K1Anoop

Episode 42 – Anoop Hothi aka K1Anoop

In this episode of the podcast Vinny & Eric are joined by Kickboxing journalist Anoop Hothi, also known as K1Anoop. A blogger, writer, journalist, and avid Twitter user, K1Anoop has been covering the Muay Thai and Kickboxing scene in the UK and in Europe for quite some time. A huge fan of K1/Glory rules Kickboxing, we talk to Anoop about the recent Glory Collision card, Enfusion, how promotions can better broadcast their product, and so much more! We also talk a bit about how screwdrivers seem to be the weapon of choice in street fights in the UK, how Eric has never been to a strip club, and other such nonsense. We had fun with this one and lost track of time a bit! Enjoy!

Muay Thai Grand Prix 6 – Roundup and results: Asa Ten Pow loses controversial decision

Asa Ten Pow was on the wrong end of a decision loss against Carlton Lieu in what was one of the (if not most) entertaining fights of the night at MTGP 6 – Muay Thai Grand Prix, in the O2 Indigo, London on October 15.

Lieu was outmuscled for the majority of the fight and on the back foot as Pow continually came forward with a variety of striking skill including, some very crafty spinning backs kicks to the body. However, the first three rounds were not scored in Pow’s favour by all of the judges; and these were the rounds in which Pow had much success with: effective teeps (front / push kicks) to the body, imbalancing Lieu, clinching and use of elbows.

In the fourth and fifth rounds, Lieu fared much better against Pow especially as he was noticeably countering more often (than the first three rounds) to most of Pow’s attacks. The American’s industrious output fight have marginally decreased in the latter two rounds but overall, the fight was very close but many fans would seem to strongly disagree with the decision.

The decision win for Lieu secures a future title shot for the Lion Fight light-welterweight championship in the new year (date to be confirmed). However, a rematch between the two in the near future would be just – especially if it were on US soil under the Lion Fight banner. Both Lion Fight and MTGP are in-partnership to promote international Muay Thai as Scott Kent and Kieran Keddle explained (separately) at MTGP 5 earlier this year which, was headlined by John Wayne Parr defeating Pavlos Kaponis by decision.

In the main event of the evening, Salah Khalifa defeated Giannis Tsigkos in another close affair. Tsigkos, fought valiantly and was very handy with his boxing (for Thai boxing) prowess but Salah’s kicking was the notable difference between the two fighters. However, Tsigkos made it a very tough night for Salah who, as the fight reached the latter rounds, significantly improved with his evasiveness from the Greek’s attacks.

The fight could be described as kicker vs puncher at times. Tsigkos fought valiantly and made it a very tough fight for the new 69kg MTGP world champion. In the latter two rounds though, Salah’s slick and evasive movement came into play as he was able to read more of Tsigkos’s attacks and avoid being hit too often.

However, Tsigkos and his corner were ‘disappointed for the decision and believed he won’ the fight and that it ‘wasn’t very close’. Tsigkos believed he not only attacked more but also landed more effective strikes that should have scored the fight in his favour. In his post-fight interview, he made it clear that he wants a swift rematch to ideally be arranged on the next MTGP event which, should be confirmed for later this year in Greece.

Who's next for Bernise Alldis?

Who’s next for Bernise Alldis?

Bernise Alldis successfully defended her 57kg MTGP world championship against Elna Nilsson with another dominant win by decision. A lot has happened for Alldis away from the sport since losing to Tiffany van Soest at Lion Fight 22. However, now she’s back fighting, it really is about time Alldis was given more opportunities to fight in the USA on Lion Fight; where she would undoubtedly face more challenging opponents across the Atlantic than outside of the US in the current climate.

Ash Uddin steamrolled Jamie Ahern to emphatically KO him (via body shots) within the first minute of round one. There was no feeling out process as you may expect in the opening round of full Thai rules. Uddin explained in his post-fight interview, how he had decided on a very aggressive approach after noticing Ahern had looked like he’d been through a gruelling weight cut, having weighed-in a kilo lighter than him the day before.

