Simon Marcus (GLORY)

Combat Press February 2016 Kickboxing Review

Combat Press takes a look back at all of the action of the previous month in the kickboxing and Muay Thai world. With the popularity of the sport highest in the Eastern Hemisphere, our coverage will take us to Asia, Europe and back to the Western Hemisphere from Las Vegas to Rio de Janeiro. The monthly review will feature all of the results, announcements and videos from the previous month’s action, available for your consumption.

The month of February was filled with exciting announcements, star fighters crossing over into other combat sports, and a plethora of great fights and spectacular knockouts. All of this is not without controversy, both inside and out of the ring.

Around the Kickboxing World: The Biggest Stories
GLORY Making Big Moves to Start 2016

GLORY, the consensus top kickboxing promotion in the world, had a busy month. The company held its first event of the year, made big signings and captured headlines with announcements.


GLORY announced broadcasting deals with leaders in their respective fields, signing with ESPN and UFC Fight Pass.

The deal with ESPN in the United States will end the questions of whether or not GLORY could sign a long-term contract with the top sports broadcasting network. The contract means GLORY streams live on the ESPN3 platform and airs on a tape delay on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes. The long-term contract gives hope that the partnership between the two will continue to grow.

GLORY also struck a deal to broadcast the Super Fight Series events live on the UFC’s online streaming service, UFC Fight Pass. The Super Fight Series usually features top fighters and up-and-coming talent, and the promotion has recently dedicated more of its promotional power toward the events, adding multiple title bouts to five-fight cards. The deal also includes the addition of the K-1 and It’s Showtime video libraries, which will add over 100 kickboxing events to the growing streaming service.

The deals with ESPN and the UFC happened just before GLORY’s first event of the year, a href=”” target=”_blank”>GLORY 27: Chicago. The star-studded lineup featured the bulk of the top of the middleweight division, including GLORY middleweight champion Artem Levin relinquishing his title in controversial fashion to Simon Marcus, the man who holds a past win (and a majority draw) over Levin. Levin showed his distaste for the referee’s decisions in the ring, refusing to fight after a point was deducted. Levin gave his title back to Marcus, the man who actually won one of the scorecards in their second fight at GLORY 21.

One of the brightest moments of the card featured another middleweight, Dustin Jacoby, showcasing the potential that brought him to the top of the division so early in his career. Jacoby won the middleweight contender tournament after knocking out Karl Roberson and Wayne Barrett. Jacoby earned his shot at the newly crowned champion with his fourth and fifth straight wins.

Multiple combat-sport star Joe Schilling fought French-American Mike Lemaire in the main event of the GLORY 27 Super Fight Series card, the first GLORY card to air live on UFC Fight Pass. Schilling took the bout on two weeks’ notice. Lemaire had been training to compete in the middleweight contender tournament. Schilling brutalized Lemaire for much of the fight, landing at will, even while he was trapped against the ropes by the ever-aggressive Lemaire. Lemaire couldn’t offer much in the way of offense, but he definitely showed off his iron chin and incredible toughness.

Strikeforce and UFC veteran Guto Inocente returned to his kickboxing roots after being cut from the UFC following back-to-back losses against Derrick Lewis and Anthony Perosh. Inocente decapitated Cristiano Bob on the regional MMA scene before winning the WGP light heavyweight title at the end of 2015. Inocente made his GLORY debut and it ended in absolutely devastating fashion for GLORY veteran Demoreo Dennis. The damage was done with one spinning hook kick, a strike that will surely be at the top of the “Knockout of the Year” discussion at the end of 2016.

Other highlights on the card included the wild slugfest between Georgian kickboxer Giga Chikadze and the debuting American Kevin Vannostrand, Anderson “Braddock” Silva returning to form against a much larger foe in Maurice Greene, and Lion Fight veteran Richard Abraham showing off his hands over three dominant rounds against the first Polish fighter to compete in GLORY, Paweł Jędrzejczyk. A condensed version of the show has been made available by the promotion.

