Robin van Roosmalen (James Law/GLORY)

Combat Press Kickboxing Rankings: May 2015

Rob Tatum Assistant Editor

As kickboxing looks to establish itself from both boxing and MMA with GLORY, K-1 and Lion Fight, 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 featherweight, as well as the pound-for-pound rankings.

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


  1. Rico Verhoeven (1)
  2. Daniel Ghita (2)
  3. Errol Zimmerman (3)
  4. Benjamin Adegbuyi (4)
  5. Hesdy Gerges (5)
  6. Andrei Herasimchuk (6)
  7. Zabit Samedov (8)
  8. Anderson Silva (7)
  9. Ben Edwards (9)
  10. Freddy Kemayo (10)

April was largely a quiet month for the heavyweights, but Azerbaijan’s Zabit Samedov climbed up one spot to No. 7 in our rankings with wins over Steve McKinnon and Danyo Ilunga. Samedov claimed the one-night heavyweight tournament crown at GFC Fight Series 3 in Dubai.

Light Heavyweight
  1. Gokhan Saki (1)
  2. Tyrone Spong (2)
  3. Saulo Cavalari (3)
  4. Artem Vakhitov (5)
  5. Nathan Corbett (4)
  6. Danyo Ilunga (6)
  7. Mourad Bouzidi (8)
  8. Igor Jurković (7)
  9. Andrei Stoica (9)
  10. Zack Mwekassa (10)

There was plenty of action in the light heavyweight ranks in April. Divisional kingpin Gokhan Saki finally returned to the ring, topping Romania’s Sebastian Ciobanu at GFC Fight Series 3 to stay atop the rankings. Also in action at GLORY 20 were Brazil’s Saulo Cavalari and Russia’s Artem Vakhitov. The pair battled to a split decision with Cavalari claiming victory. However, even in defeat, Vakhitov slid into the fourth spot. Sixth-ranked Danyo Ilunga moved up to heavyweight at GFC Fight Series 3, claiming victory in the opening round of promotion’s one-fight tournament, but falling short in the finals. Finally, Mourad Bouzidi used his experience advantage to top late-replacement opponent Dustin Jacoby at GLORY 20.

  1. Artem Levin (1)
  2. Joe Schilling (2)
  3. Simon Marcus (5)
  4. Filip Verlinden (4)
  5. Jason Wilnis (6)
  6. Alex Pereira (3)
  7. Sahak Parparyan (7)
  8. Wayne Barrett (8)
  9. Fang Bian (9)
  10. Israel Adesanya (-)

Dropped out of the rankings: Robert Thomas (10)

Welcome back, Simon Marcus. The Canadian, who was largely regarded as the best middleweight Muay Thai fighter in the world prior to stepping in the GLORY ring, bounced back from a stunning loss to No. 9-ranked Fang Bian in January by claiming the one-night, four-man contender tournament at GLORY 20. The 28-year-old bested both eighth-ranked Wayne Barrett and fifth-ranked Jason Wilnis to capture the tournament and set up a title shot against No. 1-ranked Artem Levin. Second-ranked Joe Schilling was in action in April, but in the Bellator MMA cage. The biggest fall in April came from Brazilian Alex Pereira. After many picked the 27-year-old to win the GLORY 20 tournament, he fell short against Wilnis and tumbled three spots. New Zealand’s Israel Adesanya cracked the top 10 for the first time after capturing the King of the Ring eight-man tournament with three finishes.

  1. Nieky Holzken (1)
  2. Joseph Valtellini (2)
  3. Marc de Bonte (3)
  4. Artur Kyshenko (4)
  5. Raymond Daniels (5)
  6. Karapet Karapetyan (6)
  7. Karim Ghajji (7)
  8. Alexander Stetsurenko (8)
  9. Paul Daley (9)
  10. Hicham El Gaoui (10)

Fourth-ranked Artur Kyshenko continued his winning ways in April, topping previously ranked Jonatan Oliveira at Kunlun Fight 23. Also in action was seventh-ranked Karim Ghaji, who scored a decision win over Fabio Siciliani at Oktagon 2015 in Milan, Italy. Finally, Hicham El Gaoui moved up in weight, claiming the World Fighting League one-night, 84kg tournament.

  1. Robin van Roosmalen (1)
  2. Davit Kiria (2)
  3. Andy Ristie (3)
  4. Giorgio Petrosyan (4)
  5. Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong (5)
  6. Murthel Groenhart (7)
  7. Yodsanklai Fairtex (10)
  8. Andy Souwer (8)
  9. Marat Grigorian (6)
  10. Buakaw Banchamek (9)

Tip your hat to Holland’s Robin van Roosmalen. Many wrote off the Dutchman ahead of his GLORY 20 title defense against Andy Ristie, but van Roosmalen put on a show, outclassing Ristie from the opening bell and retaining his lightweight title. “The Doctor” was back in action at Oktagon 2015, as Giorgio Petrosyan made his case for a shot at van Roosmalen with a win over Germany’s Enriko Kehl. The biggest move this month came for Yodsanklai Fairtex, who vaulted into the No. 7 slot with a decision win over Marat Grigorian at Kunlun Fight 22. Veteran Andy Souwer was very busy in April, splitting a pair of bouts. The Dutchman bested Dong Wenfei, but fell short in an extension round against Jonay Risco at Enfusion Live 27 in Spain.

  1. Gabriel Varga (5)
  2. Mosab Amrani (1)
  3. Masaaki Noiri (2)
  4. Kaew Fairtex (3)
  5. Yuta Kubo (4)
  6. Tetsuya Yamoto (6)
  7. Pakorn PKSaenchaimuaythaigym (7)
  8. Sagetdao Petpayathai (8)
  9. Shane Oblonsky (9)
  10. Yodkhunpon Sitmonchai (10)

There’s a new fighter sitting atop the featherweight ranks. Canada’s Gabriel Varga dethroned Mosab Amrani and captured GLORY gold in Dubai. Varga became the second fighter from north of the border to hold GLORY gold, joining welterweight Joseph Valtellini. Two other top-10 fighters were in the ring in April, but outside the featherweight division. Japan’s Masaaki Noiri and Yuta Kubo both dropped down to 55kg to compete in the K-1 tournament, but both fell short in the opening round. Noiri suffered a TKO loss and Kubo dropped a decision.

  1. Artem Levin (1)
  2. Nieky Holzken (2)
  3. Gokhan Saki (3)
  4. Robin van Roosmalen (4)
  5. Davit Kiria (5)
  6. Andy Ristie (6)
  7. Giorgio Petrosyan (7)
  8. Rico Verhoeven (8)
  9. Joseph Valtellini (9)
  10. Gabriel Varga (-)

Dropped out of the rankings: Daniel Ghita (10)

Half of the top 10 were in action in April, with Saki, van Roosmalen and Petrosyan claiming wins. Ristie was the lone fighter to lose, but he maintains his sixth spot for the time being. With his GLORY 20 win, Gabriel Varga claimed the tenth slot, pushing out former GLORY heavyweight title challenger Daniel Ghita.