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About the Author
Anoop Hothi also known as K1ANOOP, is a combat sports writer based in the UK (with a keen eye for K1/Thai rules) and the host of the K1ANOOP podcast. Having initially trained in sport kickboxing as a child, K1ANOOP returned to kickboxing in his adulthood and made the transition from sport kickboxing to K1 rules and Thai boxing. Being a kickboxing martial artist intrigued with improving himself and studying more about the technical aspects of the ‘striking arts’, K1ANOOP started his own blog in 2015 which, swiftly lead to opportunities to write professionally about combat sports for various digital platforms. You can follow K1ANOOP on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube.

Lion Fight 34 – Roundup and results: Controversial loss for Chasteen, Barlow and Eersel rule supreme

Regian Eersel and Iman Barlow both retained their title last night in dominant fashion at Lion Fight 34 in Las Vegas. However, the night was marred in controversy by a debatable decision win for Gabriel Mazzetti over Nick Chasteen in an action packed affair and fight of the night. Both men gave it their all for a very entertaining match-up but Chasteen who, churned-out a ‘career breakout performance’.

One side of the argument would support Chasteen (6-4) seeming to have had more success in delivering his volume of striking more consistently throughout the fight compared to the 18 year old Peruvian phenom. However, the judges had seen the fight quite differently and awarded an unanimous decision (UD) to”El Nino” (14-2) which, was strongly remonstrated and booed by the spectators when officially announced  at the Tropicana Resort Casino.

Unfortunately, the contentious decision magnifies the ongoing issues that the State of Nevada Athletic Commission (NSAC) are experiencing when it comes to scoring Muay Thai bouts. Something that colour commentator and ambassador of the sport, Michael Schiavello, lambasted NSAC about post-fight.

“Another terrible decision by the Nevada State Commission who showed us tonight they don’t know how to score Muay Thai.”

Barlow

Iman Barlow retains her title at Lion Fight 34 | Photo credit: Bennie Pallmore/Lion Fight Promotions

Iman Barlow (87-5-3) showcased her ‘art of kicking’ and effectively strong clinch-knees to differentiate her from Meryem Uslu (62-12-1). The two had fought once before with “Pretty Killer” securing the decision six years ago. However, on this occasion Barlow technically outclassed the determined title challenger who, managed to struggle on, despite enduring some brutal knees to the body and head. As well as a nasty cut to Uslu’s forehead from an elbow (late on into the fight) as Iman secured a UD to retain her super-bantamweight title.

Regian Eersel was initially matched-up against Samy Sana but the Frenchman was replaced for unknown reasons and with short notice by Dewitt Pratt. However, the last minute change of opponent did nothing to phase “The Immortal” who, violently rocked and battered Pratt to retain the Lion Fight super-middleweight title with a first round TKO. The power and explosive Muay Thai violence that Eersel continues to demonstrate (including his trademark flying knees), seriously raises the question as to who to match him up with next, for a more challenging threat to his championship.

Lion Fight 34 – Results:

Regian Eersel def. Dewitt Pratt via Rd1 TKO – wins Lion Fight super-middleweight championship
Iman Barlow def. Meryem Uslu via UD – retains Lion Fight women’s super-bantamweight championship
Anthony Njokuani def. Chris Harrington via Rd3 TKO
Gabriel Mazzetti def. Nick Chasteen via UD
Kevin Burmester vs. Kronphet Phetrachapat – majority draw
River Daz def. Diego Llamas via UD
Steve Walker def. Sedrick Sweet via Rd2 TKO
Gilbert Pimental def. Chris Rios via Rd3 TKO
Zhenya Chuprina def. Ardavan Moeini via split decision
Derrick Wheeler def. Dean Parker via UD
Garrett Jeppsen def. Derek Gottlieb via Rd1 TKO

 

Lion Fight 34: Eersel vs. Sana – Preview and Fight Card

Lion Fight 34 is headlined by Dutch powerhouse, Regian Eersel against French Thai boxer, Samy Sana in an international dust-up that has all the makings of a brutally violent affair on January 3, 2017 at the Tropicana Resort Casino in Las Vegas.

