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.
As GLORY continues to stockpile talent at heavyweight, light heavyweight, and middleweight, the promotion remains the place to see the best match-ups in those divisions. The level of production, the number of talented top-ranked fighters, and the number of locations where the company operate puts GLORY at the highest level of the sport. The promotion put on one of the biggest and best kickboxing events of the year when it capped off 2019 with GLORY: Collision 2 in front of 30,000 fans in Arnhem, Netherlands. GLORY has had its ups and downs over its first seven years of operation, but it has really turned the corner over the past few years. The company won our “Promotion of the Year” award in 2017 following an influx of talent, increased number of events, and more consistently stacked cards. Unfortunately for the European-based promotion, there is a monster in the East that remains unmatched.
For the third time in the past four years, the best kickboxing promotion in the world is the K-1 Japan group, which encompasses K-1 Japan, Krush, KHAOS, and K-1 amateur competitions. The organization features the top lighter-weight talents, the best fights, the best knockouts, and the most consistently great events from top to bottom. The legendary league has seen many things happen since its return in 2014, but none greater than the talent level continuing to rise through the ranks and flourish at the top level of the sport.
Names like Takeru, Marat Grigorian, Yoshiki Takei, Koya Urabe, Masaaki Noiri, Yuuki Egawa, Chingiz Allazov, Jordann Pikeur and many more have risen to stardom inside of the K-1 ring. The company has held incredible events like K’Festa.2, hosted amazing fights like the showdown between Akihiro Kaneko and Shuhei Kumura, and served as the stage for destructive knockouts like Hideaki Yamazaki’s hook kick finish of Ruku. This has become par for the course for the promotion each and every year.
There is a real argument that the K-1 Japan group has been the winner of this award for the last five years. The level of production, number of amazing fighters, incredible moments, and great events have been unmatched by any other promotion over that span of time. The K-1 of new has become the clear and outright best promotion in the world.
Other finalists: GLORY, RISE, ONE Championship
Make sure you check out the rest of the Combat Press 2019 Kickboxing Award winners.