Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong (James Law/ GLORY)

Combat Press Kickboxing Rankings: December 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. Jamal Ben Saddik (5)
  6. Guto Inocente (6)
  7. Zabit Samedov (7)
  8. Andrey Gerasimchuk (8)
  9. Roman Kryklia (9)
  10. Jahfarr Wilnis (10)

It was a relatively quiet November for the heavyweight top 10. Only Roman Kryklia was in the ring. He took out Nordine Mahieddine by decision at Nuit des Champions 24 to stay at No. 9 in the rankings.

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. Fabio Kwasi (8)
  8. Luis Tavares (9)
  9. Ariel Machado (10)
  10. Zinedine Hameur-Lain (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Ibrahim El Bouni (7)

Ironically, it was action outside of the light heavyweight division that impacted the rankings this month. Seventh-ranked Ibrahim El Bouni moved up in weight for the K-1 World GP 2017 Heavyweight Championship Tournament. El Bouni knocked out Koichi and Roel Mannaart, but fell by decision to Antonio Plazibat in the finals. With the move up to heavyweight, El Bouni falls from the rankings, opening the door for Frenchman Zinedine Hameur-Lain to re-enter at No. 10.

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

Dropped from the rankings: Cyril Benzaquen (10)/Ibrahim El Boustati (10)

The bottom portion of the middleweight division saw plenty of action in November. Cyril Benzaquen dropped a decision to Malik Aliane at Warriors Night and now tumbles outside the top 10. Similarly, Ibrahim El Boustati, who was tied for No. 10 with Benzaquen, was involved in a controversial fight at Enfusion Live 56 with Ulrik Bokeme. Originally deemed a disqualification win for El Boustati, the fight was later overturned to a victory for Bokeme. The loss drops El Boustati from the top 10. The No. 10 spot now goes to Loren Javier Jorge, who defeated Mehdi Bouanane by decision at the same event.

  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)

Top-ranked Artur Kyshenko was in the ring in Sweden, where he scored a knockout victory over Constantino Nanga at Rumble of the Kings: Uprising to hold onto his No. 1 ranking.

  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 (10)

The lightweight top 10 was the month’s busiest, with eight of the fighters in action. Top-ranked Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong took care of business at Wu Lin Feng: Dragon King Challenge, where he crushed China’s Yi Long with a vicious left head kick. There were five ranked fighters in the ring at Kunlun Fight 67. Second-ranked Superbon Banchamek edged seventh-ranked Davit Kiria by majority decision to advance in the promotion’s 64-man tournament. Joining Superbon in the semifinals will be fourth-ranked Marat Grigorian, who topped eighth-ranked Mohamed Mezouari. Also, fifth-ranked Buakaw Banchamek brutally knocked out Marouan Toutouh at the same event. Nuit des Champions 24 in France featured No. 6 Chingiz Allazov besting Cedric Manhoef by decision. Finally, No. 10 Vald Tuinov won a decision over Ridvan Güden at KINGZ Fight Night IV. All eight fighters maintain their rankings from the previous month.

  1. Kaew Weerasakreck (Fairtex) (1)
  2. Qiu Jianliang (3)
  3. Masaaki Noiri (2)
  4. Robin van Roosmalen (4)
  5. Ilias Bulaid (5)
  6. Wei Rui (7)
  7. Abdellah Ezbiri (9)
  8. Yang Zhuo (-)
  9. Hideaki Yamazaki (6)
  10. Wei Ninghui (8)

Dropped from the rankings: Gabriel Varga (10)/Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao (10)

Featherweight had another busy month, with one of the division’s top fighters taking a loss. Masaaki Noiri fell by decision to Abdellah Ezbiri at Nuit des Champions 24. Noiri slides to No. 3 with the loss, while the recent GLORY tournament winner Ezbiri climbs to No. 7. At a combined event between Glory of Heroes and Strikers League, China’s Wei Rui continued his winning ways by defeating Jesus Romero via decision. Rui moves up to the No. 6 spot in the rankings with the win. Kunlun Fight 67 hosted an eight-man tournament that featured fifth-ranked Ilias Bulaid. Bulaid took out Petchtanong Banchamek in the opening round, but could not continue. That left an opening for Yang Zhuo, who defeated eighth-ranked Wei Ninghui, David Mejia and Singdam YOKKAOSaenchaigym to claim the tournament title. Zhuo enters the rankings at No. 8, while Ninghui slides to No. 10. The new addition bumps Gabriel Varga and Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao outside the top 10.

  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. Rico Verhoeven (9)
  10. Cédric Doumbé (10)

Dropped from the rankings: Masaaki Noiri (9 – tie)

Four of the sport’s best fought in November, with Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong, Superbon Banchamek and Artur Kyshenko picking up victories. Masaaki Noiri’s loss in France breaks the tie for ninth place and sends Noiri outside the top 10.

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

Sixth-ranked Iman Barlow took on Sofia Olofsson at Rumble of the Kings: Uprising in Sweden. Barlow was upset by the Swede, causing her to slide to No. 8 in the rankings.

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.