Qiu Jianliang (WLF Championship/Weibo)

Combat Press Kickboxing Rankings: June 2018

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 bantamweight, 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.


Heavyweight (95+ kilograms)
  1. Rico Verhoeven (1)
  2. Benjamin Adegbuyi (2)
  3. Mladen Brestovac (3)
  4. Andrey Gerasimchuk (4)
  5. Badr Hari (7)
  6. Jamal Ben Saddik (5)
  7. Guto Inocente (6)
  8. Zabit Samedov (9)
  9. Iraj Azizpour (-)
  10. Roman Kryklia (-)

Dropped from the rankings: D’Angelo Marshall (8), Ismael Londt (10)

The month of May made the heavyweight top 10 a convoluted mess. Fifth-ranked Jamal Ben Saddik was dominated by Jahfarr Wilnis at GLORY 53 in France, causing a domino effect on the bottom half of the division. Ben Saddik slides to sixth with the loss, allowing Badr Hari to enter the top five. The recent run of Wilnis was not enough to allow him to crack the top 10, but his victory impacts both D’Angelo Marshall and Ismael Londt, who fall outside the top 10. Iran’s Iraj Azizpour and Ukrainian Roman Kryklia, who picked up a decision win over Yuksel Ayaydin at MFC 7, enter the rankings. Lastly, Zabit Samedov defeated Frenchman Freddy Kemayo at Zhara Fight Show in Moscow to maintain his place in the top 10.

Light Heavyweight (85.1-95 kilograms)
  1. Artem Vakhitov (1)
  2. Pavel Zhuravlev (2)
  3. Saulo Cavalari (3)
  4. Igor Bugaenko (4)
  5. Fabio Kwasi (8)
  6. Mourad Bouzidi (7)
  7. Ariel Machado (9)
  8. Zinedine Hameur-Lain (10)
  9. Sergej Maslobojev (-)
  10. Stéphane Susperregui (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Luis Tavares (5), Zack Mwekassa (6)

May’s changes to the light heavyweight rankings are primarily the result of a lack of action inside the weight class. Former GLORY title challenger Zack Mwekassa has not competed for the last 18 months and exits the rankings. Enfusion titleholder Luis Tavares continues to compete in the heavyweight division, where he lost to Donegi Abena at A1WCC Champions League in Belgium. Until Tavares competes under 95 kilograms again, he will be considered a heavyweight fighter. The exit of Mwekassa and Tavares opens the door for two new faces in the top 10: Lithuania’s Sergej Maslobojev and Frenchman Stéphane Susperregui. Maslobojev claims the No. 9 spot following his decision win over Antonio Plazibat at ONE Championship: Grit and Glory. Fourth-ranked Igor Bugaenko competed at Zhara Fight Show, defeating Mikhail Chalykh on the scorecards. Fabio Kwasi returned to action at Tafnet Cup, finishing Maksim Sazontsev in the second round. Kwasi moves up to fifth in the rankings. Zinedine Hameur-Lain stopped Michael Duut in the second round of their GLORY 53 affair. Hameur-Lain lands in the No. 8 spot following the victory.

Middleweight (80.1-85 kilograms)
  1. Alex Pereira (1)
  2. Simon Marcus (2)
  3. Yousri Belgaroui (3)
  4. Jason Wilnis (4)
  5. Artem Levin (5)
  6. Loren Javier Jorge (9)
  7. Joe Schilling (7)
  8. Dustin Jacoby (8)
  9. Hicham El Gaoui (10)
  10. Ulrik Bokeme (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Israel Adesanya (6)

With former GLORY contender Israel Adesanya nearing the 18-month inactivity cutoff due to his contract with the UFC, the New Zealand fighter has been pulled from the top 10. That allows Congo’s Ulrik Bokeme to reach the top 10 for the first time. Third-ranked Yousri Belgaroui put away Dawid Kasperski in the second round at GLORY 53 to hold onto his top-five spot. Fifth-ranked Artem Levin was in the ring once again in May, defeating David Mirkovsky in Moscow at Zhara Fight Show. Spain’s Loren Javier Jorge continues his ascension up the rankings after stopping the formerly ranked Ibrahim El Boustati in the first round at Enfusion Live 66. Jorge climbs all the way to No. 6 following the triumph.

Welterweight (72.6-80 kilograms)
  1. Artur Kyshenko (1)
  2. Harut Grigorian (2)
  3. Murthel Groenhart (3)
  4. Alim Nabiyev (4)
  5. Cédric Doumbé (5)
  6. Nieky Holzken (6)
  7. Yoann Kongolo (7)
  8. Raymond Daniels (8)
  9. Yohan Lidon (9)
  10. Alexander Stetsurenko (10)

Top-ranked Artur Kyshenko maintained his dominance at Kunlun Fight 74, where he stopped Timur Aylyarov in the third round. Former GLORY champion Cédric Doumbé rebounded at GLORY 53 in his native France by knocking out Thailand’s Thongchai Sitsongpeenong in less than a minute. Finally, at MFC 7 in France, Yohan Lidon finished Avatarn Tor Mosiri in the third round to keep the No. 9 spot in the rankings.

