The Empire Strikes Back

Marcus vs. Schilling

With the UFC’s wind beneath Its Wings, Lion Fight has launched a retaliatory strike against Glory’s campaign to vanquish American independence. Whilst blood spills by the barrel all around us from wounds that trace to Europe’s colonial legacy, who’d have thought they’d ever be back on American soil? Well think again.

Here comes a European juggernaut in Glory Sports International (GSI). It is registered in Singapore and aims for world domination in what you’ve known until now as K-1 Kickboxing. Like so many other world beaters, GSI has set about to corner the (human) resource market for “products” to brand with its own Glory logo.

Hollenbeck vs, Chu

Don’t take my word for it. Here’s the smoking gun: Scott Rudmann, Managing Partner of Nectar Capital said: “We are delighted to have acted as corporate finance advisor to Glory Sports International…[to] effectively place all of the world’s top kickboxing athletes under the same promotional umbrella and solidify GLORY and the Glory World Series as the unquestioned world leader with the number one kickboxing series… there can be no doubt that the GLORY franchise is on its way to becoming one of the largest new sport leagues in the world and that it has quickly come to dominate global kickboxing.” Never mind who’s supposed to develop the next beat generation with the chump change that’s left over?

Lion Fight Promotions presents Battle in the Desert 7 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mandatory Credit: Ray Kasprowicz-WWW.ULTRAVISTA.COM

How better to conjure an industrial strength “sports content and branding solution” than by claim jumping the entire world’s (athletic) resource market in order to lock down Kickboxing’s “content IP rights holders”? Take GSI’s North American property portfolio (talent pool) in its entirety.

It was Scott Kent’s Lion Fight series, where the rivalry between Joe Schilling and Simon Marcus made national headlines. “Bazooka” Joe Valtellini fought Gregory Choplin in Scott’s ring, where Ky Hollenbeck was once a regular. Simon Marcus even did battle there with GSI’s Russian star Artyom Levin.

Marcus vs. Levin

Glory Sports International developed none of these careers. U.S. career developers like Scott Kent did all of the heavy lifting, along with Montri Supanich and Anthony Lin in California, as well as Justin Blair and Aziz Nabih in New York City. It was there that Wayne Barrett and Gabriel Varga also did their apprenticeships.

So maybe it was just a coincidence that America’s top fight impresario Dana White put Lion Fight XVI on the calendar for UFC Fight Week and scheduled the show for America’s 238th birthday. It might even have been a coincidence for the show to feature two “name brand” mixed martial artists going bada bing bada boom in full rules Muay Thai. Then again a case could be made for The Empire Strikes Back. [EDITOR]

Show Coverage by Brian O’Hara. Photography by Ray Kasprowicz.

Las Vegas, NV – LION FIGHT 16 ignited an explosion of spectacular Muay Thai action inside the Pearl, at Palms Casino Resort on July 4th, 2014. The excitement was not limited to fireworks over Las Vegas Boulevard, as the premier Las Vegas based promotion featured a super lightweight championship fight between Muay Thai Champion, Kevin Ross, and Australia’s Muay Thai prodigy, Michael “Tomahawk” Thompson.

Lion Fight Super Lightweight Championship
Kevin Ross (U.S.A.) vs. Michael Thompson (Australia)

The crowd erupted as the two fighters exchanged blows for a full five rounds of hard-hitting combat entertainment. Although Thompson proved his toughness, it was Ross who dictated the pace of the championship bout.

It was Ross (left) who dictated the pace of the championship bout.  Photo by Ray Kasprowicz.

It was Ross (left) who dictated the pace of the championship bout. Photo by Ray Kasprowicz.

Ross punished Thompson round after round with a mix of blows to his opponents head and midsection. During the closing seconds of the last round, Ross almost put his challenger away with a well-executed flying knee that crashed into Thompson’s face. The crowd erupted as Thompson was visibly hurt. Rattled and defeated, Thompson held on in the clinch to survive the round, despite losing the title bout.

Kevin Ross def. Michael Thompson by Unanimous Decision: 50-45, 49-46, 49-46 for the Lion Fight Super Lightweight Championship, Professional 142 lbs. Men. 5 x 3 Rounds.

Tiffany Van Soest (U.S.A.) vs. Sindy Huyer (Italy):

In the co-main event, former LION FIGHT featherweight champion Tiffany Van Soest squared off against Italy’s Sindy Huyer. The opening round could have gone to either fighter, but it was Van Soest who turned the heat up on her opponent inside the ring for the remainder of the fight.

Van Soest (left) battered her game Italian opponent.  Photo by Ray Kasprowicz.

