As kickboxing continues to grow on a global scale with promotions like GLORY, K-1, Kunlun Fight, and more, fighters are constantly jockeying for position in the eyes (and rankings) of the media.

Every month, Combat Press will rank each weight class from heavyweight to bantamweight, as well as the pound-for-pound rankings for both men and women.

The numbers in parentheses represent the fighter’s ranking from last month.



Heavyweight (95+ kilograms)
  1. Rico Verhoeven (1)
  2. Jamal Ben Saddik (6)
  3. Benjamin Adegbuyi (2)
  4. Mladen Brestovac (3)
  5. Roman Kryklia (4)
  6. Zabit Samedov (8)
  7. Badr Hari (5)
  8. Guto Inocente (7)
  9. Iraj Azizpour (9)
  10. Luis Tavares (10)

The heavyweight division featured plenty of action in the month of December. The biggest mover was Jamal Ben Saddik, who leaped four spots on the strength of victories over Benjamin Adegbuyi, Guto Inocente and Junior Tafa during the one-night, eight-man heavyweight grand prix at GLORY 62. Adegbuyi picked up wins over Jahfarr Wilnis and Arkadiusz Wrzosek, but he falls one spot in the rankings due to his tournament final loss. Inocente opened the quarterfinals with a split-decision nod over Mohamed Abdallah, which wasn’t enough to prevent him from slipping one spot in the rankings following his loss to Ben Saddik. Roman Kryklia, who also dropped a spot as a result of Ben Saddik’s tournament run, picked up his fifth consecutive victory when he beat Sam Tevette at the Tatneft Cup 2018 Final. Zabit Samedov continued his now 18-fight winning streak and moved up two spots in the rankings with a third-round TKO over Evgeni Orlov at Akhmat Fight Show. Luis Tavares made a successful GLORY debut against Artur Gorlov, but he did so at light heavyweight. If Tavares fights at light heavyweight again in his next bout, he will change divisions in the rankings.

Light Heavyweight (85.1-95 kilograms)
  1. Artem Vakhitov (1)
  2. Pavel Zhuravlev (2)
  3. Saulo Cavalari (3)
  4. Igor Bugaenko (4)
  5. Ariel Machado (5)
  6. Donegi Abena (6)
  7. Felipe Micheletti (7)
  8. Zinedine Hameur-Lain (8)
  9. Sergej Maslobojev (9)
  10. Danyo Ilunga (10)

There was only one light heavyweight fighter in action in December. UFC veteran and kickboxer James McSweeney returned from injuries to stop Danyo Ilunga in the third round at Mix Fight Gala 25. Following the loss, Ilunga was let go from his GLORY contract due to violating its terms. Despite the loss, Ilunga’s defeat wasn’t enough to push him out of the rankings.

Middleweight (80.1-85 kilograms)
  1. Alex Pereira (1)
  2. Simon Marcus (2)
  3. Yousri Belgaroui (3)
  4. Jason Wilnis (4)
  5. Artem Levin (5)
  6. Loren Javier Jorge (6)
  7. Hicham El Gaoui (9)
  8. Ulrik Bokeme (10)
  9. Joe Schilling (7)
  10. Dustin Jacoby (8)

The middleweight division featured some shuffling in the bottom half of the rankings. Loren Javier Jorge picked up a decision victory over Khalid El Bakouri to keep his winning streak alive, but he holds steady at No. 6. Ulrik Bokeme topped former top-10 middleweight Filip Verlinden to move up two spots in the rankings. Bokeme and Hicham El Gaoui, who holds a recent win over Bokeme, moved past Joe Schilling and Dustin Jacoby, neither of whom have fought in over a year.

Welterweight (72.6-80 kilograms)
  1. Artur Kyshenko (1)
  2. Harut Grigorian (2)
  3. Murthel Groenhart (3)
  4. Alim Nabiyev (4)
  5. Cédric Doumbé (5)
  6. Yohan Lidon (6)
  7. Nieky Holzken (7)
  8. Raymond Daniels (8)
  9. Yoann Kongolo (9)
  10. Alexander Stetsurenko (10)

There was only one significant welterweight fight during the month of December. Sixth-ranked Yohan Lidon took a decision victory over Diesellek in the main event of La Nuit Des Challenges 18.

