By Daniel Fletcher
It took six years, but the World Kickboxing Network finally awarded the winner of a ranked heavyweight fight their world super-heavyweight (96+kg) title, and the rank of champion.
The WKN press releases were sent round, and today their website showed a new champion for the first time since 2005. It was in March of that year that they crowned two very notable fighters from K-1 and It's Showtime their world and European champions respectively; Leko beating Florian Ogunade to win the world belt, and Daniel Ghita claiming the WKN European Heavyweight Muay Thai title with a win over Mourad Bouzidi. Both fights took place on the Local Kombate 14 card in Romania.
It goes without saying that the delicious irony of the situation is that Leko is much smaller than Ghita, both in height and weight, yet his title that night was in a higher weight class to that of Ghita's... as well as the fact that since that night the fortunes of both men have gone in opposite directions.
Over the years, Leko was rumoured to make several defences of the belt, most notably in a grudge rematch with Catalin Morasanu that was cancelled, and against other suggested contenders, but each time the fight fell through. As for the Muay Thai side of WKN, Ghita has never defended his own title, though he remains champion officially. While the press releases say "Heavyweight champion", the website has replaced Leko with yesterday's heavyweight winner Susperregui in the Super-Heavyweight category. The full list of champions can be seen here:
The new WKN World Super-Heavyweight kickboxing champ is Stephane Susperregui, of France. He won by second round KO over the Spaniard Damien Garcia. The card took place in Troyes, France, and featured a variety of kickboxing, full contact rules and amateur bouts.
While the absence of a defending super-heavyweight champion for several years does not appear major league per se, the WKN put on very regular events throughout Europe, and have had extremely high profile kickboxers competing on their cards.