It’s safe to say 2014 has been a difficult year in what I like to call the fight game(s).
There have been some great fights across the board, sure. But…
The current MMA climate is dominated by the UFC — who struggled to keep their events running as scheduled, with injuries plaguing the promotion’s top talent. There seems a general feeling of apathy, and it’s said they lost 40% of their revenue from the year prior. Legal troubles are looming as well.
Similarly, the world of boxing had what blogger Jacob Bazer describes as “an exasperating year” and it’s not clear when things will improve. Top talent was “inactive or pitched against clearly overmatched opponents,” as Bazer puts it — with promotional politics souring the whole scene.
Kickboxing began the year with GLORY leading a charge to the mainstream, with great action and much of the best talent in the world televised internationally. But then they seemed to stumble — a failure of a PPV event, a cancelled show late in the year — and we enter 2015 unsure of their future.
Now, as reported at FightStadium, several Chinese events will be featuring GLORY talent in the coming months. Could they be the future?
First, at Kunlun Fight 15, on the 3rd and 4th in Nanjing, China:
– Rico Verhoeven vs Andrei Herasimchuk
– Sittichai Sitsongpeenong vs Murthel Groenhart
– Jafharr Wilnis vs Alireza Karbasi
– Andy Souwer vs Jaio Fukai
– Steve Moxon vs Aikpracha Meenayothin
– Tomas Hron vs Roman Kryklia
– Victor Nagbe vs Mostafa Rajabi
On January 31 and February 1st, Kunlun Fight 16 and WLF:
– Albert Kraus vs ??
– Simon Marcus vs ??
– Arthur Kyshenko vs Bai Jinbin
– Andy Ristie vs Aikpracha Meenayothin
– Robin van Roosmalen vs Dzianis Zuev
– Hesdy Gerges vs Alexy Ignashov
– Colin George vs Mighty Mo
– Cosmo Alexandre vs Li Yankun
On their official Facebook page, Kunlun Fight boasts they will have 24 shows in 2015.
But, that’s not all. Dave Walsh of LiverKick notes, as he describes China as potentially the “new Japan” of a new kickboxing era:
K-1’s USA vs. China event happening in China on January 1st the #1 contender for GLORY’s Featherweight Championship, Gabriel Varga, will be fighting with GLORY’s blessing. K-1 also announced a huge partnership with some of the biggest networks in China for ten live events in 2015. While it isn’t clear if K-1 will be making big money from that just yet, the potential viewership for them is out-of-this-world.
Out of this world — or maybe the start of a new kickboxing world? Time will tell.