Lightweight (70-72.5 kilograms)
  1. Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong (1)
  2. Marat Grigorian (2)
  3. Giorgio Petrosyan (3)
  4. Superbon Banchamek (4)
  5. Chingiz Allazov (5)
  6. Yodsanklai Fairtex (6)
  7. Endy Semeleer (7)
  8. Mohamed Mezouari (8)
  9. Jonay Risco (-)
  10. Buakaw Banchamek (10)

Dropped from the rankings: Davit Kiria (9)

The ever-busy lightweight division was thrown a major curveball in May, courtesy of Spain’s Jonay Risco. After previously defeating Buakaw Banchamek, Risco edged former GLORY titleholder Davit Kiria at Enfusion Live 66. Despite just four victories in his last 11 outings, Risco’s wins over two of the division’s best fighters is enough to push him into the No. 9 spot and drop Kiria from the top 10. The rest of the division held steady, including the sport’s best fighter, Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong, who defeated Tyjani Beztati at GLORY 53 to retain his title and place atop the rankings. ONE Championship: Unstoppable Dreams featured sixth-ranked Yodsanklai Fairtex, who waged war with Chris Ngimbi and ultimately won on the scorecards. Endy Semeleer remains firmly planted in the No. 7 spot after topping Nordin Ben-Moh at Enfusion Live 67. The aforementioned Buakaw holds onto his place in the top 10 after defeating Victor Nagbe at All Star Fight 4.

Featherweight (65-69.9 kilograms)
  1. Qiu Jianliang (1)
  2. Robin van Roosmalen (2)
  3. Masaaki Noiri (3)
  4. Ren Hiramoto (4)
  5. Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao (10)
  6. Kaew Weerasakreck (5)
  7. Abdellah Ezbiri (6)
  8. Yang Zhuo (8)
  9. Ilias Bulaid (7)
  10. Serhii Adamchuk (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Hideaki Yamazaki (9)

China’s Qiu Jianliang further cemented himself as the sport’s best featherweight fighter. He defeated former No. 1 Kaew Weerasakreck at Glory of Heroes 31 in China. Kaew slides down to sixth in the rankings following his third loss in his last four fights. GLORY 53 featured another “Knockout of the Year” performance from Thailand’s Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao. He crushed Abdellah Ezbiri in the second round to rocket all the way to fifth in the rankings. Ezbiri drops to seventh in defeat. Former GLORY champion Serhii Adamchuk has re-entered the top 10 following his tournament win at GLORY 53 in France. Adamchuk topped both Azize Hlali and Victor Pinto on the scorecards to secure the No. 10 ranking.

Bantamweight (less than 65 kilograms)
  1. Takeru (1)
  2. Koya Urabe (2)
  3. Wei Rui (3)
  4. Yoshiki Takei (4)
  5. Gonnapar Weerasakreck (6)
  6. Wang Wenfeng (-)
  7. Lin Qiangbang (-)
  8. Taiga (5)
  9. Haruma Saikyo (7)
  10. Nobuchika Terado (8)/Tenshin Nasukawa (9)

Dropped from the rankings: Kosuke Komiyama (10)

The bantamweight division was shaken up a bit in May following the Kunlun Fight 74 tournament. In the opening round, China’s Lin Qiangbang took a split-decision nod over Japan’s Taiga. The loss sent Taiga tumbling to the No. 8 spot in the division. Qiangbang would go on to defeat Jiang Feng by knockout in the tournament semifinal, but his efforts would come up short in the final. Wang Wenfeng, who had already defeated Cristian Spetcu and Daniel Gallardo, proved to be too much for Qiangbang. Wenfang enters the rankings at No. 6 with the tournament victory, while Qiangbang follows him at No. 7. Japanese sensation Tenshin Nasukawa was in the ring at Rizin 10, where he stopped Yusaku Nakamura in the second round to hold onto a spot in the top 10.

  1. Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong (1)
  2. Marat Grigorian (2)
  3. Artur Kyshenko (5)
  4. Robin van Roosmalen (3)
  5. Giorgio Petrosyan (4)
  6. Takeru (6)
  7. Artem Vakhitov (7)
  8. Rico Verhoeven (8)
  9. Qiu Jianliang (-)
  10. Superbon Banchamek (10)

Dropped from the rankings: Kaew Weerasakreck (9)

With so many of the sport’s biggest names in the ring in May, it should be no surprise there was shuffling in the pound-for-pound top 10. Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong maintains his stranglehold on the top spot with his GLORY 53 title defense. Artur Kyshenko inches closer to the top spot, climbing to third with yet another win. China’s Qiu Jianliang claims the No. 9 spot after defeating Kaew Weerasakreck.

Women’s Pound-For-Pound
  1. Anissa Meksen (1)
  2. Jorina Baars (2)
  3. Denise Kielholtz (3)
  4. Tiffany van Soest (5)
  5. Wang Kehan (6)
  6. Anissa Haddaoui (7)
  7. Iman Barlow (8)
  8. Gong Yanli (9)
  9. Antonina Shevchenko (10)
  10. KANA (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Jemyma Betrian (4)

The sport’s top female fighter was in the ring at GLORY 53. Anissa Meksen cruised past countrywoman Amel Dehby to retain her super bantamweight title. Fifth-ranked Wang Kehan took on Auriele Froment at Kunlun Fight 74 and claimed a decision win. Earlier in the month, Anissa Haddaoui held onto the sixth spot with a decision victory over Anke Van Gestel at Kunlun Fight 73. Jemyma Betrian falls from the rankings due to inactivity, thereby creating a spot for Japan’s KANA. At Krush.88, KANA edged Kim Townsend following an extension round.

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.