Kelly Haines had a superb performance to win the 52kg ISKA K1 rules English title against, Mina Lamoure. In what was only her fourth fight, Haines displayed the skill set and self-confidence that we would expect from a more seasoned veteran in the ring. It wasn’t just her spinning back-fists and hook kicks that were threatening (and landed), they were thrown at the right time too when for example, Lamoure would be on the back foot near the ropes.

Muay Thai Grand Prix 6 – Results:

Salah Khalifa def. Giannis Tsigkos via UD for, 69kg MTGP world title (FTR)

Bernise Alldis def. Elna Nilsson via UD, retains 57kg MTGP world championship (FTR)

Mateusz Duczmal def. Adam Hart via UD, 94kg (K1 rules)

Carlton Lieu def. Asa Ten Pow via UD, 63.5kg (FTR), secures Lion Fight light-welterweight title shot

Ryan Li def. Pedro Luque by TKO (round 1), 80kg (FTR)

Evan Jays def. Lauge Petersen by UD, 51kg (FTR)

Pablo Ben def. Paul Benson by UD, 70kg (FTR)

Ash Uddin def. Jamie Ahern by TKO round 1, 48kg (FTR)

Michael Pham def. Brett Webster by split decision, 68kg (FTR)

Kelly Haynes def. Mina Lamoure by UD (K1 rules) for, 52kg ISKA English title

Marcos Diaz Perez def. Alex Beck by UD, 70kg (FTR)

Yokkao 19 & 20 – Post event review: ‘Pinca The Conqueror’ humbles Harrison and Watson ‘sherlocks’ Hodge

Fabio Pinca returned to the UK on, October 8 and secured a unanimous decision win over home favourite, Liam Harrison at Yokkao 19. These two legends of western Muay Thai were supposed to fight one another in France over the last 11 years, with Pinca suggesting in his post weigh-in interview that Harrison wasn’t too keen on taking the fight outside of the UK in the past.

The opening round was cagey with both fighters feeling each other out to begin with but from the second round onwards the tempo accelerated and both would increasingly engage one another. Pinca managed to cut Harrison on his left cheek (below the eye) in the third but the ring-craft, speed and tenacity displayed by both men was sensational. However, range control, switch hitting and that left kick of Pinca’s were decisive factors for the decision going against Harrison who, was always threatening with his explosiveness, fast hands and deadly low kicks.

Fabio Pinca vs Liam Harrison

Having previously defeated Reece McAllister at the Tanko Main Event in May (by decision), plus, Charlie Peters on Lion Fight 27 in the USA (at the start of the year) and now Harrison at Yokkao 19, ‘Pinca The Conqueror’ is clearly at the height of his powers. At 65 kg, it isn’t too easy to think of who else could even ask more challenging questions of him.

In his post-fight interview with K1ANOOP, Pinca confirmed he’d signed a multiple fight deal with GLORY Kickboxing and will next fight on the GLORY Collision event headlined by, Badr Hari vs Rico Verhoeven in Germany on, December 10.

Jordan Watson didn’t hesitate to show what his hands could do against Ben Hodge with some lovely body hooks landing throughout the fight. Hodge was under more pressure than Watson but the fight was by no means a one sided affair. Hodge was coming off a recent win over Saiyok Pumphanmuang at Thai Fight London in September, where he demonstrated his technical proficiency and good counterattacking skills on the back step. Something that would have given Watson more problems on the night (had Hodge found his range sooner) in-preparation for Giorgio Petrosyan who, he faces next at the Bellator Kickboxing event on December 10 in Italy.

Jordan Watson v Ben Hodge Yokkao 20

Jordan Watson v Ben Hodge

However, Hodge admitted in his post-fight interview that his emotions got the better of him in the ring – triggered off by the weigh-in drama the day before which, resulted in the fight no longer being a title defence for, Watson’s 70kg Yokkao world championship. Hodge summed up perfectly that both himself and Watson are intelligent fighters with intelligent coaches, so, the fight was always going to be determined by who, was more successful, in applying their tactical approach on the night at Yokkao 20.

