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Artur Kyshenko and Yury Bessmertny Return Tomorrow

Thai Boxe Mania takes place in Turin, Italy tomorrow and atop the card are Artur Kyshenko and Yury Bessmertny. Both fighters will also be on the Fight Code/Oktagon card on March 24, with Kyshenko in the main event against Giorgio Petrosyan.

In the main event tomorrow, Artur Kyshenko will fight the long time veteran, Roberto Cocco at a weight of 75kg. Kyshenko can fight pretty much anywhere from 70-77kg and he's chosen to take a fight where he won't be affected by struggling to make weight. He last fought around this weight when he took on Nieky Holzken in May of last year at 74kg. Cocco has spent most of his career around 75kg but recently fought as high as 82.5kg in the MPL, where he lost his last two fights. This is a pretty much a warm up/stay busy fight for Kyshenko and I don't expect him to have much trouble here.

Fight Code's 2011 Dragons Tournament winner Yury Bessmertny returns to the ring in the co-main event against Gago Drago, the popular K-1 veteran. Drago has lost six in a row and it doesn't seem likely now that he will ever be the same fighter that he once was. It's still a good name to have on a resume though and a chance for Bessmertny to prove himself against a name that most kickboxing fans are familiar with. Drago will pressure Bessmertny, regardless if it's effective or not so Bessmertny will have to work for the win.

Rising prospect Chingiz Allazov will take on his toughest test to date in Erkan Varol at 67kg. Allazov tore through his competition last year and now he's taking a big step up. Varol is a very tough veteran fighter and a good kickboxer at this weight class so it should be interesting to see if Allazov can pass this test that's been put in front of him.

The full card features 16 fights, including six Oktagon Selektion Finals featuring fighters who have advanced through the Oktagon Selektion to the finals. The winners will of the Oktagon Selektion Finals will be on the March 24 Fight Code/Oktagon card in Milan. Full fight card here.


Take a Deep Breath, Another Big Event Coming Up; Thai Boxe Mania 2012


It's Showtime 55 blew everyone away this weekend, putting on the biggest combat sports event in the world after fans watching UFC on Fox 2 fizzle out. We saw some huge finishes from Errol Zimmerman, Daniel Ghita and Badr Hari and the landscape of the Heavyweight Kickboxing world was re-written. This next weekend in Italy we see yet another big event from what has felt like a rather active Italy, this time it is Thai Boxe Mania 2012, with the big bouts using Fight Code rules in association with Oktagon.

The big bout of the night is Artur Kyshenko taking on Roberto Cocco at -75kg. This is a warm-up bout of sorts before Kyshenko faces down Giorgio Petrosyan in March, also in Italy, and is a tough challenge. Roberto Cocco is a very tough veteran fighter with over 138 fights under his belt, he also fights at 75kg normally, while Kyshenko falls between 70 and 73 usually. Kyshenko was well on his way to winning the It's Showtime Fast and Furious 70kg MAX tournament before Robin van Roosmalen quickly finished him off before moving on to defeat Yodsanklai Fairtex at Sweden's Rumble of the Kings in what many voted as the fight of the year for 2011.

Another big feature bout is at 72.5kg between Gago Drago and the 2011 Fight Code Dragons tournament champion, Yuri Bessmertny. This is a good test for Yuri and a good measuring stick for where Drago is at in 2012 after having a tough 2011. For the full fight card, check it out here.


The Heavyweight Landscape In Kickboxing Following Badr Hari's Departure

Badr Hari ended his kickboxing career yesterday with a first round knockout of fellow top heavyweight, Gokhan Saki. Now that Badr has left the sport, the heavyweight division that has been unstable ever since the 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix is now just as up in the air as it's ever been. His departure shakes up the landscape of the heavyweight division, leaving it wide open and creating a vacancy that may or may not be filled.


Badr Hari Retires, Daniel Ghita the Man to Beat at Heavyweight

It's Showtime 55 was an explosive show, and in the realm of the Heavyweight division helped to organize it and make some sense of what was a rather confusing division. The retirement of Badr Hari was the big story for this show, and quite honestly, Badr Hari looked better than he has looked in a long, long time in the ring. He was focused, in control and defending just about everything that Saki had to offer. It is a shame that we will not get to watch him fight again for an undisclosed amount of time, but he is off to try his hand at Boxing where he will try to become a star in America.

What is clear is that Daniel Ghita's win over Hesdy Gerges has proven that Ghita is finally making good on his potential. Ghita burst onto the international scene in 2009 when he first appeared in the It's Showtime ring, stopping Tomas Hron with deadly low kicks. He then went on to win the K-1 WGP Final Qualifying Tournament in Japan three months later, which gave him the unenviable task of making his K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16 debut against Semmy Schilt. Ghita was yet to become a complete fighter and Semmy was able to pick him apart in typical Schilt fashion. The years that have followed have been important learning years for Ghita, with the last two years in particular with him realizing that he needed to improve his hands to hang with the elite Heavyweights.


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