Cédric Doumbé (James Law/GLORY)

Combat Press Kickboxing Rankings: February 2021

Zach Aittama Senior Staff Writer

As kickboxing continues to grow on a global scale with promotions like GLORY, K-1, ONE Championship, and more, fighters are constantly jockeying for position in the eyes (and rankings) of the media. Every month, Combat Press will compile kickboxing rankings for each weight class from heavyweight to flyweight, as well as the pound-for-pound rankings for both men and women.

Note: the numbers in parentheses represent the fighter’s ranking from the previous month.

Heavyweight (95+ kilograms)
  1. Rico Verhoeven (1)
  2. Roman Kryklia (2)
  3. Jamal Ben Saddik (3)
  4. Benjamin Adegbuyi (4)
  5. Guto Inocente (5)
  6. Zabit Samedov (6)
  7. Roel Mannaart (8)
  8. Murat Aygün (9)
  9. Tarik Khbabez (-)
  10. Levi Rigters (7)

Dropped from the rankings: D’Angelo Marshall (10)


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The division featured a welcome return to action for the top-ranked heavyweight in the world, Rico Verhoeven. Verhoeven won a one-night, four-man tournament on two weeks’ notice at GLORY 77. The GLORY heavyweight champion took care of familiar foe Hesdy Gerges in the semifinals and finished off his second career one-night tournament victory with a first-round stoppage win over former SUPERKOMBAT tournament champ and ONE Championship title challenger Tarik Khbabez. The 28-year-old Khbabez had dispatched of previously undefeated prospect Levi Rigters by majority decision in his semifinal bout. Although he lost in the finals, Khbabez debuts in the rankings due to his win over Rigters, seven victories in his past nine bouts, and a stretch in which his only other loss came against second-ranked Roman Kryklia.

Light Heavyweight (85.1-95 kilograms)
  1. Alex Pereira (4)
  2. Artem Vakhitov (1)
  3. Luis Tavares (3)
  4. Pavel Zhuravlev (2)
  5. Sergej Maslobojev (5)
  6. Donegi Abena (6)
  7. Stéphane Susperregui (7)
  8. Felipe Micheletti (8)
  9. Ariel Machado (9)
  10. Zinedine Hameur-Lain (10)

Four of the top six fighters in the division were active during the month of January. GLORY middleweight champion Alex Pereira unified the light-heavyweight titles when he squeaked by former long-reigning champ Artem Vakhitov in a contentious split decision that featured dueling 50-45 and 49-46 scorecards. Pereira takes the top spot, which makes him the only fighter to ever hold the top ranking in two divisions simultaneously since the inception of the Combat Press kickboxing rankings in 2015. If the promotion doesn’t schedule an immediate rematch between the two champions, Luis Tavares likely made his claim as the No. 1 contender with a unanimous-decision victory over former title challenger and sixth-ranked Donegi Abena.

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

Top-ranked Alex Pereira took home the GLORY light-heavyweight title at GLORY 77, but the bout does not affect his standing in the middleweight division.

Welterweight (80 kilograms)
  1. Cédric Doumbé (1)
  2. Alim Nabiyev (2)
  3. Regian Eersel (3)
  4. Murthel Groenhart (4)
  5. Jamie Bates (5)
  6. Harut Grigorian (6)
  7. Nieky Holzken (7)
  8. Dmitry Menshikov (8)
  9. Endy Semeleer (9)
  10. Mohamed “Hamicha” Mezouari (10)

Top-ranked welterweight Cédric Doumbé cemented his position in the rankings when he knocked out former titleholder Murthel Groenhart to defend his GLORY welterweight title in the duo’s rubber match at GLORY 77.

Lightweight (70 kilograms)
  1. Marat Grigorian (1)
  2. Giorgio Petrosyan (2)
  3. Superbon Banchamek (3)
  4. Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong (4)
  5. Tayfun Ozcan (5)
  6. Chingiz Allazov (6)
  7. Samy Sana (7)
  8. Jonay Risco (8)
  9. Davit Kiria (9)
  10. Buakaw Banchamek (10)

No fighters in the top 10 were in action during the past month, so the rankings remain unchanged.

