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August 2018: KOK’s 2018 Summer Series Over, the Best Still Yet to Come


King of Kings has been stereotyped as being the biggest kickboxing organization in Eastern Europe, regularly drawing thousands of fans to their biggest shows in Lithuania, Moldova, Estonia and Latvia. Usually the organization hits these reliable hot spots twice a year, once in the late winter / early spring and then again in the fall / early winter, taking a break during the summer months when everyone is on vacation and combat sports events are sporadic. However, the summer of 2018 will go down as the most active in KOK history with three big shows. After it’s all been said and done, 2018 will be remembered as a year of global expansion for King of Kings.

KOK Cyprus

In what was billed as “The Hottest Event of the Sumer”, King of Kings returned to the tiny Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus, this time in the city of Limassol, on June 23rd. This is the third time KOK has visited the country, debuting in December of 2014. The card was mainly comprised of lesser-known Cypriot and Greek fighters, but after this event I’m sure several of these guys will go on to make a name for themselves. This card delivered many memorable fights on a very high level.

In my opinion, the fight of the night was Danny Parker versus Stefanos Argyrou which was a war for three straight rounds of non-stop action. The main event of Levanis “Leo” Revazishvili vs. Georgios Moustakis was also one hell of a matchup.

Aside from the fights, what better place to have a kickboxing show than in paradise, right? Cyprus is a beautiful place with crystal-clear Mediterranean water, delicious food, miles and miles of beaches and a very relaxed, laid back atmosphere. The KOK team had a great time relaxing on the beach the next day.


KOK London

I’m sorry to say that I did not attend KOK’s British invasion on July 7th, but everyone’s favorite KOK English commentator Sandy Holt, who recently was bestowed the prestigious award of Muay Thai Master, was there to call the action. Sandy had this to say about the show:

What a pleasant surprise to get King of Kings in my home country and to the capital of the UK! The KOK event started slowly with regards to the crowd, and I was a little worried as two major events were on the same day - England in the World Cup football quarter finals and another fight night in London too, but as the night went on the crowd came in and much to the delight of us all, the fights, as with all KOK matchups, was on point and nothing but five star action inside of the KOK square ring!


The biggest news coming out of KOK London, was that perhaps a new star was born in King of Kings on this day. When I asked promoter Donatas Simanaitis what he thought about this young prospect from Azerbaijan, he told me that “Overall the KOK project is at the stage where a new generation of strong and invincible fighters are taking over. One of them is a talent from Azerbaijan - Elkhan Alyev. He is spectacular and strong fighter and you had a chance to see him at the KOK World GP in London as well as Lithuanian fighter Mindaugas Narauskas. He is a rising star of martial arts as well. As I once said, KOK is a place where new stars of martial arts are born and you will be able to see them at upcoming events. Elkhan Alyev is one of those who will surprise all of our fans in the future.”


KOK Turkey

This may go down as one of the biggest KOK events in history. There was an electric atmosphere in the air for this show as it was estimated that nearly 25,000 people were jammed, shoulder to shoulder, into the Sarkoy town square, right next to the beach, to witness King of Kings’ debut in the country of Turkey.

There were probably about a hundred or so VIPs inside the steel barrier around ringside, followed by about four or five rows on the outside of the barrier near the ring. Behind those ringside seats there was an open space of about five or six meters before you reached the bleachers. I’m not sure exactly how many people were actually seated, I’d guess about 1,000 people at most. The rest of them were all standing between the bleachers and the ringside seats for the entire duration of the event. It was incredible! The Turkish fans are so passionate too. If their fighters are winning they absolutely lose their minds and if their fighters are losing, you can hear a pin drop, even in the middle of 25,000 people. Long time Turkish fighter turned promoter Erkan Varol co-promoted the event with KOK and I hope this is the beginning of a strong relationship between the two organizers.


The main event was absolutely wild and at times was completely out of control. Turkish fighter Adem Ozdemir seemed to me to be a classically trained Western style boxer. His opponent, Umid Namuratov of Uzbekistan, looked to have more of a martial arts style to his offense, I’d say probably taekwondo or karate. This clash of styles was frustrating for Ozdemir who was losing his temper during the fight and at one point even resorted to what looked like a judo throw of some sort. Nevertheless, it made for an exciting matchup and capped off one of the most memorable shows in KOK history.


Donatas Simanaitis and Erkan Varol


Fall / Winter Season 2018

While the summer season in KOK certainly overachieved, the best is really yet to come as King of Kings is set to deliver some of its biggest shows of the year starting in September. I had a chance to ask KOK President Donatas Simanaitis about the upcoming events for the remainder of 2018 and this is what he had to say:

"There are still some great events ahead in 2018. We will have 8 more tournaments this year in Lithuania, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Moldova, Spain and Belgium. It is hard to guess what will be the biggest fight of the year as we have so many great fighters in KOK, but we will have a title fight in the heavyweight division and a very interesting title fight in Latvia where Constantin Rusu will meet Zaur Dzhavadov.


Breaking the Mold

As I stated in the beginning of this blog, one of the stereotypes that KOK faces is that it is sometimes viewed as an “Eastern European” fight promotion. After all, promoter Donatas Simanaitis is from Lithuania and the biggest shows are always in his home country or in Moldova. But in my opinion 2018 and 2019 are going to smash that stereotype. KOK is truly turning into an international brand, touring all over Europe and parts of Asia. The ambition is to eventually reach all parts of the globe. In fact, if you think of Europe as a giant square, you can even say that by the end of 2018 KOK will have reached “all four corners” and many other places in-between.

As for 2019, once again Donatas Simanaitis gives us a glimpse into the future.

"KOK  is taking a big step in Europe. We are currently planning 17 events in 2019. Next year we will have tournaments in Finland, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Moldova, Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, England, Spain, Cyprus, Ireland, Slovakia, Turkey and Greece. We are also planning to have an 8 man tournament in the heavyweight division in 2019. We will have the strongest 8 heavyweight fighters in the world fight against each other to see who is the strongest one."

Below is the schedule for the rest of 2018

21.09 - Kaunas, Lithuania

29.09 - Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia

06.10 - Chisinau, Moldova (not on FightBox)

13.10 - Tallinn, Estonia

27.10 - Riga, Latvia

17.11 - Vilnius, Lithuania

30.11 - Valencia, Spain

08.12 - Chisinau, Moldova

?.12 - Belgium (date TBA)


- Daniel Austin (Don Roid) (blog) (podcast)








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