Sittichai Sitsongpeenong (Karim de la Plaine/GLORY)

Combat Press Kickboxing Rankings: April 2016

As kickboxing looks to establish itself from both boxing and MMA with GLORY, K-1, Lion Fight and Kunlun Fighting Championship, 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. Benjamin Adegbuyi (2)
  3. Jahfarr Wilnis (3)
  4. Errol Zimmerman (4)
  5. Hesdy Gerges (5)
  6. Zabit Samedov (6)
  7. Andrey Gerasimchuk (7)
  8. Jamal Ben Saddik (8)
  9. Anderson Silva (9)
  10. Badr Hari (10)

The top two heavyweights in our rankings were in the ring in March. Top-ranked Rico Verhoeven successfully defended his GLORY title against an overmatched Mladen Brestovac at GLORY 28 in France. The Dutchman maintains his spot atop the rankings, while former title challenger Benjamin Adegbuyi was in action at Respect World Series in Spain, where he earned a decision win over Maxim Bolotov to hold onto his No. 2 ranking.

Light Heavyweight
  1. Gokhan Saki (1)
  2. Artem Vakhitov (3)
  3. Saulo Cavalari (2)
  4. Mourad Bouzidi (4)
  5. Danyo Ilunga (5)
  6. Zack Mwekassa (6)
  7. Pavel Zhuravlev (7)
  8. Michael Duut (9)
  9. Igor Jurković (8)
  10. Jorge Loren (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Andrei Stoica (10)

It was a busy month in the light heavyweight division. GLORY has a new titleholder after Russian Artem Vakhitov exacted revenge against Brazilian Saulo Cavalari at GLORY 28 to earn a lopsided decision and move into the No. 2 spot in our rankings. Michael Duut climbed to No. 8 with a decision win over Andre Schmeling in his native Netherlands. Romanian Andrei Stoica now finds himself on a two-fight skid and outside the top 10 after falling by TKO to Mladen Kujundžić at Respect World Series in Spain.

  1. Simon Marcus (1)
  2. Artem Levin (2)
  3. Joe Schilling (3)
  4. Jason Wilnis (4)
  5. Alex Pereira (5)
  6. Dustin Jacoby (6)
  7. Israel Adesanya (7)
  8. Bogdan Stoica (9)
  9. Sahak Parparyan (8)
  10. Fang Bian (10)

Two fighters in the top 10 fought in March. Fourth-ranked Jason Wilnis continued his strong start to 2016 with a dominant decision victory over Filip Verlinden at GLORY 28. Unlike his brother, Bogdan Stoica found victory at Respect World Series in Spain. He defeated Bojan DŞepina by TKO to move up to the No. 8 slot in our rankings.

  1. Nieky Holzken (1)
  2. Artur Kyshenko (2)
  3. Murthel Groenhart (3)
  4. Raymond Daniels (4)
  5. Karim Ghajji (5)
  6. Yoann Kongolo (6)
  7. Hicham El Gaoui (7)
  8. Cedric Doumbe (-)
  9. Paul Daley (8)
  10. Bai Jinbin (9)

Dropped from the rankings: Karapet Karapetyan (10)

The welterweight division was largely quiet in March, but there’s a new fighter inside the top 10. Frenchman Cedric Doumbe scored a big upset at GLORY 28, where he took a decision nod over former title challenger Murthel Groenhart. Doumbe’s win vaults him into the No. 8 spot in rankings and drops Karapet Karapetyan from the top 10. Despite the loss, Groenhart maintains his third spot in the rankings based on his body of work. However, the Dutch-Surinamese fighter must overcome his inconsistencies if he plans on challenging champion Nieky Holzken again.

  1. Sittichai Sitsongpeenong (2)
  2. Robin van Roosmalen (1)
  3. Andy Ristie (3)
  4. Giorgio Petrosyan (4)
  5. Yodsanklai Fairtex (5)
  6. Marat Grigorian (7)
  7. Buakaw Banchamek (8)
  8. Davit Kiria (6)
  9. Dzhabar Askerov (9)
  10. Josh Jauncey (10)

It was a crazy month in the lightweight division, where half of the top 10 were in the ring. After claiming yet another GLORY tournament win with victories over a pair of ranked fighters, Thailand’s Sittichai Sitsongpeenong now sits atop our rankings. His loss to titleholder Robin van Roosmalen was controversial (to say the least) and his recent run of success, both in the GLORY ring and under the Kunlun FC banner, validates his claim to the No. 1 ranking. The two men defeated by Sittichai in France, Marat Grigorian and Davit Kiria, now have each tasted defeat twice against the Thai fighter in the last calendar year. With Grigorian making it to the finals of the GLORY 28 tournament, he vaults ahead of Kiria in our rankings. Also moving up is veteran Buakaw Banchamek, who bested Kong Lingfeng at Kunlun Fight 39 in China. Rounding out the top 10, Russian Dzhabar Askerov fought Warren Stevelmans to a draw at Kunlun Fight 40 and Canadian Josh Jauncey battered late replacement Johan Tkac at GLORY 28.

  1. Kaew Fairtex (1)
  2. Hideaki Yamazaki (-)
  3. Masaaki Noiri (2)
  4. Serhiy Adamchuk (5)
  5. Minoru Kimura (3)
  6. Gabriel Varga (6)
  7. Mosab Amrani (7)
  8. Yasuomi Soda (4)
  9. Yuta Kubo (8)
  10. Massaro Glunder (9)

Dropped from the rankings: Ilias Bulaid (10)

There was no division with as much action in March as the featherweights. The K-1 World GP 2016 Japan had seven of the top 10 in action, while GLORY 28 hosted a featherweight title affair. Top-ranked Kaew Fairtex successfully defended his K-1 crown with a split decision win over 10th-ranked Massaro Glunder. The biggest surprise of the month came in the form of Japan’s Hideaki Yamazaki, who stopped eighth-ranked Yasuomi Soda and ninth-ranked Yuta Kubo before outlasting Masaaki Noiri in the K-1 tournament final. The tournament win catapulted Yamazaki to the No. 2 slot in our rankings, dropping Noiri to the third spot. Ukrainian Serhiy Adamchuk cemented his place as GLORY champion with a complete domination of Mosab Amrani. Amrani was thoroughly embarrassed by Adamchuk, who now has to be considered among the division’s elite.

  1. Sittichai Sitsongpeenong (3)
  2. Nieky Holzken (1)
  3. Robin van Roosmalen (2)
  4. Giorgio Petrosyan (4)
  5. Simon Marcus (5)
  6. Artem Levin (6)
  7. Rico Verhoeven (8)
  8. Gokhan Saki (7)
  9. Kaew Fairtex (9)
  10. Takeru (10)

The change to the lightweight rankings had a ripple effect on the pound-for-pound rankings. Time and again, Thailand’s Sittichai Sitsongpeenong has proven to be the most consistent fighter in the sport. His GLORY tournament crown has helped him claim the No. 1 spot in our rankings. Also moving up was GLORY heavyweight kingpin Rico Verhoeven, who climbs to No. 7 with yet another title defense.

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.