Taiju Shiratori (RISE)

Combat Press Kickboxing Rankings: July 2021

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. Benjamin Adegbuyi (4)
  4. Guto Inocente (5)
  5. Zabit Samedov (6)
  6. Murat Aygün (8)
  7. Tarik Khbabez (9)
  8. Levi Rigters (10)
  9. Nordine Mahieddine (-)
  10. Fabio Kwasi (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Jamal Ben Saddik (3), Roel Mannaart (7)


The heavyweight division is the first to see major changes due to inactivity. Previously, fighters lost eligibility to be ranked if they hadn’t competed in the past 18 months. Due to the unique circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the timeframe was extended to allow competitors to be ranked who were active in the past two years. One fighter who returned to the ring after a long layoff was Zabit Samedov, extending his winning streak to 19 following a second-round knockout over Olutobi Ayodeji Kalejaiye at M1 Fight Night. Samedov keeps his position in the heavyweight rankings with the victory. Former GLORY title challenger Jamal Ben Saddik and K-1 heavyweight champion Roel Mannaart drop from the top 10 due to their inactivity. There were multiple fighters just outside the top 10 who were considered for the two open spots, including Antonio Plazibat and Ismael Londt. However, the two fighters who enter the heavyweight rankings are Nordine Mahieddine and Fabio Kwasi. Although Mahieddine and Plazibat have split fights in the past two years, Mahieddine owns the most recent win, even if the extra-round split decision was a contentious one. Kwasi returns to the heavyweight rankings for the first time since September of 2018, following three victories in one night during the OSS Fighters heavyweight tournament.

Light Heavyweight (85.1-95 kilograms)
  1. Alex Pereira (1)
  2. Artem Vakhitov (2)
  3. Luis Tavares (3)
  4. Pavel Zhuravlev (4)
  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)

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

Middleweight (80.1-85 kilograms)
  1. Alex Pereira (1)
  2. Donovan Wisse (2)
  3. Yousri Belgaroui (4)
  4. Artem Levin (5)
  5. Hicham El Gaoui (7)
  6. Ulric Bokeme (8)
  7. César Almeida (-)
  8. Maxim Vorovski (-)
  9. Khalid El Bakouri (-)
  10. Daniel Forsberg (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Simon Marcus (3), Igor Bugaenko (6), Jason Wilnis (9), Ertugrul Bayrak (10)

The middleweight division featured a number of changes due to inactivity. Former GLORY champions Simon Marcus and Jason Wilnis, former GLORY title challenger Ertugrul Bayrak, and two-time Tatneft Cup champ Igor Bugaenko all exit the rankings. The last fighter to defeat Bugaenko was former WGP Kickboxing 85-kilogram champion César Almeida, who makes his debut at seventh. King of Kings interim middleweight titleholder Maxim Vorovski enters the rankings following a victory over Andreas Iversen at KOK 89: Talinn. Khalid El Bakouri rides a four-fight winning streak and huge knockout victory over former Enfusion champ Ibrahim El Boustati into ninth position in the rankings. Finally, King of Kings middleweight champion Daniel Forsberg rounds out the new top 10.

Welterweight (80 kilograms)
  1. Cédric Doumbé (1)
  2. Regian Eersel (2)
  3. Nieky Holzken (7)
  4. Jamie Bates (5)
  5. Dmitry Menshikov (8)
  6. Robin Ciric (-)
  7. Endy Semeleer (9)
  8. Mohamed “Hamicha” Mezouari (10)
  9. Yohan Lidon (-)
  10. Sher Mamazulunov (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Alim Nabiyev (3), Murthel Groenhart (4), Harut Grigorian (6)