Super Featherweight (68 kilograms)
  1. Qiu Jianliang (1)
  2. Jordann Pikeur (3)
  3. Masaaki Noiri (4)
  4. Wang Pengfei (-)
  5. Liu Xiangming (9)
  6. Jia Aoqi (-)
  7. Petchtanong Banchamek (-)
  8. Tie Yinghua (-)
  9. Jomthong Chuwattana (-)
  10. Ji Xiang (10)

The newly formed super-featherweight division eliminates the fighters that competed at 66 kilograms and below to offer a ranking that encompasses 68 kilograms, 67.5 kilograms, and 67 kilograms, which is more widely used throughout the world. Wu Lin Feng and Kunlun Fight have held both 66-kilogram and 67-kilogram tournaments in the past. However, Wu Lin Feng’s most recent tournament took place at 67 kilograms, so all of those tournament participants have moved to super featherweight. Former top featherweight Qiu Jianliang debuts at the top spot in the new division’s rankings. However, he currently has no plans to fight. Jordann Pikeur and Masaaki Noiri have garnered the resumes to debut in the top three. Wang Pengfei makes his debut following his tremendous eight-man, one-night tournament run that featured victories over current or former top-10 featherweights Wei Ninghui, Tie Yinghua and Liu Xiangming at WLF 2021: Global Kung Fu Festival. The current 65-kilogram titleholder captured the Wu Lin Feng 67-kilogarm tournament title by knocking down fifth-ranked Liu Xiangming three times in the finals. Jia Aoqi makes his return to the rankings following his victory over fellow top-10 opponent Ji Xiang. The top 10 also features former top-five featherweight Petchtanong, former top-10 featherweight Tie Yinghua, and former top-10 lightweight Jomthong Chuwattana.

Featherweight (66 kilograms)
  1. Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao (2)
  2. Wei Rui (5)
  3. Hideaki Yamazaki (6)
  4. Rukiya Anpo (7)
  5. Capitan Petchyindee (-)
  6. Kaew Weerasakreck (8)
  7. Kevin VanNostrand (-)
  8. Serhiy Adamchuk (-)
  9. Aleksei Ulianov (-)
  10. Daizo Sasaki (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Qiu Jianliang (1), Jordann Pikeur (3), Masaaki Noiri (4), Liu Xiangming (9) and Ji Xiang (10)

The newly formed super-featherweight division eliminates the fighters that competed at 67 kilograms and above to offer a further look into the 65-kilogram division across the world and the 66-kilogram weight class in China. GLORY featherweight champ Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao claims the top spot in the rankings. WLF King’s Super Cup winner Wei Rui moves to second as a result of his resume and despite competing at 63 kilograms last month. K-1 kingpin Hideki Yamazaki rounds out the top three. The new additions include a number of fighters from the GLORY featherweight division, including former interim champ Kevin VanNostrand, former GLORY titleholder Serhiy Adamchuk, and top contender Aleksei Ulianov. Capitan Petchyindee Academy makes his rankings debut following a title-winning performance against Alaverdi Ramazanov at ONE Championship: Unbreakable. Krush’s Daizo Sasaki makes his debut in the featherweight rankings following his run of recent success in Japan.

Super Bantamweight (63 kilograms)
  1. Taio Asahisa (1)
  2. Ilias Ennahachi (2)
  3. Gonnapar Weerasakreck (3)
  4. Kenta Hayashi (4)
  5. Dennis Wosik (5)
  6. Wei Rui (-)
  7. Kento Haraguchi (6)
  8. Naoki Tanaka (7)
  9. Jin Ying (-)
  10. Taiju Shiratori (8)/Zhu Shuai (9)

Dropped from the rankings: Koya Urabe (10)

The super-bantamweight poll changes fairly drastically following the addition of the formerly high-ranked 63-kilogram fighter Wei Rui, who picked up his second win at the weight in his past three fights and is content to fight in both the super-bantamweight and featherweight divisions going forward. Rui defeated IPCC champion Zheng Jungfeng by unanimous decision at the WLF 2021: Kung Fu Global Festival At the same event, Jin Ying recorded his second win over Zhu Shuai in a calendar year. Ying re-enters the rankings at ninth, which puts Taiju Shiratori and Zhu Shuai in a tie for the No. 10 spot. Naoki Tanaka moves down to eighth despite a title-winning performance at RISE 145 against Hideki Sasaki, who had previously only lost to the aforementioend Shiratori within his past seven contests.

