|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)|
In the world of kickboxing, most of the focus is on K-1. Over the years, K-1 has in some cases made itself synonymous with the sport of kickboxing. With the recent downtime of K-1, It's Showtime has stepped up and garnered much attention. SuperKombat and Fight Code have gotten a bit of exposure too. What about the smaller shows though? Every weekend there are many small kickboxing events around the world. It's not uncommon in kickboxing for a world class fighter to be fighting on a smaller event. Kickboxing, compared to boxing and MMA is very hard to keep track of and follow.
Now, onto the Tatneft Cup. The Tatneft Cup is a kickboxing tournament held every year in Kazan, Russia. The tournament is spread over many events, with four rounds of the tournament. The first four events are labelled "1/8 Final" and feature opening round tournament matches within the different weight divisions. The tournament advances on to two 1/4 Final events, one 1/2 Final event and the tournament final at the very last event.
In hindsight, the Tatneft Cup would be labelled a smaller show. In terms of who is taking part in the tournament though, it's anything but that. The 2010 Tatneft Cup saw names such as Artem Levin, Ismael Londt, Sergei Lascenko, Dzhabar Askerov and Dmitry Shakuta. The tournament also showcases some of Eastern Europe's top kickboxing talent, who are otherwise unknown to most kickboxing fans. Enriko Gogokhia, Alexander Stetsurenko, Armen Israelyan, Uranbek Esenkulov and Alexander Oleinik are all very good kickboxers who have yet to get any exposure on the big shows.
Enriko Gogokhia lost to Mike Zambidis in April but was very competitive in the fight. He recently lost another competitive fight to Dzhabar Askerov at the Tatneft Cup 2011 1/2 Final. At only 20 years old he is giving widely renowned kickboxers all they can handle. Good things can only come for him. Alexander Oleinik won a K-1 KOK Grand Prix tournament in Moldova in December, stopping Sem Braan, a top fighter in the first round and then winning his other two matches to win the tournament. He just beat Alexander Stetsurenko who I mentioned above, at the Tatneft Cup 2011 1/2 Final, advancing to the final. Oleinik is a very good fighter, and if he can make 77kg, could probably make some waves in It's Showtime.
The Tatneft Cup 2011 Final will probably be in October. The finals are Dzhabar Askerov vs. Maxim Smirnov (-70kg), Alexander Oleinik vs. Dmitry Shakuta (-80kg) and Dmitry Bezus vs. Hicham Ashalhi (+95kg).
The Tatneft Cup is like many in kickboxing, a great show but struggles to get any recognition within the kickboxing world. Kickboxing just isn't that popular and most shows will be lucky to get any mentions.
You can watch all matches from every Tatneft Cup from the Tatneft Arena website. It's in Russian, but a simple run-through Google Translate will make it easy to navigate. All the fights are action packed and showcase some great kickboxing talent that you might not have seen before.
Here's a great fight from the recent Tatneft Cup 2011 1/2 Final featuring Dzhabar Askerov taking on Enriko Gogokhia:Add a comment
The most likely outcome of the tournament would be a Kamimura vs Ham finals, however V.V Mei could pull off an upset, as she has done in the past, though I see it rather unlikely against Ham, who absolutely dominated V.V Mei in an MMA fight back at Jewels 15. Rena is still set to participate at the event, but has no opponent as of now.Add a comment
If one thing can be said for the Dutch outside of their acumen for kickfighting, it is their loyalty and how forthcoming they can be. Bas Rutten's reputation is one of the few truly sterling reputations in the MMA world, he was able to retire as a legend and a hero and is better known by modern MMA fans as the "voice of PRIDE" and now co-host of Inside MMA on HDnet. When it comes down to it, Rutten is one of the few voices in the MMA world that comes from experience, often goes against what most of the media are selling, and also has a wealth of personality and knowledge to back up whatever he claims.
There is no secret that Rutten is close with a few members of the Golden Glory team, and sees a certain level of respect for what his fellow Dutch fighters are doing long after he has retired. So there is no surprise that when he finally decided to speak out about the Golden Glory purge from Zuffa, that it was going to be good. Bas made a rather long post to his Twitter (not a fan of 140 characters, I suppose) where he gives a very in depth rundown of how Golden Glory treat their fighters and explaining their business practices. Read it.