Manachai surprisingly bulldozed his way through Panicos Yusuf for five rounds which, certainly came as a shock considering that Panicos is no pushover and can certainly stand his ground. Most of what Panicos tried to pull off on the night didn’t have any real impact on Manachai and it was as if the Thai was at times playfully throwing Panicos around – something I wouldn’t have fought would happen so easily. However, whenever the Thais come to fight in the UK, they always seem extra determined to give the Brits a damn good hiding.

Panicos Yusuf Yokkao 20

Panicos Yusuf vs Manachai

Maybe it wasn’t Panicos’s night and anything that could go wrong for him unfortunately did which, can happen. Or, is Manachai actually a hell of a lot better than the matchmakers had thought he was? Also, Panicos has become a lot more involved in the commercial world of combat sports as one of three directors of Tanko Management – has his commercial ambition taken away some of his hunger to fight like he use to?

Jack Kennedy continues to build even more momentum with his unanimous decision win over the powerfully talented Nathan Bendon. These two top quality fighters fought like a pair of tigers in the ring and the fight was full of entertaining yet technical violence. The bout was even dubbed as ‘fight of the night’ by colour commentator, Vinny Shoreman which, certainly sums ups how stacked the overall fight card was, especially when considering the likes of, Harrison and Pinca were one of two main events.

Bendon started well in the first couple of rounds but as the fight eventually went the distance, Kennedy was more efficient with his overall Thai boxing and seemed to frustrate Bendon. The future is very bright for both fighters, especially for Kennedy who, had recently won a 4-man Super Muay Thai tournament in Thailand prior to Yokkao 19 & 20.

Steven Long tremendously turned around his fight against Daniel Jedrzejezski after being cut in the outer corner of his right eye, in a terrible opening round for Long. However from the second round onwards it was all bout Long’s effective clinch-knee entry to pressure and eventually dominate Jedrzejezski.

By the end of the third round, Long’s clinching was proving too difficult for Jedrzejezski to deal with who, found himself on the end of another knee to the body that dropped him to the canvas. After surviving the count, he would find himself on the end of yet another knee but was fortunately saved by the bell as he buckled in discomfort. However, when the fourth round started it didn’t take long for Long to land another knee to Jedrzejezski’s body and the fight was over.

Overall, Yokkao 19 & 20 was without a doubt the best Muay Thai event of the year so far to be hosted in the UK, with exceptionally talented fighters showcasing their skill on both fight cards. Also, Harrison is reportedly set to return to action next month with further details to follow in due course.

As for the UK, if it hasn’t already established itself as a very strong nation for both Muay Thai (and K1 rules) yet to the rest of the world then apart from mainstream media coverage for the casual fans to take note, Thai boxing purists and global promotions can no longer ignore the UK scene; fast emerging as a global leader in the sport.

Yokkao 19 – Results:

Fabio Pinca def. Liam Harrison via UD, -65kg

Chris Shaw def. Jersey Pinto via UD, fight set at 73kg

Charles Sikwa def, Darren Howieson by UD, -86kg

Adi Woods def. Owen Trykowski via UD, -72.5kg

Steven Long def. Daniel Jedrzejewski by KO, Rd4, -69kg

Yokkao 20 – Results:

Jordan Watson def. Ben Hodge via UD, -70kg

Manachai def. Panicos Yusuf via UD, -63kg

Jake Purdy def. Brad Stanton via MD, fight set at 69kg

Amy Pirnie def. Ludivine Lesnier via TKO, Rd2, -50kg

Jack Kennedy def Nathan Bendon via UD, -65kg

Myk Estlick def. Carlos Campos via UD, -61.5kg

Kieran Keddle on training Idris Elba for his professional kickboxing debut

Two days ago Hollywood actor, Idris Elba, posted an Instagram picture of himself in the sauna with the caption: “Cutting weight, two days before first fight, mind in the right place. Fear NO guy.”

As you can imagine, there has been a media frenzy worldwide and all sorts of reports and rumours about whether the British actor was actually having a professional kickboxing fight, or, if this was simply some kind of gimmick for an upcoming movie or not.

