Marat Grigorian (James Law/GLORY)

Combat Press Kickboxing Rankings: June 2019

As kickboxing continues to grow on a global scale with promotions like GLORY, K-1, Kunlun Fight, 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 strawweight, as well as the pound-for-pound rankings for both men and women. This month in particular, we are opening two new weight divisions. Instead of encompassing all of the fighters under 65-kilograms into one weight class, we have opened up the rankings in the lower weight classes.

The numbers in parentheses represent the fighter’s ranking from last month.


Heavyweight (95+ kilograms)
  1. Rico Verhoeven (1)
  2. Roman Kryklia (2)
  3. Jamal Ben Saddik (3)
  4. Benjamin Adegbuyi (4)
  5. Mladen Brestovac (5)
  6. Zabit Samedov (6)
  7. Guto Inocente (7)
  8. Luis Tavares (8)
  9. Murat Aygun (9)
  10. D’Angelo Marshall (10)

There were no fighters in action during the month of May, so the rankings remain unchanged.

Light Heavyweight (85.1-95 kilograms)
  1. Artem Vakhitov (1)
  2. Pavel Zhuravlev (2)
  3. Igor Bugaenko (3)
  4. Donegi Abena (4)
  5. Felipe Micheletti (5)
  6. Zinedine Hameur-Lain (6)
  7. Sergej Maslobojev (7)
  8. Tarik Khbabez (8)
  9. Danyo Ilunga (9)
  10. Michael Duut (10)

There were no fighters in action during the month of May, so the rankings remain unchanged.

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

Dropped from the rankings: Ibrahim El Boustati (9)

Alex Pereira continued his dominant run over the middleweight division with a “Knockout of the Year” candidate against Jason Wilnis to defend his GLORY world title at GLORY 65. Pereira, who already holds multiple wins over the likes of Simon Marcus, Yousri Belgaroui and Israel Adesanya, maintains his hold on the top spot in the rankings, while Wilnis drops to sixth. The biggest change in the division is the debut of Donovan Wisse, who knocked off the previously third-ranked Belgaroui in an upset win at GLORY 65. Due to the nature of his victory, Wisse debuts at fourth, while Loren Javier Jorge moves up to the third spot in the rankings and Belgaroui slips to fifth. Wisse’s debut also pushes Ibrahim El Boustati outside of the rankings. El Boustati, who has gone 21 months without a win, hasn’t fought since getting stopped by the aforementioned Jorge in May 2018. He does hold a win over the No. 10-ranked Ertuğrul Bayrak, but his recent resume and Bayrak’s win over Wisse are more than enough to keep the Turkish middleweight ahead of El Boustati and in the top 10.

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

Two of the welterweight division’s best — former GLORY champ Nieky Holzken and Lion Fight kingpin Regian Eersel — met for the ONE Championship kickboxing lightweight title at ONE Championship: Enter the Dragon. Eersel put on a strong performance en route to a championship win against his more experienced opponent. Eersel moves into fifth place following the biggest victory in his professional career, while Holzken falls to seventh. The division’s top-ranked competitor, Artur Kyshenko, fought three opponents in one fight (that’s not a typo) at the modified-rules MAS Fight event. Due to the ruleset, the fight ended in a draw because none of the four fighters could finish the contest over three three-minute rounds. Kyshenko was joined in the match by China’s Sun Chao, Spain’s Ruben Lee, and Romania’s Florin Lambagiu. Eighth-ranked Raymond Daniels made a successful return to MMA with a highlight-reel knockout against Wilker Barros at Bellator: Birmingham. Naturally, the contest does not factor into his standing in the kickboxing rankings.

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

Dropped from the rankings: Buakaw Banchamek (10)

The lightweight division was in absolute chaos in May. Longtime No. 1 lightweight and pound-for-pound king Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong fell to Marat Grigorian via decision at GLORY 65 in their fifth fight. The former K-1 World Grand Prix and 2017 Kunlun Fight 70-kilogram champion knocked Sitthichai down in the second round and earned four rounds on four of the judges’ scorecards. Even though Grigorian took the nod, Sitthichai was never out of the fight, and with his previous four wins over Grigorian, it was difficult to drop Sitthichai down from his home at No. 1. However, the rankings favor recent results as a priority over the overall resume of a fighter, which means Grigorian knocks Sitthichai out of the top spot in the rankings for the first time in three years. In the strangest outcome of the month, previously second-ranked Giorgio Petrosyan drops down two spots following a no-contest against Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy, which was originally ruled a decision loss for Petrosyan. ONE founder Chatri Sityodtong controversially tried to explain the reasoning behind overturning the decision to much backlash from the fans. The fight was incredibly close, but due to the non-decision, Petrosyan remains ranked and Petchmorakot fails to move into the top 10 due to his lack of a kickboxing-rules resume. Also at ONE Championship: Enter the Dragon, France’s Samy Sana ended Yodsanklai Fairtex’s 31-fight winning streak with a clear-cut decision victory in the quarterfinals of the ONE kickboxing featherweight grand prix. Sana previously suffered a loss at the hands of Yodsanklai in 2013 during a one-night tournament under Muay Thai rules. Yodsanklai remains in the top 10 thanks to his strong resume, but Sana overtakes him and debuts at ninth. Following the massive changes in the division, one of the world’s most popular fighters, Buakaw Banchamek, drops out of the rankings after making only six kickboxing appearances in the last three years.

