2016 was a good year for kickboxing where more and more kickboxing promotion established themselves. Glory Kickboxing kept on bringing monthly events throughout the year. Chinese organisation Kunlun Fight, had some amazing shows where mainly Thai fighters such as Buakaw Buakaw, Sittichai Sigtsongpeenong and Superbon Banchamek made a big impression. Dutch promotion Enfusion Live, seems to be having a bigger budget than past years with the signing of Buakaw Banchamek for 2017.
Last years trends
With promotions such as King of Kings, Tatneft Cup, Final Fight Championship W5 Kickboxing and Superkombat the Eastern-European promotions almost covered whole Europe with their shows. World Fighting League started by Melvin Manhoef, had some nice events in Holland and Bellator Kickboxing established themselves mainly in Italy. The future looks bright for kickboxing again. I expect the Thai and the Eastern-European fighters to play a more dominant role in 2017. Some of the bigger stars out of Eastern-Europe are in my opninion, Artem Vakhitov and Vladislav Tuinov.
Fight of the Year: Mohammed Jaraya vs. Nordin Ben Moh
I could talk for hours why this fight has to be the “Kickboxingplanet Fight of the Year 2016“, but I think it’s better to just watch it for yourself. If you’re not able to watch a whole fight, I suggest you start in at round 3. Both guys are super aggressive and aren’t willing to give each other an inch throughout this whole fight. Like commentator Vinny Shoreman always says “Moroccan Magic” at it’s finest. Both guys are native Moroccans trained in the Dutch Style of kickboxing. Jaraya mostly training out of Amsterdam and Ben-Moh out of Den Bosch.
The Dutch Moroccans always bring that extra edge of aggressiveness to a fight. Dutch style fighters always poses over some good technique taught by the famous Dutch coaches and gyms in The Netherlands. Add some Moroccan flavor to it and you’ll have a deadly combination 9 times out of 10.
Fighter of the year: Rico Verhoeven
Rico Verhoeven is in my opinion kind off the new Remy Bonjasky of the sport. He’s polite, a true gentleman and always respectful towards his opponents, the media or the fans. Rico fought 3 times in 2016 and won all fights either by TKO (2 times) or decision.
Over 2015 and 2016 Rico defended his Glory Heavyweight belt 5 times in total. At the end of 2016 he started selling his own kickboxing gear and launched a perfume line which is called “Perseverance by Rico Verhoeven”. I think you can say this man has one of the most successful careers of all active kickboxers at the moment.
Who needs to become Kickboxer of the year 2016?
- Rico Verhoeven (NLD) – 411 fan votes
- Sittichai Sitsongpeenong (THA) – 378 fan votes
- Robin van Roosmalen (NLD) – 93 fan votes
- Marat Grigorian (BEL) – 74 fan votes
- Simon Marcus (CAN) – 66 fan votes
Total Voters: 1.022
Badr Hari vs. Rico Verhoeven – GLORY Collision Oberhausen
The much anticipated fight of the year was the match between Badr Hari and Rico Verhoeven at GLORY Collision in Oberhausen. People who never cared about kickboxing were suddenly interested in this fight. Everywhere I was I heard people talking about Badr vs. Rico, from the supermarket to the train station and everything in between, the hype was definitely real.
Next to that, the Kickboxingplanet.com website statistics broke all the records from the past. On that particular evening we got as much traffic in 1 day as we’re normally getting in a month. I think we can expect kickboxing to bring some amazing shows from every corner of the globe in 2017!