Glory 21 preview: Lineal King Artem Levin puts 5 titles on the line

Fraser Coffeen here for more lineal title action as we get ready for Glory 21. As always, I turn things over here to the…

By: Fraser Coffeen | 9 years ago
Glory 21 preview: Lineal King Artem Levin puts 5 titles on the line
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Fraser Coffeen here for more lineal title action as we get ready for Glory 21. As always, I turn things over here to the lineal champ of lineal title histories – take it away Matt:

Hello there lineal title fans! It’s time for another installment in our continuing series to document the lineal title history of Kickboxing. With Glory 21 just around the corner, it’s a perfect time to focus in on the Middleweight division. At the top of the card is Glory 85 kg champ and Lineal King Artem Levin versus recent Glory Contender tournament winner Simon Marcus. This match up is intensified by the fact that Marcus has a previous win over Levin in a Muay Thai rules match in Lion Fights from 2013.

Before we jump into the details, here’s a quick reminder of the rules Fraser and I follow while tracing these lineages:

Rules:

1. All lineal titles will begin with the inaugural champion crowned by a given promotion. The title will change hands only with a loss by the champion regardless of what promotion that fight takes place in. In a phrase, a lineal champion is “the man who beat the man.”

2. Unlike MMA lineal titles, weight class will not be a factor in tracking the lineage of Kickboxing titles. All kickboxing fights will quality as part of the lineage and titles will be allowed to migrated to different weight classes.

3. The spirit behind this collection of titles is to appreciate the history of the K-1 rules / Oriental Kicking style. But, we do sprinkle in a few titles of other similar rule sets like International (Leg Kick) and Shootboxing rules. For this reason, all fights that would traditionally be considered on a kickboxing record will be included in the lineage. This means that even Muay Thai rules and Shoot Boxing rules fights will be recognized.

Let’s take a look at what Fraser and I have covered thus far in the series:

1. Lightweight (70 kgs)

Lineal King: Robin van Roosmalen (12 Lineal titles – 71% Unification)

Next in Line: Giorgio Petrosyan (3 Lineal titles – 18% Unification)

Articles: Davit Karia, Robin van Roosmalen

2. Heavyweight/Light Heavyweight (90 kg+)

Lineal King: Remy Bonjasky (15 Lineal titels – 36% Unification)

Next in Line: Alistair Overeem (13 Lineal titles – 31% Unification)

Articles: Lineal Reem, Verhoeven – Zimmerman

3. Featherweight (60 kg – 67 kg)

Lineal King: Tetsuya Yamato (6 Lineal titles – 46% Unification)

Next in Line: Minoru Kimura (2 Lineal titles – 15% Unification)

Article: Glory 20: New Featherweight Title

75 kg to 85 kg: The Forgotten Weight Classes

With the resurgence of Glory champions like Artem Levin (85 kg) and Nieky Hoelzken (77 kg), it’s easy to forget that these weight classes simply didn’t exist not that long ago. Look back in the history of kickboxing and you’ll read a lot about the K-1 Grand Prix tournaments from Japan with stars like Semmy Schilt and Bob Sapp. These guys were huge (literally) and that’s what the Japanese fans wanted to see.

Sprinkled in, you’ll find an appreciation for lighter weight fighters with K-1 Max at 70 kg (about 154 lbs). This is mostly because many of the sport’s top talents in the weight class were competing at the same point in history, making for some epic rivalries and fast paced action.

But, what about the guys in the middle? There’s a big gap between 154 lbs and 220 lbs and yet, until fairly recently, there really wasn’t much of a venue to showcase fighters of this size. Instead, guys like Kaoklai Kaennorsing entered into K-1 tournaments weighing 78 kgs against fighters like Mighty Mo (103 kgs) and Hong Man Choi (350 lbs +) to mixed results (Click the Mighty Mo or Hong Man Choi links to view video clips).

Along came upstart promotion It’s Showtime who took a more inclusive approach to weight classes in Kickboxing. They started as a reality show in 2007 and went on to establish both Tournament and World titles in 9 different weight classes, including: 73 kg, 75 kg, 77 kg, and 85 kg titles. Other promotions like Glory and Enfusion have followed suit and the result is a very competitive field of fighters which we will showcase below. For the purposes of this series, we have chosen to group all titles between 75 kgs and 85 kgs together as one lineal pie. The reason is that there just aren’t that many individual titles that could be called Middleweight or Welterweight. And, Artem Levin made the decision a little easier for us by unifying many of the early Welterweight titles up a weight class with his success at 185 kgs. Combined, we have identified a pool of 12 titles, held by 6 champions across 5 weight classes. Enjoy!

