Huge news from the kickboxing world today: Heavyweight great Semmy Schilt has reportedly retired. LiverKick.com has the news, reporting that multiple sources have confirmed that Schilt is retired effectively immediately due to a heart condition. Schilt has not yet officially made an announcement himself.
Schilt's retirement is a huge shift that changes the landscape of the Heavyweight division in kickboxing. The reigning Glory Heavyweight and Grand Prix champion, Schilt was also the clear cut #1 Heavyweight in the world, and he had been for quite some time. His retirement opens the door for talents like Tyrone Spong, Gokhan Saki, and Daniel Ghita to take his place.
Schilt always had his fair share of critics who either derided his style or argued that all of his success came simply because of his height. But whatever your opinion on Schilt, there is no denying what he has accomplished in kickboxing. Four K-1 Grand Prix titles, tying the great Ernesto Hoost for the most ever GP wins. One Glory Grand Slam title, which, in all honesty, should be viewed as the equivalent of a 5th K-1 crown. He has faced so many legends of the sport and has defeated all of them. Major names who have fallen to Schilt include Badr Hari, Daniel Ghita, Gokhan Saki, Remy Bonjasky, Jerome Le Banner, Mark Hunt, Ray Sefo, Peter Aerts, and Ernesto Hoost. He wraps up his career with an astounding 43-6-1 record. One final stat - in his 11 year pro career, only once did Schilt enter a tournament and fail to win it.
Beyond kickboxing, Schilt also had a career in MMA, though without as much success. Schilt started his MMA career in Pancrase, winning the Openweight title there before moving on. He went 1-1 in the UFC back in 2001, and 4-4 in Pride, though it has to be noted that all of his losses in MMA post-Pancrase came against great fighters - Fedor, Minotauro, Barnett, and Kharitonov. Schilt was also a decorated karate fighter early in his career and stayed true to his karate roots throughout his professional career.
Schilt's retirement represents a huge loss for kickboxing. He's one of the last men still fighting from an earlier era in the sport's history - one of the last to see real success in K-1 and still be competing at the top. He's also, simply put, the greatest Heavyweight kickboxer on the planet today. He'll be missed by kickboxing fans.