|Heavyweight (Per 1/20)|
|6.||Mirko Cro Cop
|Light HW (per 1/20)|
|Middleweight (per 1/20)|
|Welterweight (per 1/20)|
|4.||Marc de Bonte|
|70kg (Per 1/20)|
|2.||Robin van Roosmalen|
|65kg (per 1/20)|
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This Sunday marks the second big K-1 event of the year, the 70kg MAX Japan tournament. Last year's tournament featured Yuichiro Nagashima and Hiroki Nakajima scoring knockouts in their quarter and semifinal bouts which culminated in a dramatic 3rd round knockout by Nagashima in the finals in a wild brawl. This year's tournament is extremely interesting because, for the first time, K-1 has placed a former K-1 MAX World Champion into the field in Albert Kraus. It is also interesting because of the new blood brought in by K-1. They have brought in young prospects in RISE Middleweight champion Takafumi Morita, Krush 70kg tournament champion Kenta and K-1 Koshien 2009 70kg champion Shintaro Matsukura. Returning from last year's tournament are 2010 Japan MAX tournament finalist Hiroki Nakajima, 2009 K-1 World MAX semifinalist Yuya Yamamoto, 2008 Japan MAX tournament winner Yasuhiro Kido and Yuji Nashiro. Despite losing tournament mainstays Ryuji and Tatsuji as well as last year's winner Yuichiro Nagashima and semifinalist Hinata, the tournament field is as strong as ever and could produce a couple new stars for K-1. I have decided to rank the fighters in this tournament by their likelihood of winning to give people who may not know much about some of the participating fighters an idea as to where each fighter stands entering the tournament.
1. Albert Kraus: I doubt there are many people who don't have Kraus as a big favorite to win this tournament and for good reason. Despite winning his K-1 MAX World championship back in 2002, Kraus has stayed an elite fighter. He is coming off a controversial loss to Yoshihiro Sato in which Sato got a bit of a gift from the judges and it would be hard to argue that Sato isn't the best fighter at 70kg in Japan at the moment. Outside of an upset loss to Batu Khasikov in March, his only other losses in the past two years have come in the quarterfinals of the K-1 MAX World tournament to eventual champion Giorgio Petrosyan. In the past two years' Final 16s, Kraus absolutely dominated last year's Japan MAX tournament's finalists Nagashima and Nakajima. Upsets can happen, but Kraus is well above the competition in this field.
2. Yuya Yamamoto: Upsets happen. Despite the loss to Shintaro Matsukura in Krush, I still feel Yuya is the #3 fighter in Japan behind Sato and Hinata. Outside of the knockdown, Yuya was outworking and outlanding Matsukura. While his aggressive, brawling style may not fare too well against the elite fighters in the division, it should hold up well in this tournament which features a few fighters who haven't shied away from slugfests. I don't doubt that I could be completely wrong in placing him this high, but I don't think Yuya's lack of defense is going to hold him back in this tournament. A quarterfinal rematch with Matsukura will be telling of Yuya's success. If he is able to impose his will, Yuya could find himself in the finals. If not, it'll be a long road ahead for the former World MAX tournament semifinalist.
3. Kenta: I can't get over how good Kenta looked in the Krush 70kg tournament. He was accurate, he beat Nakajima and Yamauchi to the punch consistently and rarely got hit. Kenta has the most momentum heading into this tournament and if he looked as good as he did in Krush, I can definitely see him making it to the finals. Kido is a difficult first round matchup and Kenta likely won't be able to put him away, but his defense should be strong enough to stay away from a knockdown or a knockout.
Yeah, I know that all you probably care about today is the Golden Glory saga but here's some other news. On October 15th in Marseilles, France, Fight Code will team up with TK2 to put on a pretty nice card.
There's two portions of the card, the Fight Code portion and the TK2 portion. The Fight Code portion will hold four of the Dragons Series Final 8 match-ups along with two super fights. The TK2 portion of the card will hold a one night, eight man tournament along with a reserve fight and three super fights.
