It's Showtime owner Simon Rutz took to Facebook today to announce a plethora of big names for It's Showtime's January 28 mega event. Among the fighters confirmed for the event are Badr Hari, Gokhan Saki, Daniel Ghita, Hesdy Gerges, Tyrone Spong, Rico Verhoeven and Ben Edwards. Quite the lineup right there. More fighters and match-ups will be confirmed soon.
So far, it's already evident that It's Showtime is stacking the card big time with all their stars. It's Showtime hasn't had any meaningful heavyweight fights this year in terms of rankings besides when Daniel Ghita fought Hesdy Gerges back in March. Rutz has said that the card will feature all super fights. With all these big names on deck, I'd hope that they would be fighting each other. Based on rumblings within the kickboxing community, it sounds like it may just happen, which would really make these "super" fights.
With tickets going on sale starting October 15th, a safe assumption could be made that actual match-ups could be announced in the coming weeks. Be on the lookout for more news here at LiverKick.com.
Elite Boxing are quietly establishing themselves as quite a name in the Muay Thai world. With their first event in Russia only two days away and another in Germany on the 17th, things are looking good for the promotion.
Elite Boxing established their Russian subsidiary, Elite Boxing Russia recently and are already kicking things off with an "Elite Fight Night" series event on the 8th. Stanislav Bukhlov, the company director quickly made big moves, acquiring the Russian promotion Ice Storm. Ice Storm is set to be rebranded as Elite Fight Night Russia. The format will stay the same as when it was under Ice Storm, in the same venue and same city at the Tyumen Circus Arena in the Russian city of Tyumen.
Also, in another good move for the company, all events held under the Elite Boxing Russia banner will be filmed in high definition and "distributed to 180 countries around the world through Elite Boxing’s network of broadcast partners, including ESPN/Star Sports and Eurosport." Anytime Muay Thai can get on television is good for the sport, as it definitely lacks exposure to more eyes.
Here's the fight card for Elite Boxing's Russian debut on September 8th:
The growing popularity of muaythai in Russia is about to receive a major boost as Elite Boxing Russia—a recently established subsidiary of Bangkok-based Elite Boxing—has announced it is set to launch a new series of muaythai events. Under the brand name Elite Fight Night Russia, events will be held every 3 months at the 1,600-seat Tyumen Circus Arena in the central Russian city of Tyumen. The first event is scheduled for September 8, 2011.
Following the recent establishment of Elite Boxing Russia, company director Stanislav Bukhlov has quickly made his mark in the potentially very lucrative Russian market by negotiating the acquisition of the popular Ice Storm muaythai series. Under the agreement, Ice Storm will be rebranded as Elite Fight Night Russia. Bukhlov confirmed that the format of EFN Russia will remain the same as Ice Storm with events held every 3 months in the 1,600 seat Tyumen Circus Arena in the central Russian city of Tyumen 2,144 kilometres from Moscow.
Each EFN Russia event will be filmed in HD and distributed to 180 countries around the world through Elite Boxing’s network of broadcast partners, including ESPN/Star Sports and Eurosport.
The fights will also feature the best muaythai talent from across Russia and will provide the Elite Boxing Group with better access to the finest Russian fighters for its annual Thailand VS Russia event in the company’s flagship Thailand VS Challenger Series. This year’s Thailand VS Russia event is scheduled for October, just a month after the first EFN Russia event.
In addition to providing fighters for Thailand VS Russia, EFN Russia also offers Elite Boxing a strategic and cost-effective marketing tool that can be used to raise awareness of the Thailand VS Challenger brand as Elite Boxing looks to penetrate the huge Russian market.
Despite only taking on his new role as head of Elite Boxing Russia in June of this year, Bukhlov is already repaying the faith placed in him by Elite Boxing. Bukhlov is a very experienced promoter, matchmaker and judge, and although his background is primarily in Western boxing, he—along with many other Russians—has become increasingly interested in muaythai in recent years.
One of Bukhlov’s biggest assets is his network of contacts and this played a big part in allowing him to negotiate the acquisition of Ice Storm. Under the new name of EFN Russia, the events will continue to be supported by the local police chief, who is a big fan of muaythai and just one of Bukhlov’s many influential contacts.
Bukhlov’s hard work has not gone unnoticed. Speaking from Bangkok, where he is preparing for the upcoming TVC at the Queen’s Cup event, Elite Boxing co-founder Seth Fishman was full of praise for Bukhlov. “Stani really has a great pedigree in the world of martial arts and we are honoured and proud to have him in the EB team,” said Fishman.
“He is a very pro-active guy and we have to say a big thank you for the work he has already done in establishing both EB and TVC in Russia,” continued Fishman. “We are very excited about the future of muaythai and EB in Russia, and Stani is the perfect person to help us achieve our goals there.”
