What a strange time for “kickboxing” (K-1 rules fighting).
The husk that appeared to be K-1 Rising may perhaps be living up to its initial hype as a phoenix-from-the-ashes, as their anticipated Los Angeles event WILL in fact take place, and they have signed a huge television deal on Spike TV in America to boot!
Glory in their own right have many fighters signed to K-1 whose contracts expire with the Japanese giants within the year, so they could end up monopolising all the top talent. This of course follows their purchase of the former kings of Europe, It’s Showtime.
K-1 Rising for their part have begun to raid the Muay Thai world, offering exciting talent more money to fight under their rules and banner, and guys such as Andy Howson have already made the leap over.
K-1 have signed an agreement to work with predominantly Eastern European promotion Superkombat, which could be a good move for them in European affairs as their events are broadcast in tens of countries and reaches a wide audience.
CEO Doug Kaplan said he was “proud” to work with K-1, and that the Superkombat alliance would help propel the fallen industry leader to “once again become a giant in combat sports”.
Glory’s own expansion into Japan is manifested by a huge K-1 style Grand Prix featuring such K-1 legends as Peter Aerts, Semmy Schilt and Jerome LeBanner, supplemented by Golden Glory talent and team-mates of Schilt such as Gokhan Saki and Errol Zimmerman.
Glory also signed two stars from the world of Muay Thai in Jordan Watson and Tim Thomas. Watson, a stable-mate of Howson’s from Leeds, England, is the ISKA light-middleweight world champion, The Contender winner and has fought in even, close fights with such legends as Buakaw, Yodsaenklai Fairtex and Saiyok, dropping close decisions to all three in the past two and a half years. Thomas is the ISKA world champion at welterweight, and is also a big name in the Muay Thai world.
Both men are interesting additions to the 70kg division in Glory, the direct competitor to the famous “K-1 MAX”.
The tug of war will undoubtedly continue between the two sides throughout the year and beyond, and only time will tell if one side emerges triumphant and monopolises the scene, or if both can flourish and grow, and we see the sport itself develop and progress with an industry leader and giant in Japan AND in Europe.