Left to right: Luke Whelan, Idris Elba, Kieran Keddle at Double K Gym

Left to right: Luke Whelan, Idris Elba, Kieran Keddle at Double K Gym

On the K1ANOOP podcast, Idris Elba’s coach, Kieran Keddle (a former three time world Thai boxing champion, Muay Thai Grand Prix promoter, head coach and owner of Double K Gym), confirmed that the reports of Elba fighting in a professional kickboxing fight were true and that the whole experience of Elba’s preparation and eventual fight, is being filmed by the Discovery network for, an upcoming documentary due to air in early 2017.

Idris Elba started training with Kieran Keddle in November 2015 but things didn’t get too serious until the start of this year. The fight is set to happen this October in Thailand under professional ‘K-1’ kickboxing rules which, includes: punches, kicks and knees to the head, body and legs with no head, body or shin protection (apart from 10oz boxing gloves and a gum shield).

Idris Elba’s training for his professional K1 rules debut takes the most recent Star Trek villain and his coach, Kieran Keddle, to various countries around the world, including: Japan, South Africa, Cuba, France, Netherlands, Australia and Thailand which, has all been filmed for the upcoming documentary.

Kieran Keddle spoke in-depth with Anoop Hothi about Idris Elba’s kickboxing ability and his fighting style:

“We’ve actually found that he’s a better kicker than a puncher…and he hits hard but his kicking ability is better than his punching ability”

“Everyone wants to be in thrilling fights but you’ve got then the other side of someone like Semmy Schilt. But let’s look at Semmy Schilt, a four time K-1 winner and a GLORY Grand Slam winner. Wasn’t the most exciting to watch but he got the results and he just used his strengths. You’ve got to weigh up your options. Whatever God gave you I suppose.”

Schilt def. Verhoeven

Semmy Schilt defeats Rico Verhoeven at GLORY 4

“If you’re tall like he is, the jab is everything we’re working off. The jab, jab, jab and of course if its a pepper jab or a strong jab its all leading for giving your range for your legs.”

Idris Elba’s background in marital arts was also cleared up by Kieran Keddle and he described how the two of them were introduced to one another via mutual friend Warren Brown (former Thai boxing champion now actor) and how the documentary came about:

“So what happened is he trained kickboxing 20 years ago and it was a very keep fit like gym and he enjoyed it. And the actual true story is, he did boxing training when he was a kid but his Mum wouldn’t let him do it. So they stopped him doing it and then he went into kickboxing when he was older.”

“It’s something he always wanted to do. He was working on Luther with a good friend of mine and a former world champion, Warren Brown. They got talking and they started training together a little bit…and they stayed in touch.”

Warren Brown and Idris Elba on Luther

Warren Brown and Idris Elba on Luther

“After No Limits series was finished, Discovery turned around to Idris’s production company and everyone around him and said: ‘That was a massive success with hundreds of millions viewers’, went to something like 235 countries, it was massive. ‘Let’s do another season, what else can we do?’ They came up with all these different ideas and Idris went: ‘No, I I want to fight’. The whole thing has been his whole idea.”

“He wants to do it. Guarantee you, hand on heart he wants to do it and to be honest with you, he can do it. He can fight. This is no bullshit or anything like that. Its nothing to do with like, ‘oh you’re getting paid to do it’…or for my ego or whatever that bollocks. It is mainly that he can fight and I want to se him to do well like any student that come into my gym, I want them to do well…He’s been training as much as possible and as hard as possible and I’m hoping the results pay off.”

“We don’t know who his opponent is exactly yet. Its a choice of a few. What’s gonna happen is Idris is gonna have a couple of amateur fights, we hope. I’m gonna gauge whether he’s to have this fight or not. Of course, Discovery and all the people behind us want the fight to happen. I do as well. I think in sparring and the way he’s trained he’s ready to fight but we need to put him in a couple of real life situations and he see how he deals with it.”

