Now that 2019 is in the books, Combat Press is taking a look back at the best that the sport of kickboxing had to offer. Over the next week, Combat Press will announce its award winners in multiple categories, covering everything from the action in the ring to the biggest stories surrounding the sport.
For the first year since the inception of these awards, there wasn’t a clear candidate to take home the honor of “Female Fighter of the Year.” Top-ranked female kickboxer Anissa Meksen won the “Fighter of the Year” award before it was split into separate male and female categories. Meksen has been one of the most impressive female kickboxers over the last five years, but her 2017 campaign to win the “Fighter of the Year” award was as clear-cut as it gets. The French great won eight bouts that year, including a final victory over Tiffany van Soest to cement her place as the pound-for-pound best. She followed it up the next year by winning the inaugural “Female Fighter of the Year” award with three wins in 2018.
Once again in 2019, Meksen finds herself in contention, but her final bout of the year was a loss to a fighter she had beaten twice before — the aforementioned van Soest earned the decision over Meksen at GLORY 71 after another hotly contested bout between the pair. Then there are names like Bekah Irwin and Anke van Gestel, who remained undefeated, but fought lesser competition. Top-10 pound-for-pound female kickboxer Sarel de Jong was also in contention with three wins and a reign as a two-division Enfusion world champion.
The fighter who takes the nomination, though, is van Soest. However you scored the third and most recent meeting between van Soeast and Meksen, van Soest had her hand raised in victory and the belt around her waist. She went toe-to-toe with the top-ranked female fighter in the world twice in one year. She also added a win over former GLORY champion Jady Menezes, who has proven to be able to at least compete with the best GLORY has to offer. The 30-year-old van Soest has been competing in the sport since 2009. She has earned great achievements, accomplished many feats, and won titles in two different rule sets. The former two-division Lion Fight champion has also crossed over into mixed martial arts and challenged herself against excellent talent in the Invicta FC ranks.
Van Soest has received recognition as one of the best female fighters in the sport of kickboxing for the past few years. However, in 2019, she also earns honors as our “Female Fighter of the Year.”
Other finalists: Anissa Meksen, Bekah Irwin, Sarel de Jong, Anke Van Gestel
Make sure you check out the rest of the Combat Press 2019 Kickboxing Award winners.