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Heavyweight (Per 4/15)
1. Rico Verhoeven
2. Daniel Ghita
3. Gokhan Saki
4. Tyrone Spong
5. Peter Aerts
6. Errol Zimmerman up
7. Benjamin Adegbuyiup
8. Ismael Londt up
9. Hesdy Gerges up
10. Ben Edwards up

Light HW (per 4/15)
1. Gokhan Saki up
2. Tyrone Spong down
3. Danyo Ilunga
4. Nathan Corbett down
5. Saulo Cavalari

Middleweight (per 4/15)
1. Wayne Barrett
2. Joe Schilling
3. Artem Levin
4. Steven Wakeling
5. Franci Grajs

Welterweight (per 4/15)
1. Nieky Holzken 
2. Joseph Valtellini 
3. Simon Marcus
4. Marc de Bonte
5. Aussie Ouzgni

 

70kg (Per 4/15)
1. Davit Kiriaup
2. Andy Ristiedown
3. Robin van Roosmalendown
4. Giorgio Petrosyandown
5. Murthel Groenhart
6. Buakaw Banchamek
7. Dzhabar Askerov
8. Ky Hollenbeckup
9. Aikprachaup
10. Enriko Kehlup

65kg (per 1/20)
1. Masaaki Noiri
2. Mosab Amraniup
3. Yuta Kubo down
4. Sagetdao
5. Liam Harrison

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As I looked to begin my Muay Thai training, I realized I was somewhat underprepared from a gym attire standpoint. As someone who hasn’t worked out in a few years, I knew I needed a few things before I started. So, prior to class #1 I hit the store and bought... shoes. Why did I do this? I have no idea. I’ve watched plenty of Muay Thai. I understand the rules of Muay Thai. And shoes? Not exactly Muay Thai gear. And yet there I was, shiny new workout shoes in hand. It took about 5 seconds of being in the gym to realize what a stupid purchase that had been.

But my purchasing journey had just begun. At class #2, we got a quick talking down about coming to class unprepared – it’s a Muay Thai class, you need Muay Thai gear. Which is correct. My only problem? I’m not rolling in money, so needed to find things that were inexpensive, but still effective. I made a list: Gloves, Shin pads, Mouth guard, Hand wraps, Head gear, Cup, Muay Thai trunks, Ankle braces.

After some deliberation, I decided to put head gear, trunks, and ankle braces on the back burner and focus on the rest. Now, the trouble is, there are an unbelievable amount of options out there in cyberspace for these things. Where do you turn? How cheap can you go before you are getting something worthless? And is that $99 pair really so much better than the $59 pair? Here’s what I ended up with:

Gloves Shin Guards Hand WrapsGLOVES – I started searching for these at the local used sporting goods store, which quickly revealed itself to be a mistake. Partly because the nice, enthusiastic salesman had no clue what he was talking about and told me emphatically I did NOT want a boxing glove for Muay Thai, but instead some sort of large, fingered glove? I still don’t get what he was talking about – those weird Bruce Lee gloves no one ever uses? But the bigger problem is that you can’t buy boxing gloves used, because once they’ve gone to the used store, the padding is shot, and your knuckles will be too if you use them. Of course. So, off to the Sport Authority to try on their stock. Lots of options here, most of them uncomfortable, and many of them felt downright unsafe. None more so than the Muhammed Ali signature line – maybe it was just the way it fit my own hand, but I felt like using those would result in both broken knuckles and a broken wrist. The Greatest deserves better. I tried on everything they had, threw some punches at the nearby heavy bag, and in the end I settled on a pair of Everlast 16 oz. MMA Sparring Gloves (pictured). They fit well, they’re comfortable – I’m happy. Cost: $40.

SHIN PADS – This was the toughest one, as I found no stores with any in stock that I could try out (Although Mr. Eager Used Goods Clerk suggested soccer shin guards. No thanks.), which meant I would have to order online and hope for the best. I scouted and scouted, comparing tons of stores, prices, reading reviews – it’s exhausting, particularly when shopping for a product you’ve never once used before. I ended up ordering from MMAStop.com, partly because they are local, based just outside of Chicago, and I like supporting local if I can. Turned out to be a bit of a process as the first pair I ordered were out of stock, and the replacement was out of stock too. I exchanged a number of e-mails with the folks there, who were extremely nice and accommodating. They ended up recommending a slightly more expensive pair, but giving it to me at the original price since it had been a hassle. Very nice customer service, and a thumbs up to MMAStop.com from me. I ended up with a pair from RevGear (pictured). Have not yet used them, but they feel very sturdy and well constructed, and they fit me nicely. Cost (with shipping): $32

MOUTH GUARD – Just a basic $10 molded version. Covers just the top teeth, but it will do for now. I hope.

HAND WRAPS – Picked these up on the glove trip. Various options here, but I went with the Everlast 180 (pictured). Biggest difficulty so far is trying to get them on correctly – still not sure I’m getting the absolute best protection from them, particularly around the thumb, which is very hard to wrap. Cost: $10.