Eersel is the current Lion Fight super-middleweight champion having devastatingly KO’d Jake Purdy for the title at Lion Fight 33. Prior to that the “The Immortal” had emphatically executed one of the best right head kick KOs of 2016 to finish Jo Nattawut at Lion Fight 29.

However, Sana is no pushover and isn’t shy of a fire fight in the ring either, having been in with the best of them including, Yodsanklai Fairtex and Thongchai Sitsongpeenong. Neither the Frenchman nor the defending Dutch champion hold back with their aggressive styles of fighting and both have the natural power to rock anyone.

The ferocity of Eersel though is something else compared to the competition and he has always displayed explosive speed to take advantage of his adversaries with venomous violence and thunderous knockouts from any of his eight limbs. Sana will be in for a very testing time but the fans will certainly be entertained one way or the other.

https://www.facebook.com/lionfightmuaythai/videos/1322851821122452/

In the co-main event of the night, Iman Barlow defends her super-bantamweight title against Germany’s Meryum Uslu. The two female fighters are no strangers to one another having previously fought each other six years ago. Barlow had won their previous encounter by decision but Uslu will undoubtedly be very game to not only get even but end Barlow’s reign as champion.

Lion Fight 34 will be broadcasted on AXS TV in the USA and will commence from 1800 hours Pacific Time (PT) / 2100 hours Eastern Time (ET).

Lion Fight 34 – Main Card:

Regian Eersel vs. Samy Sana – Lion Fight Super Middleweight Title

Iman Barlow vs. Meryum Uslu – Lion Fight Women’s Super Bantamweight Title

Anthony Njokuani vs. Chris Harrington – Super Middleweight

Kronphet Phetrachapat vs. Kevin Burmester – Welterweight

Gabriel Mazzetti vs. Nick Chasteen – Middleweight

Diego Llamas vs. River Daz – Welterweight

GLORY 37 Los Angeles – Results: Jason Wilnis retains middleweight title with controversial decision

Jason Wilnis retained his GLORY middleweight title against Israel Adesanya at GLORY 37 Los Angeles but the decision left countless kickboxing fans on social media at loggerheads as to how a unanimous decision was awarded to the defending champion. If anything, there was nothing unanimous about the controversial decision awarded to Willis who, in typical fashion, fought with a tight high guard and kept coming forward with venomous low kicks and aiming punches for Adesanya’s head.

The skilful “Stylebender” was was more varied with his striking output (even throwing Saenchai style cartwheel kicks and some nifty spinning kicks into the mix) with plenty of strikes aimed to the body and head of Wilnis whilst displaying his confident ring-craft and not being a sitting target despite, being in a much smaller ring than usual compared to GLORY Kickboxing events in recent years.

If the early rounds might have been slightly in favour of Wilnis, the same cannot be said for the reminder of the fight as the rounds progressed. The champion was lacking the effective high volume of output that was being more obviously applied by Adesanya. Although the continuous forward pressure and counter attacks from Wilnis were always present, it was Wilnis who was starting to fade in the latter rounds and the challenger who, remained composed, slick and actively efficient enough to have edged the decision in his favour and be crowned the new middleweight champion.

However, when the official decision was announced confirming Wilnis as the defending champion, two of the judges had scored the fight as 48-47 for the champion but bizarrely one judge had scored it as 49-46 for Wilnis. An immediate rematch might be the most obvious thing to call for as a result of the controversial decision, however, it was announced by the commentary team that former middleweight champion, Simon Marcus, was set to face the winner of the main event of the night; and later confirmed by Marcus himself to Michael Steczkowski.

Kongolo

Image via GLORY Sports Int’l

Yoann Kongolo won the 4-man welterweight tournament to set himself for a second rematch with the new GLORY welterweight champion, Cedric Doumbe who, had recently defeated Nieky Holzken by decision at GLORY Collision. Although Kongolo was the obvious favourite to win the contender tournament, his emphatic performance in the final with a brutal body shot to drop Karim Benmansour will send a firm warning to Doumbe who, he has twice defeated before by decision.

Zoila Frausto won her GLORY debut by decision in a slug-fest with Daniela Graf and although both ladies might have got a bit punch drunk in their fight, neither was willing to back down and both were fully committed to punching the other’s lights out. Frausto who, is a Muay Thai champion and MMA fighter, certainly is the calibre of fighter that looks set to make a bigger impact in the women’s super bantamweight division this year.