So far from the outside looking in, Elite Boxing is building a strong brand. With their Thailand vs. Challengers and Elite Fight Night series being held regularly, more hopefully start to take notice. I wouldn't be surprised to see Elite Boxing start picking up bigger name fighters for their events if they can garner success from their expansion into new territory. They've already picked up names for their events such as It's Showtime 95MAX champ Danyo Ilunga, who fights on their Thailand vs. Europe event on September 17th.
There is no doubt that one of the more exciting names involved in the Fight Code Dragons Series was Dzabar Askerov, and sadly for fans, there is no chance that we'll see him move on in said tournament. Fight Code sent out a press release the other day detailing the reasons why Askerov has been removed from the tournament, chiefly that the event is in December and there is a contract clause within each Fight Code contract stating that no fighter may fight within a month of their bout with Fight Code. The trouble arose when Askerov was booked in a bout in Sweden on November 26th against Chahid Oulad el Hadj.
This leaves Abdullah Mabel with a new opponent, which was announced by Fight Code earlier today by the way of Xu Yan. Xu Yan is a Chinese kickboxer and while many might take a glance at his wikipedia entry and write him off, his full record is 29 and 14 with impressive wins over Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima, Baxter Humby and Malaipet. Xu Yan's last fight for Fight Code was in March against Sudsakorn sor Klinmee, who is easily one of the best kickfighters of any discipline or weight class in the world. Losing to Suds is nothing to be ashamed of.
It is disappointing to fans that Askerov was forced to drop out, but Xu Yan is a solid fighter who can turn on the sparks when pushed hard enough and there could be huge things for him in the future. Even with the brackets not changing, this changes the entire landscape of the Fight Code Dragons Series tournament.
The tournament's Final 8 takes place in October and unravels as follows;
FIGHT CODE – FINAL 8 October 15th Marseille – Aix en Provence (France)
SUDSAKORN (THAI) VS HALIM ISSAOUI (MAR) BRUNO FRANCHI (ITA) VS NORBERT BALOGH (HUN) ABDELLAH MABEL(FR) VS XU YAN (CHN) ARMEN PETROSYAN (ITA) VS JURI BESSMERTNY (BY)
Continuing on our series of kickboxers and Muay Thai fighters in MMA, we profile Konstantin Gluhov. Nicknamed "Lacplesis" which means bear-slayer in Latvian, you already get an idea of what he brings to the table. Although the term "Lacplesis" was made renouned from a Latvian epic poem, Gluhov is all but poetic when the cage door shuts.
At 31 years of age, Gluhov has been fighting for over ten years, spending the larger portion of that time in the realm of kickboxing. The likes of Pavel Zhuravlev, Mourad Bouzidi and Brian Douwes have all been in the ring with Gluhov while his hand was being raised. While not an elite kickboxer by any means, Gluhov is a solid heavyweight fighter that hovers around the middle of the pack. Despite not being among the best in kickboxing, he's definitely among the best in MMA when it comes to striking.
Gluhov had his first MMA fight back in 2006. The beginning of his MMA career wasn't stellar. Losses began to build up, losing three in a row at one point. He kept at it though, and now has won 14 out of his last 15 fights since September 23 of last year, including a current six fight win streak. Mind you, this has all come in less than a year. Gluhov's current tear includes multiple one-night tournaments, even winning four fights in one night on one occasion.. Take a look closer, and you'll see what's really spectacular about this up and coming heavyweight from Latvia.
Gluhov is a rib roaster to put it lightly. Five opponents in the past year have succumbed to his left hook to the liver. Gluhov may be one of the few fighters in MMA to have a "signature move" in which fights are regularly finished with. When you think of Konstantin Gluhov, you think of the left hook to the liver. Despite his obvious favoring of the left hook liver shot as his go-to move, Gluhov has a whole arsenal of weapons that a kickboxer would possess. He rarely uses his kicks in MMA, probably because of the threat of takedowns.
Gluhov's last kickboxing match came in November of last year, where he knocked out Awadh Tamim in the first round (Which was pretty awesome, by the way. You can watch that below.) It's not known if Gluhov will make a return to kickboxing anytime soon. With the success he's having in MMA, it wouldn't be surprising for an organization like Bellator to go after him. You could probably rule out kickboxing if that happened. Right now though, Gluhov can fight wherever he wants, in whatever sport he wants so I wouldn't rule out a return to kickboxing.
Like many strikers that enter MMA, the grappling deficiencies are obvious in Konstantin Gluhov. They'll probably stop him from being any type of top heavyweight in MMA. It's still fun to see him punching MMA fighters in the liver five times a year though, so you should look forward to whenever he fights.