It used to be that following kickboxing largely meant following K-1. But now that the world's #1 kickboxing organization has stepped into a (temporary? permanent?) hiatus, it's a bit harder to follow the sport. That doesn't mean things aren't happening though. In 2011, a number of organizations throughout the world, and particularly in Europe, have stepped up and put on increasingly stacked shows featuring the world's top kickboxing talent. Here, we round up recent results, news, and fight announcements from the international kickboxing scene.
- Earlier this month, It's Showtime held an event in Spain (full results here). The big name on the card was #1 Middleweight and all around kickboxing phenom Giorgio Petrosyan, who faced the unranked Zeben Diaz. Petrosyan got the win, but it wasn't easy, as he took a split decision. Petrosyan should have rolled right over Diaz - just an off night, or a sign of troubles ahead? We may find out on January 21, as Petrosyan faces Abraham Roqueni (who holds a 2011 win over Andy Souwer) in Italy.
- That show brought It's Showtime's 2011 to an end, but the company has big plans in 2012, including a November 2012 show in Brazil. Next up for It's Showtime is a huge show on January 28 from The Netherlands. That show is headlined by Badr Hari's retirement fight against Gokhan Saki, but it's a stacked line-up outside of the main event as well, and features Tyrone Spong vs. Melvin Manhoef, Daniel Ghita vs. Hesdy Gerges, Errol Zimmerman vs. Rico Verhoeven, and a lot more. On paper, it's the best kickboxing card we've seen since the demise of K-1. Check the full line-up here.
- Over in Japan, RISE held a big show yesterday that featured an 8 man Heavyweight Grand Prix. Former K-1 GP Final 16 fighter Singh "Heart" Jaideep emerged the winner from a field that included Stefan Leko and Mighty Mo. Japan's women's kickboxing star RENA was also victorious on the card, defeating Erika Kamimura.
- In other Heavyweight tournament action, Errol Zimmerman won an 8 man tournament for SuperKombat, defeating Roman Kleibl in the finals. Also participating were Ben Edwards and Stefan Leko. This is a big win for Zimmerman, who was at one time a top 5 Heavyweight, but has really struggled as of late. Also on that card, Rico Verhoeven upset Hesdy Gerges by decision.
- Andy Souwer rematched Bellator fighter Toby Imada under Shootboxing rules. The two met in 2010, with Imada scoring the huge upset win over the highly decorated Souwer. This time, Souwer was better prepared and defeated Imada to gain his revenge. It was a needed win for Souwer, who was 5-3 in the past year. That doesn't sound so bad, until you realize that prior to this run he had only lost 9 times in roughly 130 pro fights.
- Upcoming fights to watch out for: Artur Kyshenko vs. Yodsaenklai Fairtex (Nov. 26, Rumble of the Kings); Ryuji Kajiwara vs. Tetsuya Yamato (Dec. 9, Krush.14); Jerome Le Banner vs. Andrei Kirsanov (Dec. 30, Thailand); Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Abraham Roqueni, Buakaw Por. Pramuk vs. Dzhabar Askerov (Jan. 21, Yokkao Extreme); Badr Hari vs. Gokhan Saki, Tyrone Spong vs. Melvin Manhoef, more (Jan. 28, It's Showtime)