During the show, the promotion announced the addition of one of the world’s best heavyweight kickboxers, Ismael Londt. The monster heavyweight out of the Netherlands has fought much of the world’s top heavyweight talent in Europe over the past six years, including a win over current GLORY heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven. Londt holds key wins over top-10 fighters, but he did lose in his most recent outing against Badr Hari in August 2015. GLORY could head down many promotional paths with Londt, but the fight that sticks out is a championship fight against Verhoeven.

The promotion announced its next event, GLORY 28: Paris for March 12. The promotion’s return to Europe will feature three title fights, including two title contest on the UFC Fight Pass broadcast. The aforementioned Verhoeven will defend his heavyweight belt against Croatian kickboxer Mladen Brestovac in the main event, which will air live on ESPN3. GLORY light heavyweight champ Saulo Cavalari defends his title against Russian prospect Artem Vakhitov in a rematch of their 2015 bout, which was won by Cavalari. GLORY featherweight champion Serhiy Adamchuk defends his title for the first time against GLORY 26 featherweight contender tournament winner Mosab Amrani. The stacked fight card also features a one-night, four-man lightweight contender tournament featuring the 2015 Combat Press “Kickboxing Fighter of the Year,” Sittichai Sitsongpeenong.

K-1 Global Disputes the Ownership of the K-1 Video Library

K-1 Global has been silent in terms of event promotion outside of the spectacular K-1 World GP in Japan events, but the company recently spoke out to make a claim on the K-1 video library, which was recently a part of GLORY’s UFC Fight Pass deal. Some time will unfold before the dispute will be sorted out, but it is an interesting story to follow heading into what seems like a renewed push by K-1 Global in 2016.

Lion Fight Delivers Again, In More Ways Than One

Not only did Lion Fight return last month with superior talent and brutal knockouts, but the promotion got a key victory in regulation for a controversial decision at Lion Fight 27. The split verdict in favor of Thai fighter Kronphet Petrachapet over Gaston Bolanos has been one of the more poor decisions that have happened so far this year. Two judges gave the fight to Petrachapet, signaling many fight fans to show their disdain for the International Kickboxing Federation. The sanctioning body started an investigation into the inconsistent judging of the bout, sending out the video of the fight to 21 IKF officials from North America, Europe and Asia. After the review, a total of 18 of the 21 judges scored the bout for Bolanos, while only two scored the fight for Phetrachapat. Seventeen officials gave four of the five rounds to Bolanos, an astounding number that truly shows the inconsistent judging by the three IKF officials that evening. The IKF reversed the decision to a win for Bolanos.

The promotion delivered another stellar card with Lion Fight 28. Super welterweight champion “Smokin’ Jo” Nattawut fought rising kickboxing prospect Cedric Manhoef. Nattawut was originally scheduled to defend his title against Kem Sitsongpeenong, but an injury to Kem opened an opportunity for Manhoef to take the fight on short notice. Manhoef, 22, amassed an impressive record while developing with the influence of his uncle, current Bellator MMA fighter and K-1 veteran Melvin Manhoef.

Manhoef fought much of the last year under kickboxing rules, giving the champion a distinct advantage with his superior clinch and kicks. Nattawut took full advantage of the use of Muay Thai techniques and judging to beat a very game Manhoef. Nattawut earned the win with his accurate striking and great defensive work. Nattawut’s record moves to 56-5-2.

In the co-main event, 28-year-old Dutch kickboxer Sergio Wielzen stole the lightweight title from champion Ognjen Topic with an uppercut elbow — a strike known as Sok Ngad in Muay Thai — early in the third round. The elbow opened a cut over the left eye of the champion. The doctor’s stoppage win was Wielzen’s 41st career victory.

American Ky Hollenbeck earned his 39th victory when he put Justin Greskiewicz down with a short right elbow in the second round. Chris Mauceri earned his ninth professional win in emphatic fashion when he downed his larger opponent, Nick Chasteen, with two powerful right elbows in the clinch. Bryce Lawrence challenged Mauceri for “Knockout of the Night” when he earned his second professional win by putting Yeison Berdugo to sleep with a beautifully timed right uppercut following a heavy right low kick in the first round. Watch the full event highlights here.

