I'm not afraid to say it at this point, that Semmy Schilt is the top Heavyweight/Super Heavyweight in the Kickboxing world. In a sea of legitimate contenders to his throne, all of them considerably younger than him, Semmy Schilt at thirty eight years old is still one of the toughest men to figure out in all of combat sports. Tonight in Sweden, Schilt took on a very, very game challenger in the way of Errol Zimmerman, and not only did he defeat Zimmerman, but he made Zimmerman look bad.
The thing is, Errol Zimmerman is far from bad, if anything, Zimmerman is one of the top Kickboxers in the world. Zimmerman may have a few technical holes in his game, but his power and speed at Heavyweight are practically unrivaled. Errol was on a huge winning streak and had really taken his career seriously over the past year and a half, all leading to a rematch from two years prior against Semmy Schilt. Zimmerman took Schilt to a lopsided decision in 2010, where he was simply happy holding on to lose the decision, but tonight he was looking to take Schilt's head off.
Schilt had about fifteen months off between the K-1 World Grand Prix in 2010 and his bout with Brice Guidon in March, so when people explain Schilt in that bout as not as responsive or dominating, I chalk it up to a few different factors. The first being ring rust. Ring rust is very real, and if you talk to a lot of fighters who have had long layoffs, they will tell you about just how strange it is to step back into a ring in front of a crowd against a man trying to rip your head off. The other factor was that Brice Guidon is six foot seven, effectively nullifying Semmy Schilt's monster reach that helps him keep most fighters at bay. If you need proof that Schilt's reach being eliminated makes for a strange fight, watch his fight with Hong Man Choi.
With the Kickboxing world divided down the middle there is a limit to who Schilt can fight right now, but within the realm of Glory, it is safe to say he will remain unchallenged outside of the his achilles heel; Peter Aerts. The real fights fans want to see are between Schilt and the two big names signed to K-1 right now; Badr Hari and Daniel Ghita. The last time he met both men he made them look like amateurs, much like he did Errol Zimmerman here tonight. Badr Hari, though, does hold one of those rare W's over Schilt, from 2009 in It's Showtime. He used the tactic best used by Peter Aerts to defeat Semmy, which is to rush in and not stop until Semmy is turtled up or on his back.
The only problem with that tactic is that it clearly doesn't work all of the time. Zimmerman landed a few big shots against Schilt and tried to do exactly that, but he still was unable to force the giant to the mat. Schilt, like most top fighters, learns his lesson. I do not see Schilt losing any time soon, and the man has been on top of the Kickboxing world since 2005. His longevity and the gravity of his big wins lands him his spot at the top, and until someone is able to derail him, he is still the man to beat.