matchups. The event on October 10th will be split into two segments, with blocks A and B holding their round of 16 and quarterfinal matchups during the day while blocks C and D will hold their two rounds in the evening.
Starting off block A, K-1 golden boy HIROYA takes on NJKF amateur prospect Hiroki Hoshikawa. In the other half of block A, K-1 Koshien product Sho Ogawa takes on Tang Tang Fight Club's Fumiya Osawa. From what I know of the fighters, this might be the hardest quarter of the bracket so it'll be a good test for HIROYA who's one of the tournament favorites. Hoshikawa could give HIROYA problems and so could Ogawa if he makes it past Osawa, but with the way HIROYA looked at the K-1 63kg Japan GP, I don't see him having much trouble.
Block B consists of K-1 Koshien 2009 champ Masaaki Noiri taking on Violence while Team Dragon's Daizo Sasaki takes on Shota Fukuda. Much like HIROYA, Noiri should get through with little trouble. I'd take Sasaki winning his fight over Fukuda, but losing to Noiri in the quarters. If HIROYA and Noiri win thier brackets, it'll mean another semifinal matchup for the two and the first time they've met since the K-1 Koshien 2009 semifinals at Dynamite.
Block C contains tournament favorite Koya Urabe taking on Yuta Otaki while Shimpei Keita goes against Hiroshi Matsui. Urabe should undoubtedly be favored to win his quarter with ease. The winner of Keita-Matsui won't be a pushover, but Urabe's beaten much better kickboxers.
Finally in block D, J-NETWORK Flyweight champion Tsukasa Fuji takes on Kengo Sonoda while Yukimitsu Takahashi fights Kazuma. The winner of Fuji-Sonoda should win this quarter easily. I would be a lot more confident in Fuji's chances if he didn't fight at such a low weight. Despite size, I'd put my money with Fuji to go on and face Urabe in the semis.
The structure of the brackets heavily pushes the odds onto Urabe's side. He was already the favorite heading into the tournament, but with a possible HIROYA-Noiri rematch on the other half of the bracket in the semifinals, Urabe should be the fresher fighter should he make it to the semifinals and win.Add a comment
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Paul Slowinski stepped into the ring down under this morning for his third bout of the year. His opponent, the American Steven "Panda" Banks, has both stand up and MMA experience.
Banks weighed in at 307 lbs. Add on his height of 6'6" and he had a huge size advantage. Slowinski overcame the size advantage though, battering Banks before stopping him with a hook to the body in the third round. Apparently Banks took a huge amount of punishment over the course of the fight before finally being stopped. The win marks Slowinski's third of the year and extends his win streak to six, with all the wins coming by KO or TKO.
Slowinski has some interesting options in front of him. He's been rumored to be heading to MMA, with his name popping up as a possible participant at KSW in November. There's also the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16 on October 29th, and Slowinski's face was shown on the press release for it. Simon Rutz stated that Slowinski was one of the fighters that would be available to compete at the Final 16.Add a comment
The news released today by K-1 that the Final 16 would take place in China with It's Showtime's support was not a shock to those who have their finger on the pulse with K-1, at least partially. FEG producer Tanikawa has been saying for months and months that K-1 was going to promote a show in China, and many had simply written that off as Tanikawa-speak, as he has been known to say big things and deliver only in small doses. Then rumors came from fighters that K-1 would promote the World Grand Prix Final 16 in October, as well as K-1's rights being transferred to a real estate company in Japan. All of this came while there were incredibly strong rumors of a Dutch company outright purchasing K-1 for their own needs and completely transforming the whole business. What it came down to was there were a lot of rumors about K-1's future and not a lot of public movement until the past few weeks.
K-1 ultimately decided to move forward with the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16 in China in the month of October, and the talks of their new buyer went from very serious to people snickering at the concept behind the scenes as K-1 marched forward. K-1 and It's Showtime had a very public falling out during mid-2011, with Simon Rutz discussing how K-1 pulling out of their May Amsterdam ArenA event hurt his business, how K-1 owed him money and how they'd move on without K-1. Insiders with FEG claimed that Simon Rutz had "killed K-1" and Tanikawa decided to ban anyone who fought for It's Showtime's co-promoted events with REBELS and M-1 Muay Thai in Japan from competing in K-1 again. Eventually both sides backed down, but it was still a bombshell today when K-1 announced that It's Showtime was co-promoting the Final 16 with around eleven It's Showtime fighters being in the Final 16. A lot of the fighters have fight contracts with It's Showtime, but not management contracts, which makes it seem like the fights for K-1 will fulfill a part of their It's Showtime contract as opposed to a contract to fight with K-1. From an operational standpoint, that makes sense, as does It's Showtime taking proceeds from the show as It's Showtime is owed a good chunk of money from K-1.
