Daniel Ghita celebrates over a downed Sergei Kharitonov at the 2009 K-1 Grand Prix. Photo by Daniel Herbertson for Head Kick Legend.
Last week was obviously dominated by UFC news thanks to Jon Jones, Dan Henderson, and Chael Sonnen. But while all of that was going down, the kickboxing world was having its own (much quieter) busy news week. Lots to cover, so lets jump in with our round-up of kickboxing news:
K-1 Announces Names For Final 16
In case you missed it, the biggest kickboxing news last week was K-1 announcing a deal with Spike that will make all K-1 programming in 2012 available as a live stream at Spike.com, with all shows starting in 2013 to be shown on Spike. That's a huge, huge deal, and you can read more about it here.
Following up on that news, K-1 held a press conference, where, among other things, they announced 14 names for the Final 16 Grand Prix event on October 14. Here's the list:
A few things must be pointed out. First - Badr Hari? Really? Given his current incarceration on possible attempted manslaughter charges, that's very wishful thinking on K-1's part. I honestly can not possibly see him fighting on this show. Also, it's unclear if all of these fighters are in fact in the final 16, or if some are fighting in non-GP super fights on the show. A few notable names are missing here, including Superkombat fighters Ismael Londt, Catalin Morosanu, and Benjamin Adegbuyi, all of whom had been announced for the show by Superkombat.
The other big news from the conference is that K-1 will now feature nine different weight classes, spanning all the way from 55.2kg (roughly 121 pounds, or just under the Flyweight division in MMA) to Heavyweight. That's a break from the traditional two weight classes K-1 used in the past.
Next up for K-1 is their Los Angeles show on September 8, which will be available on Spike.com.
Tyrone Spong Signs With Glory
One fighter you won't see at the K-1 Final 16 is Tyrone Spong. The top 5 Heavyweight announced last week that he has signed with Glory, and will debut for them at their December Heavyweight tournament. Big signing there for Glory, as Spong is one of the sport's best right now.
In related news, Spong has a documentary coming out soon. From the same team that made Alistair Overeem's excellent "The Reem" documentary, Spong's "King of the Ring" will follow his fighting career and be available in his website. Check out a very cool trailer here.
More, including yet more questions about K-1 fighter pay, in the full entry.
Anderson "Braddock" Silva Not Paid By K-1?
In the midst of K-1's good week, a bit of a black cloud appeared. Fighter Anderson "Braddock" Silva released a statement saying that he had not yet been paid by K-1 for his fight in May against Badr Hari. Here's a portion of the statement from Silva's management company, Black Label Fighters:
For this fight Braddock's management agreed for a bout agreement by email. Braddock has done everything that was expected from him but still K-1 has not made the payment. Braddock's management has received excuse after excuse to block the payment from happening by K-1. Even after an authorization letter written and signed by Braddock to transfer the money to his management, K-1 did not make the payment. Even though it was Braddock's management's intention to keep the relation between with K-1 positive, they now feel forced to take further actions, so that K-1 pays what they owe and that the whole world knows about the way K-1 does business. This way Braddock's management hopes they can prevent other fighters from having the same problems with K-1.
As I've said in the past, today's K-1 is a totally new company, with no stated ties to the old K-1, and so should not be judged on the faults of the old company. Yet in reality, they have to be aware of the reputation associated with the K-1 brand of not paying fighters. This is one of the major issues that sunk FEG and forced them to sell K-1, and I hate to see it still an issue with the new K-1. Let's hope it can get sorted out ASAP, both for Silva, and for K-1.
Akihiro Gono Coming To Shootboxing
UFC and Pride veteran Akihiro Gono is back in kickboxing action, as he has been announced for the Shootboxing Act.4 show in Japan September 14. Gono has been somewhat active as a kickboxer in recent years, including taking some Muay Thai fights. He's now retired from MMA, and is perhaps looking to stay more involved in kickboxing. He takes on Shootboxing veteran Bovy Sor. Udomson in what will be a very tough (but entertaining) fight for Gono. The winner will get a spot in the 2012 Shootboxing S-Cup.
And finally, in one other piece of Shootboxing news, their top female star RENA won the 2012 Girls S-Cup this past weekend. The highly popular Rena claimed her third S-Cup title with the win.