|Heavyweight (Per 4/15)|
|Light HW (per 4/15)|
|Middleweight (per 4/15)|
|Welterweight (per 4/15)|
|4.||Marc de Bonte|
|70kg (Per 4/15)|
|3.||Robin van Roosmalen|
|65kg (per 1/20)|
Thai Fight 2011 will feature two weightclasses: 67 kg and 70 kg. Thailand's 67 kg representative will be decided by the ongoing67 kg Isuzu Tournament. Thus far, strong contenders in that tournament are Kem Sitsongpeenong, Sudsakorn 13 Coins Gym, and Prakaisaeng Sit-Or. Dernchonlek Sor Sor Niyom is something of a dark horse. Thai Fight and the Isuzu Tournament share a sponsor in Isuzu Motors.
Buakaw Por Pramuk has been selected as the Thai representative in the 70 kg Thai Fight. He has a very high profile in international Muay Thai and kickboxing and his participation will draw a lot of media and fan attention.
The Thai Fight tournaments follow an eight man format, with fighters competing once per event.
The tournaments are set to kick off on September 25, 2011 with the quarterfinals in both weight divisions. The semi-finals follow on October 24th, and the finals on November 27th.
New fight news coming out of Greece: On March 12 in Athens it will be "Iron" Mike Zambidis vs. Ali Gunyar. The two are headlining a show called Iron Challenge. No other fights are yet announced.
This is a big fight for both men. For Zambidis, this is a chance to continue to reestablish himself as a relevant name in the 70kg ranks. Two years ago, it looked like Zambo's time at the top might have been done. But he turned that around in 2010, putting together a 4 fight win streak over all strong names (Dzhabar Askerov, Warren Stevelmans, Chahid Oulad El Hadj, Yuichiro Nagashima) and ending the year as the first man in K-1 MAX to actually give champ Giorgio Petrosyan a challenge. Oh, and along the way he just happened to turn in one of the greatest fights in K-1 MAX history, the 2010 LiverKick.com Fight of the Year against Chahid. He's pulled himself all the way back up to #11 in our rankings, which is a huge swing from where he was not long ago. A win over Gunyar says that he's all the way back, but a loss here will cause some to question if 2010 was an anomaly for the popular veteran fighter.
For Ali Gunyar, this is a chance to put his name in there with the real players in this division. The veteran fighter has faced many of the big names at 70kg, including Albert Kraus and Gago Drago among others, although he has often come up short in these fights. In 2008 and 2009 he put together some solid wins, scoring victories over Chahid Oulad El Hadj, Virgil Kalakoda, and more. He's the kind of skilled, traveled fighter that could give Zambidis a challenge, and while he's the underdog here, this is not a gimme for Zambidis.
As is always the case when Zambidis fights, he'll give up the height and reach to Gunyar, but will make up for it with an advantage in power. In the end, I think that power and resilience, combined with the thrill of fighting in front of the Greek fans that treat him as a national hero, will give Zambidis the edge here.Add a comment
Pat Barry got a chance to show off his stand up without breaking his hands and feet tonight, against fellow UFC Heavyweight Joey Beltran in one of those fights that makes UFC President Dana White proud to be a fight promoter and me confused as to why more UFC fans aren't dashing to watch K-1 events whenever they can to see better stand up wars. Barry took it to Beltran, who wasn't afraid to stand and bang with Barry.
This was a fight custom made for Pat Barry to show off his striking and I'm sincerely not sure that he accomplished what he wanted to do. Going into the Cro Cop fight one of the big stories for kickboxing fans was two K-1 deserters facing off, and Barry was completely trashed by Ernesto Hoost and the rest of the VOS gym for simply not being good enough to hang. Barry went out to prove himself and broke enough bones on Cro Cop's head to where a lazy choke took him out. Cro Cop choked him out.
Joey Beltran took it to Barry in round 1, Barry landing a few strong leg kicks but his dirty boxing was enough to secure him the round. Beltran was introduced to Barry's mean streak in the second round, to easily secure the round for him, but the third round saw a lot more of Joey Beltran dirty boxing and some great body shots while Barry simply winged head kicks at him looking to take his head off. The distinct lack of aggression was hurting Barry until he started landing some leg kicks, and unfortunately poked Beltran in the eye. setting up the kick.
The damage Barry had done to Beltran's legs over the three rounds accumulated in the third after Beltran recovered from the eye poke, to the point where every time Barry chopped away at the legs, Beltran shouted in pain and collapsed. Barry pulled off just enough to get the decision, winning the second and third rounds.
Pat gives an emotional speech after the bout about his father, who was in the military and passed away 25 years ago, which all but makes up for the fact that he really wasn't fighting up to his potential. Honestly, he has a height disadvantage and a cut to 205 could do wonders for him.Add a comment
We are all-but-done writing about FEG's financial woes. At this point what needs to be said has been said, and there is a lot of information on this topic that will never be released to the public. Until FEG makes their move, it is a dead horse that I'm sick of beating. So I've seen some articles and questions floating around that pertain to the future of DREAM and K-1, which of course revolves around television and ownership.