Lightweight (70-72.5 kilograms)
  1. Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong (1)
  2. Giorgio Petrosyan (2)
  3. Marat Grigorian (3)
  4. Superbon Banchamek (4)
  5. Yodsanklai Fairtex (5)
  6. Chingiz Allazov (6)
  7. Endy Semeleer (7)
  8. Tayfun Ozcan (8)
  9. Jonay Risco (9)
  10. Buakaw Banchamek (10) / Mohamed Mezouari (10)

There was plenty of activity for the lightweights in December. Marat Grigorian returned to the win column with a split-decision victory over Chris Baya at GLORY 62. Superbon Banchamek finished the year strong with three victories in one night during the Enfusion Abu Dhabi 72.5-kilogram eight-man tournament. The No. 4-ranked fighter defeated Aziz Kallah, Diogo Calado and Marouan Toutouh to extend his winning streak to six. Seventh-ranked Endy Semeleer was also in the Enfusion tournament. However, following a win over Toutouh in the quarterfinal, he pulled out of the tournament due to an injury. Yodsanklai Fairtex, who remains at fifth in the rankings, earned a lopsided decision victory against Luis Regis in his first promotional main event at ONE Championship: Destiny of Champions. Mohamed “Hamicha” Mezouari made a big splash in his GLORY debut, albeit at welterweight, with a head-kick knockout over Miles Simpson.

Featherweight (65-69.9 kilograms)
  1. Qiu Jianliang (1)
  2. Masaaki Noiri (2)
  3. Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao (3)
  4. Ren Hiramoto (4)
  5. Kaew Weerasakreck (5)
  6. Robin van Roosmalen (6)
  7. Abdellah Ezbiri (7)
  8. Yang Zhuo (8)
  9. Ilias Bulaid (9)
  10. Serhiy Adamchuk (10)

There were only two featherweight fighters in action in the month of December. Second-ranked Masaaki Noiri put on a clinic against Riki Matsuoka at the K-1 World GP 2018 Lightweight Tournament. Meanwhile, China’s Yang Zhuo, who remains at No. 8 in the rankings, extended his winning streak with a decision over Andrei Kulebin at Wu Lin Feng.

Bantamweight (less than 65 kilograms)
  1. Takeru (1)
  2. Koya Urabe (2)
  3. Wei Rui (3)
  4. Yoshiki Takei (4)
  5. Tenshin Nasukawa (6)
  6. Wang Wenfeng (7)
  7. Kenta Hayashi (-)
  8. Gonnapar Weerasakreck (5)
  9. Taiga (8)
  10. Lin Qiangbang (9)

Dropped from the rankings: Alex Rivas (10)



Top-ranked bantamweight Takeru put on a “Fight of the Year” performance against Koji to defend his K-1 60-kilogram title at the K-1 World GP 2018 Lightweight Tournament. Fourth-ranked Yoshiki Takei edged out Thailand’s Yodbuadaeng Fairtex to keep his spot in the rankings. Kenta Hayashi debuts in the rankings following three wins in one night to claim the K-1 lightweight title. Hayashi, who lands at No. 7 in our poll, defeated Nicolas Gaffie, Yuto Shinohara and Fumiya Osawa to claim the tournament crown. After debuting in the rankings following a victory over K-1 champ Yuta Murakoshi, Alex Rivas drops out of the rankings as a result of Hayashi’s entry. Kunlun Fight 61.5-kilogram champ Wang Wenfeng fended off Wu Lin Feng champ Feng Liang at Kunlun Fight 79. The victory allowed Wenfeng to creep up one spot to sixth in the rankings. Tenshin Nasukawa was also in action to close out December, but it was in a three-round boxing exhibition against Floyd Mayweather Jr., who had his way with the young kickboxing star. Of course, Nasukawa’s exhibition loss at the Rizin 14 event has no effect on his standing here.

Pound-For-Pound
  1. Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong (1)
  2. Giorgio Petrosyan (2)
  3. Artur Kyshenko (3)
  4. Marat Grigorian (4)
  5. Takeru (5)
  6. Rico Verhoeven (6)
  7. Artem Vakhitov (7)
  8. Qiu Jianliang (8)
  9. Superbon Banchamek (10)
  10. Alex Pereira (9)

Three of the world’s top pound-for-pound fighters were active in December, but the only movement comes at the bottom of the pound-for-pound top 10. While Marat Grigorian and Takeru fail to climb as a result of their performances, Superbon Banchamek moves up one spot on the back of his three victories during the Enfusion 72.5-kilogram tournament.

Women’s Pound-For-Pound
  1. Anissa Meksen (1)
  2. Jorina Baars (2)
  3. Denise Kielholtz (3)
  4. Tiffany van Soest (4)
  5. Iman Barlow (5)
  6. Wang Kehan (6)
  7. Gong Yanli (7)
  8. Wang Cong (8)
  9. Anissa Haddaoui (9)
  10. KANA (10)

There were no fighters in action during the month of December, so the rankings remain unchanged.


Editor’s Note: Fighters are eligible to be ranked if they have competed in the last 18 months. Any fighter that chooses to switch weight classes will be ranked in their previous weight class until they have competed twice in their new division.