Bellator Enters the Kickboxing World

Announcements were frequent in the month of January, but none may have the potential to change the North American kickboxing scene quite like Bellator MMA’s revelation that president Scott Coker would re-enter the kickboxing business with Bellator Kickboxing. There will be combination events like Bellator 152, and there will be standalone kickboxing events. The promotion announced the first event for Milan, Italy on April 16. Bellator 152 acts as the lead-in during the live Spike TV broadcast. The event features pound-for-pound great Giorgio Petrosyan taking on 2015 Kunlun middleweight MAX tournament runner-up Enriko Gogokhia. The show will be co-promoted with top Italian kickboxing promotion Oktagon.

Coker announced the addition of American kickboxing talents Joe Schilling, Raymond Daniels and Kevin Ross. Bellator also signed top female kickboxer Denise Kielholtz and Russian prospect Anastasia Yankova. Coker added that the Bellator MMA fighters would be featured in kickboxing-rules bouts in the future, opening the possibility for stellar strikers like Paul Daley and Michael Page to fight without worry of hitting the floor. This announcement opens the door for potential growth in the U.S. market with even more kickboxing on cable television alongside GLORY’s deal with ESPN.

Superkombat Announces Debut in North America

European kickboxing promotion Superkombat announced plans to enter the North American market. The show, adequately named USA vs Rest of the World, was the first event announced for the move west. The show is scheduled to take place from San Juan, Puerto Rico, on March 26 and features one of Superkombat’s promotional stars, Catalin Morosanu. The Romanian heavyweight will take on the United Kingdom’s Daniel Sam. The promotion will be exploring new options in Central and South America as well, mentioning Colombia, Mexico and the Dominican Republic as potential landing spots.

Wu Lin Feng Announces Big Plans for 2016

One of China’s longest running kickboxing promotions, Wu Lin Feng Championship, held a press conference on Feb. 17. One of the better kickboxing followers to keep track of on Twitter, KiksieDB reported on the announcements. The promotion announced six talent-rich fight cards, referred to as Glory of Heroes, scheduled for the rest of 2016 and early 2017. The shows that are scheduled to take place in April, May, July, August, October and January will air on Henan TV in China and many other online-streaming platforms. The promotion announced four-man tournaments in multiple weight categories featuring top talent Josh Jauncey, Enriko Kehl, Qiu Jianliang and many others.

The promotion also announced a stronger push toward MMA in the future. Wu Lin Feng signed a deal with Henan TV to air a weekly MMA show by the name of WLF E.P.I.C. on Fridays for the next few months. The promotion will showcase unaired fights during the weekly broadcast that were filmed inside of a studio in January. Chinese MMA news contributor SayatMMA stated that the promotion believed it lost the kickboxing battle to fellow top Chinese promotion Kunlun Fighting Championship in 2015. The competition will continue to heat up in 2016 as Kunlun FC is increasing its focus on MMA as well.

GLORY Champion Uses Hands to Claim Victory in MMA Debut

Glory lightweight champ Robin van Roosmalen made a successful MMA debut against Athinodoros Michailidis at Final Fight Championship 22 in Greece on Feb. 19. The 26-year-old Dutch kickboxer faced a bit of trouble in the grappling exchanges during the first round, but he put in a strong performance in the second round. Van Roosmalen made the hometown fighter crumble with a short counter right hook while his foe was rushing in to land a knee strike. The win certainly raises interest in van Roosmalen’s attempt to transition to MMA. Watch the full fight here or the highlights here.

In other results from the event, top-10 light heavyweight Pavel Zhuravlev won the FFC 95-kilogram title when he knocked out fringe top-15 heavyweight Brian Douwes in the third round. Greece’s Meletis Kakoubavas went to war with Slovenian kickboxer Samo Petje. The furiously quick fight ended in brutal fashion, earning honors as one of the best scraps of the month, as well as one of the best knockouts of February. Romanian kickboxer Sebastian Cozmanca won a decision over Croatian Tomislav Čikotić. Serbian fighter Marko Adamović defeated Albania’s Florian Marku by unanimous decision, Lithuanian Sergej Maslobojev stopped Croatia’s Antonio Plazibat in the third round, and Dimitris Chiotis knocked out Croatian Jasmin Bajrović in the second frame.

