Lineal Kickboxing Update: Lineal gold on the line at Glory 23

Hello there lineal title fans! Another thrilling Glory event is on tap tonight. Being the opportunists that we are, Fraser and I thought it…

By: Fraser Coffeen | 8 years ago
Lineal Kickboxing Update: Lineal gold on the line at Glory 23
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

Hello there lineal title fans! Another thrilling Glory event is on tap tonight. Being the opportunists that we are, Fraser and I thought it an ideal time to offer up another installment in our continuing series dedicated to the history of lineal Kickboxing titles. If you have missed any of our previous articles, here’s a quick run down of recommended reading material:

  • Lightweight (70 kg – 73 kg)
  • Heavyweight Part I: Lineal Reem
  • Heavyweight Part II: Lineal Bonjasky
  • Featherweight (60 kg – 67 kg)
  • Middleweight / Welterweight (75 kg – 85 kg)
  • Light Heavyweight / Heavyweight Part III (90 kg+)
  • As you can see, we’ve already taken a very thorough look at the entire spectrum of weight classes throughout the sport of kickboxing. We like to think of this collection of articles as a solid foundation from which to build. Moving forward, as new titles are created, change hands, or are discovered with more complete research we will bring them to you here in the form of regular updates like this one.

    For a more detailed look at lineal history of the 75 kg – 85 kg division, you can check out the link above. Today’s update will focus on the 2 titles that are on the line in the Glory main event. Then, we’ll give you a quick look at the bigger lineal title picture within the division. Finally, we will update you on some of the lineal titles that have changed hands since our last installment and tease some of the upcoming kickboxing bouts with lineal title implications across all weight classes.

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


    1. You do not talk about lineal titles…(okay, that one was just a Fight Club joke to see if anyone actually reads this part of the post…carry on)
    2. 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.”
    3. Unlike the MMA lineal titles that I track (search the fan posts for more info), weight class will not be a factor in tracking the lineage of Kickboxing titles. That is to say that titles will be allowed to migrate from one weight class to another.
    4. 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 Shoot boxing 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.
    Lineal Titles on the Line at Glory 23
    1. Glory Welterweight Tournament Title (2013) – This was Glory’s first ever Welterweight tournament. The event took place at a time early in the promotion’s history (Glory 13: Tokyo) when they were a bit indecisive about crowning champions. Some of the tournaments resulted in a World Title being awarded to the winner, while others (like this one) were simply Tournament belts. Currently, Glory has settled on a more consistent approach of using tournaments as a way to identify the number one contender to the world title.
    Glory WW 77 kg Tournament Title
    Month/Yr Champion Defenses
    Dec 2013 Nieky Holzken 3
    Field of 4: Nieky Holzken, Joseph Valtellini, Karapet Karapetyan, Raymond Daniels
    Given the field of competitors, I don’t think I’m alone in considering Holzken the true lineal Glory champion at 77 kgs. Now he just has to prove it (again) against Daniels.
    2. ISKA 78 kg Oriental Kicking Rules World Title – This title was created in 2013 and was originally held by Karim Ghaji, a successful French kick boxer who has had mixed results when facing top competition. Ghaji had a tough run in Glory as he was thrown in against Holzken and Joseph Valtellini (not a schedule I’d wish on anyone). The lineal belt would later be unified with the Glory WW Tournament title listed above after Holzken ran through the tournament unscathed.
    ISKA 78 kg World Title (Oriental Kicking)
    Month/Yr Champion Defenses
    March 2013 Karim Ghajji 0
    Dec 2013 Nieky Holzken 5
    Inaugural Match Up: Karim Ghaji vs Darko Delic
    Let’s take a look at how these 2 titles fit into the bigger picture of the division…
    Mmmmm Lineal Pie