This of course begs the very serious question of where do Golden Glory stand in all of this? Bas Boon's name was thrown around, but mainly when it came to bringing in Semmy Schilt to the tournament, as there are a host of other top names from Golden Glory who should by all means be competing in the Final 16 including Gokhan Saki, Errol Zimmerman and the freshly-signed Mark Miller. From what it appears, K-1 is working with It's Showtime as their premier partner from Europe, with Golden Glory as an afterthought. K-1 owes money to both Golden Glory and It's Showtime, so it isn't clear what kind of financial gain It's Showtime makes from this show, if any, or if simply moving the brand into a new market is a driving factor
The other big issue is that K-1 will be promoting in China, where they usually promote the Final 16 in Seoul, Korea. They also made mention of the Final 8 happening in China or another asian country, not specifically ruling out Japan, but not mentioning it, either. That is of course curious as Japan has been the home of the K-1 World Grand Prix since its inception in 1993. A revealing factor is their partnership with a Chinese television network and that there is still no word on a Japanese television deal as of press time. This is not a bad idea, though, as China is an emerging market in the global economy, taking a stance as a clear-cut leader and the entertainment world should not be left out.
Japan on the other hand is in a state of extreme decline following a slump and the devastating earthquakes and tsunamis that left the country in disarray earlier this year. There are signs in many facets of the entertainment industry to Japan being considered less and less of a major player where as it has traditionally been one of the few hubs for the entertainment world. The Mixed Martial Arts world has officially moved on from Japan, with UFC's global footprint growing all the time and promotions popping up in other asian countries like Road FC and One FC that are primed to take the spotlight from Japan. Another industry that has been scaling back in Japan has been surprisingly the video game industry, once a juggernaut in Japan. There was a decision over the summer to pull Microsoft's Xbox 360 consoles from shelves due to slow sales and Microsoft's response was one of indifference, claiming that Japan is inconsequential in the global market right now. As early as ten years ago a game console selling poorly in Japan, like Sega's Dreamcast, meant an absolute death, and now it means a small profit margin loss that can be made up for in other places.
K-1 has taken some heavy losses over the past few years doing business in Japan, but markets like China and Korea have been reaching out to them and providing them with healthier profits. It does not come as a shock that K-1 would shift its focus, especially for Heavyweights to other parts of the world. Japan has always been weak in the Heavyweight division, with only Kyotaro fighting for K-1 currently in that division and Japan being a culture that tends to look for national heros in all of their forms of entertainment.Add a comment
K-1 Event Producer Sadaharu Tanikawa held a live U-Stream press conference today regarding the 2011 World Grand Prix FINAL 16 in Nanjing, China on October 29th.
Regarding China and the venue, Tanikawa announced that K-1 has plans to return for the WGP Finals later this year in China or another area in Asia. FEG has a joint deal with regional broadcasting company Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation. From what I've gathered, this station only broadcasts in the Jiangsu province, so I'm not sure if there will be any way for the rest of the country to watch it. The venue for the event is the Nanjing Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium which holds 13,000.
Tanikawa also announced that It's Showtime's Simon Rutz is going to cooperate with K-1, and has made Badr Hari, Tyrone Spong, Daniel Ghita, Hesdy Gerges, Ruslan Karaev, Melvin Manhoef, Ben Edwards, Sergeii Lascenko, Rico Verhoeven, Anderson "Braddock" Silva, Paul Slowinski, Dzevad Poturak, Mourad Bouzidi and Rustemi Kreshnik available to K-1 for the Final 16. K-1 also mentioned they have been in talks with Jerome LeBanner, Peter Aerts and Bas Boon. Unfortunately, defending champion Alistar Overeem will be unable to compete due to his UFC contract.
The competitors that K-1 has announced for the event so far are Badr Hari, Hesdy Gerges, Tyrone Spong, Ruslan Karaev, Daniel Ghita, Ben Edwards, Melvin Manhoef, Dzevad Poturak, Sergii Lashchenko, Rico Verhoeven, and Anderson “Braddock” Silva. There's video of the press conference, with English subtitles, after the break.
UPDATE: Hesdy Gerges said on Twitter that he's set to face Errol Zimmerman.
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There is always an ominous shadow that lurks over the kickboxing world like a storm cloud ready to burst, and that is K-1 and when things will get announced, if ever. K-1 has the Japan MAX tournament coming up later on this month, but that still doesn't explain the heavyweights. There have been many rumors, mainly from fighters who have been contacted about the event, that K-1 will indeed put on a K-1 World Heavyweight GP. It's Showtime head Simon Rutz confirmed this by not planning a show for late November/early December featuring big heavyweights as he had planned and pushed the show back to January.
K-1 will have an announcement on their UStream page (http://www.ustream.tv/channel/k1-Channel) on the 15th at GMT+9/PDT+16.
There have been no hints from K-1 as to what the subject matter will be, but the background of their UStream profile is photos of Badr Hari and Semmy Schilt, which could indeed be a hint.
UPDATE: K-1 just posted that they are announcing details about the World Grand Prix Final 16 in Nanjing, China tomorrow. The press conference will stream live at 7:00 PM Japan time, 6AM EST for those in North America. Among the details are the participants and the venue being used. Huge news!Add a comment