Hari Grateful for Opportunity, Optimistic
During last week’s press conference to promote the Badr Hari-Hesdy Gerges main event for Glory 51, a Dutch journalist asked Hari about his plans in the years ahead. Badr said he is taking it fight by fight, but has signed a multi-fight contract with Glory Kickboxing.
“Top sports is really treacherous. It’s a hard sport. It involves a lot of injuries so I can’t really plan for a long period ahead,” he said. “We have to take it fight by fight. Nevertheless I signed for a series of fights with Glory, and I’m really looking forward to do this.”
“I’d like to thank Glory as well,” he continued. I think it’s not really mentioned enough by me. I haven’t been part of the sport for a period. Glory ensured I was able to become a part of the sport again.”
After a short prison stint and years of sporadic appearances in the ring, Hari seems to realize his legacy is at stake. He’s optimistic at 33 years of age he can recapture the form that made him a special talent in K-1.
“I think I’m peaking in terms of maturity,” he said. “If they (Glory) had offered me a similar contract a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have taken it as seriously as I do now. So I have reflected and let’s go for it. I reckon we’ll see some great performances.”
The fight is being billed as “Bad Blood”, and there is clearly some unfinished business from Hari’s disqualification loss to Gerges in 2010. Neither fighter would speak badly of the other when asked their thoughts on their opponent as a person.
“I can’t really tell. I do check out his social media channels. I do enjoy how he’s relating to his wife (Hesdy is married to female kickboxing champion Denise Kielholtz) and son. I think he’s a positive person for his family,” said Hari.
“I don’t know him well enough. We met each other a couple of times,” Gerges said.
Akin Captures Girl Power 5 Title
Turkey’s Irem Akin won three bouts to win the Girl Power 5 kickboxing tournament held Friday night in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. Akin beat Selma Baltic of Bosnia in the quarterfinals, Marina Spasic of Serbia in the semifinals, and then prevailed over France’s Mallaury Kalachnikoff to capture the title. All Akin’s wins were on points. Akin is unbeaten as a pro, and this was her second Girl Power tournament championship. The event was broadcast on Fite TV pay per view. Boxing Hall of Fame referee Steve “Double S” Smoger officiated in the event.
One Fighting Championship Signs Petrosyan, Yodsanklai
A few MMA promotions have expanded into the kickboxing business over the past few years. ACB KB is affiliated with the Absolute Championship Berkut MMA promotion, which has held shows all over the world. Bellator Kickboxing is an offshoot of Bellator MMA. To date, Bellator Kickboxing has held a few events, although their role is mainly as a co-promoter. Legacy Kickboxing was started by the Legacy MMA promoter but seemed to fold after only 3 or 4 shows. You can add One Fighting Championship to the list of MMA organizations getting involved in kickboxing.
Kirik Jenness of the Underground Forum reports Singapore-based One Fighting Championship will hold their first kickboxing event in the Philippines on April 20. One Championship Kickboxing will take place at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila. Former K-1 Max champion and Glory and Muay Thai standout Giorgio Petrosyan faces Jo Nattawut of Thailand in the main event.
One Championship Kickboxing has signed some other big names besides Petrosyan. Yodsanklai Fairtex and Fabio Pinca are two of the other stars inked by One Championship Kickboxing. The promotion plans to hold kickboxing matches in a ring, and also “modified hybrid striking rules” in a cage.