Idris Elba kicking the heavy bag with Kieran Keddle overlooking

Idris Elba kicking the heavy bag with Kieran Keddle overlooking

“Theres still 9/10 weeks away and we’ve got Australia and Thailand and I’m literally with him the whole way, give or take a few days. So, I’m hoping to get loads of rounds of sparring in – thats the most important. And that’s also how I think he performs best, with sparring. He likes pad work, he likes all the running. He prefers the real life, someone in-front of him, someone swinging at him…We’ve got a nine week camp ahead of us and I believe he can do it.”

“And the documentary, although its about fighting and thats the reason why myself as a fan would watch and you would watch and a lot of my friends would watch who, are fighters, I think thats only a little bit of it. This program you’re gonna see really what he’s like as a person and thats what I liked about the whole project. And what I’ve learnt along the way about this world that he’s in is crazy and you’ll see it as well.

“And like I said, its not just about the fight. Its about him, you’ll meet his family. You’ll see parts of the world that we go to together but the reasons we go there are not that we go there randomly, we go there for a reason. There’s a story behind everything as well and you’ll get to know his history and he’s open about things because theres a camera there, he’s not holding back.”

David Haye on the wrong end of a playful right hook from Idris Elba

David Haye on the wrong end of a playful right hook from Idris Elba

David Haye (former WBA world heavyweight champion and undisputed world cruiserweight boxing champion) is a friend of his, came to watch him and didn’t think it wouldn’t be real. And then when he started training and hitting pads and things he realised, fuck! This is no WWE thing. This is no put in against someone whose not trained before. He’s going to fight someone who has had fight experience before.”

“He’s going to be 44 when he fights…I’m preparing [sparring partners] now [for Australia]. He goes this weekend [to Australia] and I go the following. So. I’m going to bring in four or five guys. I’m hoping in-between 80 to 100 kgs because he’s about 90kg, he’s a big dude. So, I’m going to sort that all out in the next couple of days but he has been sparring with my boy, Luke Whelan. He’s been sparring with Jack Mason, John McGuire, former UFC fighter. In South Africa he sparred Francois Botha (former IBF world heavyweight champion and K-1 veteran)…and then there’s various other people in the program that you’ll see he spars with. When we go to Thailand we’re going to be bring some people with us as well…it’s exciting.”

Francois Botha defeated K-1 legends, Jerome Le Banner (pictured) and Peter Aerts

Francois Botha defeated K-1 legends, Jerome Le Banner (pictured) and Peter Aerts

“There’s things that have shocked me and been quite controversial and theres an amazing amount of drama. The whole thing which Ive appreciated about is, nothing, nothing has been scripted and its been eye opening. And I think that the most important thing for me is, its going to open up fans to the sport.”

“If a 44 year old man can fight, whether he win, lose, draw or even gets knocked out and commit this kind of training then its going to inspire a lot of people. He does inspire a lot of people anyway, you know. He’s a man that has come from nothing and made himself a Hollywood actor and you’re gonna find out all about that as well so thats pretty cool. So, he’s an inspirational person.”

Watch the full K1ANOOP interview with Kieran Keddle below about Idris Elba training and making his professional kickboxing debut:

Is China the future of world kickboxing?

Over the last couple of years, China has emerged as a regular destination point for international combat sports, especially kickboxing.

However, this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise when taking into consideration two main factors: Firstly, the ageless history of martial arts tradition and knowledge that has originated from China; and secondly, the fact that the Chinese economy has grown tremendously over the last decade and a half (despite any uncertainties it may currently face).

The two main Chinese fight promotions that are well known outside of China are Kunlun Fight and WLF. Both have the ability to attract international kickboxers to fight in China and have had the likes of, current GLORY heavyweight champion, Rico Verhoeven and former GLORY featherweight champion, Gabriel Varga fighting in China.

Recent events by both Kunlun Fight and Wu Lin Feng (WLF) have included the following match-ups:

Kunlun Fight 43 (15th April 2016):

Artur Kyshenko vs Murthel Groenhart

A rematch between two titans from their previous encounter in the, K-1 Max 70 kg Tournament Final in 2012 which Groenhart won by KO, and the two of them had been training partners at the time at Mike’s Gym. Kyshenko would get the better of Groenhart this time via unanimous decision (UD) after an extra round.

