|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)|
The K-1 MAX Japan -63kg tournament is rapidly approaching, and luckily for all of us, we'll be able to watch it live streamed on the internet. As the talk about the top prospects starts to heat up online, the debate is to which fighter will come out victorious in the tournament. The Final 8 will meet each other and one man will be crowned the champion, and out of the field there is a lot of competition. KRUSH Champion Ryuji Kajiwara takes on youth sensation Masaaki Noiri, last year's finalist Yuta Kubo takes on Kizaemon Saiga, Koya Urabe takes on YUKI and HIROYA takes on last year's champion Tetsuya Yamato.
So the field in the Final 8 is stiff enough as it is, with all 8 men having their own impressive histories. But each fight will tell its own story, so we take a look at the possible outcomes of the Final 8 fights.
Ryuji Kajiawa vs. Masaaki Noiri: Noiri is young, like half as young as Kajiwara. Kajiwara's victory in the KRUSH -63kg tournament came as a shock to everyone, as he was able to usurp Koya Urabe to take the title. Noiri on the other hand is one of the brightest prospects to come out of the the K-1 Koshien system, who after his run in that tournament went on a rampage in the kickboxing world. Noiri is still lacking a little bit of polish that could make him the tournament champion, while Kajiwara has been around for years and has the skill and discipline to take the fight to Noiri.
Yuta Kubo vs. Kizaemon Saiga: Saiga is a frustrating fighter, as frustrating of a fighter as a pretty boy can be. Saiga has a few impressive wins to his credit, but after receiving a lot of attention his focus seemed to be shattered and a string of losses and disappointments ensued. Yuta Kubo on the other hand is young and has made it far in two major tournaments now. Kubo put on some of the most exciting kickboxing fights of 2010 and to his credit is powerful and pretty technical. I think it is clear that Kubo takes the wind out of Saiga's sails.
Koya Urabe vs. YUKI: YUKI is a solid fighter, with some really solid power and moderate skill, but in the realm of this fight against the fighter who has to be one of the absolute favorites, Koya Urabe should take this fight in his sleep.
HIROYA vs. Tetsuya Yamato: HIROYA is the first KOSHIEN Champion from 2008 and is known as K-1's golden boy for many reasons, he has taken a few decisions that many have credited as "gifts" in K-1 events and has put on some moderate displays of technique as well as look absolutely terrible. He was chosen to be the successor to Masato but it is clear that for him to live up to such high standards he would need years more of refinement or K-1 to pull as many strings as they could to raise him above the field. Yamato was the man who took the -63kg tournament last year in a surprise run, who has had little luck with Muay Thai fighters and can show flashes of brilliance as well as flashes of absolute disappointment. I think he wants to prove himself here and will be ready to fight with HIROYA and become the two-time champion.Add a comment
Badr Hari's public image has been dragged through the mud over the last few years, which has both earned him the ire of many fans but in the same vein made him larger than life and one of the biggest names in the kickboxing world, bar none. Some say that no attention is bad attention for the famous, and in Badr Hari's case the mythos surrounding him, his skill and him as a fighter has only grown. There have been a few interviews over the past few months which have painted Badr Hari in a very, very shades of grey light, with him looking like a sociopath at times. So when it was announced that Michael Schiavello would interview him for his Voice Versus series on HDnet, I wasn't sure how to feel. Then when Schiavello talked about how it was a rather "dark" episode for the usually light-hearted series I was expecting a lot more of the no-good Badr Hari.
Thankfully Schiavello, who is himself a huge Badr Hari and kickboxing fan knows how to walk the line really well in interviews such as this. Schiavello made sure to switch things up from the tough questions that Hari seemed to pause and really have to stop and think during and the questions that had Hari laughing and joking around. Some of the questions, such as how does he feel about knocking out opponents and what happened in those terrible DQ losses where his temper got the best of him show the darker side of Hari, and just how intense he really can be. Then he switches things up to talk about what kind of movies Badr Hari likes and plays the knock out, choke out, wedgie and bowl of fried shrimp game.
I think for Badr Hari this interview was important, as in the United States a lot of the interviews we've seen from Hari have been in Dutch and translated, sometimes a bit too literally and do not paint him in the best light. Hari showed some serious signs of growth when it came to talking about some of his criminal connections in the past, and he talks about him being an impressionable kid and that he has matured a lot and moved away from that. Badr Hari's career came into the limelight at the tender age of 20, where it is entirely possible to imagine a kid who worked hard to come up and become a name being offered things and not knowing how to say no.
Kudos to Schiavello and HDnet for taking the time to interview one of the most popular kickboxers in the world and actually taking the time to let him tell his side of the story as well as have some fun with him. Be sure to watch it on HDnet this Friday evening, June 24th at 10PM Eastern, followed by It's Showtime Amsterdam.Add a comment
Recently, the weight range of -61kg to -63kg in kickboxing has started to catch on with fans. It's Showtime has had two title fights, crowning two different champions so far this year in the -61kg division. This upcoming Saturday, June 25 plays host to the K-1 World MAX 2011 -63kg Japan Tournament Final. K-1 introduced their -63kg weight class last year and it definitely didn't disappoint. Last year's -63kg Japan Tournament didn't get as much attention, mostly due to the delay, not being shown until a few weeks later. This year, you have the option to watch live on Youtube.