Van Soest (left) battered her game Italian opponent. Photo by Ray Kasprowicz.

Van Soest battered her game Italian opponent, while winning the following four rounds. A percussion of excitement ripped through the venue when the American standout, Van Soest, landed a jaw-shattering front-kick that stopped Huyer in her tracks. Stunned and vulnerable, Huyer seemed to be out on her feet when she absorbed a final left hook, which caused referee Kamijo to jump in and call a halt to the punishment.

Tiffany Van Soest def. Sindy Huyer by TKO (Front Kick to Face) at 0:56 of Round 5. Professional 125 lbs. Women. 5 x 3 Rounds.

Rungravee Banchaemek Sasiprapa (Kingdom of Thailand) vs. Adrian Morilla (U.S.A.):

The night also included Thailand’s superstar, Rungravee Banchaemek Sasiprapa, who made his American debut with LION FIGHT promotion that evening against Adrian Morilla. The bout lived up to the billing as a special attraction fan superfight when Sasiprapa showed of his skill set from bell to bell.

Rungravee Banchaemek Sasiprapa got the better of the exchanges.  Photo by Ray Kasprowicz.

Rungravee Banchaemek Sasiprapa got the better of the exchanges. Photo by Ray Kasprowicz.

Morilla put forward a valiant effort, however he could not prevent getting stalked down by his veteran opponent round after round. Sasiprapa got the better of the exchanges during all five rounds to earn a split-decision victory.

Rungravee Banchæmek Sasiprapa def. Adrian Morilla by Split Decision: 48-47, 49-46, 49-45. Professional 132 lbs. Men. 5 x 3 Rounds.

Tyler Toner (U.S.A.) vs. Gaston Bolanos (Peru):

Main card action also included an explosive bout between Tyler Toner who took on Gaston Bolanos. It was a short night of work for Bolanos, who rocked Toner early with a spinning-back-elbow. Toner, under the tutelage of Duane Ludwig, grabbed Bolanos in the clinch in an attempt to recover from being swarmed with more blows. During the tie up, Toner’s right eye was split open when Bolanos fired off two compact elbows.

Bolanos vs. Toner

After being checked by the ringside doctor and allowed to continue, Toner was battered with a series of cracking knees to the stomach and legs from the clinch. Also bleeding from the nose and mouth, Bolanos smashed a right hand against Toner’s face toward the end of the round. Toner’s corner had seen enough and stepped in to stop the fight, thereby awarding Bolanos a TKO victory at the end of the first round.

Gaston Bolanos def. Tyler Toner by TKO (Corner Stoppage: Eye, Nose) at 3:00 of Round 1. Professional 142 lbs. Men. 5 x 3 Rounds.

Casey Parlett (San Diego, California) vs. Josh Shepard (Las Vegas, Nevada):

The main card began with a five round blast of action between Casey Parlett and Josh Shepard. It was Parlett who came on strong early, when he got Shepard’s attention with a banging right hand, which momentarily dazed his opponent.

Parlett went on to take the first two rounds, but the local Las Vegas fighter, Shepard, retorted with heavy strikes to win the middle two rounds.

Parlett vs. Shepard

The bout came down to the final round. Both men exchanged rapid shots in a winner takes-all situation. In the end, the judges saw it in favor of Parlett, who took home the split-decision victory.

Casey Parlett def. Josh Shepard by Split Decision: 48-46, 49-45, 46-48. Professional 160 lbs. Men. 5 x 3 Rounds.

See Ray Kasprowicz’s Photo Gallery HERE.

Bennie E. Palmore II’s entire Photo Gallery is also a CLICK away.

LION FIGHT XVI delivered a blowout of Muay Thai excitement on Independence Day from the Fight Capitol of the World. Despite GSI’s claim jumping so many North American properties, Scott Kent’s All-American resourcefulness continues to develop spectacular talent on our own native soil.

Josh Shepard (right) vs. Casey Parlett.  Photo by Ray Kasprowicz.

Josh Shepard (right) vs. Casey Parlett. Photo by Ray Kasprowicz.

It turns out that indigenous is integral to this enterprise through its affiliation with USMTA, which began as the Native American League. No big surprise, then, that the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation hosts the Eastern edition of Scott Kent’s Lion Fight series.

End Story MarkFans are looking forward to the next installment of America’s premier Muay Thai showcase at Foxwoods Resort Casino in the Northeast Corridor about midway between Beantown and the Big Apple on August the 1st. It airs live on AXS TV starting at a special time, 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. We’ll give you a report in our next edition.

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