Mirko Cro Cop makes weight at 235 pounds during the UFC 137 weigh-ins on Friday, Oct. 28, 2011 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Esther Lin, MMA Fighting.
Kickboxing fans rejoice. After the mostly stand-still 2011, this year is already off to a big start. We've seen one major show already in the Badr Hari headlined It's Showtime event, and the upcoming months have a slew of huge fights heading our way. The past week has seen some big fight news from the kickboxing world - here we'll gather it all together. And we'll start with the company that has truly established themselves as the #1 kickboxing company in the world:
It's Showtime Card Featuring Aerts vs. Spong
It's Showtime has big plans for 2012. They got off to a good start in January, and last week they announced the full card for their next major show. On June 30, they'll be presenting a show in Belgium and the line-up is stacked. In the main event, beloved K-1 and kickboxing icon Peter Aerts will take on Tyrone Spong in Aerts's retirement fight. It's hard to imagine kickboxing without Aerts, and it will be an emotional moment to see him go, but this is a fantastic fight.
That's just the top of this massive card though. You also will have Chris Ngimbi defending the It's Showtime 70 kg title against former K-1 MAX 2 time champion Andy Souwer, plus fights from Daniel Ghita, Jerome Le Banner, Hesdy Gerges and many others. Full card is in the complete entry. Huge, huge event here that we will definitely be talking about more in the coming months.
It's Showtime also announced the rest of their 2012 season which features 6 additional dates including stops in Japan and Brazil. Notably absent from the list is Amsterdam. The company's former home has become increasingly strict on combat sports, and It's Showtime has pulled out of promoting in Amsterdam. From the look of their schedule, they're looking to make Belgium their new home base.
Complete card plus lots more news after the jump.
It's Showtime 57 & 58
Brussels, Belgium - June 30
Peter Aerts vs. Tyrone Spong
Robin van Roosmalen vs. Harut Grigorian
Daniel Ghita vs. Frederic Sinistra
Danyo Ilunga vs. Filip Verlinden
Andy Ristie vs. Samir Djabba
Michael Duut vs. TBA
Jerome Le Banner vs. Rustemi Kreshnik
Chris Ngimbi vs. Andy Souwer
Hesdy Gerges vs. Rico Verhoeven
Sergei Lascenko vs, TBA
Alka Matewa vs. Duoli Chen
Marat Grigorian vs. Buenung Topking
Fatih Ozkan vs. Sonny Dagraed
As always with these United Glory shows, be cautioned that the card is definitely subject to change. Past shows have seen a tremendous amount of cancellations and reshuffling up to the very last minute, though they did improve that trend somewhat in 2011. We'll see how this one ends up, but for me, as long as I get to see Semmy Schilt again, I'm happy.
United Glory World Series 2012
Moscow Russia - March 23
Semmy Schilt vs. Brice Guidon
Jerome Le Banner vs. Errol Zimmerman
Sergei Kharitonov vs. Mark Miller
Jamal Ben Sadik vs. Colin George
Maxim Yyrovski vs. David Kyrya
Robin van Roosmalen vs. Dzhabar Askerov
Ali Cenic vs. TBA
Tommy Depret vs. Sergey Golyaev (MMA)
Denis Stojnic vs. Ricco Rodriguez (MMA)
Cesario de Dominico vs. TBA (MMA)
Ilir Latifi vs. TBA (MMA)
Cro Cop Returns to Kickboxing
We've previously reported on this, but just a reminder that Mirko Cro Cop will be returning to kickboxing action in just a few weeks. He takes on K-1 legend Ray Sefo on March 10 in Zagreb, Croatia. The card is being billed as "Cro Cop Final Fight," though Cro Cop has indicated that it is not officially his retirement. This will be Mirko's first kickboxing fight since 2003, Sefo's first since 2010.
While the focus of this show is clearly on Cro Cop, they've also added a full line-up with some great supporting fights. The highlight is Daniel Ghita vs, Sergei Lascenko, who had a great 2011. Other good names on the card include Freddy Kemayo and Dzevad Poturak.
Cro Cop Final Fight
Zagreb, Croatia - March 10, 2012
Mirko Cro Cop Filipovic vs. Ray Sefo
Igor Jurkovic vs. Freddy Kemayo
Daniel Ghita vs. Sergei Lascenko
Mourad Bouzidi vs. Mladen Brestovac
Ismael Londt vs. Dzevad Poturak
Marin Dosen vs. Mladen Kojundzic
Pacome Assi vs. Agron Preteni
Michael Duut vs. Stefan Jelic
Miran Fabjan vs. Ivan Posavec
Sahak Parparyan vs. TBA
And finally, on March 24, #1 pound for pound kickboxer in the world Giorgio Petrosyan steps in to the ring to face Artur Kyshenko as part of a Fight Code show in Milan, Italy. If you've never seen Petrosyan compete you are missing out on one of the premiere stand-up artists on display today. The man is an artist in the ring, and it's always a pleasure to see him compete. This fight is particularly exciting, as Kyshenko has been on a rampage since making the transition to Mike's Gym. He's 7-1 in his last 8, and has re-established himself as one of the most dangerous men at 70 kg. Petrosyan hasn't lost a fight since 2007, and for the first time in a long time, this is a fight that will really challenge him. Make no mistake, this is THE big fight at 70 kg - don't miss it.