Anissa Meksen (L) (James Law/GLORY)

Combat Press Kickboxing Rankings: August 2017

As kickboxing continues to grow on a global scale with promotions like GLORY, K-1, Kunlun Fighting Championship 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 featherweight, 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.


  1. Rico Verhoeven (1)
  2. Benjamin Adegbuyi (2)
  3. Mladen Brestovac (3)
  4. Ismael Londt (4)
  5. Jahfarr Wilnis (5)
  6. Jamal Ben Saddik (6)
  7. Guto Inocente (10)
  8. Zabit Samedov (7)
  9. Andrey Gerasimchuk (8)
  10. Roman Kryklia (9)

GLORY’s return to New York for GLORY 43 resulted in a head-scratching decision. No. 2-ranked Benjamin Adegbuyi faced off with Brazil’s Guto Inocente. After three rounds, it appeared as if Adegbuyi had done enough to win. However, when the scorecards were read, it was Inocente who earned the split decision. The debatable loss did not knock Adegbuyi from the No. 2 spot, but Inocente’s competitiveness moves the Brazilian into the No. 7 slot. Adegbuyi wasn’t the only fighter in the top 10 to fall on the scorecards. Roman Kryklia came up short against TomĂĄĆĄ Hron at Yangames Fight Night in the Czech Republic. Kryklia slips from ninth to 10th in the rankings, but he remains ahead of Hron based on body of work.

Light Heavyweight
  1. Artem Vakhitov (1)
  2. Pavel Zhuravlev (5)
  3. Saulo Cavalari (2)
  4. Zack Mwekassa (3)
  5. Mourad Bouzidi (4)
  6. Igor Bugaenko (6)
  7. Ibrahim El Bouni (7)
  8. Fabio Kwasi (8)
  9. Luis Tavares (9)
  10. Ariel Machado (10)

GLORY 43 was an important event for the light heavyweight division. With champion Artem Vakhitov on the sidelines, the match-up between Pavel Zhuravlev and Saulo Cavalari became an interim title affair. After three rounds (yes, three rounds), Zhuravlev captured the decision win and the belt. The victory pushes Zhuravlev into the No. 2 spot in the division, while Cavalari slips to third. Sixth-ranked Igor Bugaenko was also in the ring in July. He defeated veteran Hicham El Gaoui by decision at ACB Kickboxing 10 in Moscow. Brazil’s Ariel Machado hangs onto the No. 10 spot in the rankings after topping Lucas Alsina via third-round knockout at WGP Kickboxing 38: Curitiba in his native Brazil.

  1. Simon Marcus (1)
  2. Jason Wilnis (2)
  3. Artem Levin (3)
  4. Yousri Belgaroui (4)
  5. Alex Pereira (5)
  6. Israel Adesanya (6)
  7. Joe Schilling (7)
  8. Fang Bian (8)
  9. Dustin Jacoby (9)
  10. Cyril Benzaquen (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Alexander Stetsurenko (10)

Technically, there was no action in the middleweight top 10 in July. However, two fighters in the top 10 did compete outside of the division. Sixth-ranked Israel Adesanya took on UFC veteran Melvin Guillard in MMA competition. Adesanya earned a violent finish of the veteran. With 10th-ranked Alexander Stetsurenko returning to the 77-kilogram division, he departs from the middleweight rankings. This opens the door for Cyril Benzaquen to enter the rankings for the first time.

  1. Cédric Doumbé (1)
  2. Artur Kyshenko (2)
  3. Nieky Holzken (3)
  4. Murthel Groenhart (4)
  5. Yoann Kongolo (5)
  6. Karim Ghajji (6)
  7. Alim Nabiev (7)
  8. Yohan Lidon (8)
  9. Alexander Stetsurenko (-)
  10. Raymond Daniels (9)/Mustapha Haida (10)

ACB Kickboxing 10 in Moscow featured Alexander Stetsurenko’s return to 77 kilograms. The Russian defeated Zakaria Baitar to re-enter the rankings at No. 9.

