Yesterday, It's Showtime kicked off their spree of four events in about a month's time with It's Showtime Lyon. The card was heavily anticipated by myself and many kickboxing fans alike. The main story of the card leading in was of course the return of Badr Hari. Hari had been away from the sport for a year and everyone awaited his return to the ring.
I'd say yes, but there's a few things that stood out that the card would've been better off without. There wasn't a boring fight, five out of the six main card fights were finishes. Aside from the no contest between Giorgio Petrosyan and Chahid Oulad El Hadj which was still a good fight, every fight had some good action. Now onto what I think It's Showtime would be better off doing for their cards in the future.
- No squash matches for big name fighters. Yes, I know Badr Hari was coming off a year lay off and Tyrone Spong a five month one. But atleast put some fighters in there who will stand a chance and not just be ran through. Daniel Ghita's opponent was different as it was a short notice injury replacement. Everyone watching seemed utterly disappointed that Gregory Tony just didn't want to fight with Badr and came to pick up his paycheck. I've heard Tony was on the card because he's a friend of Kader Marouf, the man who It's Showtime co-promoted this event with. I think they've learned a good lesson from this.
- Title matches have to be competitive or atleast look that way. Yeah, Willy Borrel wasn't exactly a squash match for Chris Ngimbi but the fight wasn't even competitive. Ngimbi was just on another level than Borrel the whole fight. Borrel hadn't fought in a year and it just happened to be his birthday. That's probably another case of him getting on the card because of a relationship with Kader Marouf. I think they could've just given him a regular bout on the card. There's better French fighters at -70kg like Mickael Piscitello who could've gotten a title shot although I think the title shot should be given based on wins, not because its in a fighter's home country. A knee to the face isn't the most pleasant birthday presant.
And here are a few things that I liked about the way It's Showtime ran their show.
- Everything was straight to business, no unnecessary lulls in between fights. One fight finished, on to the next one right away. It's a fresh breath of air as if you watch K-1, a show will take up to 5 hours for around 7 fights. It's Showtime yesterday had 6 fights and it lasted right to the 2 hour TV timeslot. No stuff like teenage Japanese girls singing in the ring for 20 minutes, just straight to business.
- It's Showtime is keeping their fighters active. Daniel Ghita is fighting again on It's Showtime's June 11 event in Poland. Tyrone Spong is fighting again at It's Showtime's June 18 event in Spain. And these are some of their top guys that are fighting regularly. Not to mention, It's Showtime fighters are free to fight wherever they wish and many of them fight all over the place during their layoffs from It's Showtime. In a time where the layoffs for MMA fighters and Boxers seem to be getting longer and longer and top fighters in these sports seem to be fighting less and less, it's refreshing to see guys staying active in kickboxing.
Putting aside my few criticisms, it was a pretty good event. This is a good lead in for the It's Showtime event in Amsterdam, just a week away on Saturday, May 21st. Hesdy Gerges, who just got out of prison again is fighting Englishman Chris Knowles in the main event. Also on the card, Mohammed Khamal vs. Robin van Roosmalen in what is probably going to be a fight of the year candidate. Also a title fight for the vacant It's Showtime 85MAX World Title that will be between Amir Zeyada and Sahak Parparyan. It may not have the star power of this past card yesterday, but don't sleep on it. I'm expecting some of these fights to be very exciting and the fights will probably turn out a lot better than yesterday.
It's Showtime continues to do big things. Be on the lookout for more news everyday from here at Liverkick.com.