Dragon Series Final 8:
Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee (Thailand) VS Halim Issaoui (Morocco)
Bruno Franchi (Italia) VS Norbert Balogh (Hungary
Abdallah Mabel ( France) VS Xu Yan (China)
Armen Petrosyan (Armenia) VS Jury Bessemrtny (Belarus)
Chingiz Allazov (Azerbaijan) vs. Raouf Beliouz (France)
Cedric Castagna (France) vs. Sofiane Derdega (France)
Leroy Kaestner (Netherlands) vs. Ismail Uzuner (Turkey)
Farhat Ahmedjanov (Belarus) vs. Aziz Ali Kada (France)
Yohan Lidon (France) vs. Ait Said (Netherlands)
Mohammed Medhar (Netherlands) vs. Enriko Gogokhia (Georgia)
Philippe Salmon (France) vs. Willy Borrel (France)
Wallid Haddad (France) vs. Niklas Larsen (Denmark)
Fabrice Aureng (France) vs. TBA
Overall, a very solid card from top to bottom. Very established names like Yohan Lidon and Sudsakorn are on the card with a ton of lesser known but good fighters that are waiting for their moment to get recognition. Enriko Gogokhia and Chingiz Allazov are ones to watch out for here.
The event will be broadcast on Fight Code's website, but as of right now it's not known if the TK2 portion will also be shown. I'd sure hope it would be. As per usual with kickboxing shows, don't be surprised if many match-ups get shuffled, new participants come in or fighters drop out. Many of these fighters have a very busy schedule around this time and one small injury can end one's go at this event.
In a major upset English Muay Thai fighter Andy Thrasher won the 154 lbs Toyota Marathon which took place in Kanchanaburi yesterday. This Muay Thai tournament contained two top Thai fighters, Prakayseng Kaeyanghadao and Panom Topkingboxing, and anyone who watches these eight man knock out competitions regularly will tell you that it is virtually unheard of for a Thai fighter not to win.
Prakayseng is ranked the number one contender at Lumpini Stadium in the highest weight category there, 147 lbs, and Panom is also ranked in the top ten. Both Thais comfortably won their quarter finals with Prakayseng defeating Dom from Sweden in the opening round and Panom winning a decision against Yan Goldenglorygym from Holland.
In the other two quarter finals Rodrigo Alonso from Mexico won a decision over Jonas Risco from Spain and Thrasher defeated Umaro from Uganda also by way of decision at the end of three rounds, with fights being reduced from the normal five due to the quick fire tournament format.
The two Thai fighters met in the semi finals in a contest which most assumed would decided the winner of the actual tournament. Thrasher was extremely unortunate not to have beaten Panom when the two fought for the WPMF title in Bali earlier this year and he found himself on the receiving end of a decision loss at the end of a fight that even his opponent felt he had done enough to win.
Any hopes he had of avenging that loss were extinguished when Prakayseng emerged victorious in the semi final after getting the nod from the judges. Thrasher still had a semi final of his own to worry about but he won a decision over Alonso to set up a Toyota Marathon final with Prakayseng with THB 300,000 in prize money on offer for the winner.
Winning a decision against a Thai fighter in Thailand is no easy task for a foreign fighter. After over 200 fights you learn how to fight in a style which the judges, who are of course also from Thailand, will appreciate and Prakayseng is as experienced as they come. Without wishing to be overly cynical I think it is fair to day that in a highly publicized tournament which is being broadcast live on national television in Thailand and has a significant amount of prize money at stake a 'farang' is going to have to do something pretty emphatic if they want to win.
Thrasher did just that, knocking out the number one ranked Lumpini contender in the second round to claim a surprise victory. This performance must instantly make the Nak Muay from Manchester one of the top fighters in Thailand at 154 lbs. He seems to get constantly overlooked by the prestigious shows such as Thai Fights, Thailand vs Challenger and the Muay Thai Premier League but promoters will surely be taking a much closer interest in his career after such an impressive performance at the Toyota Marathon yesterday.
His success is in no small part due to the trainers at Jitti Gym in Bangkok who have an excellent record of producing top class foreign fighters such as Liam Harrison, who was unfortunate to be knocked out from the Thai Fights tournament last year despite winning both his fights after being unable to make weight beore the semi final.