Also, Tiffany van Soest was re-presented with her super bantamweight belt in-front of her fellow South Californians. It might seem as if GLORY are being smart with their selection of American female fighters but so far, both van Soest and Frausto are two female fighters that no kickboxing promotion can go wrong with at this early stage of developing their women’s roster.

Frausto

Image via Glory Sports Int’l

Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for Matt Embree who, lost by TKO in the fourth round against former featherweight champion, Robin van Roosmalen. Yes, former champion – van Rosmalen had missed weight by under one kilogram at the weigh-ins the day before and refused the opportunity to try again when a time extension offered. As a direct result, GLORY immediately decided to strip their champion before he even made his first title defence. However, had Embree won he would’ve been awarded the title but since he didn’t, van Roosmalen has now secured his number one contender status and will now fight again for the title in the near future against an opponent yet to be confirmed.

Could a rematch between Robin van Roosmalen and Gabriel Varga be in the pipeline anytime soon? Only time will tell especially as Varga had confirmed last year that he’d been informed by GLORY that the promotion were planning on hosting future events in Canada come 2017.

Image via GLORY Sports Int’l

GLORY 37 Los Angeles – Results:
Jason Wilnis (c) def. Israel Adesayna via UD – retains middleweight title
Yoann Kongolo def. Karim Benmansour via Rd3 TKO – wins welterweight tournament final
Guto Inocente def. D’Angelo Marshall via majority draw, extra round – heavyweight
Karim Benmansour def. Alan Scheinson via split decision – welterweight tournament semi-final
Yoann Kongolo def. Konstantin Khuzin via UD – welterweight tournament semi-final

GLORY SuperFight Series – Results:
Robin van Roosmalen def. Matt Embree via Rd4 TKO – featherweight title bout (but van Roosmalen stripped off title for missing weight; title was available for Embree to win though)
Jhonata Diniz def. Tomas Mozny via UD – heavyweight
Warren Thompson def. Mike Lemaire via UD – middleweight
Zoila Frausto def. Daniela Graf via UD – Women’s super bantamweight
Giga Chikadze def. Victor Pinto via Rd1 KO (liver kick) – featherweight

Panicos Yusuf explains withdrawal against Superlek Kiatmoo9 at Yokkao 23 and hasn’t retired

Panicos Yusuf had reportedly retired from fighting according to Yokkao a week ago which, caused quite a frenzy on social media, especially since Yusuf himself hadn’t come out publicly to issue such a statement. To make matters worse, Panicos isn’t event managed by Yokkao like for example, Muay Thai legend Saenchai and is actually a co-promoter himself (at Tanko Events) whilst managing to have an active fighting career. However, a few days later in an interview with MMA Plus, Panicos was adamant in refuting the inaccurate reporting by Yokkao and that he hadn’t retired from fighting.

Speaking more about the matter yesterday, Panicos explained that juggling the demands of being a father, fighter, promoter and coach running his All Powers Gym, wouldn’t allow him to prepare properly for a proposed fight with, Superlek Kiatmoo9 at Yokkao 23, at this moment in time.

“For me to continue fighting big opponents such as Superlek, I needed to be spending more time in Thailand really. Realistically training and fighting out there just to be on par with them. Manachai was a really good fight, I don’t think I was too much out of depth with him but Superlek is another league. I think he’s as good as Saenchai if not better.”

“So, we decided that its best to maybe not fight against him on this show because its very short period of time for me training and I don’t think I’m at the level to fight Superlek yet. I’m not scared of him, I’ll fight him do you know what I mean, it’s not a problem if the money’s right, yeah I’ll fight him anytime. The only problem is I don’t get the type of training that I need to fight opponents like that. Yes, I want to fight Thais because I don’t think there’s anyone at my weight that can challenge me apart from Thais but basically, I don’t think theres any point in doing it at this moment in time.”

However, Panicos had recently made the transition to MMA, winning his debut at Tanko FC 2 against Ben Dearden and was candid about Muay Thai not being ‘financially viable’ as a fighter, especially with the added responsibility of being a family man.