Holzken Wins First Boxing Title, Remains Unbeaten

GLORY welterweight champion Nieky Holzken has already amassed an impressive record in his move to professional boxing. Holzken racked up nine wins, including eight by way of knockout, before entering his first championship bout against Dutch-Ugandan boxer Farouk Daku. Holzken earned a unanimous decision over 10 rounds to win the vacant BeNeLux super middleweight title. Holzken is ranked in the top 100 according to boxrec, but he won’t be away from the kickboxing ring for too long. Holzken returns at GLORY 29: Copenhagen to defend his GLORY title against Yoann Kongolo.

Holzken was not the only kickboxer to fight under boxing rules in February. The 2015 Combat Press “Kickboxer of the Year,” Sittichai Sitsongpeenong, won his first amateur boxing match at the end of the month in a small stadium in Thailand. The young fighter has aspirations to box more in the future.

Saenchai Calls Out Conor McGregor, Eyes Move to Tristar Gym

One of the greatest Muay Thai fighters of all-time, Saenchai PKSaenchaimuaythaigym (formerly Saenchai Sor. Kingstar) announced, via Lawerance Kenshin’s Facebook page/a>, that he would enter the world of MMA with the intentions of fighting UFC featherweight champ Conor McGregor. The Muay Thai great has nearly 300 wins in his illustrious 28-year career. The legend has compiled Lumpinee stadium titles in multiple weight divisions, Toyota marathon tournament wins and even more world titles in every corner of the world. If the superior technician enters the MMA world, he will immediately be among the best strikers to ever compete inside of a cage.

Striking Coach Steven Wright Recaps the Amazing Year

2015 was an absolutely amazing year for kickboxing, Muay Thai and the many other striking arts. There were amazing performances, fairy-tale match-ups and devastating knockouts that led to one of the best years in kickfighting in years. Wright put a tremendous amount of effort into finding, collecting and showing off the videos of every great punch, knee, kick and elbow that took place in 2015. The nearly 30-minute video can be watched here.

Around the Kickboxing World: The Results
2016 Clash of Titans Tournament Begins at Kunlun Fight 38

The 2014 Kunlun Fight 70-kilogram tournament champion Dzianis Zuev moved on in the 2016 Kunlun Fight Clash of Titans tournament. Zuev, who was bounced out of the 2015 Kunlun Fight Middleweight World MAX tournament when he lost to fellow 2014 tournament finalist Victor Nagbe at Kunlun Fight 32, used constant pressure and aggression to take decision wins over Jonay Risco in the semifinals and Liu Lei in the finals. The Belarusian threw his left straight and right hook often in his tournament-winning performance against the Chinese youngster, who had won his 13th career fight when he defeated Razamanesh Benzad in his semifinal bout.

Khayal Dzhaniev is the last man to defeat Kunlun’s biggest star, Buakaw Banchamek. The 22-year-old Russian has earned 15 career victories to just three defeats in his young career. Dzhaniev earned his biggest victory at Topking World Series TK 4 in 2015 when he defeated the aforementioned Buakaw in a bloody “Fight of the Year” contender. The win wasn’t the last of his success under the Topking banner. Dzhaniev fought his way to the finals of the Topking World Series 16-man 70-kilogram tournament before finally losing at the hands of Dmitry Varent. Dzhaniev rebounded with key decision wins over Japanese Muay Thai champion Soichiro Miyakoshi, handing him only his sixth loss in 50 fights, and Khmer boxing star Pongthong Jetsada. His 16 and 17th career victories moved him further on in the Clash of Titans tournament. In other semifinal action, Pongthong Jetsada won a decision over Mo Zhuangwei in his return to Thailand.