With K-1's absence this year, their -63kg Japan Tournament event has garnered more attention, as some fans are starving for K-1 action. Memories of last year's spectacular -63kg series in K-1 are also contributing to the hype. While it may not be the typical faces we see in K-1 like Badr Hari, Andy Souwer, Peter Aerts and the like, kickboxing fans are being exposed to more fighters, and all in all a somewhat "new" division that casuals haven't seen before. It's Showtime has showcased their -61kg division just this past Saturday with an amazing fight between then champ Karim Bennoui and present champ Javier Hernandez. It's Showtime still doesn't generate the same interest as K-1 yet, due to the brand name alone though. K-1's foray into the -63kg division is what will look to showcase this weight class to casuals and hardcores alike.
The division has massive potential. K-1 has started off their -63kg division using only Japanese fighters. Recently, K-1 posted open applications to -63kg fighters from around the world. With these open applications for worldwide -63kg fighters, you have to think that K-1 has further plans for the division, that go beyond just Japan Tournaments with only Japanese fighters. Already, with only Japanese participants we have a wide array of personalities from the brash Kizaemon Saiga to the no nonsense Tetsuya Yamato. K-1 adding fighters from around the globe in this division would not only diversify it but also attract more fans.
Little is known about the weight range between -61kg to -63kg to most. It's Showtime has had three champions in the weight class, them being Sergio Wielzen, Karim Bennoui and Javier Hernandez in order. Each fighter was relatively unheard of to the masses until they became champions in It's Showtime. The same can be said for K-1's -63kg fighters. Most of them also compete in Krush. Here's where a little problem arises for the time being. With K-1 using only Japanese fighters at the moment, and mostly the same ones, how can we compare them to the fighters in It's Showtime's -61kg division? How would we determine who the best is? K-1 and It's Showtime divisions here are apart by 2kg (Approx. 4.5lbs). Is that too big of a gap for these fighters to ever compete against each other? It'll be interesting to see the approach that K-1 takes with their "applications" for -63kg fighters around the world, especially if there ends up being an overlap between K-1 and It's Showtime. It's Showtime venturing into Japan and recruiting talent from the soon-to-be established It's Showtime Japan will only spice things up a bit.
In the end, what will emerge of this weight range in kickboxing is the question. Will K-1 build up their fighters in this division and successfuly incorporate talent from around the world, much like they do in the -70kg MAX or Heavyweight division? What's next for It's Showtime's -61kg division? This all remains to be seen.Add a comment
Kickboxing and Muay Thai legend John Wayne Parr is in what we know to be his retirement year and he has not only been incredibly active, but he has always been training his 8 year old daughter, Jasmine in the art of muay thai as well. There was quite a stir over the weekend as Parr's daughter had her first kickboxing bout in Australia against a fellow youngster and the media there has decided that eight is simply too young to participate in such "brutal" sports.
JWP has spent the last few days defending his choice to let his daughter fight and has been faced with the most criticism of his long, storied career. This of course comes across as ridiculous to me, after watching a video of Millionaire Manhoef, age 9, in a bout in the Netherlands from a few weeks ago. I don't think that 8 is too young to be involved in a contact sport, nor do parents and athletes who participated in youth sports growing up, the simple fact is that a sport that involves this level of contact makes people uncomfortable.
When I was 7 I was playing baseball for the first time and on my second practice a line drive came at me quickly while I was drawing a sword in the sand with the tip of my shoe, by the time I realized it was coming it was too late and the ball smashed me in the face, taking out one of my front teeth and leaving me dazed for about twenty seconds. What struck me as funny was that injury from baseball was far more serious than anything I suffered when I took up Kenpo two years later and began sparring after about a year of practicing. American Football, Soccer and any other sport children play can be equally as violent, if not more violent than muay thai.
I think if people want to criticize children in Muay Thai that they should take a long, hard look at traditional sports and some of the injuries kids receive every season in these sports, as long as the proper precautions are taking place, let the kids do what they love.Add a comment
After the recent success of Thai Fight Extreme's event in France in May, they're now headed to Japan. With an already scheduled event in Hong Kong on July 17, Thai Fight Extreme is yet another organization that is picking up the pace in 2011. As usual, Thai Fight Extreme will use full Thai rules.
The two time K-1 World MAX Grand Prix champion, Buakaw Por. Pramuk is set to take on Tomoaki Makino. Makino is very tall for the weight class and he'll have to use every bit of his height to beat one of the K-1 greats in Buakaw. Buakaw has recently had a foray into fighting under full Thai rules, picking up a win over Djime Coulibaly at the May 14 Thai Fight Extreme show in France. Before ths fight in August though, Buakaw will be taking on Brazillian Gilmar China on the Thai Fight Extreme card in Hong Kong on July 17.
Yodsaenklai Fairtex is another fighter who picked up a win at Thai Fight Extreme's May event, and also who will be fighting on the Hong Kong card against Karim Ghajji. On August 7, he'll fight Yasuhiko Shirasu of Japan.
World renowned Saiyok Pumpanmuang will take on Kou Suman of Japan. Fabio Pinca will fight Yuya Yamato, not to be confused with the Yuya Yamamoto of Krush and K-1. Yamato upset Pinca at the May Thai Fight Extreme event when Pinca was unable to continue due to cuts. Pinca will look to get his revenge and even up the score. Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee will be facing TOMOYUKI but before that he'll take on Egon Racz on the July 17 card in China. Also look out for MMA veteran Akihiro Gono to be on the card.Thai Fight Extreme seems to be using the same Thai fighters on each of their events with Buakaw, Yod, Sudsakorn and Saiyok being showcased on all 3 current events. Much like the France card, the Japan card features a Japan vs. Thailand theme. Thanks to Nightmare of Battle for the news. Add a comment