Liverkick kindly responded to our request for comment following on from Ibrahim El Boustati‘s recent guest appearance on the podcast. El Boustati is the defending 85kg and 90kg Enfusion world champion and fights Ulrik Bokeme tomorrow in a non-title fight at Enfusion Live 46. However, “The Beast” criticised the media, especially the Liverkick rankings for showing favouritism to GLORY Kickboxing fighters.
Dave Walsh is the owner of Liverkick and someone we here at K1Anoop (and its fair to say, across the kickboxing media world), respect and admire for his great work in covering the sport over the years. Walsh responded for and on-behalf of his website, Liverkick, to El Boustati’s comments, below:
“There are always people who are upset over the rankings. There will always be fighters who feel like they belong in the rankings or that somehow our rankings are unfair.”
“Trust me, I get it. This is their profession, their passion and their lives and our site has been around for a long time now, as have the rankings in one form or another. The current Middleweight rankings date back to 2011, at the time they were called the Light Heavyweight rankings. These rankings have worked the same exact way since its inception and at this point and I don’t consider them to be based on opinion, either.”
“They work in a simple manner; if a fighter defeats a ranked fighter, they take their spot. The person who was defeated moves down and anyone underneath them does as well. In that way, it’s impossible to rank Ibrahim. I explained this to him when he reached out in a courteous, professional manner, as always. The fight was overturned, records indicate it as a loss for him. That’s not an opinion or taking a “side.”
“The idea that the rankings are somehow not objective or favor one promotion (GLORY) is absolutely something that I’d reject. Heavyweight and Lightweight date back to 2009 when there was only one big kickboxing promotion in K-1. Since then the rankings have grown to involve further weight classes, mostly building off of the work that It’s Showtime did to give all of the current weight classes as much attention has heavyweight and lightweight.”
“If you believe that the rankings are biased, ask Gabriel Varga about how he was GLORY Featherweight Champion and his ranking kept slipping. Why? Because GLORY’s Featherweight division isn’t as deep it is around the world. The best fighters in the division are fighting in Japan and China, so the rankings reflect that. Currently Robin van Roosmalen is rankied #10.”
“I understand the frustrations of fighters at being unable to bridge the gap to make it into the rankings. Kickboxing is fractured right now, some fighters have exclusive contracts and there isn’t enough crossing over. With that being said, the idea of merit, talent or the possibilities of a fighter beating another being enough to deserve a favorable ranking is absolutely out of the question. Part of why people appreciate and take our rankings seriously is that we don’t do that. Those that understand how they work know that it’s purely on who beats who. If I were to do them based on my own personal preferences and belief of who is better than who they would look entirely different.”
“There is a certain gravity that comes with tabulating and maintaining these rankings. Fighters have gotten booked in bigger fights thanks to them, wikipedia pages have hung in the balance due to the rankings and more. The integrity of them is important to us and always has been. Every update is criticized, ostracized, poured over and the following days end up where I need to simply try to not pay attention to Twitter, Facebook and message boards where fans, fighters and promoters will decide that LiverKick is a terrible, biased outlet and whatnot. The rankings have led to everything stalking and threats from fighters, promoters, managers, parents, friends of fighters and everyone else, ranging from threats of “boycotting” the site all the way to death threats over the years.”
“No matter what, I reject and resent his implication that we’re being “biased” towards one promotion or another. I’ve been covering professional kickboxing since 2009, after I decided that the sport deserved the same level of attention and the same quality of information made available to the public as MMA was receiving. While we don’t cover every event that happens in the world, our content is curated to bring readers the content that they are interested in and what is important in the current kickboxing landscape. LiverKick remains small, independent and is based upon the standards that I’ve been building for the last eight years. We don’t cover MMA, we don’t cover grappling, we cover kickboxing and kickboxing alone. If you come to our site, you know that you are getting kickboxing news and that it’s the news that matters.”
“The past week alone we’ve posted news about GLORY, Kyokugen, RIZIN, KNOCK OUT, SuperStar Fight, EM Legend and Kunlun Fight. This is during a slow, post-holiday week. We regularly post news about Enfusion, have a good, working relationship with the promotion and will continue to in the future.”
Click here to watch / listen to exactly what Ibrahim El Boustati had previously said about the Liverkick rankings.