A collection of former GLORY welterweight champions and challengers drop out of the top 10 for various reasons. Murthel Groenhart announced his retirement shortly after dropping his bid to become a two-time champion against Cédric Doumbé at the beginning of this year. Former title challenger Nabiyev hasn’t competed since failing in his GLORY title bid against the aforementioned Doumbé in June of 2019. Harut Grigorian has competed in the past 18 months, but hasn’t won a fight in 30 months, so he joins his fellow former GLORY alums outside the top 10 until they compete again. As for the movement in the division, both Dmitry Menshikov and Mohamed Mezouari remain in the rankings because they are scheduled to fight at GLORY 78 in September. Former Enfusion 80-kilogram champion Robin Ciric makes his debut in the rankings following a nine-fight winning streak that dates back to 2018. Decorated Muay Thai champion Yohan Lidon makes his return to the rankings following wins in eight of his past nine bouts. Finally, the 10th spot was up for contention due to a number of factors, but names like Sher Mamazulunov, Yuri Bessmertny, Karim Ghajji, and Musa Saltaev were all considered based on their recent resumes.

Lightweight (70 kilograms)
  1. Marat Grigorian (1)
  2. Giorgio Petrosyan (2)
  3. Superbon Banchamek (3)
  4. Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong (4)
  5. Tayfun Ozcan (5)
  6. Enriko Kehl (6)
  7. Chingiz Allazov (7)
  8. Samy Sana (8)
  9. Dzianis Zuev (-)
  10. Tyjani Beztati (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Jonay Risco (9), Davit Kiria (10)

The lightweight division features two new members following changes due to inactivity. Former Kunlun Fight World Max tournament champion Dzianis Zuev returns to the top 10 on a four-fight winning streak. Former two-time GLORY title challenger and upcoming vacant title fight participant Tyjani Beztati makes his debut in the lightweight rankings. Jonay Risco and Davit Kiria have dropped out of the top 10 because neither fighter has won in over two years.

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

Dropped from the rankings: Jomthong Chuwattana (9)

Fourth-ranked Wang Pengfei continued his undefeated 2021 with a decision victory over Hu Yafei at Wu Lin Feng 520 to extend his winning streak to six, which includes wins over three top-10 opponents. Sixth-ranked Jia Aoqi continues to rebuild his resume following a rough stretch of four losses in five fights after winning the 2019 67-kilogram WLF World Cup. Aoqi earned back-to-back wins in the 67-kilogram contender league following a decision victory over Er Kang. Eighth-ranked Tie Yinghua returned to the win column against youngster Xu Jian at the same event. The former two-division WLF champion scored his ninth win in his past 10 fights with the decision victory. Formerly ninth-ranked Jomthong Chuwattana drops out of the rankings due to inactivity under kickboxing rules, which makes way for Lumpinee champion Tawanchai.

Featherweight (66 kilograms)
  1. Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao (1)
  2. Wei Rui (2)
  3. Hideaki Yamazaki (3)
  4. Rukiya Anpo (4)
  5. Capitan Petchyindee (5)
  6. Kevin VanNostrand (7)
  7. Daizo Sasaki (8)
  8. Serhiy Adamchuk (9)
  9. Eddy Naït Slimani (-)
  10. Kosei Yamada (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Kaew Weerasakreck (6), Aleksei Ulianov (10)

The featherweight division featured a couple of changes with one perennial top-ranked fighter and a former two-time Tatneft Cup champion leaving the top 10. Kaew Weerasakreck has competed inside of the 18-month competition window, but his controversial losses to Rukiya Anpo leave him without a win since November of 2018, where he won three fights in one night. As for Ulianov, his solid resume of wins wasn’t enough to keep him in the rankings because he hasn’t won a fight in over two years. In their places enter Eddy Naït Slimani and Kosei Yamada.

Super Bantamweight (64 kilograms)
  1. Taio Asahisa (1)
  2. Gonnapar Weerasakreck (2)
  3. Kento Haraguchi (3)
  4. Ilias Ennahachi (4)
  5. Wei Rui (5)
  6. Dennis Wosik (6)
  7. Jin Ying (7)
  8. Zhu Shuai (8)
  9. Koya Urabe (9)
  10. Naoki Tanaka (10)

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

Bantamweight (61 kilograms)
  1. Takeru (1)
  2. Leona Pettas (2)
  3. Hirotaka Asahisa (3)
  4. Taiju Shiratori (-)
  5. Tomoya Yokoyama (6)
  6. Yuta Murakoshi (7)
  7. Kouzi (5)
  8. Zhang Lanpei (8)
  9. Zhao Chongyang (9)
  10. Tatsuya Oiwa (10)