Russian prospect Arbi Emiev defeated Denmark’s Mohamad in the tournament reserve match. Emiev, filling in for fellow Russian Vladimir Shuliak on just days’ notice, Emiev already fought to exciting draws with 100-fight veteran Jaowayna Sor.Sirilak in MAX Muay Thai and Cambodian star Keo Rumchung in Kun Khmer in 2016. Knee strikes, aggressive kicks and frequent punching combinations gave Emiev the decision win. Mohamad will get a chance for redemption at Kunlun Fight 39 on March 20. The veteran faces Chinese youngster Li Zhuangzhuang in the C Block of the one-night, four-man 70-kilogram Clash of Titans tournament. If he wins his semifinal bout, he will face the winner of the other semifinal, a fight between 2014 Kunlun 70-kilogram tournament runner-up Victor Nagbe and the 2015 W5 Grand Prix 71-kilogram tournament champion Artem Pashporin.

In superfight action, Superbon “Superball” Banchamek returned to the win column with a decision victory over Phuket Top Team’s Al “Triple A” Mansouri. Superball lost to Sittichai by first-round knockout in his most recent bout during the semifinals of the 2015 Kunlun Fight Middleweight MAX World tournament. GLORY veteran Perviz Abdullayev, 29, earned his 42nd career win with a unanimous decision nod over 23-year-old Chinese kickboxer “Nuerla” Mulali. The win continued Abdullayev’s recent success after a one-sided decision win over Aziz Kallah at the GLORY 26 Super Fight Series in December. Belarusian model Ekaterina “Barbie” Vandaryeva took a three-round decision over France’s Laurene De Oliveira in a featured bout.

Kaito Ozawa Wins Belt, Koya Urabe Victorious in Return at KRUSH 63

On Feb. 5, KRUSH returned for the first time in 2016 with a 58-kilogram championship and the return of two former champions.

Kaito Ozawa took a majority decision over Shota Kanbe to become the second 58-kilogram champion in KRUSH history. Ozawa, 22, added his seventh win with the close decision.

Former K-1 World GP 60-kilogram champ Koya Urabe returned to action for the first time since losing to his brother, Hirotaka, by third-round knockout in a ”Fight of the Year” candidate at K-1 World GP 2015 The Championship. The former KRUSH Youth GP champion took all three rounds on the scorecards to defeat “Cyborg” Wallace. The win was the 38th of the 25-year-old’s career.

K-1 55-Kilogram championship tournament runner-up Taiga moved up to 60-kilogram to fight 22-year-old Japanese kickboxer Taishi Hiratsuka. Taiga won the KRUSH 55-kilogram title before entering the K-1 tournament in early 2015. In his most recent outing, Taiga was upset by Leona Pettas at K-1 World GP 2015 The Championship. Taiga rebounded at KRUSH 63 when he knocked out Hiratsuka in the final fifteen seconds of the second round. The win gets Taiga back in the green before heading into the K-1 World GP 2016 60-kilogram Japan tournament on April 24. Taiga will be joined by fellow winners Urabe, Hitoshi Aketo and Koji in a stacked eight-man field.

The 30-year-old Aketo and 26-year-old Koji earned their places in the tournament with wins at KRUSH 63. Aketo defeated Kotaro Shimano after an extension round and Koji stopped “Syun” Kentoshi midway through the second frame.

Keng Wins Enfusion 63kg Title, Saenchai Wins Again in 2016

Enfusion 36 took place on Feb. 6 from Koh Samui, Thailand. The event featured traditional Muay Thai music playing in the background of the fights, and it also featured high-level Thai fighters entering the Enfusion Live ring.

Keng Superpro Samui captured the Enfusion 63-kilogram championship with a decision win over Norwegian kickboxer Simon Santana. Saenchai PK Saenchaimuaythai won his second fight of 2016 with a dominant decision over Spain’s Victor Conesa. Surinamese kickboxer Serginio Kanters knocked out hometown fighter JomKhon Kieat Nongluang in the first round. Nancy Chonpratankarmai took a decision win over Hong Kong’s Ling Kwok. Greek fighter Aris Bellos earned a second-round TKO due to a cut on the shin of German opponent Daniel Dörrer.

Stacked Enfusion Live 37 Fight Card Delivers Big

Enfusion Live 37, the company’s second event of the month, took place on Feb. 27. In the main event, No. 3-ranked heavyweight Jahfarr Wilnis kept Ismael Lazaar outside of the top 10 with a five-round decision win. Wilnis not only returned to the win column after being upset by Roman Kryklia at Kunlun Fight 36 in January, but the top heavyweight became the first man to defeat the Moroccan prospect. The Kunlun Fight champion earned yet another title to add to his mantle. Now the big question heading deep into 2016 is if he can win the ever-elusive GLORY heavyweight title.