BIG PICTURE: 75 kg to 85 kg Dashboard

You’ll notice a number of titles that have been colored orange because they have migrated to a different division with Overeem and van Roosmalen respectively. These titles do not count as part of the active pie of lineal titles at 75 kg to 85 kg and instead count towards the weight classes they are currently in.

Lineal Pie:

Levin holds a sizeable lead, but Holzken and Valtellini will meet soon in hopes of unifying their titles.

The Lineal Titles of Artem Levin (5):

It’s Showtime 75 kg Tournament 2006
Month/Yr Champion Defenses
Sept 2006 Şahin Yakut 4
March 2008 Mohammed Rahhaoui 0
March 2008 Gregory Choplin 0
March 2008 Dmitry Shakuta 6 Unifies with It’s Showtime 75 kg Tournament ’08, It’s Showtime 77 kg World
Nov 2008 Wehaj Kingboxing ??
April 2009 L’houcine Ouzgni 6
Sept 2010 Artem Levin 18
March 2013 Simon Marcus 8
June 2014 Joe Schilling 1 Unifies with Glory 85 kg Tournament
June 2014 Artem Levin 0 Unifies with Glory 85 kg World
It’s Showtime 75 kg Tournament 2008
Month/Yr Champion Defenses
March 2008 Dmitry Shakuta 6 6Unifies with It’s Showtime 75 kg Tournament ’06, It’s Showtime 77 kg World
Nov 2008 Wehaj Kingboxing ??
April 2009 L’houcine Ouzgni 6
Sept 2010 Artem Levin 18
March 2013 Simon Marcus 8
June 2014 Joe Schilling 1 Unifies with Glory 85 kg Tournament
June 2014 Artem Levin 0 Unifies with Glory 85 kg World
It’s Showtime 77 kg World Title
Month/Yr Champion Defenses
Sept 2008 Dmitry Shakuta 4 Unifies with It’s Showtime 75 kg Tournament ’06 & ’08
Nov 2008 Wehaj Kingboxing ??
April 2009 L’houcine Ouzgni 6
Sept 2010 Artem Levin 18
March 2013 Simon Marcus 8
June 2014 Joe Schilling 1 Unifies with Glory 85 kg Tournament
June 2014 Artem Levin 0 Unifies with Glory 85 kg World
Glory MW 85 kg Tournament Title
Month/Yr Champion Defenses
Sept 2013 Joe Schilling 0
Nov 2013 Wayne Barrett 1
June 2014 Joe Schilling 0 Unifies with It’s Showtime 77 kg, 75 kg ’06, 75 kg ’08
June 2014 Artem Levin 0 Unifies with Glory 85 kg World
Glory MW 85 kg World Title
Month/Yr Champion Defenses
June 2014 Artem Levin 0 Unifies with Glory 85 kg Tournament, 3 It’s Showtime Titles

Note about It’s Showtime 75 kg 2006, 75 kg 2008, and 77 kg World Titles:

During one of his early runs as lineal champion, Levin took part in a Muay Thai vs Wushu event in China against Wushu specialist FuGaoFeng. The fight is available to view on Youtube and it’s pretty clear that Levin gets the best of the fight from a purely kickboxing point of view. However, it’s also apparent that the rules and scoring system have not been clearly explained as Levin is surprised to be taken down a number of times in the fight. This apparently leads to enough points for FuGaoFeng to be declared the winner by decision. Since this represents more of an exhibition of style vs style under a modified rule set, we have chosen to ignore this loss in the lineage. We, of course, invite the reader to take a different position.

The Lineal Titles of Nieky Holzken (2):

ISKA 78 kg World Title (Oriental Kicking)
Month/Yr Champion Defenses
March 2013 Karim Ghajji 0
Dec 2013 Nieky Holzken 5 Unifies with Glory 77 kg Tournament Title
  • Inaugural champ Karim defended this title under both Oriental Kicking rules and K-1 rules
Glory WW 77 kg Tournament Title
Month/Yr Champion Defenses
Dec 2013 Nieky Holzken 3 Unifies with ISKA 78 kg World Title
The Lineal Titles of Antonio Plazibat (2):

It’s Showtime 85 kg World Title (2nd)
Month/Yr Champion Defenses
May 2011 Sahak Parparyan 8
Dec 2012 Franci Grajš 1 Unifies with Enfusion 85 kg Tournament Title
Nov 2014 Antonio Plazibat ??
Enfusion 85 kg Tournament Title
Month/Yr Champion Defenses
Dec 2012 Franci Grajš 0 Unifies with It’s Showtime 85 kg World Title
Nov 2014 Antonio Plazibat ??