What many people tend to forget is way back to the death of PRIDE, the one-off event known as "Yarennoka" and the formation of DREAM. DREAM is not simple a FEG production. There is a company called "Real Entertainment" that was formed by what was left of DSE, and all of those great video packages on those DREAM events, Lenne Hardt screaming out fighters' names and even lots of the fighters themselves participating in DREAM? Thank Real Entertainment. DREAM is a co-production between RE and FEG, which is why you'll never see DREAM on Fuji TV.
So now, to fully understand how this impacts FEG, I'll hand this over to Mike Hackler of MMA-Japan.com, who did some digging and found out exactly what Real Entertainment's services mean to FEG.
FEG is in debt to Real Entertainment around $7 million USD. Real Entertainment's involvement is a large reason why there are problems getting a TV deal done, due to the fact they still have management from DSE. FUJI has no interest in a television deal, solely for this reason. Real Entertainment is also responsible for paying the fighters (as to what extent, I do not know). Many fighters contracts are with Real Entertainment and not FEG.
FEG is stuck. Ishii owns the rights and the brand names with FEG. This makes reorganizing the company extremely difficult, if not impossible. That said, it has been confirmed that PUJI has backed out of this altogether. As any private equity does, FEG is reluctant to allow for managerial changes to take place. This creates a brick wall for outside investors to get involved.
This beautifully articulates how FEG is stuck in a tough position, and some of the power struggles that are going on during this downtime for K-1 and DREAM. Many people I've spoken to have talked about (off the record, as always) Tanikawa wanting to form a new company and leave Ishii out of the business entirely, but as long as Ishii owns the name "K-1" it will be impossible to break away from his influence. [source]Add a comment
After a year of inactivity, Badr Hari will make his return to action in the It's Showtime ring. With K-1 on a hiatus for the moment, and nothing planned or announced as of yet, It's Showtime has been reeling off the show announcements, with a tentative plan for ten or more shows within 2011. In May It's Showtime will make their way to Lyon, France, where Badr Hari will make his return to action against a to-be-decided opponent.
According to Dutch newspaper, De Telegraaf, Simon Rutz has gotten a verbal agreement for the bout and the opponent should be decided within the next two weeks.
"Badr makes his comeback in May," Rutz commented to De Telegraaf. "Hopefully Badr will be doing what he does best: fighting in the ring. He must show that he is among the best fighters in the world."
The fight that fans want to see the most would be against Hesdy Gerges, who is currently booked to fight on March 6th, taking on Daniel Ghita. At It's Showtime's christmas show at the Sands, they also announced that he would be defending his title, most likely at the ArenA show. With the ArenA show not happening, one can only speculate that they will try to assemble a rematch between the two a year later.
There are a plethora of match-ups involving Badr Hari that fans would love to see, including a rubber match against current K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, Alistair Overeem, but Overeem might be tied up in the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP and be unable to make a fight in May. Nod to Simon Raedts for diligently reading de Telegraaf and alerting us to the news.Add a comment
New fight announcement here coming from Spain: on February 5, former K-1 MAX and Shootboxing S-Cup champion Andy Souwer will be in action. Souwer, our #3 ranked middleweight fighter, will be facing Spanish fighter Abraham Roqueni in the main event of a show billed as El Desafio K-1 ("The Challenge" in English). The fight is 3 X 3 minute rounds, K-1 rules, at 70kg.
It's good to see Souwer back in action here. The normally busy Souwer had a relatively slow 2010, as he spent much of the year recovering from an eye injury, as well as searching for a new home after being ousted from K-1 MAX. But Souwer has often spoken of his desire to fight frequently, so a busy schedule against various opponents suits him well. Obviously, Souwer is the massive favorite here, but Roqueni may be game to make this an interesting fight. Nicknamed "The Demon", Roqueni has been around for a few years, competing in Muay Thai and various other styles, and he holds a win over Jose Reis. Check out the Highlight reel on Roqueni below - he's aggressive, and combines KO power with some devastating kicks, especially leg kicks. If he pushes Souwer, this could be fun. Souwer however always has the ability to take his opponents right out of their games, drawing them into a technical battle that they can't win, and there's a good chance we'll see that on Feb. 5.
The rest of the card includes a number of Spanish fighter, with a few fights of interest to international fight fans. Germany's Dennis Schneidmiller faces Fran Palenzuela. Hafid El Boustati, who defeated Chahid Oulad El Hadj at this time last year, faces Manuel Hinojo. And Oliver Tinda faces Younnes El Mhassani, the man rumored to be challenging Artem Levin in It's Showtime in March.