“There’s no money in Thai boxing. As much as I love it, I know that if I invested the time and financial resources into bringing my level up, its not as if my purse is going to increase by a considerable amount for it to be worth it for me in the long run.”

Despite dealing with some ongoing injuries that had also prevented him from participating in the 63kg 8-man tournament at the WLF 2017 World Championship over the weekend, Panicos is aiming to return to action in March with his main aim being to further develop his MMA career.

Click here to listen or download the full podcast interview with Panicos Yusuf which, also includes a guest appearance by, Iman Barlow ahead of her title defence against, Meryum Uslu at Lion Fight 34.

Kunlun Fight 56: Buakaw, Jomthong and Superbon feature in New Year’s Day extravaganza

Kunlun Fight have certainly made their mark on world kickboxing in 2016, with a series of 70kg 4-man tournaments throughout the year, building up-to their year end extravaganza in China. The new year’s day event will focus on the Kunlun World Max finals, featuring: Davit Kiria vs. Jomthong Chuwattana and Superbon Banchamek vs. Cedric Manhoef; headlined by, Buakaw Banchamek vs. Tian Xin.

Kunlun have featured a good few Thais on their events as they established themselves in Southeast Asia initially, with Buakaw being one of their key name fighters. Along with Artur Kyshenko as they have expanded, focusing more on attracting fight fans from the western world.

Davit Kiria vs. Jomthong Chuwattana

Kiria is a former GLORY lightweight champion and now trains with Nieky Holzken; Joining the recently dethroned GLORY welterweight champion at Team Holzken this year.

Kunlun

Photo credit: Kunlun Fight

Kiria made the move in an attempt to rejuvenate his kickboxing career after mixed results in the last couple of years. The change has done him well resulting in a couple of wins against Robbie Hageman at Kunlun Fight 48 and  Dzianis Zeuv at Kunlun Fight 52 – both by decisions and part of the overall qualifying process for the Kunlun World Max.

Jomthong on the other hand is a master of various striking skills and rule-sets including, a pro boxing record of 9-1 and three continental titles. He is also a three time Rajadamnern stadium champion but really made his name in Muay Thai with a huge win over Anuwat Kaewzamrit for the WBC featherweight crown in 2008.

Of the two, Jomthong has been the more active this year with six wins from seven fights, the majority of which were on Kunlun events this year including a notable decision win over Buakaw’s opponent on the night, Tian Xin at Kunlun Fight 53.

Superbon Banchamek vs. Cedric Manhoef

Of the four fighters in this year’s Kunlun Max semi-finals, Superbon is most probably the favorite to win the tournament, having defeated Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong at Kunlun Fight 48 in the previous round. The win was a rematch for the two following on from Kunlun Fight 37 where Superbon was on the wrong end of a knockout in the semi-finals of the Kunlun Max event in 2015.

Before Superbon had leveled the aggregate score, Sitthichai, who is currently the GLORY lightweight champion, had been undefeated for the 21 consecutive months, collecting nine wins in a row. The list of world class kickboxers that he had seen off in the last two years included: Mohamed Mezouari at Kunlun Fight 43, Marat Gregorian (twice), Robin van Roosmalen at GLORY 31 and even Davit Kiria (with a brutal knee to the body) at GLORY 28.

Cedric Manhoef is the ‘dark horse’ of the semi-finalists and although he has the heart of a lion and does his family name proud by hardly ever taking back steps in the ring (Melvin Manhoef is actually his nephew – yes, you read that right); the 23 year old is very much a work in progress still. However, Superbon cannot afford to underestimate the Surinamese fighter with any complacency to progress successfully to the final.

Buakaw Banchamek vs. Tian Xin

Buakaw has been fighting for the Chinese promotion since Kunlun Fight 32 in October 2015 and has had a great deal of success, excluding of course, the most controversial decision loss of 2016 against Yi Long at last month’s WLF event in Nanjing, China.

As for how Xin will fare against the living legend and ‘old skool’ K-1 veteran remains to be seen. However, from the Chinese kickboxer’s clash with Andrei Kulebin at Kunlun Fight 50 there’s a possibility that Buakaw could possibly capitalize on Xin’s fighting style with strong clinch-knee entries.