CUP – There are a ton of very expensive options for supporters and cups, but frankly, I don’t see the need to spend so much when you can get a perfectly fine, basic version at Target for $10. That’s what I got - it fits fine, supports fine, no complaints.

So there we go. Total cost for gloves, shin guards, mouth piece, cup, hand wraps: $102. Head gear, better shorts, and ankle sleeves are yet to come. Did I make good purchases? Well, the only way to find out is to get in there and start using them. We’ll give that a go next week and report back on the findings.

This is an area where I really want to hear from you. What gear do you use? What works for you and what have you had a bad experience with? It would be great if those starting off could have some good info on this rather confusing area from those of you who have been at it.

Training Diary is a weekly series documenting my journey starting Muay Thai training. For more on this series, read the first entry here.  I train at Conviction Fitness & Martial Arts, 4430 N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL www.convictionfitness.com.

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ShogunTo say I'm a pretty bright guy is probably an understatement, and to publicly say that is probably a good way to make people either roll their eyes or continue an onslaught of e*attacks against my person, yet here I am, writing exactly that. I think having some confidence in a world of uncertainty is a great feature to possess. Like a good portion of hardcore fans on the internet, I've been watching MMA for a very long time, and like an even smaller portion, I watched PRIDE during its heyday.

I don't make a lot of PRIDE NEVER DIE posts, but yes, the bushido spirit flows through my veins at times and I remember that really awesome Japanese promotion that was home to a lot of the world's top talent as well as a lot of the world's most charismatic cans and both sometimes converged to create incredible squashes like only PRIDE could do. That is to keep the haters happy, as there were also a lot of really, really incredible fights between the best in the world.

So I have to be honest, I'm scratching my head over here; how is Mauricio "Shogun" Rua an underdog against Jon "Bones" Jones at this weekend's UFC 128 event? I pose a very, very serious question to those that feel like Jones is unstoppable; who has he beaten compared to Shogun? Shogun was the PRIDE 2005 Middleweight Champion, quite possibly having the most incredible tournament run imaginable for that year. Shogun defeated, in the opening round, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, then Antonio Rogerio "Little Nog" Nogueira, Alistair Overeem and then Ricardo Arona.

To me, this fight is a no-brainer. An absolute no-brainer, to the extent that I've been given $1,000 by BetDSI to bet on this fight, and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I'm all in for Mauricio Shogun Rua. The odds on BetDSI right now? Ridiculous. Shogun is +155 and I'm betting that I'll be laughing all the way to the bank on this one. So that is, risking $1,000 to win $1,550. Want to know why? Read more.

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2 Apidej Sit Hrun: How many fighters can say they shattered both of his opponents arms in the SAME fight and forced him to retire? I can think of 1, and that would be Apidej Sit Hrun. He's broke many of arms and is probably the hardest kicker in the history of all combat sports. However he wasn't purely a kicker, he was also a successful international boxer, and held titles in that sport. He was named fighter of the century by King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who is still the current King so he's seen his share of fighters. 

Highlight:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErGQK7LtJ90

1 Samart Payakaroon: Not only is this man the best Muay Thai fighter of all time (IMO) but he's the best striker of all time period. If it wasn't for Dieselnoi Chor Thunasukarn he would have won fighter of the year in 1981, 1982, and 1983. But since he lost to Dieselnoi he only won the awards in 81, and 83. After establishing himself as a legend in Muay Thai he took his talent too international boxing and in a few years became the WBC Super Bantamweight champion of the world. After a title defense he lost the belt, and decided to come back to Muay Thai. So he's leaves Muay Thai as the best, goes to boxing and becomes the best(at Super Bantamweight) in that sport for a short while, and then comes back to Muay Thai, a sport he hasn't competed in for years and is still the best! Thats just crazy to me. Not only does he come back and win fighter of the year again in 1988, but he's even better than he was in the early 80's. No fighter ever had his skills near the end of his career. The movement, the technical precision, the stamina was just unparalleled. He's the only fighter to have won fighter of the year 3 times, and had he not gone to boxing he would probably be looking at 5 or more. 

Samart vs. Hapalang:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoxaeGVv3os

Highlight:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VLD7hEzZEs

 

10. Namsaknoi Yudthagarngamtorn

9. Sangtienoi Sor Rungrot

8. Boonlai Sor Thanikul

7. Poot Lorlek

6. Sakmongkol Sithchuchok

5. Kaensak Sor Ploenchit

4. Dieselnoi Chor Thunasukarn

3. Saenchai Sinbimuaythai

2. Apidej Sit Hrun

1. Samart Payakaroon

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If you weren't clear on what happened with the Amsterdam ArenA event that It's Showtime usually holds every May, we covered exactly what happened in our exclusive interview with Simon Rutz. We talked with Rutz about some of the financial problems and how K-1 really put a wrench in the whole ordeal. On top of that, Mayor van der Laan of Amsterdam has been a bit, well strict on fights happening in his city, defiling what is a otherwise pristine place for Christian worship (note: sarcasm). This left the kickboxing world without a gigantic show in one of the biggest fight cities in the world.