If what Rutten is saying is true, it turns out that Golden Glory pays their fighters what they are owed by an organization, regardless of the promotions status, then waits for the money to come in from the promotion. That means in the K-1 fiasco that Golden Glory has fit the bill for their inability to pay up. He also talks at length about Alistair Overeem and the criticism he receives. [source]Add a comment
A few months ago the thought of K-1 running a show past the -63kg MAX Japan tournament seemed unlikely, never mind the thought of running a full K-1 World Grand Prix. The K-1 World Grand Prix is the top combat sports tournament that has run yearly since 1993, the cream of the crop. The K-1 World Grand Prix Finals is usually the one combat sports event of the year that is can't miss with nothing but action and high drama to keep you on the edge of your seat. A lot of us had resigned ourselves to the thought of having to exist in a world where the K-1 World Grand Prix was just an afterthought, but the rumors continue to grow and today Daniel Ghita posted on his Facebook wall a formal explanation as for why he won't be fighting Badr Hari for It's Showtime in September; he's been invited to the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16 in China.
That, coming alongside a few other rumors makes a strong case for there being a World Grand Prix this year, so it is never too early to speculate on who will round out the Final 16 this year. If they play by the rules of past years, the Final 8 from 2010 will make a return appearance, which means we can look forward to; Mighty Mo, Peter Aerts, Semmy Schilt, Kyotaro, Gokhan Saki, Daniel Ghita, Tyrone Spong, and the recently-released from the Zuffa stronghold Alistair Overeem. Out of the 8 listed above, there are question marks for a few of them, namely Mighty Mo, who has suffered a few devastating losses since the K-1 World Grand Prix and should be considering retirement, and Peter Aerts who went on record stating that 2010 would be his last World Grand Prix. Of course, this is combat sports, so chances are Mr. K-1 isn't done yet.
So now the real question is, who will help round out the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16?
This is really a no brainer. Badr Hari was a Finalist in both 2008 and 2009, and his absence in 2010 was simply due to legal issues. Hari was set to face off with Daniel Ghita in September and could easily translate into a fight that happens in the world Grand Prix. Badr is easily primed to take the tournament by storm and is an easy pick to enter the tournament.
Hesdy Gerges has to be one of the most unlucky guys in his K-1 career, drawing Semmy Schilt not once but twice as an opponent. In the Final 16 he was unfortunate enough to meet the four-time champion and put up a great fight against him, ultimately losing a decision. The battle with Daniel Ghita in March has been the most substantial Heavyweight contest to date in 2011 and Gerges walked away the better man, expect him to be in the Final 16.
|Jerome Le Banner||
JLB is another living, competing legend who has been keeping himself active in Japan by participating in IGF Pro Wrestling shows with the likes of Ray Sefo, Josh Barnett and Bobby Lashley. JLB is still a household name in Japan and can still go, while he has made disparaging remarks about K-1 and never fighting for them again, being paid what he is owed can help mend some fences. JLB is always a great addition to the K-1 field.
The Bonecrusher. After some spotty performances in 2010, Zimmerman has stepped it up again in 2011 with two big wins in impressive fashion. Seeing as though he has been a part of the World Grand Prix for the past few years, Zimmerman is also a safe bet.
Freddy Kemayo is a guy that just won't stop. He has had a few setbacks over the past few years, but he continues to march forward and has picked up 3 impressive wins this year, with two brutal KOs to his credit. His only possible hangup could be scheduling of Fight Code's Rhinos tournament, which he is involved in.
Ray Sefo is making a name for himself all over again, as he is being introduced to the UFC crowd, first with his Strikeforce fights and now for helping fighters like Vitor Belfort train. Sefo is a huge name in K-1 and as long as they backpay his $700,000 he is owed, I'm sure he'd be happy to get another crack at the crown.
He remains active in Kyokushin tournaments, coming in fifth place in the All American Open Karate Championships this year, but does not kickbox outside of K-1. Seeing as though he had two years of poor performances, he could be invited back, but I would not be surprised if we saw him replaced by a younger, European fighter.
Edwards showed a lot of heart against Alistair Overeem last year, and since then has learned a lot. In the realm of kickboxing in 2011 he put a hurting on Carter Williams and absolutely brutalized Mighty Mo with a knee strike. Ben Edwards deserves another shot at the top.
This is a darkhorse pick, but if K-1 is serious about America as the rumors are saying, they need an American Hero, and Mark Miller's insane comeback story was ripped out of a film. Miller is training with Golden Glory now, who have backed him very strongly, looking to push him as Golden Glory's American fighter. It would be a pleasant surprise to see Mark get a run at the top.
|Sergei Kharitonov||Sergei has had mixed results in K-1, but is extremely popular due to his MMA career. He has been training kickboxing with the best in the world and could make another fine addition to the K-1 World Grand Prix|