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  • Nine Things You Need to Know About KOK in 2018

     

    FightBox first launched as a television channel back in 2010 and four years later we started showing live events. King of Kings was one of the first promotions to be featured in our live event schedule, forging a lasting partnership that is still ongoing today. When these events started airing on FightBox it was my first exposure to the brand. What impressed me about KOK was how regularly they were holding events, the quality of the television production, the excitement of the fights and the massive crowds they managed to draw to their shows, especially in Lithuania.

    It wasn’t until the end of 2017 that I finally had the opportunity to actually work for this organization as a commentator. When I first arrived at the hotel in Moldova the day before their event in December, one of the only people sitting in a nearly empty hotel restaurant, intently working on his laptop, was one of the men behind the curtain - Donatas Simanaitis, who immediately greeted me with a warm smile and welcomed me into the KOK family.

    Although we would spend a lot of time talking over the next couple of days, I wanted to delve a bit deeper into the mind of the man who oils the gears of this European kickboxing machine. What I discovered is someone who has been involved in combat sports all his life, who has never lost his passion for fighting. He has big plans for 2018 and is not showing any signs of slowing down yet. In fact, he’s planning on revamping the promotion and expanding into other parts of the continent. See for yourself in our interview below.


    For people who are unfamiliar with King of Kings, what makes KOK special? How is it different from other fight promotions?

    Professional kickboxing fights used to belong to the world leader, the Japanese. Today we can say that this position belongs to KOK (King of Kings), an organization where the best fighters from all over the world come to participate. I think our brand name guarantees everyone exclusive fights with strong matchmaking, new names, new talents and an overall great show. KOK brings the largest audiences to the biggest arenas in all of Europe. We can also say that KOK is a symbol of stability as we have had 10 high level tournaments per year for many years.

    What was the best KOK fight from 2017 in your opinion?

    2017 brought many surprises to KOK. There were 12 tournaments in different European countries. Every tournament had its own intrigue. It is hard to choose the best fight, but I think that the fight of the year would go to Sergei Maslobojev vs. Thomas Bridgewater at the KOK tournament. It’s the kind of fight we will never forget.

     

    What is your plan for 2018?

    For 2018 we have 10 KOK tournaments scheduled in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Moldova, Switzerland, Finland, Ireland, England, and Cyprus as well as title fights in the -65 kg, -71 kg, -77 kg, -85 kg, -93 kg, and +93 kg weight categories.

    Are there any big fights you would like to make happen in 2018?

    ZAUR DZAVADOV VS. CRISTIAN DOREL

    Usually KOK events are divided into two parts, the Hero's World Series, which is live on FightBox, and the World Grand Prix, which is rebroadcast later. What is your favorite thing about the Hero's World Series?

    These are two separate projects, not a first or second part. One of them is called “FightBox’s KOK HERO’S WORLD SERIES” and the other one is called “KOK WORLD GP”. Both of them are equally strong projects with the strongest fighters in the world.

    There are always very big crowds for KOK events in Lithuania, sometimes 8,000 - 10,000 people. How do you attract such big audiences?

    KOK started in Vilnius in 2009 and the BUSHIDO project started in 1999. They are held regularly and this increased the audience over the years. I also need to say that KOK fights have never disappointed our audience, so they come regularly to our shows.

    In the last few years there has been a big boom in kickboxing in China. What is your opinion about this market? Are you interested in entering this market?

    Chinese kickboxing tournaments are focused on the Chinese market. This is a different world which has old martial arts traditions. European audiences are different. They are more likely to choose KOK events over any Chinese brand. If we talk about our plans, we do have some offers for cooperation. They have offered to hold one event for us per year, but this is not our priority even though we have added one tournament in 2019 to our plans.

    You have been in the fight business for many years and being a promoter is not an easy job. What keeps you motivated?

    My whole life is martial arts. I’ve been promoting in this business since 1999. My main motivation is this way of life and a love for martial arts.

    What message do you have for KOK fans?

    We are so thankful for our fans who always support us at KOK tournaments. Thank you so much and we promise a lot of surprises, intriguing fights and astonishing shows in 2018!


    If you haven’t seen KOK before or if it’s been a while since you’ve seen one of their events, I invite you to check out some of the action this year on FightBox. The 2018 season kicks off on February 24th from Riga, Latvia. You can always catch the “Hero’s World Series” live on FightBox with the WGP replayed later. Previous events are regularly replaying on FightBox TV. To see what we’re showing for the week, check the schedule here. Live streaming is available at www.fightboxlive.com for only €3.99 per event or you can buy a monthly subscription at www.filmboxlive.com for only €5.00 if you don’t already have FightBox on your TV.


    - Daniel Austin (Don Roid)


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