Well that might not be all that we hear of this. There were rumors they might try to make the show happen in October, but we heard no more of that after January after the Lyon, France show was booked with Badr Hari in action, automatically making it a huge show.

We are waiting to hear if It's Showtime will run in Australia this year, by the end of the month, and apparently, we'll also hear about It's Showtime running in the Amsterdam ArenA in October within the same time frame. That is very exciting news, and means that It's Showtime really means business. It could also mean that K-1 could be back in the fold soon.

Stay tuned for more.

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4 Dieselnoi Chor Thunasukarn: "The sky piercing knee kicker" (Why is it that Asians come up with awesome nicknames, and none of this Assassin crap?) is my favorite fighter of all time. Without any doubt whatsoever I believe he was the most dominant clinch fighter in the history of Muay Thai. At 6'3 and and only 140 pounds he was a scary and freakish looking man. He was the 1982 fighter of the year, and held Lumpinee's 140 pounds title for 4 years straight without losing. In that same year he fought Samart Payakaroon who was looking to win back-to-back fighter of the year awards, but it was the much bigger Dieselnoi who came out on top. It was quite possibly the biggest fight in Muay Thai history, yet very few people have seen the fight. Its nowhere to be found on the internet, and collectors and historians in Thailand are said to have the fight, but will only sale for a very high price. After he dueled Samart it was tough for him to get any fights, and it was months later until someone stepped up to the plate on fought him. He too got the knee treatment. After fighting infrequently over the next 2 years he decided to retire because there were no more challengers for him. I can't blame his opponents, just watching Dieselnoi work the pads makes me hurt. 

Dieselnoi on the pads:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8dIsPTWyic

Dieselnoi vs. Johm Moncayo:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAxcPE_0eXw

3 Saenchai Sinbimuaythai: Saenchai now goes by Sinbimuaythai as he recently left 13 coins, and took up the Sinbimuaythai gym name as most fighters do. Saenchai is the epitome of consistency. He won fighter of the year back in 1999, and then again in 2008, and is still the best fighter in Thailand. Saenchai's style is completely different from any other fighter. When watching him its just a weird experience. He seems to do things nobody else can do with little effort. In recent years he's generally been the smaller fighter in the majority of his fights, yet he still seems to be stronger than everybody else. The only times he's really given a tough match are when he fights tall clinch fighters like Petchboonchu F.A Group, and Saketdao Petchpaithai. However back in 2009 he fought both of those men over the course of 1 fight. He fought Petchboonchu for the first 3 rounds, and Saketdao for the final 2 rounds and still won the fight. And its not like Petch, or Saketdao are chumps, they have both been major champions, and have beaten Saenchai before. Dubbed the "king of the rematch" Saenchai lost in 2007 to Orono Vor Petchpun, and just a few months later when they fought again Saenchai made the right adjustments and made a great fighter look foolish. He's knocked out Nong-O Sit Or twice, who imo is a top 25 fighter of all time, and he's beaten a slew of other great fighters. If he continues to be so consistent and smart he could move higher up on this list. 

Saenchai highlight:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jmK2zusIlA

Saenchai vs. Khem Sitsongpeenong:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8GOnPwX_X4

The top 2, tomorrow

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HiroyaHiroya, the one time "next Masato" of K-1, is planning a move to MMA.  Nightmare of Battle reports that Hiroya will begin training MMA this year, possibly traveling overseas to train starting in the summer.  The 19 year old will not entirely give up on his K-1 aspirations for the moment, but will look to broaden his options by taking part in MMA.

If you've only recently started watching K-1, you may not even know Hiroya, but the young fighter was, just a few years ago, a major part of the company's plans.  At just 15 he started competing in various special rules fights for K-1 MAX.  The plan was for fans to watch this young fighter develop from a very early age so that by the time he was older and a champion, fans would be strongly connected with him and he would be able to step into Masato's shows as the face of K-1 MAX.  It didn't work.  As Hiroya continued to fight in K-1, it became clear he was having trouble against his increasingly hand selected opponents.  The result was an increasing sense of annoyance from international viewers, and apathy from Japanese fans.  In 2008, Hiroya won the Koshien tournament, but when he failed to repeat that accomplishment in 2009 (losing to Masaaki Noiri, who has since proven to be a legitimate, top level talent), it effectively ended both his run, and K-1's promotion of Koshien.  Hiroya took time off to finish high school, and in the 15 months since that loss has only taken one fight - a largely one sided decision loss to Yuta Kubo in November.

Hiroya has obviously been passed by many of his Koshien classmates including Noiri, the Urabe brothers, and Kizaemon Saiga - all fighters who now stand on their own as more than just teenage fighters, while Hiroya remains something of a spectacle name.  At 19, you certainly can't say his time in kickboxing is done, but for him to make a name in this sport, he will need to get clear of the stigma he currently has, and will need to reinvent himself somewhat.  A move to MMA could be a big help in that regard.

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