Featherweight (65-69.9 kilograms)
  1. Qiu Jianliang (1)
  2. Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao (2)
  3. Ren Hiramoto (3)
  4. Kaew Weerasakreck (4)
  5. Jordann Pikeur (5)
  6. Masaaki Noiri (6)
  7. Ilias Bulaid (7)
  8. Petchtanong Banchamek (8)
  9. Rukiya Anpo (9)
  10. Abdellah Ezbiri (10)

Qiu Jianliang continued his 15-fight winning streak with a fourth-round stoppage of Dmitry Varents at Glory of Heroes 38 to win the ISKA 67-kilogram title. He remains the top-ranked featherweight.

Bantamweight (60.1-64.9 kilograms)
  1. Kenta Hayashi (1)
  2. Koya Urabe (2)
  3. Wei Rui (3)
  4. Saeksan Or. Kwanmuang (4)
  5. Wang Wenfeng (5)
  6. Yuto Shinohara (6)
  7. Gonnapar Weerasakreck (7)
  8. Petchdam Petchyindee Academy (-)
  9. Yannick Reine (8)
  10. Lin Qiangbang (9)

Dropped from the rankings: Hamza Essalih (10)

Third-ranked Wei Rui defeated former WKN champ Simon Santana by unanimous decision at Glory of Heroes 38. Fifth-ranked Wang Wenfeng fought to a draw in a modified-rules, knockout-only bout at MAS Fight: Hong Kong Grand Prix. Petchdam Petchyindee Academy debuts at eighth following a title-winning performance against Elias Mahmoudi at ONE Championship: Warriors of Light. Despite earning a decision victory over Andrej Bruhl for the IPCC world title at Enfusion 84, Hamza Essalih exits the top 10 because of his move to featherweight.

Flyweight (57.6-60 kilograms)
  1. Takeru (1)
  2. Tenshin Nasukawa (2)
  3. Kosuke Komiyama (3)
  4. Leona Pettas (4)
  5. Koji (5)
  6. Asahisa Hirotaka (6)
  7. Yuma Saikyo (7)
  8. Ilias Ennahachi (8)
  9. Suraek Rukkukami (9)
  10. Kotaro Shimano (10)

Tenshin Nasukawa won the ISKA low-kick rules featherweight title following a second-round stoppage of ISKA bantamweight champ Martin Blanco at Rizin 16. He remains in the No. 2 spot in the rankings.

Strawweight (57.5 kilograms and below)
  1. Yoshiki Takei (1)
  2. Akihiro Kaneko (2)
  3. Alex Rivas (3)
  4. Yuta Murakoshi (4)
  5. Masashi Kumura (5)
  6. Gunji Taito (6)
  7. Yuki Egawa (7)
  8. Haruma Saikyo (8)
  9. Astemir Borsov (9)
  10. Wang Junguang (10)

There were no fighters in action during the month of May, so the rankings remain unchanged.

  1. Takeru (3)
  2. Marat Grigorian (5)
  3. Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong (1)
  4. Artur Kyshenko (4)
  5. Giorgio Petrosyan (2)
  6. Rico Verhoeven (6)
  7. Alex Pereira (10)
  8. Superbon Banchamek (7)
  9. Qiu Jianliang (9)
  10. Tenshin Nasukawa (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Artem Vakhitov (8)

Following the hectic month of upsets, dominant performances, and highlight-reel finishes, the pound-for-pound rankings have shifted for the first time in many months. Three-division K-1 champion Takeru climbs to No. 1 for the first time, thereby unseating Sitthichai, who held the top spot for over three years. Takeru has won the most prestigious title in the sport in three different weight classes while maintaining a 32-fight unbeaten streak over the course of seven years. GLORY lightweight champion Marat Grigorian moves up to the second spot following his victory over the aforementioned Sitthichai, who will likely seek a rematch before the end of the year. Giorgio Petrosyan falls to fifth following his controversial bout at ONE Championship: Enter the Dragon. GLORY middleweight king Alex Pereira moves into seventh following another devastating first-round knockout, this time against Jason Wilnis. Artem Vakhitov hasn’t won a bout since August, which plays a factor in his exit from the polls following just five fights in the last three years. Vakhitov has a chance to re-enter the rankings with a victory over Donegi Abena, who he is scheduled to fight at GLORY 66 on June 22. Tenshin Nasukawa makes his debut in the pound-for-pound rankings following his 31st consecutive win. The undefeated prospect’s future will be determined during his next fight when he faces three-division Lumpinee stadium champ Suakim PK Saenchaimuaythaigym in the semifinals of the RISE World Series 2019 in July.

Women’s Pound-For-Pound
  1. Anissa Meksen (1)
  2. Jorina Baars (2)
  3. Tiffany van Soest (4)
  4. Iman Barlow (5)
  5. Wang Kehan (6)
  6. Gong Yanli (7)
  7. Wang Cong (8)
  8. Anissa Haddaoui (9)
  9. Sofia Olofsson (-)
  10. Amy Pirnie (10)

Dropped from the rankings: Denise Kielholtz (3)

Denise Kielholtz tumbles from third to unranked following her commitment to mixed martial arts. In her place, Swedish Muay Thai champion Sofia Olofsson debuts at ninth after collecting an exciting victory over Christi Brereton at GLORY 65.

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.