  1. Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong (1)
  2. Superbon Banchamek (2)
  3. Giorgio Petrosyan (3)
  4. Marat Grigorian (4)
  5. Buakaw Banchamek (5)
  6. Chingiz Allazov (6)
  7. Davit Kiria (7)
  8. Mohamed Khamal (8)
  9. Mohamed Mezouari (9)
  10. Jomthong Chuwattana (10)

As always, the lightweight division was one of the busiest of the month. No. 1-ranked Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong cruised past Hassan Toy at Wu Lin Feng 2017: China vs. Spain. Second-ranked Superbon Banchamek continued his dominance of I.F.M.A. World Muaythai, earning gold at the World Games 2017 in Poland with victories over Dimitar Markov, Gabriel Mazzetti and Masoud Minaei. Thailand’s Jomthong Chuwattana earned a pair of wins at Kunlun Fight 64 to advance in the promoiton’s annual 70-kilogram tournament. Jomthong bested Cedric Manhoef by extra-round decision in the semifinals before stopping Takuya “T-98” Imamura by TKO in the final.

  1. Kaew Weerasakreck (Fairtex) (1)
  2. Masaaki Noiri (2)
  3. Qiu Jianliang (3)
  4. Robin van Roosmalen (4)
  5. Ilias Bulaid (5)
  6. Hideaki Yamazaki (6)
  7. Wei Ninghui (7)
  8. Fabio Pinca (-)
  9. Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao (8)
  10. Yasuomi Soda (9)

Dropped from the rankings: Gabriel Varga (10)

Featherweight was relatively quiet in July, but there is some shuffling in the rankings. Third-ranked Qiu Jianliang outclassed Yukihiro Komiya at Krush.77 to maintain his place in the top 10. France’s Fabio Pinca is the newest addition to the top 10 after earning his 13th victory in his last 14 bouts and knocking out Rungrat Pumpanmuang in the third round at Chook Muay. Pinca’s inclusion bumps former GLORY titleholder Gabriel Varga from the top 10.

  1. Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong (1)
  2. Cédric Doumbé (2)
  3. Superbon Banchamek (3)
  4. Kaew Weerasakreck (Fairtex) (4)
  5. Robin van Roosmalen (5)/Giorgio Petrosyan (5)
  6. Artem Vakhitov (6)
  7. Rico Verhoeven (7)
  8. Artur Kyshenko (8)
  9. Takeru (9)
  10. Nieky Holzken (10)

Despite the activity from Sitthichai and Superbon over the past month, the pound-for-pound rankings remain unchanged.

Women’s Pound-For-Pound
  1. Anissa Meksen (1)
  2. Jorina Baars (2)
  3. Denise Kielholtz (3)
  4. Jemyma Betrian (4)
  5. Tiffany Van Soest (6)
  6. Iman Barlow (7)
  7. Anissa Haddaoui (-)
  8. Wang Kehan (5)
  9. Rena Kubota (-)
  10. E. Meidie (8)

Dropped from the rankings: Antonina Shevchenko (9), Mellony Geugjes (10)

July was largely a showcase for the world’s best female kickboxers. Top-ranked Anissa Meksen made her GLORY debut in New York, where she dominated Jady Menezes en route to a unanimous decision. The No. 6-ranked fighter, Iman Barlow, retained her 54-kilogram title at Enfusion Live 51 with a decision victory over Ashley Nichols. The biggest change in the top 10 comes from Kunlun Fight 64, where Anissa Haddaoui defeated Wang Kehan by extra-round decision. Haddaoui vaults into the No. 7 spot in the rankings, while Kehan drops to eighth with the defeat. Also impacting the rankings was Shoot Boxing Girl’s S-Cup 2017, where Japan’s Rena Kubota topped Jleana Valentino to re-enter the rankings at No. 9. The inclusion of Haddaoui and Kubota pushes both Antonina Shevchenko and Mellony Geugjes outside the top 10.

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.