For more information about Andy Thrasher and Jitti Gym visit: http://www.jittigym.com/Add a comment
UPDATE 9/22: Saki tweets: "I haven't left golden glory at all. I'm still fighting for GG guys!!!" Sources still claiming that Saki and two others have left/are leaving, take that for what it is.
UPDATE 21:04 Eastern Time: Bas Boon spoke with LiverKick.com, when prompted on Saki leaving, "Not that I am aware of..." Other sources still insist that Saki has left.
UPDATE 19:51 Eastern Time: Received independent confirmation from a source close to both Saki and Golden Glory that Saki is indeed out of Golden Glory. Glory has not finalized talks with K-1 yet and is apparently not working well with It's Showtime, so look carefully and put two and two together for other possible departures.
When it rains it pours. Earlier today it was announced that Alistair Overeem was leaving his home management and team of Golden Glory. Overeem has been a part of the Golden Glory umbrella for about twelve years now, since the formation of the team. Overeem has been described by Bas Boon as like "family" to him and the team, and Golden Glory trainer Martijn de Jong has been known to be very good friends with Alistair.
There has been a rumor that some of us have been sitting on for a while as it wasn't clear if it was ever going to come to fruition, but apparently it has. The latest rumor is that Gokhan Saki has also left team Golden Glory, but this has not been confirmed. LiverKick.com has reached out to Bas Boon for comment on this but have not heard back from him of yet. Generally speaking, we do not like to post rumors like this, but it has been a longstanding rumor, persisting for the better part of this year and with it coming out into the public's eye, now is as good of a time as any to talk about it.
Gokhan Saki had apparently been unhappy with Team Golden Glory for quite a while now, going as far back as last year's K-1 World Grand Prix. We had heard from multiple sources that Saki was aggressively looking for a way out of his contract with Golden Glory and looking to relocate and enter the world of MMA. While he could easily make a transition to MMA within the Golden Glory camp, he has been looking for new representation and for a new home to train, apparently sick of working with Golden Glory. This afternoon Percy Crawford of FightHype.com confirmed that he was indeed bringing Gokhan Saki stateside and helping him find a trainer. According to everyone's favorite MMA personality Bloodstain Lane, a "BIG TIME" boxing trainer.
The rumor doesn't stop with Gokhan Saki, though. There has been rumblings that Bas Boon's sick leave over the summer caused some massive internal problems at Golden Glory. Problems with Strikeforce and other big business deals that fell through had caused some friction between fighters, trainers and management with talks of some big names within the camp possibly leaving to pursue other options.
We'll give you more information when we have it.Add a comment
There have been a lot of rumors swirling around team Golden Glory for the past few months, a lot of them good until they got bad. The bad started with Bas Boon having to take an emergency leave from his duties to get surgery over the summer. Boon's surgery happened right in the middle of a lot of big business deals, including negotiations with Kickboxing organizations and handling Alistair Overeem's contract negotiations with Zuffa for both Strikeforce and UFC.
Recently, Alistair appeared in a video posted by our network cohort MiddleEasy where Alistair was discussing his future and contemplating a move to California. This move also included training at another gym and joining another team. I've also heard that Overeem has spoken with individuals in the US who handle his sponsorships about dealing with them exclusively, not with Golden Glory after the mess that happened with Strikeforce. Apparently the statements made by Overeem on Ariel Helwani's show were not of his own or even Bas Boon's machinations, and led to Alistair and a few of his teammates being fired from Strikeforce just before the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP.
Today Overeem made a statement on his Twitter account confirming that he has indeed left Golden Glory. The statement claims that Alistair has lost his trust and that the relationship between his longtime team and himself is beyond repair. As always, when Alistair is speaking for himself he is classy, brief and makes no enemies.
CagePotato reached out to Bas Boon for comment, and he seemed confused and taken aback at the situation. According to Bas Boon there is still a management contract in place, and everything is alright in his eyes as long as that is still honored. From what we've heard, Golden Glory's management contracts give a larger cut to the management than traditional contracts do in the United States, but they always include training at their gyms with the team and the special treatment that Golden Glory provide. With Overeem no longer training and representing the team, it seems like they might butt heads in the near future.
This, along with a UFC contract seem to all but declare Alistair Overeem's K-1 career dead, sadly.Add a comment