Artem Vakhitov (James Law/GLORY)

Combat Press Kickboxing Rankings: November 2017

Rob Tatum Assistant Editor

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. Jamal Ben Saddik (5)
  6. Guto Inocente (6)
  7. Zabit Samedov (7)
  8. Andrey Gerasimchuk (8)
  9. Roman Kryklia (9)
  10. Jahfarr Wilnis (10)

Only one member of the heavyweight top 10 was in the ring in October. GLORY titleholder Rico Verhoeven fought former UFC title challenger Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva at GLORY 46 in China. The non-title affair didn’t last long. Verhoeven overwhelmed the Brazilian early in round two to earn a TKO. Verhoeven remains atop the rankings with yet another victory.

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

After a quiet September, the light heavyweight division had plenty of action during the last month. Top-ranked Artem Vakhitov returned from a lengthy injury layoff to dominate 10th-ranked Ariel Machado by unanimous decision at GLORY 47 in France. Sixth-ranked Igor Bugaenko bested China’s Hao Guanchua under the Wu Lin Feng banner. At World Fighting League in Holland, No. 8-ranked Fabio Kwasi scored three knockdowns to defeat Serkan Ozcaglayan. Despite all of the action, the rankings remain unchanged.

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

There’s a new face standing on top of the middleweight mountain. Brazilian Alex Pereira put together the most complete performance of his career, dethroning Simon Marcus at GLORY 46 in China. Pereira jumps all the way to No. 1 from fifth, while Marcus slides to No. 2 with the loss.

  1. Artur Kyshenko (1)
  2. Murthel Groenhart (2)
  3. Cédric Doumbé (3)
  4. Nieky Holzken (4)
  5. Yoann Kongolo (5)
  6. Alim Nabiyev (6)
  7. Yohan Lidon (7)
  8. Raymond Daniels (8)
  9. Karim Ghajji (9)
  10. Harut Grigorian (10)

GLORY’s October visit to France spotlighted a number of fighters in the welterweight top 10. Former champion Cédric Doumbé got back in the win column after outworking seventh-ranked Yohan Lidon over the course of three rounds. Sixth-ranked Alim Nabiyev was also in the ring at GLORY 47. Nabiyev topped Frenchman Jimmy Vienot in his promotional debut. All three ranked fighters remain in their previous positions following the event.

  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 Mezouari (8)
  9. Christian Baya (9)
  10. Mohamed Khamal (10)/Vlad Tuinov (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Dzianis Zuev (10)

As always, the lightweight division was very busy. The world’s top kickboxer, Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong, was in action in China, where he made it look easy against former top-10 lightweight Dzhabar Askerov to win the Wu Lin Feng eight-man tournament. Former pound-for-pound king Giorgio Petrosyan continued his winning ways with a unanimous decision over former It’s Showtime and SUPERKOMBAT champion Chris Ngimbi. Sitthichai and Petrosyan remain at No. 1 and No. 3, respectively. There’s a fresh face in the bottom half of the top 10. Russia’s Vlad Tuinov scored a pair of first-round knockouts at Partouche Kickboxing Tour to move into a tie for 10th position in the rankings. Tuinov’s inclusion bumps Dzianis Zuev outside the top 10.

  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 Rui (7)
  8. Wei Ninghui (8)
  9. Abdellah Ezbiri (-)
  10. Gabriel Varga (10)/Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao (10)

Dropped from the rankings: Fabio Pinca (9)

Holy knockout, Batman! There’s a new fighter in the featherweight top 10 after a chaotic GLORY 47 contender tournament. Tournament favorite and No. 9-ranked Fabio Pinca was having his way with Anvar Boynazarov through the first round and a half of their semifinal match-up, but Pinca got caught with his hands down and Boynazarov put him to sleep with a vicious left hook. The fight is a serious contender for our “Knockout of the Year,” “Comeback of the Year” and “Upset of the Year” awards. However, Boynazarov is not the new face in the rankings. Instead, that honor belongs to French-Moroccan fighter Abdellah Ezbiri, who defeated Azize Hlali and Boynazarov to capture the tournament. Ezbiri claims the No. 9 spot. Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao hung onto his 10th-place ranking by defeating Lei Xie via unanimous decision at GLORY 46 in China.

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

October was certainly a busy month for the pound-for-pound elite, with Sitthichai, Petrosyan, Vakhitov, Verhoeven and Doumbé all in the ring. Despite all of the activity, the rankings remain unchanged from last month.

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 (5)
  6. Iman Barlow (6)
  7. Anissa Haddaoui (7)
  8. Wang Kehan (8)
  9. Rena Kubota (9)
  10. E. Meidie (10)

The world’s best female kickboxer, Anissa Meksen, competed at GLORY 47 in her native France. She dispatched of Funda Alkayis for a second time after Alkayis suffered a foot injury. Meksen will now meet fifth-ranked Tiffany van Soest for the GLORY belt later this year.

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.