We have to talk about JKICK

The second column of The Kickboxing Podcast takes an in-depth look at the JKICK phenomenon and why it is so relevant to the kickboxing world.
Published on Apr 6, 2024, 3:55:21 PM
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Do you believe me when I tell you that Sunday, June 19, 2022 may be the most historic day in kickboxing in the past 10 years? The Tokyo Dome was the battleground for the "highly anticipated match" between the best kickboxers from the two competing organizations RISE and K-1. Namely, the undefeated RISE champion Tenshin Nasukawa and Japanese superstar and also K-1 Super Featherweight champion Takeru 'Natural Born Krusher' Segawa. Now, many will think, "Take-what and Nasu-who?". No, this is not a magic spell, but something magical did happen that night.

With 59,000 spectators of which 56,399 fans had purchased tickets, the Tokyo Dome was completely sold out. That made a total of a bizarre $25 million! To give you an idea of the success: The highest revenue from ticket sales in UFC history was during UFC 205, headlined by the fight between Conor McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez. That event brought in $17.7 million. That's a difference of a whopping $7.3 million!

Besides the fact that the event, labeled THE MATCH 2022, was hugely successful financially, the main event between Segawa and Nasukawa was a spectacular world-class bout. What I mean by this is that although Glory is seen as the biggest kickboxing organization in the world, organizations on the other side of the world have similar and in some cases bigger successes. If you look at the kickboxers themselves, Glory is lord and master in the four heaviest weight classes, but you could argue that the best kickboxers under 70 kg are signed to promoters in Asia, and especially in Japan.

If you've listened to my podcast, you know that I'm a big fan of JKICK, or Japanese kickboxing. This is partly because I do call myself a bit of an otaku (see my podcast's house style), but also because I follow the sport closely and the fights in Japan are simply of an incredibly high level. Just look at the explosiveness of Toki Tamaru, the speed of Kento Haraguchi, the power of Akihiro Kaneko and the relentless pressure of Chadd Collins. These stars in Japan are not inferior to the stars in the West. Indeed, sometimes they exceed expectations.

Therefore, it won't surprise you that I crowned a fight between two Japanese as the best fight of 2023. Akihiro Kaneko and Masashi Kumura fought each other for the third time during K-1 ReBIRTH and pulled off an instant classic. I can well imagine that the bulk of readers have not seen this fight, but I am sure that if you did see this match, you will want more of this. I have to admit that Japanese kickboxing promoters don't always make it easy for us either, because streams for these shows are often not easy to find, so I completely understand if you have never heard of these names. But search and ye shall find, for you are pulling open a pot of gold of wonderful matches.

In the previous column, I praised the cooperation between Glory and Japanese kickboxing organization RISE. Finally, Glory's best fighters could take on RISE's best fighters! That happened, as last December Glory Featherweight champion Petch Kiatmookao fought the aforementioned RISE fighter Chadd Collins from Australia. The unprecedented happened: Collins defeated Petch! Some loss of face for Glory at the time, perhaps, but it showed that JKICK is not to be underestimated. Not surprisingly, a collaboration between Glory and RISE was born. Where I ended my last column with connection, this time I want to end it with broadening: open Youtube and look up the fighters I mentioned in this column, because a whole new world will open up for you.

De Kickboks Podcast regularly publishes new episodes (in Dutch) on YouTube, Spotify en Apple Podcasts.


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2 comments

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PK_Gym
@PKGym
1 month ago

Takeru will have gained some international fame from his fight with Superlek and unfortunately many people only know Tenshin from his match against mayweather. Tenshin Nasukawa is a unique super talent who does things in the ring that other fighters cannot get away with. This makes him somewhat reminiscent of Saenchai(different style though). Unfortunately he switched to boxing and hasn't been on international stages (too) much, because he has everything to become an international superstar. Takeru is personally one of my favo fighters and has never had a boring match. Aggression, aggression and super fast combinations. Not always smart going but only 3 fighters have ever been able to beat him.

This text was automatically translated from Dutch.
De Kickboks Podcast
@kickbokspodcast
1 month ago

Agree with your words, but I think we are far from seeing everything from Tenshin. He is making great strides in boxing and I do see him reaching the top. It would be unprecedented for a kickboxing world champion to also become a boxing world champion!

This text was automatically translated from Dutch.
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Wim
@Wim
1 month ago

That more of Rise of Glory was coming soon.

This text was automatically translated from Dutch.
De Kickboks Podcast
@kickbokspodcast
1 month ago

Yes, in my opinion, GLORY has been silent for too long since the announcement. Rise of GLORY has the potential to make a global impact.

This text was automatically translated from Dutch.

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