Sittichai Sitsongpeenong vs Mohammed Hamicha Moojte

This was the 4-man (qualifying) tournament final on the night, which for the winner, would secure a place in the 8-man Tournament later in the year. Sittichai is widely regarded as the best kickboxing /Thai boxing lightweight in the world right now and has given plenty of elite kickboxers in his weight class a torrid time. However, Moojte, who is based in the Netherlands, gave Sittichai a rough time and even knocked him down in the first round with an uppercut. Sittichai would secure the win eventually after an extra round by UD, but Moojte’s profile has significantly increased since then (his name was spelt differently by Kunlun as ‘Mohammed Mezouari’).

WLF – Glory of Heroes (2nd April 2016):

Isreal Adesanya vs Alex Pereira <==CLICK TO WATCH VIDEO OF FIGHT

Adesanya is from New Zealand and is a very skillful and exciting kickboxer to watch who, is also pursuing a career in MMA as well. Pereira is a Brazilian kickboxer who, made the transition from boxing to kickboxing in recent years. Both have fought for GLORY in the past and have come a long way since then. The winner by unanimous decision was Pereira, which did surprise me at the time.

Enriko Kehl vs Yi Long <==CLICK TO WATCH VIDEO OF FIGHT

Yi Long is probably the most famous Chinese kickboxing monk in the world and Kehl is the K-1 World Max 2014 Tournament winner (as a result of Buakaw leaving the ring when an extra round was called for) and is from Germany. Four of Kehl’s last six fights have either been under the Kunlun or WLF banner, however, Yi Long would get the win by unanimous decision.

Josh Jauncey vs Xu Yan

British Canadian kickboxer, Josh Jauncey, was the winner by delivering a devastating left head kick knockout in the third round. Jauncey has been on a recent run of good form since his loss (by unanimous decision) to Giorgio Petrosyan at GLORY 25 last year. As for Xu Yan, he is a multiple Sanhsou Chinese champion and was the more experienced fighter having fought in Japan for ‘K-1’ as far back as 2008.

Fabio Pinca vs Yinghua Tie <==CLICK TO WATCH VIDEO OF FIGHT

French-Italian Muay Thai legend, Fabio Pinca, who had previously won the Lion Fight welterweight title in 2013 by decision over Malaipet Sasiprapa, had been on a five fight win streak prior to this fight but lost by split decision to the home fighter.

Andrei Ostrovanu vs Zhang Dezheng

Ostrovanu is of Romanian descent (but if I am correct, has grown up in England) and won by unanimous decision. He is a young kick boxer who, I can recall was fighting on regional kickboxing shows here in the UK with some powerful performances not too long and then went onto fight Mohammed Jaraya in Enfusion (he lost that fight by stoppage but he certainly challenged Jaraya)

As for Dezheng (the home fighter), from what I’ve seen of him in his fight a couple of years ago with the explosive Australian, Brad Riddell, he’s a durable fighter and no pushover.

Here is his fight with Riddell:

From the above seven match-ups, 10 of the 14 fighters are known reasonably well in the western world by kickboxing enthusiasts.

The quality of international kickboxing match-ups by the Chinese has certainly been of a very good level – some may say that they have even managed to deliver better match-ups than GLORY at times.

It certainly is very interesting times for kickboxing in China and with regular shows throughout the year being hosted by the Chinese – especially Kunlun – it can only help the sport of kickboxing to develop on a global scale which has been a struggle in recent years since the financial crisis a few years ago that brought ‘K-1’ to its knees and the rapid growth and popularity of MMA.

Kunlun aren’t complacent with simply hosting events in China alone. They recently hosted Kunlun Fight 44 on the 14th May in Russia and their following event, Kunlun Fight 45, will be in South Korea on the 22nd May 2016, before they then return to China on the 6th June 2016.

Can the Chinese sustain a financially viable operation of not only promoting international kickboxing events and a spectacle of a show, while continuing to attract a wealth of fighting talent from around the world? Only time will tell but I know that I’m certainly not the only one that hopes that they will, for the sake of breathing long term life back into the world of kickboxing.