Nevertheless, Buakaw vs. Xin has all the makings for an exciting headlining fight in Sanya on January 1, 2017 since both have the ability to fight well at a high tempo. The new year will be very interesting to see if and how the talented Chinese fighters like Xin can enhance their profile globally along with the continued growth of Kunlun Fight.

Kunlun Fight 56 – Fight card (and order of fights):

Abdullayev vs. Ma Shuo, 75kg

Denies Puric vs. Wang Wenfeng, 60kg

Felipe Stievano vs. Andrey Gerasimchuk, 100kg

Mohamed Mezouari vs. Dzianis Zuev, 70kg – Reserve bout, Kunlun World Max

Arthit vs. Khatal Dzhaniev, 70kg – Reserve bout, Kunlun World Max

Davit Kiria vs. Jomthong Chuwattana, 70kg – Semi-final A, Kunlun World Max

Superbon Banchamek vs. Cedric Manhoef, 70kg – Semi-final B, Kunlun World Max

Andrei Kulebin vs. Wu Xuesong, 70kg

Sergii Kulaiaba vs. Gu Hui, 67kg

Winner of semi-final A vs. winner of semi-final B, 70kg Kunlun World Max

Juan Javier Barragan vs. Wei Ninghui, 65kg

Buakaw Banchamek vs. Tian Xin ,70kg

Kunlun

Kunlun Fight 56 – Image via Kunlun Fight

 

Fabio Pinca in ongoing negotiations with Enfusion Live but focused on fighting Manowan Sitsongpeenong

Fabio Pinca was reportedly set to compete in the 67kg Enfusion League in February 2017, according to Enfusion’s two-weight champion, Ibrahim El Boustati, who made the revelation prior to defeating Andrew Tate for the, 90kg world championship at Enfusion Live 44.

However, Pinca has now confirmed that he hasn’t yet agreed final terms with Enfusion Live and that talks are still ongoing with the Dutch based promotion who, had recently announced, exclusive European fight deals with Buakaw and Yodsanklai.

“I don’t know for the moment you know. I’m ongoing negotiation so I can not tell you anything about that. Everything, I don’t know for the moment. I can not tell you anything but soon you’re gonna know.”

It’s sounding promising that we will have an update soon enough on a possible deal between Enfusion and Pinca being confirmed in the early part of the new year. The Striking Corner will be monitoring how the situation unfolds and reporting again in due course.

Pinca

Peters vs Pinca – Photo credit: Bennie E Palmer II, Lion Fight Promotions

Interestingly, Charlie Peters who, Pinca defeated by decision at Lion Fight 27, recently qualified for next year’s 67kg Enfusion League, by winning the 8-man qualifying tournament in Abu Dhabi at Enfusion Live 45. Since Peters qualified, strong rumours have emerged of a possible rematch between Peters and Pinca but separate from the league concept; and that this proposed matchup under Enfusion rules, could be one of the talking points between Pinca and Enfusion.

The current year has been a very active one for Pinca and 2017 is looking to be another busy year for the Muay Thai maestro who, has fought seven times this year. One of those being his recent decision victory at GLORY 36 against, Mosab Amrani which, was a also rematch between the two but under GLORY Kickboxing rules; whereas the first fight (and decision win for Pinca) was in a 2011 tournament final on Thai Fight.

Nevertheless, Pinca is focused on his next opponent, Manowan Sitsongpeenong, in what will be a 67kg title fight at the Sanam Muay Rajadamnern (Rajadamnern Boxing Stadium) on February 23, 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand.

“First focus is Rajadamnern title on February  23. So I got to Thailand, Bangkok and take the, to the take the belt, Rajadamnern versus Manowan Sitsongpeenong. That’s the first focus for 2017. 67 kilos.“

“And the second focus is the GLORY belt at 65 kilo. At the moment that’s the two focus I have on my mind. It’s Robin [van Roosmalen] if he defend his belt. I know he’s putting his title on January so maybe its him, maybe its another, I don’t know.”

Click here to watch the full video podcast with Fabio Pinca giving the rundown on his recent victory over Mosab Amrani which, was on the undercard to GLORY Collision: Rico vs. Badr and some interesting things he had to say about: Saenchai, Liam Harrison and Giorgio Petrosyan.