Remaining Lineal Titles (3):

Enfusion 80 kg World Title
Month/Yr Champion Defenses
Oct 2012 Zlatko Bajić 3
May 2013 Emil Zoraj 2
Enfusion 85 kg World Title
Month/Yr Champion Defenses
April 2014 Miroslav Cingel ?
Glory WW 77 kg World Title
Month/Yr Champion Defenses
May 2014 Marc de Bonte 0
June 2014 Joe Valtellini 0

Stats, Facts, and Leaderboards for the 75 kg to 85 kg division

Kickboxing MW/WW Lineal Leaderboard
Champion # of Titles % Unified
1 Artem Levin 5 42%
2 Nieky Holzken 2 17%
3 Antonio Plazibat 2 17%
Career MW/WW Lineal Title Holders
Champion # of Titles Record Against Win %
1 Artem Levin 8 3-2 60%
2 Joe Schilling 5 2-3 40%
3 Simon Marcus 3 4-1 80%
3 L’houcine Ouzgni 3 3-1 75%
3 Wehaj Kingboxing 3 1-2 33%
3 Dmitry Shakuta 3 0-2 0%
4 Nieky Holzken 2 0-2 0%
4 Antonio Plazibat 2 1-0 100%
4 Franci Grajš 2 0-1 0%

  • Levin is the clear King here, but Marcus has an impressive 80% winning percentage against the others on the list

Active MW/WW Lineal Kickboxing Titles
Title Inaugural Champ Current Champ
1 It’s Showtime 75 kg (’06) Şahin Yakut Artem Levin
2 It’s Showtime 75 kg (’08) Dmitry Shakuta Artem Levin
3 It’s Showtime 77 kg (’08) Dmitry Shakuta Artem Levin
4 It’s Showtime 85 kg (’11) Sahak Parparyan Antonio Plazibat
5 Enfusion 80 kg (’12) Zlatko Bajić Emil Zoraj
6 Enfusion 85 kg (’12) Franci Grajš Antonio Plazibat
7 Glory 85 kg Tourny (’13) Joe Schilling Artem Levin
8 Glory 77 kg Tourny (’13) Nieky Holzken Nieky Holzken
9 ISKA 78 kg World (’13) Karim Ghajji Nieky Holzken
10 Enfusion 85 kg (’14) Miroslav Cingel Miroslav Cingel
11 Glory 85 kg World (’14) Artem Levin Artem Levin
12 Glory 77 kg World (’14) Joe Valtellini Joe Valtellini
History of MW/WW Lineal Kickboxing Kings
Champion Titles % Unify Year
Artem Levin 5 42% 2014
Joe Schilling 4 33% 2014
Simon Marcus 3 33% 2013
Artem Levin 3 50% 2012
Artem Levin 3 75% 2011
Artem Levin 3 100% 2010
L’houcine Ouzgni 3 100% 2009
Wehaj Kingboxing 3 100% 2008
Dmitry Shakuta 3 100% 2008
Dmitry Shakuta 2 100% 2008
Şahin Yakut IST ’06 2006
  • A little lineal history lesson for the division
  • In 2010, Levin held all 3 titles that were available at the time and didn’t give up his throne until 2013 when he lost to Marcus
  • Glory stand out Joe Schilling also makes an appearance on this list of former Lineal Kings
In Conclusion

Artem Levin is your Lineal King at 75 kg – 85 kg. The rematch versus Simon Marcus is a fight that had to happen eventually and it’s great to see Marcus earn his shot through Glory’s contender tournament. Looking into the lineal history of the division we can see why this fight has a little bit more significance as a former lineal king tries to take back the throne. Other stand outs like Nieky Holzken will soon be faced with unification opportunities and maybe someday a Glory Super Fight can unify these lineal titles once and for all…

Next time, with our 4 weight classes complete, we will run through the big picture view of the lineal title landscape in kickboxing. We will lay out the dream match ups in each division and make an argument for the P4P greatest lineal champion in the history of the sport. As always, we hope you have enjoyed this glimpse into kickboxing history as we attempt to recognize and honor the true champions. Enjoy Glory 21!

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Fraser Coffeen
Fraser Coffeen

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