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Matthew J. Webster – Writer

Kickboxing: the faster fight sport?

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No kissing and hugging: Wayne Barrett (left) won the decision over 185 lb champ Joe Schilling at Glory 12.

No kissing and hugging: Wayne Barrett (left) won the decision over 185 lb champ Joe Schilling at Glory 12.

12/18/13 — BOSTON:

Kickboxing may be accompanied by punchier sound cues than any other fight sport.

On November 23 at GLORY 12, just seconds into Round 1, Brian Collette’s knockout kick to the head of Warren Thompson reported a brittle “SPLAT!” audible all the way back to the cheap seats of the Madison Square Garden Theater, such that fans groaned and some wondered, briefly, if part of Thompson had snapped.

In the US particularly, the savage art the French call “foot-and-fist” has been eclipsed over the last 20 years by the rise to mainstream popularity of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). MMA is a newer hybrid of fighting disciplines lead by Dana White’s Ultimate Fighting Challenge (UFC).

MMA allows the kicks, punches, elbows and knee strikes that comprise Muay Thai, Thailand’s ancient war dance, combined with mat-bound grappling techniques used in amateur wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Kickboxing allows “no kissing and hugging,” as light heavyweight prodigy Gökhan “The Rebel” Saki has put it, just tornadoes of punches, kicks and knee strikes in combinations.

Kickboxing is essentially Muay Thai minus elbow strikes and lengthy spells of standup clinching, so you could say it’s part of MMA, except kickboxing’s been around longer.

Based on the boos heard in any US arena at the moment an MMA match turns to grappling and away from strikes, you might also say that, here at least, kickboxing and Muay Thai are the most popular aspects of MMA.

Rampant anecdotal evidence was corroborated this year by Dana White, who has trained for Jiu Jitsu himself and repeatedly described that sport as “boring” in a videotaped interview with GracieMag.

The GLORY World Series kickboxing promotion, founded in 2007, sees that common disregard for wrestling as an opportunity.

The November 23 card in New York was the last of four consecutive events GLORY staged in the US, the third and last of which aired live on Spike TV. Both shows drew respectable national viewerships upwards of 380,000, and GLORY has announced a killer card for December 21 which SPIKE TV will again broadcast live, this time from Tokyo.

Surinam's Andy Ristie (left) took out Giorgio Petrosyan (finally) at Glory 12

Surinam’s Andy Ristie (left) took out Giorgio Petrosyan (finally) at Glory 12

With Floyd Mayweather and Evander Holyfield in attendance, GLORY 12 showcased American talent nicely for the last show of the promotion’s debut run in the US.

Brian Collette’s “Superfight” (sounds better than “undercard”) knockout wasn’t the only example. Ky Hollenbeck, based in San Francisco, won ugly with a judges’ decision over South Africa’s Warren Stevelmans, who fought on short notice.

And in the main event, former Golden Gloves amateur boxing champ Wayne Barrett, fighting for his hometown crowd in New York, dismissed those who’d doubted his credentials with a victory over GLORY’s reigning middleweight champ, Joe “Stitch ‘em Up” Schilling, based in Los Angeles.

Barrett, who had a 3-0 professional record going into the bout, reaffirmed that his hands were his most potent weapons, staggering Schilling with a left hook 23 seconds into the second round, then sending him to the mat with a crossed right shortly after. A right counterpunch from Barrett dealt another knockdown just before the bell. In the third round Schilling landed a vicious flying knee to his opponent’s nose for a knockdown, but the bleeding Barrett rose to beat the count and win the decision.

The four-man tournament for the lightweight championship, and a $150,000 purse, resulted in an even greater upset. Reigning champ Giorgio Petrosyan, who went into the semifinal match with an astounding pro record of 80 wins and only one loss, was knocked out by a left hand from Surinam’s Andy Ristie in the third round.

Ristie returned to bully Holland’s Robin van Roosmalen in the final, using his height and reach advantages to overpower the Dutchman and finishing him with a left uppercut halfway through Round 2.

GLORY was founded in 2011 amidst the financial ruins of the Japanese-based K-1 kickboxing franchise and the Dutch promotion It’s Showtime, both of which had suffered dwindling audiences roughly coinciding with the global rise of MMA and the UFC.

With offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Amsterdam, London and New York, GLORY conveys a more cosmopolitan, less bloody public image (absent elbow strikes and “ground-and-pound”) compared with MMA. The refined, jet-setting vibe is reinforced by the slightly less-exploitational presentation of GLORY’s ring card girls, who ply their trade in matching cocktail dresses and pumps rather than shorts and halter tops. Led by hedge fund investor Pierre Andurand and former World Wrestling Entertainment executive vice president Andrew Whitaker, the promotion clearly means to distinguish itself as a strike-rich alternative to MMA, with an equally world-class roster of fighters.

US fans will have another chance to see that talent on display at GLORY 13 on December 21. Holland’s Rico Veerhoeven, who upset Gökhan Saki and Daniel Ghita to win the heavyweight tournament at GLORY 11 in Chicago, will face his legendary compatriot Peter Aerts, who boasts 103 professional wins and a 76 percent knockout ratio. GLORY’s first, second and third-ranked welterweights will also compete in a four-man championship runoff completed by US southpaw Raymond Daniels (24-0). That’s a whole lot of top notch combat rock, again to be aired LIVE

((REDACTED: !2/21/13 15:34 EST Spike TV and GLORY did not make it clear previously that the show actually happened early this morning in Tokyo. Spike is right now airing a GLORY promo graphic for “Live Kickboxing” 9PM in the corner of the screen over footage of a crackhead getting arrested! posted the results HERE, but I’m not going to look because I’ll enjoy watching it more, without knowing.))

on Spike TV, no pay-per-view fee required.

But will wrestling hater Dana White be watching?

Dutch master Peter Aerts (right) will face Rico Veerhoeven at Glory 13 this Saturday.

Dutch master Peter Aerts (right) will face Rico Veerhoeven at Glory 13 this Saturday.

Written by webster71

December 18, 2013 at 21:47

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