On Sunday, Oct. 30, top kickboxing promotion Kunlun Fight debuted in Wuhan, China for Kunlun Fight 54. The capital city of Hubei province hosted the opening round of the women’s 61.5-kilogram tournament and one quarterfinal bout in the 70-kilogram tournament.
In the main event of the evening, the host country’s last hope for the the first Kunlun Fight 70-kilogram tournament champion from China rested solely on Wu Xuesong. The 23-year-old catapulted up the rankings with his monstrous left hook knockout of Enfusion champion Tayfun Ozcan at Kunlun Fight 41 to qualify for the Kunlun Fight 70-kilogram world tournament. Xuesong defeated Serginio Kanters at Kunlun Fight 50 to move into the quarterfinals. His opponent, Cedric Manhoef, eliminated another top Chinese kickboxing prospect Kong Lingfeng in the round of 16. Manhoef had won seven of his past nine with including wins over Christopher Mena and Clayton Henrique to qualify for the tournament at Kunlun Fight 44.
The fight card was scheduled to feature another Kunlun Fight 70-kilogram tournament quarterfinal between Georgia’s Davit Kiria and Dutch lightweight Mohamed Mezouari. The highly anticipated fight was cancelled when Mezouari contracted an illness and was unable to make weight for the tournament bout. Kiria moves on in the tournament field due to the cancellation. Kiria, 28, picked up a decision victory over Robbie Hageman at Kunlun Fight 48 to end his three-fight losing skid. The former GLORY lightweight champion defeated 2014 Kunlun Fight 70-kilogram tournament winner Dzianis Zuev at Kunlun Fight 52 to earn his place in the tournament quarterfinals. Mezouari originally failed in his bid to qualify for the tournament after losing to GLORY lightweight champion Sittichai Sitsongpeenong in the finals of the qualification tournament at Kunlun Fight 43. “Hamicha Mootje” returned with a ‘Knockout of the Year’ candidate against David Ruiz to win the BLADE 70-kilogram title at Kunlun Fight 49 before failing to secure a visa for his tournament match-up with Arthit Hanchana at Kunlun Fight 50. Mezouari holds a big win over Hinata Watanabe at REBELS.41 in March of this year.
The Kunlun Fight Mulan tournament began when eight of the world’s top female fighters met in the opening round of the 61.5-kilogram tournament. One of the best female kickboxers in the world, China’s Wang Kehan, entered the tournament field opposite Greece’s Korina Papachrysanthou. In the other quarterfinal match-ups, Brazil’s Juliana Werner fought Russia’s Diana Zubrovskaia, Portugal’s Marisa Pires battled with Dutch kickboxer Anissa Haddaoui, and Canada’s Candice Mitchell took on short notice opponent, France’s Melinda Madjene.
Lastly, 2008 Olympic Gold medalist Cai Liangchan returned to the kickboxing ring against popular South Korean kickboxing champion “K-Max” after a successful promotional debut at Kunlun Fight 52.
The event aired live on YY.com and the Kunlun Fight App at 2 a.m. ET. The main card airs live on Jiangsu TV at 5 a.m. ET.