The It's Showtime kickboxing organization was in action this past weekend. It's Showtime 59 took place in Tenerife, Spain and was the first It's Showtime card since the company was acquired by Glory Sports International earlier this year. It's Showtime tends to alternate between huge stacked shows and smaller cards that focus more on local talent. This one definitely fell into the smaller category, but was still a solid show.
In the main event, It's Showtime 70kg champion Andy Souwer defeated Zeben Diaz in a very entertaining fight. Souwer remains one of the top fighters in the world at 70kg, and it's nice to see him more frequently at It's Showtime. Masahiro Yamamoto claimed the 61kg championship, defeating champion Sergio Hernandez via 5 round decision. Yamamoto was once considered the elite fighter at this weight, but has struggled a bit in recent years. Good to see him back on form. The other fights were mostly quick KO's, including a beautiful body shot knee KO from Andy Ristie. Video of that KO, plus Sergei Lascenko's KO win in the full entry.
Despite being a good show, this event is likely to be largely forgotten. With Glory now running the It's Showtime brand, but still maintaining it as a separate entity, there's a bit of transition going on, and this show seemed to get lost in that. It wasn't available to watch as a stream until just a few days before, and now, It's Showtime's website appears to be gone. Meanwhile, Glory's website made no mention of the show whatsoever. I'm excited to see the kickboxing world working together, but let's hope they work out the kinks soon.
The show will air on AXS (formerly HDNet Fights) this Friday, July 27 at 10 p.m. ET.
It's Showtime 59 - Tenerife, Spain
Fight Card Results
Andy Ristie def. David Calvo (KO, R1)
Moises Ruibal def. Amir Zeyada (Maj. Dec, R3)
Sergei Laschenko def. Damian Garcia (KO, R1)
Murthel Groenhart def. Maximo Suarez (TKO due to cut, R2)
61kg World Title: Masahiro Yamamoto def. Sergio Hernandez (Dec, R5)
Andy Souwer def. Zeben Diaz (Dec, R3)
In other Glory/It's Showtime news, the company announced that they would be returning to Japan this December. Glory will be at the helm of this show, which they're calling the "Glory Grand Slam - Heavyweight." No further details yet, though they are promising a big show focused on Heavyweights and featuring a "new and exciting format." For this show, they'll be partnering with a new Japanese company called G-Entertainment, and Glory's description of G-Entertainment raises some red flags for me (emphasis mine):
G Entertainment Inc is a newly formed sports event producer specialized in hosting and operating Fighting events. Although, it is a newly formed company, all the key management and staff are industry veterans involved in various fighting sports and tournaments in the past in Japan.
One thing Glory does not need is "industry veterans" from the Japanese scene. I really hope this does not include any of the executives who ran FEG and drove the old K-1 into the ground, but for the moment, it makes me nervous.
Not to be outdone in the kickboxing battle, K-1 promptly announced their own Japan show, and it's a big one. On October 14, Japan will host the 2012 K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16, which will include the opening round of this year's Heavyweight GP. Three names already announced are Badr Hari, Mirko CroCop, and Daniel Ghita, which is an excellent start.
Of course, that's assuming Badr Hari doesn't find himself in jail in October. The notoriously hot-headed fighter has been implicated in a nightclub assault earlier this year, and is now the lead suspect in the case. He is expected to turn himself into police when he returns to Amsterdam. He's been in this kind of trouble before, and always come out of it with little issue, but the case is definitely mounting against him this time. With the mayor of Amsterdam looking to crack down on what he sees as a distinct criminal element to kickboxing, Hari might find himself in a bad position here. Definitely a story we'll keep a close eye on.
Andy Ristie vs. David Calvo:
Sergei Lascenko vs. Damian Garcia: