Full Contact Fighter’s “Striking News:” Teammates To Face Off In GLORY NYE Heavyweight Tourney, K-1 Headed To Greece and Is a National TV Deal on the Horizon for U.S. Muay Thai Promotion?
By Greg Boasberg
What is it like when you have to fight your friend? Opening round match-ups were announced earlier this week for the GLORY 4 New Years Eve Heavyweight Grand Slam 16-man tournament taking place in Tokyo, Japan.
Tournament No. 5 seed and legend of the sport Peter Aerts, known for his devastating head kicks that knock his opponents out cold, will be facing his good friend, and training partner Mourad Bouzidi. Mourad Bouzidi (73-19, 33 KO’s) has made a name for himself in the kickboxing community with notable wins over Hesdy Georges, and Errol Zimmerman.
Aerts and Bouzidi, over the last eight years, have developed a strong friendship, working each other’s corners and helping each other prepare for fights. So now that they are fighting how do things change? I can’t imagine they are training together for this fight. Can you imagine the irony in that? Both fighters helping each other to beat the other.
Maybe Mourad Bouzidi chose to train at another gym for this one, putting his friendship on hold with Aerts, Will their friendship ever be the same after this fight? If one fighter defeats the other can they just let it go, or will there be resentment afterwards, and will the relationship change? Is business, and fighting worth destroying a friendship? What is more important, a friendship, or money? These are things that need to be taken into account. Keep this in mind too, They know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Bouzidi has said in a past interview that he would never get matched up in a tournament with Aerts, and that he would never fight him, so it is ironic that they randomly drew each other in the first round of the tournament. It will be interesting to see if the psychology of their friendship will get in the way of their performance in the ring, or if it will be strictly business on fight night. Either way, the fact that both fighters are close friends makes for a more intriguing fight.
K-1′s next scheduled event is the K-1 World Max 2012 Final 8 on Dec. 15 in Athens, Greece. The eight man tournament will consist of Andy Souwer, Mike Zambidis, Artur Kyshenko, Chris Ngimbi, Andy Ristie, Reece McAllister, Murthel Groenhart, and Yasuhiro Kido.
Dutch kickboxer Souwer is scheduled to take on Ristie from Suriname in the opening round of the 70 kilogram/154 pound tournament. Souwer is coming off a win of the “S-Cup” Tokyo’s Shootboxing tournament held every two years. This was Souwer’s fourth time winning the one night tournament, defeating highly regarded Thai Boxer Kem Sitsongpeenong in the opening round, and then going to defeat Hiroki Shishido, & Henri van Opstal to win the S-Cup. Andy Souwer has become a household name in the world of kickboxing with his notable fights against Masato, Buakaw Por Pramuk, and others.
Fifteen-time world champion Zambidis, otherwise known as “Zambo,” will be fighting McAllister of the U.K. in the opening round. Zambidis knocked out Chahid Oulad El Hadj in the K-1 World Max Tournament Final 16 in April of this year in Madrid, Spain. Zambidis will be fighting in his hometown of Athens, Greece, so he will definitely have an advantage with the crowd behind him. Zambidis has fought both tournament participants Souwer and Kyshenko in the past, so he’ll definitely be looking to settle the score.
Las Vegas-based Muay Thai promotion, Lion Fight Promotions, has been progressively making a name for themselves in the United States, hosting full rules (elbow strikes permitted) Muay Thai events at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. According to Lion Fight Promotions CEO Scott Kent, they have been in talks with a number of media organizations for Muay Thai programming for 2013. The goal for Lion Fight, and Muay Thai in general for several different promoters is to get Muay Thai on American Television.
“Part of this next phase in Las Vegas is to develop a television contract,” said Kent. “We did the GoFightLive – the live stream of the last show which went all over the world. Now we’re trying to hit a broader national audience, because as you know, it’s popular in Asia, popular in Europe. It’s never really been developed properly in my opinion, or promoted properly here in the United States. I think we’re here in the best place to do it, we’re here in Las Vegas.”
This is crucial for growth of the sport here in the United States because once the public sees Muay Thai for the first time, I’m pretty sure they will fall in love with it like the rest of us have. Internationally known Gregory Choplin was featured in the co-main event at Lion Fight’s last show. Choplin originally from France, but now residing in Fla., is a highly skilled, and dangerous Thai Boxer recently defeating Chris Ngimbi, Chaz Mulkey, and Joseph Valtellini.
Another featured fighter on Lion Fight cards is undefeated rising star Tiffany Van Soest from San Diego, Calif. A fighter who displays strong athleticism, recently won the 122 pounds WBC international title, defeating Jeri Sitzes. Muay Thai fans will very likely be seeing more of Van Soest, and Choplin at future Lion Fight shows. The promotion is planning on putting on its next show in Jan. 2013, but has not confirmed an exact date or any participating fighters.
About the Author:
Greg Boasberg is the founder & editor of TOTALMUAYTHAI.COM One of the most comprehensive Muay Thai & Kickboxing Media Outlets in the World with all the latest News, Interviews, & Pictures in stand up fighting.