Today the big announcement from Glory Sports International was the purchase of top competitor It’s Showtime, merging the talent from It’s Showtime in with the talent from Glory. For the first time since K-1 under FEG stopped running shows, the Kickboxing world is united again. It’s Showtime had a working agreement with K-1 Global which was at least active for the K-1 Rising in Madrid show, which was actually ran entirely by It’s Showtime staff, but it appears that the relationship was not as strong as everyone suspected.
That was, apparently, when the talks with Glory began. It’s Showtime’s history dates back to 1998 when the company was founded by Simon Rutz, with their first official show taking place in 1999. Over the years, It’s Showtime grew in popularity and even forged a partnership with K-1 for their European shows, putting on a few co-branded events at the Amsterdam ArenA in some of their biggest shows.
There might be a lot of revisionist history in the future, but It’s Showtime leaves behind a truly interesting legacy, including some truly memorable Kickboxing shows and Simon Rutz building an empire of European talent which was only rivaled by Bas Boon’s Golden Glory. It’s Showtime did things that K-1 did not dare to do, and when it did them, it did them extremely well. This includes the addition of numerous weight classes as well as additional ringside judges. It might sound trivial, but K-1 only dabbled in weight classes outside of Super Heavyweight/Heavyweight and Middleweight, never truly made a commitment to it, and fighters like Tyrone Spong might never of gotten to this level if it weren’t for It’s Showtime having multiple weight classes to highlight a wide array of talent.
On the judging front, it was a very simple concept, yet one that you very rarely see implemented outside of in It’s Showtime. In MMA fans will be upset, it seems almost weekly now, over poor judging in fights that go the distance. Rutz and Co. saw this and added more judges to ensure that even if a judge or two completely misjudged the fight, the proper fighter would not be robbed of a victory. On top of that, their matchmaking was always making the best of what they had available to them, which meant that not every card was stacked top-to-bottom, but they always featured recognizable names and always gave younger fighters a stage to prove themselves in.
It was these ideas and more that made It’s Showtime a runaway success and helped propel them to the top of the kickboxing world. It is not clear what will happen to the It’s Showtime brand, but it seems like an incredibly valuable asset and still holds a lot of clout in the kickboxing world. As of this moment there are still two It’s Showtime events on the schedule, one in July in Spain and one in September in Japan. These shows could easily be re-branded into Glory cards, but they could also simply be It’s Showtime events.
The winners tend to write the history books, and I say that we do the best that we can to remember what It’s Showtime meant for Kickboxing and remember It’s Showtime’s legacy for what it was. It’s Showtime proved that you didn’t need the K-1 name to be successful in the kickboxing game and even showed how to work with local promoters to put on events while putting on the best cards possible for fans and the fighters.