The Kunlun Fight organization made its awaited return Saturday in Beijing with an eight-man tournament to crown the 2019 KLF 75 KG World Champion.
Vitaly Gurkov, fighting out of the Patriot Gym in Belarus, once again is wearing championship gold. Gurkov put on a fine technical performance in winning all three of his bouts.
In the 70 kg Super Fight, China’s Kong Lingfeng was the more effective and fresher fighter in the extra round to defeat comebacking former GLORY champion Andy “The Machine” Ristie.
-75 kg KLF 2019 World Championship Tournament Final: Vitaly Gurkov (Belarus) def. Saiyok Pumpanmuang (Thailand)-Unanimous Decision
Gurkov once again showed the technical skills that make him one of the best 75 kg fighters in the world. Against the shorter southpaw Pumpamuang, he looked to keep the fight at length, sometimes coming in with his attacks. Pumpanmuang was the aggressor and came forward, but the better punches and kicks were landed by Gurkov.
With the victory, Gurkov is a two-time KLF 75 kg World Champion. He won the tournament in 2017, but was defeated by 2018 winner Mergen Bilyalov in the semifinals last year.
-70 kg Super Fight: Kong Lingfeng (China) def. Andy Ristie (Suriname)-Unanimous Decision (Extra Round)
In a hard-fought battle, Kong outlasted the returning Ristie to get the win by extra-round decision. Ristie did the better work with his boxing, but Kong scored with some good low kicks and knees to the body. By round two, Ristie’s balance appeared to be affected by the low kicks. Ristie landed some good punches late in round three, and it seemed it could be enough to get the win. Kong worked the low kick effectively early in the extra round, and won the extra round, as both fighters threw softer shots exhausted from a brutal battle.
An exhausted Ristie didn’t want to speak after the bout, but his trainers spoke to the ring announcer.
“It was a good fight. He did his best. A good fighter (Kong),” Ristie’s coach Vincent told the emcee after the bout.
“He will fight again. He don’t stop. It doesn’t matter (about a Kong rematch)”, his other trainer added.
There was already talk of a rematch. It was a close match after three rounds, and both fighters showed a lot of courage and skill. It was Ristie’s first bout in over four years, and he limped after the bout from the hard low kicks from the fight.
-Welterweight (MMA): Ednilson Jose (Brazil) DRAW Zhang Lipeng (China)
-66 kg Super Fight: Wei Ninghui (China) def. Bartosz Batra (Poland)-Unanimous Decision
In a well-matched battle, Wei was the stronger fighter late to earn the decision. Wei landed a couple of good left hooks in round one, and began to work the low kick in the second. In the third, Wei hurt Batra with a left hook to the body and kept the pressure on the Polish fighter. Batra did some good work in the bout, but Wei landed the better punches and was the fresher fighter in the late stages.
-75 kg 2019 KLF World Championship Semifinal 2: Vitaly Gurkov (Belarus) def. Wu Sihan (China)-KO Round 2 (Body Punch)
Gurkov advanced with a second-round knockout of Wu. After blocking a kick, Gurkov landed a quick right hand to the body that dropped and stopped Wu for the KO win.
-75 kg 2019 KLF World Championship Semifinal 1: Saiyok Pumpanmuang (Thailand) def. Jiao Fukai (China)-Majority Decision
Pumpanmuang advanced with a narrow majority decision over Jiao. The Thai was the aggressor, as Jiao looked to keep the fight at distance. Pumpanmuang landed some hard low kicks, and a few good punches. Jiao landed some push kicks to the body and a few good right jabs. Jiao probably outlanded Pumpanmuang, but it was the Thai who pushed the action and scored the blows with more impact.
-KLF Future Stars Championship (Kids): Zhang Xiongliang (China) def. Yan Sheng-Decision
-Flyweight (MMA) Andrei Marchenko (Russian Federation) def. Banmaduoji (China)-Decision
-75 kg: 2019 KLF World Championship Tournament 4/4: Wu Sihan (China) def. Mergen Bilyalov (Kazakhstan)-Majority Decision
Sihan scored a major upset, as he defeated reigning champion Bilyalov in the last quarterfinal. In round one during an exchange, the Chinese fighter landed a big right hand that snapped the Kazakh’s head back and knocked him down.
Bilyalov began to connect with right hands in round two, and landed some good punches in round three. Wu absorbed them and kept coming forward to earn the victory.
-75 kg 2019 KLF World Championship Tournament 3/4: Vitaly Gurkov (Belarus) def. Yiliyasi (China)-Decision
Gurkov, the 2017 tournament champion, outscored Yiliyasi to advance. The fought was often at long distance, with the fighters looking for openings. Gurkov landed some good inside low kicks during the bout.
-75 kg 2019 KLF World Championship Tournament 2/4: Jiao Fukai (China) def. Dzianis Zuev (Belarus)-Majority Decision
Jiao did a good job of keeping the fight at long range against Zuev, the first KLF 70 kg champion. Zuev had a bad start to the match-he received a yellow card (fine and point deduction) in round one after his third unintentional low blow. Zuev landed a couple of good left hands in the last round of the battle of southpaws, but couldn’t land a fight changing blow.
-75 kg 2019 KLF World Championship Tournament 1/4: Saiyok Pumpanmuang (Thailand) def. Xu Liu (China)-Unanimous Decision
Experience prevailed over youth in the opening tournament bout. Saiyok, a veteran of over 200 fights, established control in round two after a close and fast-paced early stanza. The Thai southpaw landed some good body kicks and left hands, and nicely mixed knees to the body at the end of his punch combinations. Xu landed a few good punches and was the aggressor, but was outlanded by the Thai veteran.
-75 kg: Zhao Junchen (China) def. Sun Weipeng (China)-Decision (Tournament Reserve Bout)
In the 2019 KLF 75 KG World Championship Tournament reserve match, Zhao won a hard-fought decision over Sun. It was a tough but technical fight, and Zhao began to gain the advantage after a close first round.
-75 kg:Yang Bin (China) def. Sohrab Barhrami (Iran)-KO Round 1
In the opening bout, Yang Bin looked impressive in knocking out his Iranian opponent in the first round. Yang came out fast and scored a knockdown with punches before finishing his foe with a well placed left hook.