The most anticipated fights on the card, however, were the Enfusion $25,000 tournament bouts featuring many of the promotion’s top stars, including Mohammed Jaraya, Tayfun Ozcan and Nordin Ben-Moh. The one-night, four-man 70-kilogram tournament featured a contest that may have already locked down the “Fight of the Year” honors for 2016.

The semifinal bout between former 67-kilogram champ Jaraya and Ben-Moh was a spectacular scrap from start to finish. Jaraya put the pressure on early, the men traded shots and Ben-Moh landed a jumping switch knee knockdown out of nowhere in the first round. The fight continued back and forth, but reached its peak in the final frame. Within a matter of 60 seconds, there were two knockdowns, one from each man, and one absolutely devastating final blow. Jaraya dropped Ben-Moh with a monstrous overhand right against the ropes. The Moroccan picked himself back up after the count and capitalized on an aggressive Jaraya looking for the finish, dropping him to the canvas with another jumping switch knee knockout. Ben-Moh rose from the dead to put his younger opponent down. The two men exchanged again with Jaraya getting the better of the shots. Jaraya landed a strong right hook behind the ear of Ben-Moh, dropping him stiff to the canvas.

Enfusion 72.5-kilogram champion Ozcan forced France’s Madicke Kamara to quit after two rounds of punishment in his much easier road to the tournament finals.

Jaraya and Ozcan fought once before, almost exactly one year to the date of this tournament final, and in the same location, Eindhoven, Netherlands. Jaraya wouldn’t find the same success in the rematch, where he struggled to find his rhythm after the absolute barn-burner with Ben-Moh in the semifinals. Turkey’s Ozcan was awarded the decision and the tournament prize.

Current Enfusion 67-kilogram champ Ilias Bulaid continued his winning streak with a decision victory over Cape Verde’s Edson Fortes. Bulaid has defended his Enfusion world title three times while adding multiple wins outside of the promotion. Bulaid returns to K-1 on April 24 to fight K-1 65-kilogram champion Kaew Fairtex in a bout that could change the landscape of the featherweight division.

Moroccan fighter Yassin Baitar defeated Surinamese kickboxer Serginio Kanters after an extension round. Holland’s Samantha Van Doorn took home a decision from Polish fighter Patrizia Gibelli. Moroccan Ibrahim El Boustati finished Patrick Van Rees in the third round of their opening bout.

Tatneft Cup Returned With Action-Packed Fight Card

Russian kickboxing promotion Tatneft Cup returned to its home in Kazan for the first time in 2016 for Tatneft Cup 1st Selection 1/8 Final. The fight card featured two quarterfinal bouts in each of the three weight categories — 70-kilogram, 80-kilogram and 91-kilogram and above — for the Tatneft Cup yearly tournaments.

In 70-kilogram action, Israeli kickboxer Itay Gershon knocked out Frenchman Joris Bodoignet with a right hook in the second round. The 22-year-old Russian kickboxer Said Magomedov defeated Romanian Alin Cimpan with one of the more spectacular knockouts of the month when he landed a flush spinning wheel kick that dropped Cimpan against the ropes. The expertly timed kick came with just 20 seconds remaining in the first round.

In the 80-kilogram quarterfinals, Russia’s Alexandr Dimitrenko earned his fifth professional win with a stellar performance against Moroccan fighter Mohammed El Boulahiati. Dimitrenko found a home for his jab and right hand all night, especially toward the end of round one. The skilled 28-year-old used a combination to drop his more experienced foe. Russian light heavyweight Andrey Chekhonin made the drop to 80-kilograms for the first time when he took on Serbian kickboxer Ljubo Jalovi. It took four hard-fought rounds, but the talented 27-year-old Russian came out on top.