    As you see above, Artem Levin remains the lineal King of the division. Holzken and Plazibat are the only other lineal champions to hold more than 1 title. Nieky Holzken’s next fight was supposed to be a unification match with Joe Valtellini. However, in June, fight fans got the sad news that ‘Bazooka’ Joe had voluntarily vacated his Glory World 77 kg title due to Post Concussion Syndrome. Fraser was able to catch up with Joe recently and he confirmed that doctors will be checking in on his progress sometime this Fall. Until then, we won’t know whether Valtellini will return to competition to defend his lineal title. If Joe decides to call it a career (Let’s hope not), then Valtellini’s iteration of the Glory lineal title will be retired and tonight’s match up between Holzken and Daniels at Glory 23 will actually create a new lineal title. Playing out this scenario, the winner would walk away with 23% of the 75 kg – 85 kg lineal pie.

    Another way to visualize this information is with a snapshot of the Lineal Dashboard…

    75 kg – 85 kg Lineal Dashboard

    One thing to point out here is the color coding. The orange refers to titles that were created within the division, but have since migrated somewhere else. In this case, you’ll notice that the It’s Showtime Grand Prix 2007 title, original held by Karapet Karapetyan has migrated to the 70 kg division and is now held by reigning lightweight lineal king Robin van Roosmalen. The title was already right on the boarder of being classified as Lightweight and officially migrated in 2008 when Holzken was still competing in the 70 kg division. Nieky took the title from William Diender and defended it 3 times before losing to Buakaw in 2009.

    Not pictured, is a title currently held by César Córdoba. Frank Muñoz won the SuperKombat HW Title in December of 2013. He defended it once before losing it to Córdoba in February of this year, effectively migrating the belt to the Middleweight / Welterweight division.

    SuperKombat HW Title 2013
    Month/Yr Champion Defenses
    Dec 2013 Frank Muñoz 1
    Feb 2015 César Córdoba 0

    Elsewhere in the division, Plazibat has successfully defend his lineal titles twice since winning them from Franci Grajš in December of 2012. Plazibat holds the It’s Showtime World and Enfusion Tournament 85 kg titles, good for 15% of the lineal pie. Most recently in May at FFC 7 he defeated Bojan Dzepina. To see what’s next for Plazibat, check out our section on “Upcoming Lineal Title Defenses” below.

    Lineal 85 kg Enfusion world champ Miroslav Cingel was scheduled to defend the title at an April Enfusion event, but he dropped out at the last second and they crowned an interim champion. Enfusion says he had to vacate the belt due to “a serious injury” and will fight the new champ when he returns to determine an undisputed title holder. Here’s wishing Cingel a speedy recovery.

    Lineal Updates Across Weight Classes

    • Featherweight (60 kg – 67 kg) – Ladies and Gents, we have a new King of the division! Since our last update, the beloved Kongsak has fallen to a new contender for best name in lineal title history: Chujaroen Dabrunsarakam. Unfortunately for us lineal title fans, Chujaroen is not exactly a world traveler. He’ll likely hold the title hostage in Thailand making it next to impossible to track. What this means for the division is uncertain, however, there are other lineal title holders that could make a case for a new dominant lineage in the division. That’s the beauty of the aggregate approach to lineal champions. Someone else like Glory FW champion Gabriel Varga or current two time lineal champ Minoru Kimura now has a chance to emerge as a new king of the division. Only time will tell. Lastly, Koya Urabe successfully defended his K-1 World Max 60 kg 2015 title on the undercard of the recent K-1 70 kg GP in Japan.This fight marked Urabe’s first defense since winning the tournament in January.

