PunchDrunkGamer’s Best of 2013 – Kickboxing Awards
By Christopher Jester and Dave Carpinello
Kickboxing has been around for a very long time, but it was not until the debut of GLORY in the last quarter of 2013 (on American Television) that kickboxing literally kicked off with a blast. GLORY came into combat sports fans homes with an event that made us remember just how tough, durable, and athletic kickboxers are. The tournament brackets were back, and the underdog stories became star-making tales. Kickboxing bests fell, and new fighters took their place. This was a surprising year for kickboxing, and it was all for the better because now it has cemented its place as one of the must see events!
And with that we present you with the PunchDrunkGamer’s 2013 Kickboxing Awards.
PunchDrunkGamer.com’s 2013 Kickboxer of the Year – Rico Verhoeven
2013 Record: 5-0
2013 Victims: Jhonata Diniz, Errol Zimmerman, Gokhan Saki, Daniel Ghita, Peter Aerts
Achievements: Won the GLORY Heavyweight World Championship Tournament Championship
After knocking off the likes of Jhonata Diniz and Errol Zimmerman, very few probably thought that the 24-year-old Rico Verhoeven would go into the later part of 2013 the way he did and defeat three of the best heavyweight kickboxers in the world. When anyone discussed GLORY, the story eventually ended being about Rico Verhoeven; the underdog who defied it all and became an instant superstar.
He came into GLORY 11 as a relative unknown to most new fans, but found stardom in his ability to defeat two amazing heavyweights in Gokhan Saki and Daniel Ghita. What was amazing about his fights is that he found himself in a bit of trouble in each bout, and had to muster up the strength to pull off a comeback in both to steal the victory. That sort of guts helped him score probably the biggest win of his career at GLORY 13 when he faced Peter Aerts. Defeating Aerts in his retirement (maybe) match was no easy feat, but it showcased why Rico Verhoeven had easily become the kickboxer of 2013.
2013 Record: 5-0
2013 Victims: Alessandro Campagna, Albert Kraus, Niclas Larsen, Giorgio Petrosyan, Robin van Roosmalen
2013 Record: 6-0, 1-0 (MMA)
2013 Victims: Peter Aerts, Remy Bonjasky, Michael Duut, Filip Verlinden, Danyo Illunga, Nathan Corbett, Angel DeAnda (MMA)
2013 Record: 2-0, 4-0 (Muay Thai)
2013 Victims: Zhou Zhipeng, David Calvo
PunchDrunkGamer.com’s 2013 Kickboxing Knockout of the Year:
Andy Ristie def. Giorgio Petrosyan by left hook – GLORY 12 (November 23)
Wow. Just wow. Very few knockouts had this much significance in 2013. It was one thing for Andy Ristie to land a beautiful but crushing left hook. It was another thing to land it on Giorgio Petrosyan of all people! It was a mind-numbing KO that came out of nowhere that crumpled Petrosyan to the canvas. Petrosyan had been damn-near invincible throughout his entire career, and Ristie showed up that night to prove that he may very well be the next big thing at lightweight. Ristie’s knockout was thunderous and he proved that no one wants to stand still in front of the Dutch-Surinamese fighter when that left hook is thrown.
Tyrone Spong def. Remy Bonjasky by right hook – GLORY 5 (March 23)
Ben Edwards def. Jamal Ben Saddik by right hook – GLORY 12 (November 23)
Joseph Valtellini def. Raymond Daniels by high kick – GLORY 13 (December 21)
Daniel Ghita def. Errol Zimmerman by right hook – GLORY 13 (December 21)
PunchDrunkGamer.com’s 2013 Kickboxing Event of the Year:
GLORY 11: Chicago (October 11)
This event meant so much for the sport of kickboxing. It rejuvenated a sport that lied underneath the radar for most fight fans. What made this event so interesting is that after it took place, many wondered if GLORY was the only kickboxing organization that existed. That is simply not true. But people questioned this because they wondered, where was kickboxing all this time if it was this exciting?
It was not on national television, and that was the problem that kickboxing faced but no longer. Leading the kickboxing front now is GLORY. But did they put on a memorable event? Yes they did. GLORY 11 was nearly perfect on everything from bouts, to presentation, to commentary. What came away as the headlining story was Rico Verhoeven’s underdog tale. He went into a bout against Gokhan Saki and pulled off a majority decision. One heavyweight down, and another to go – he put on a technical showcase against Daniel Ghita to win the tournament and became the new GLORY heavyweight champion.
In other bouts, Tyrone Spong devastated Nathan Corbett in a long awaited rematch. Although coming up short in the championship bout, Daniel Ghita whooped Anderson Silva to a TKO victory. Joseph Valtellini put on an entertaining bout against Karim Ghajji, and Errol Zimmerman defeated Hesdy Gerges.
GLORY 13: Tokyo
Notable Bouts: Rico Verhoeven vs. Peter Aerts, Daniel Ghita vs. Errol Zimmerman, Joseph Valtellini vs. Raymond Daniels
Notable Bouts: Gökhan Saki vs. Daniel Ghita, Nieky Holzken vs. Karim Ghajji, Andy Ristie vs. Alessandro Campagna, Mourad Bouzidi def. Fabiano Cyclone
Notable Bouts: Mirko Cro Cop vs. Ismael Londt, Badr Hari vs. Zabit Samedov
GLORY 12: New York
Notable Bouts: Andie Ristie vs. Giorgio Petrosyan, Andy Ristie vs. Robin van Roosmalen, Ben Edwards vs. Jamal Ben Saddik
PunchDrunkGamer.com’s 2013 Kickboxing Lifetime Achievement Award – Ramon “The Diamond” Dekkers (In Memoriam):
On the 27th of February 2013, combat sports fans lost a legend as Ramon Dekkers died at the age of 43, from an apparent myocardial infarction heart attack. Dekkers recorded over 180 wins in his professional career and was a vital part of bringing successful foreign fighters to fight in Thailand. He was also a vital part of the Golden Glory fight team and a legend that will never be forgotten. R.I.P.
Follow Christopher “sLapDatSuCKa” Jester on Twitter @sLapDatSuCka
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