Dropped from the rankings: Kosuke Komiyama (4)

Formerly top-ranked super bantamweight Taiju Shiratori made his return to the bantamweight division and the rankings following two wins in one night to capture the four-man kickboxing tournament at Rizin 29. Shiratori rebounded from back-to-back losses with a first-round knockout against Ryo Takahashi in the opening round. He then moved on to face former K-1 title challenger Kouzi. Shiratori put on a great performance against Kouzi to earn his 14th win in his past 16 fights and fourth place in the bantamweight rankings. With Shiratori’s entrance into the rankings, fourth ranked Kosuke Komiyama drops out of the division due to inactivity.

Super Flyweight (58 kilograms)
  1. Tenshin Nasukawa (1)
  2. Tatsuya Tsubakihara (2)
  3. Takahito Niimi (-)
  4. Jawsuayai Sor.Dechaphan (7)
  5. Masaki Takeuchi (-)
  6. Keisuke Monguchi (-)
  7. TOMA (-)
  8. Masahide Kudo (-)
  9. Gunji Taito (-)
  10. Tatsuki Shinotsuka (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Yuuki Egawa (3), Haruma Saikyo (4), Astemir Borsov (5), Sam-A Gaiyanghadao (6), Aslanbek Zikreev (8), Wang Junguang (9), Hirotaka Urabe (10)

The super flyweight division featured a number of major changes due to inactivity, fighters moving up in weight, or even changing sports. One of the biggest changes in the division comes due to Yuuki Egawa’s intentions of moving up a weight division in pursuit of his second K-1 world title. Egawa had his seven-fight winning streak ended when he lost back-to-back contests against second-ranked K-1 titleholder Tatsuya Tsubakihara. The highest-ranked newcomer, Krush featherweight champ Takahito Niimi, scored a 16-second knockout to avenge his loss to Keito Okajima. He scored his fifth straight win with the knockout victory. Big Bang 58-kilogram champion Masaki Takeuchi enters the rankings in the fifth spot following five straight wins and a huge victory over Keisuke Monguchi, who also makes his debut after amassing a record of 9-1-1 with victories over Ryuji Horio and Tatsuki Shinotsuka. TOMA joins the top 10 following a 7-1 record at just 18 years of age. He holds a victory over Niimi, Big Bang 55-kilogram champ Yusho Kamemoto, and skilled veteran Namito Izawa. Masahide Kudo comes in at eighth following wins in four of his past six fights. The former RISE 58-kilogram champion holds wins over Tatsuki Shinotsuka, Thalisson Gomes Ferreira and Kanta Tabuchi. Gunji Taito debuts in the super flyweight division following back-to-back wins at 57.5-kilograms against Kamemoto and Riku Morisaka. Taito was previously ranked in the flyweight division prior to moving up a weight class. Lastly, Tatsuki Shinotsuka makes the rankings on the back of seven wins in his past eight fights, including a victory over former Krush champion Kaito Ozawa. A big thanks to @8Ulysse on twitter for helping with the rankings process for the super flyweight division

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

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

  1. Takeru (1)
  2. Tenshin Nasukawa (2)
  3. Marat Grigorian (3)
  4. Giorgio Petrosyan (4)
  5. Cédric Doumbé (5)
  6. Alex Pereira (6)
  7. Superbon Banchamek (7)
  8. Wei Rui (8)
  9. Rico Verhoeven (10)
  10. Masashi Kumura (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong (9)

Due to inactivity, former GLORY and Kunlun Fight titleholder Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong drops outside of the top 10 for the first time in five years. In his place is top-ranked flyweight Masahi Kumura, who makes the pound-for-pound list for the first time in his career.

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

Sarel de Jong moves up one spot in the rankings following a first round knockout over Lucy Mudrochova in Beograd.

Editor’s Note: Fighters are eligible to be ranked if they have competed in the last 24 months. Any fighter that chooses to switch weight classes will be ranked in their previous weight class until they have competed once in their new division.