Bantamweight (60 kilograms)
  1. Takeru (1)
  2. Leona Pettas (2)
  3. Hirotaka Asahisa (3)
  4. Kosuke Komiyama (4)
  5. Kouzi (5)
  6. Zhao Chongyang (-)
  7. Tomoya Yokoyama (7)
  8. Yuma Saikyo (8)
  9. Kotaro Shimano (6)
  10. Tatsuya Oiwa (10)

Dropped from the rankings: Zhang Lanpei (9)

The outcome of Zhao Chongyang’s rematch against 2020 Wu Lin Feng 60-kilogram China tourney champion Zhang Lanpei leads to a major change to the division’s rankings. The 20-year-old Lanpei entered the top 10 a couple months ago when he defeated Chongyang by knockout. Chongyang returned the favor by besting his younger foe in a battle of wills at the Wu Lin Feng 2021: Global Kung Fu Festival in January. Chongyang’s victory and resume are enough to push him up to sixth in the rankings.

Super Flyweight (58 kilograms)
  1. Tenshin Nasukawa (1)
  2. Tatsuya Tsubakihara (2)
  3. Yuuki Egawa (3)
  4. Haruma Saikyo (4)
  5. Astemir Borsov (5)
  6. Sam-A Gaiyanghadao (6)
  7. Jawsuayai Sor.Dechaphan (7)
  8. Aslanbek Zikreev (8)
  9. Wang Junguang (9)
  10. Hirotaka Urabe (10)

No fighters in the top 10 were in action during the past month, so the rankings remain unchanged.

Flyweight (55 kilograms and below)
  1. Yoshiki Takei (1)
  2. Masashi Kumura (2)
  3. Akihiro Kaneko (3)
  4. Kazuki Osaki (4)
  5. Shiro Matsumoto (5)
  6. Masahiko Suzuki (6)
  7. Koudai Hirayama (7)
  8. Gunji Taito (8)
  9. Toki Tamaru (9)
  10. Jin Mandokoro (10)

No fighters in the top 10 were in action during the past month, so the rankings remain unchanged.

Pound-For-Pound
  1. Tenshin Nasukawa (1)
  2. Takeru (2)
  3. Marat Grigorian (3)
  4. Giorgio Petrosyan (4)
  5. Cédric Doumbé (10 – tie)
  6. Alex Pereira (7)
  7. Superbon Banchamek (5)
  8. Wei Rui (-)
  9. Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong (6)
  10. Rico Verhoeven (10 – tie)

Dropped from the rankings: Yoshiki Takei (8), Qiu Jianliang (9)

Cédric Doumbé catapults up the rankings following his third defense of the GLORY welterweight title. Alex Pereira moves up one spot following his split-decision victory over Artem Vakhitov to capture the GLORY light-heavyweight strap. Qiu Jianliang drops out of the top 10 due to recent inactivity. K-1 55-kilogram champ Yoshiki Takei has transitioned to a boxing career after sitting out for over a year and therefore also departs the rankings. These departures open up room for Wei Rui, the 2020 Combat Press Kickboxing “Male Fighter of the Year,” to make his debut in the pound-for-pound poll.

Women’s Pound-For-Pound
  1. Anissa Meksen (1)
  2. Tiffany van Soest (2)
  3. Iman Barlow (3)
  4. Jorina Baars (4)
  5. Josefine Knutsson (5)
  6. Sarel de Jong (6)
  7. Hinata Terayama (7)
  8. Kotomi (8)
  9. KANA (9)
  10. Anissa Haddaoui (10)

GLORY champion Tiffany van Soest scored her first win in over a year when she defeated Aline Pereira, the sister of GLORY light-heavyweight and middleweight champion Alex Periera, by unanimous decision. Eighth-ranked Kotomi earned her fourth straight victory via a unanimous decision over Yoshimi Ohama during the semifinals of the women’s tournament at Krush 121.


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.