In heavyweight quarterfinal action, Russian kickboxer Kirill Kornilov used his height and reach to showcase his knees and punches against the smaller Andre Langen. Kornilov kicked his German opponent in the groin region to begin the second round, forcing the referee to call a stop to the bout when Langen could not continue from the damage of the inside low kick. Moldova’s Maxim Bolotov upset Croatian kickboxer Mladen “Dynamite” Kujundzic after fighting to an extension round in the main event of the evening.

The entire event can be watched here.

King of Kings Returned to Latvia to Kick Off 2016

On Feb. 27, King of Kings returned to the Arena Riga in Latvia for KOK World GP 2016. The promotion’s first event in 2016 kicked off the lightweight (71-kilogram) tournament with four quarterfinal bouts. Mike’s Gym fighter Jordy Laret put Ukraine’s Dmitry Oleynick down in the second round to move on in the tournament. W5 Grand Prix veteran Artur Isayants moved on with a decision win over 16-year-old Polish fighter Dawid Mirkowski. The 2011/12 KOK World GP champion Cristian Dorel furthered his chances for another KOK tournament title with a decision win over K-1 World GP 70-kilogram championship tournament runner-up Jordann Pikeur. Lithuanian kickboxer Jan Naus edged Latvian fighter Vyacheslav Tevinsh in the final quarterfinal of the evening.

In the main event, 29-year-old Latvian kickboxer Zaur Dzhavadov stopped Mike’s Gym fighter Rodrigo Ferreira, 30, in the third round. Dzhavadov won the 77-kilogram KOK World GP championship with the knockout victory, adding the first world title to his collection of European and Latvian kickboxing titles.

Latvia’s Raimonds Aukstikalnis took a split decision over Lithuania’s Valdemar Kulda in an 85-kilogram contest. Estonia’s Roman Zobin needed an extra round to defeat Russia’s Oleg Hohlov in a 77-kilogram bout. Latvia’s Igor Tkacenka defeated Russia’s Igor Titov by split decision in a middleweight fight. Polish featherweight Łukasz Łęczycki defeated Latvian Raimond Kazlovski by unanimous decision. Hometown featherweight Artur Smiertiev earned a unanimous decision over Germany’s John Arhelge. In pro-am action, Latvian lightweight Tonis Kravcenko claimed a decision over Nikita Leshkovicca.

Around the Kickboxing World: The Best From Thailand

On Feb. 8, the Wankingtong promotion returned to the famed Rajadamnern Stadium. Wanchai Kiatmoo9 defeated Sam-D Petchyindeeacademy on points in their 109-pound bout. In a 111-pound bout, Thanadet Tor. Pran49 beat Achanai Petchyindeeacademy in a close and fun affair. Hinchang Sor.Phichitsuek knocked out Sumai Sor.Werawan with a right hand against the ropes.

On Feb. 12, from Lumpinee Stadium in Bangkok, Manasak Jor.Sor. Lekmuangnon earned “Knockout of the Month” consideration with his beautiful left elbow strike finish of Sensatarn P.K.Saenchaimuaythaigym. Gaonar P.K.Saenchaimuaythaigym finished Jamesak Akburiram in dramatic fashion with a left head kick in their 128-pound bout. Sprinter Pangkongprab won a decision over Famai Por.Ruangram despite giving up weight in the fight. Satanfa Sor.Boonklong beat Chujaroen Dabrunsarakam on points.

On Feb. 15, 122-pound boxers Nichao Suvitgym and Kom-Awute F.A.Group battled in a gritty fight in the Bangrajan promotion. Kom-Awute F.A.Group put an end Nichao’s night with a left hook to the body late in the fight. The smaller event also featured one of the better short fights of the month between 124-pound fighters Jompikart Chuwatthana and Rajasi IT2000. Rajasi showcased malicious intent on his elbow combinations, dropping Jompikart multiple times in the fight. The final elbow combination, a left uppercut elbow to heavy right elbow strike, put the fight up for consideration for “Knockout of the Month.”