Add a comment
There is a sad state of affairs in the kickboxing world right now, mostly revolving around the turmoil happening within FEG. Sadly, there is some collateral damage when it comes to FEG's financial and organizational woes by the way of Netherlands kickboxing powerhouse It's Showtime. It's Showtime has for the past few years ran in the Amsterdam ArenA, a large-scale arena, hosting kickboxing's biggest non-K-1 event. There wasn't much word on the show for the past few months, but the assumption was always that it would happen, regardless of any outside forces, as It's Showtime has been expanding and putting on bigger and better shows.
According to Simon Rutz today, he has officially put the final nail in the coffin of the May ArenA show, and sadly it all rests on the shoulders of K-1. K-1 has partnered with It's Showtime in the annual ArenA show, exchanging talent, helping cover production costs and assembling the card in 2006, 2007 and 2008. The last two years it has been an It's Showtime exclusive, but in 2011 it was going to be a joint production between It's Showtime and K-1. It's Showtime held up their end of the bargain, but were simply waiting on K-1 to complete the matchmaking as per the agreement. Rutz explains his frustrations:
However, after months of asking questions by email, text messages, personally and by telephone we never got an answer from K-1 regarding the fight card. We had set a deadline for the fight card for January 11, because otherwise there would be too little time for us to organize everything before May 21.
It was January 18 when K-1 finally told me that it isn’t able to put the fight card together, because many fighters who have fought for K-1 still have to get their money, and K-1 can’t negotiate with fighters whom K-1 still owes money to. For a long time it’s not a secret anymore that K-1 is in bad financial problems and that it’s still the question whether they will survive this crisis. FEG (K-1) tries to do everything in its power to get out of this crisis but the negotiations with potential investors are stagnating for a year already.
Rutz goes on to talk about how his company, Black Label, that manages many of K-1's biggest stars, from Melvin Manhoef, Badr Hari, Giorgio Petrosyan, Gago Drago and Hesdy Gerges, has been patient and helped K-1 financially, they need to draw the line somewhere.
We from IT’S SHOWTIME have tried to help K-1 in every area the last couple of years and we have been very merciful regarding the payments of our fighters. The debts keep increasing in a very fast pace, though. According to FEG, everything will be alright but everything takes more time than they had expected and FEG asks us for more time regarding the payments of our fighters and the final fight card for the Amsterdam ArenA.
I find it admirable how Rutz does business and it is understandable that their patience has run out. Quite honestly, this is a case where East meets West and the West can't wait for the East to do business their way. Rutz is very realistic that if K-1 sorts out their financial problems and is open to working with It's Showtime on the joint card, that sometime in September or October would be for the best, while K-1 officials have told him to keep an open mind to the May deadline. It's Showtime manages many of its fighters and understands matchmaking must take place months in advance to ensure that the fighters are prepared for their fights as well as compensated.
There are six events booked so far, with It's Showtime looking to assemble at least ten cards this year, which is an astonishing amount of high-level kickboxing and leaves a smile on our faces. [source]Add a comment
Sergei Kharitonov is one of the "dark horses" in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, as he takes on Andrei Arlovski in the first round, in a fight which very well could have happened in the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16 last year if Andrei Arlovski's nose didn't explode in training. Bas Boon's company, Fight Game, released some training footage of Sergei Kharitonov preparing for his Strikeforce fight on February 12th. Sergei looks great, and for all of those out there who have hated on Bas Boon in the past, understand just how involved Boon is in his fighters' training. Watch at the 3:09 mark where Boon himself steps into the ring and spars with an exhausted Kharitonov.
Bas Boon is a bad ass, he is the real deal and what I'd love to see in more fight managers. He understands because he is a fighter himself. Andrei Arlovski facing off with Sergei Kharitonov is one of the fights I'm looking forward to the most, I don't know about you. Onward, Strikeforce Heavyweight GP. [hat tip]
Add a comment
After weeks of awesome and mediocre fan trailers for the upcoming Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, Strikeforce and Showtime finally released an official trailer for the February 12th showdown between Fedor Emelianenko and Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva. The official trailer is short and to the point, while most of the fan-made ones tend to ramble on a bit. What is cool to think about is while Strikeforce tends to get lost in the shuffle unless the media is downright panning them, there is a ton of fan support for this upcoming tournament and shows that there really is a lot of buzz going around about this tournament. By all means, once all of the weird Coker and SF mishaps are said and done, it is an assembly of 8 of the best Heavyweights outside of UFC and should be great.
We get to watch Fedor Emelianeko, Antonio Silva, Andrei Arlovski, a former UFC Champion, and K-1 fighter Sergei Kharitonov in one show. [source]
Add a comment
Chira Wichaisuthikul is releasing a documentary about Thai boxers at Lumpini. The documentary, set to be released this March 2011, follows a number of school-aged fighters.
I liked hearing eight to ten year old people talk about their experiences in the ring and their perceptions of fighting. For instance, the subtitled description of Muay Thai we hear at 1:36 strikes at very essential parts of the sport.
It's also cool to see kids causing a ruckus.