    • Lightweight (70 kg – 73 kg) – In an event that flew a bit under the radar, K-1 crowned a 2015 World Max 70 kg Grand Prix champion. Marat Grigorian earned the honor on July 7th with three wins in one night. Here’s a look at the other fighters that made up the 8-man field: Jordan Pikeur, Makihira Keita, Yoichi Yamazaki, Dylan Salvador, Sanny Dahlbeck, Hiroki Nakajima, Daiki Watabe. This created a new lineal title which we have added in the updated 70 kg pie below

    • Light Heavyweight / Heavweight (90 kg+) – Glory recently announced a decision to strip Gokhan Saki of the Glory LHW World Title for refusing to defend his belt against #1 contender Saulo Cavalari. This contract dispute was a real bummer from a lineal title perspective because each man holds 2 titles and the proposed Dynamite! main event would have been a unification match for 22% of the lineal pie in the division. In happier news, upon further review Semmy Schilt was awesome. Okay, so we already knew that. But, with a little bit of research, Fraser uncovered yet another lineal title that belonged to Schilt. As a reminder, Semmy Schilt retired due to a heart condition with 4 lineal titles including the very first Glory belt. Throughout his amazing career, Semmy held a total of 26 lineal titles, which puts him 4th on the all-time list. He also boasts a 15-4-1 record against other top lineal title competitors, good for a 78% winning percentage. And, in 2009, Semmy Schilt was crowned lineal king of the division with 43% of all available titles (12 total). Here’s a look at the details of this newly uncovered title:
    King of Kings World GP 2010
    Month/Yr Champion Defenses
    Dec 2010 Pavel Zhuravlev 0
    Nov 2011 Ismael Londt 0
    Nov 2011 Sergei Lascenko 0
    March 2012 Daniel Ghita 6
    March 2014 Semmy Schilt retired
    The lineal pie below represents a snapshot of currently active lineal titles in the 90 kg+ division. Semmy Schilt is retired, so he does not appear. If you have been following this series, you know that our last post focused on the quest for a new lineal king in the Heavyweight division. With many of the greats retiring (Schilt, Overeem, Bonjasky), a new king has yet to emerge. Since our last update, the picture has begun to stabilize a bit. With a strong performance at Glory 22, Rico Verhoeven added another title to his collection. And, Jahfarr Wilnis emerged victorious from the Kunlun Fight Super Heavyweight Tournament with 6 lineal titles. The field included Glory veteran Hesdy Gerges as well as the man who handed Verhoeven his most recent defeat, Andrey Herasimchuk, so it represented a very strong win for Wilnis.

    Upcoming Lineal Title Defenses
    • Jahfarr Wilnis will put his share of the Heavyweight lineal crown (6 titles) on the line at Kunlun 29 next weekend in Russia. He will be facing Valentin Slavikovski.
    • Giorgio Petrosyan will face Xu Yan August 28 in China putting his 3 lineal titles up for grabs: K-1 Max Grand Prix 2014, It’s Showtime 70 kg, Enfusion 70 kg. I am hopeful that this could set up a return to Glory for Petrosyan and a potential rematch with current lineal king of the division Robin van Roosmalen. The winner of that bout would walk away with 75% of all available titles at 70 kg.
    • Antonio Plazibat is scheduled to defend his 2 lineal titles at FFC 19 in September. His opponent has yet to be determined
    • Minoru Kimura will compete in K-1 Sept. 22 against an opponent yet to be determined. Kimura currently holds two 65 kg lineal titles: K-1 Max 2014 GP and Enfusion World
    • Marat Grigorian is set to compete in a K-1 Grand Prix event on November 21 against an opponent yet to be determined. His K-1 Max 2015 GP title will be on the line.
    • There are rumors that Gabriel Varga might be putting his Glory Featherweight title on the line at the Glory/Bellator show, but nothing confirmed yet (watch for a possible announcement tonight).
    • Yodsaenklai is fighting down in Australia tomorrow. He takes on Marco Tentori.
    • Saulo Cavalari may not get his unification fight with Gokhan Saki, but he will still put his lineal share of the pie up for grabs at Dynamite when he faces Zack Mwekassa. That fight will crown a new Glory champion for the organization, but for our purposes, Saki remains the true champ.
    Enjoy the fights tonight lineal title fans! As always, we look forward to your feedback in the comments section.
    Share this story

    About the author
    Fraser Coffeen
    Fraser Coffeen

    More from the author

    Bloody Elbow Podcast
    Related Stories