On Feb. 16, the Sangmorrakot promotion featured the Lumpinee Stadium 70-kilogram championship between Srimongkol Sitniwat and Yodpayak Sitsongpeenong. Yodpayak earned the title and decision victory after five hard-fought rounds. Ritichai Sor.Kitichai put an end to Petklangdong Tor.Paopiuksab with a blitzing elbow combination and hard knee to the body to in their 109-pound fight. Chanaman P.K.Saenchaimuaythaigym defeated Petmuangkao Tor.Thaksin over five rounds.

On Feb. 17, the Wanmitchai promotion invaded Rajadamnern Stadium. Saksit Tor.Paopiemsabpedrew defeated Manasak Pinsinchai in a 120-pound contest. Petsongkom Sitjaroensab beat 125-pound fighter Wanchana Or.Boonchuay by decision. Top 131-pound fighters battled for five rounds before Kaimukkao Por.Thairongruangkamai had his hand raised against Bangpleenoi 96 Penang.

On Feb. 18, Petnamngarm Or.Kwanmuang defeated Kuekkak Por.Pao-In on the Sor. Sommai promotion at Rajadamnern Stadium. Petwason Aunsukumvit took the decision win over Morakot Komsaimai. Sanwangchai beat Samingyok Lukmichumpon by decision. Chai Sor.Jor.Toypedriew and Rungsangtawan Sit-Or.Boonchop fought to a draw.

On Feb. 19, the Eminentair promotion returned to Lumpinee Stadium. The 119-pound fighter Khunhanlek Kiatjaroenchai beat Bigbank Chor.KoyuhaIsuzu by decision. In a 109-pound featured bout, Petrung Sitzornong defeated Banglangngern Por.Phinabhat.

On Feb. 23, the Kiapet promotion returned with a strong fight card featuring multiple great fights. In a 117-pound contest, Wanchalong P.K.Saenchaimuaythaigym defeated Kaokarat Jitmuangnon by decision despite getting sliced and diced during the fight. Chokdee P.K.Saenchaimuaythaigym continued his gym’s success with a decision over Superjang Por.Phinabhat.

On Feb. 24, Onesongchai returned to Rajadamnern with some of the best fighters in Muay Thai today. The show didn’t disappoint. In a battle between two of the best Thai fighters in the world, Sangmanee Sor. Tienpo and Thanonchai Thanakorngym exchanged blows. Thanonchai cut Sangmanee in the second stanza and took the decision victory after holding off his extremely talented opponent. In a 131-pound fight, Seksan Or. Kwanmuang dropped Thaksinlek Kiatniwat with a right hand early in the fight. Seksan fended off the offense of Thaksinlek in an exciting affair to win the decision.

On Feb. 27, the 26th edition of the Isuzu Tournament at Omnoi Stadium featured the return of Disellek Petsiri. Disellek fought into the finals against Portortor Petchrungruang. The two greats fought back and forth until Portortor had his hand raised to win by decision. Watch the final here.

On Feb. 29, Muay Thai fans were treated with some leap year fight action from the Petchviset promotion at Rajadamnern Stadium. Satanmuanglek Numpornthep scrambled Tukatapet Sor.Kiatwat’s brain with a short chopping left elbow against the ropes. Thanadet Tor.Pran49 won his second fight of the month when he defeated Wanchai Kiatmoo9 by decision. Rungnarai Kiatmoo9 fought to a draw with Nongyot Sitjekan despite giving up two pounds in the match-up.

Around the Kickboxing World: “Knockout of the Month”

The ”Knockout of the Month” comes by way of Guto Inocente’s spinning hook kick on Demoreo Dennis at GLORY 27. The shot was an absolutely devastating beginning to GLORY’s 2016 event schedule. Inocente’s knockout had plenty of competition throughout the month. The other candidates and accompanying videos are listed below:

Chris Mauceri def. Nick Chasteen (Lion Fight 28)
Meletis Kakoubavas def. Samo Petje (FFC 22)
Said Magomedov def. Alin Cimpan (Tatneft Cup 2016 1/8 Selection)
Manasak Jor.Sor. Lekmuangnon def. Sensatarn P.K.Saenchaimuaythaigym (Rajadamnern Stadium on Feb. 8)
Jompikart Chuwatthana and Rajasi IT2000 (FFC 22) (Rajadamnern Stadium on Feb. 15)