’It’s an issue at their personal level’: Raisin boss reacts to White and Sityotong’s kickboxing ban

One of the biggest kickboxing bouts in recent memory took place in June 2022.

The long-awaited superfight between talented strikers Tenshin Nasukawa and Takeru Segawa ignited combat sports at the world-famous Tokyo Dome. Nasukawa won the match via a sensational unanimous decision (see highlights), then retired from the sport and made huge strides for an event that would land Japan.



Tenshin Vs. by Japanese streaming service Abema. Takeru aired exclusively, and garnered over 500,000 pay-per-view (PPV) buys. The numbers put the event at $25 million and sponsors between $5 million and $50 million in revenue. 59,000 people attended and 56,399 tickets were sold. By comparison, the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) attendance record for UFC 243 in Melbourne, Australia at Marvel Stadium in October 2019 was 57,127.

Despite the success of „The Match 2022” between the legendary strikers, the UFC and ONE Championship’s top mixed martial arts (MMA) promoters, Dana White and Sadri Chitotang, have been critical of the sport in recent months. In a post-fight scrum at Contender Series last month (Sept. 12, 2023), White said that kickboxing „never started” or that there were no big fights beyond the 1980s, so there was no point in trying to get involved. Sityodtong, on the other hand, has included kickboxing matches at one event, but recently blasted the K-1 promotion, in particular, calling it „low level” and not worth promoting alongside potential takekaru bouts.

Among the various kickboxing tournaments and matches held in the RIZIN Fighting Federation, Tenshin vs. As one of the people involved in putting Takeru together, Nobuyuki Sakakibara believes these comments say more about the promoter than the game itself.

„I honestly think they’re promoters of talking about a game like that … I don’t appreciate them talking like that,” Sakakibara said. MMA Mania In the vast HORIZIN. „Kickboxing is an amazing sport, it’s a fun sport, and I think it’s an issue on a personal level because as a promoter, if you can’t promote the sport, you shouldn’t be doing it. I think there are many better ways to promote a kickboxing fight. Kickboxing Interesting, it’s an entertaining game.

„If you think it’s not happening, it’s the fault of an advertiser who didn’t do their job,” he continued. „They didn’t make the right points, they didn’t promote it properly. So, as a promoter, I don’t think they should say that for certain sports. If they tried and they couldn’t do it, that’s their choice, that’s their fault. We know how to promote interesting fights, We make it interesting.

Sakakibara’s history in fight sports dates back to the Pride Fighting Championship era, where he rose to prominence with the UFC in the mid-2000s. Pride and the UFC were briefly co-promoted during one event, with future UFC Hall of Famer, Chuck Liddell, in one of the bouts. Pride was eventually purchased by the UFC, putting Sakagibara out of business under a seven-year no-compete clause.

RIZIN is fast approaching its 10th year. Incidentally, one has played more kickboxing matches and has won champions in the sport, unlike RIZIN. However, an argument can be made that Sakakibara was able to create some real scenes based on the game and his motivation and overall talent, which is much deeper.

„When you look at the number of trainers practicing kickboxing, even Muay Thai in Thailand doing their thing, there are many competitors,” Sakakipara said.
“Maybe more than MMA when you look at it. From amateurs and children. There are many people who practice kickboxing. So, the potential is there, the market is there. I think it will be in the hands of the organisers. They need to figure it out to make kickboxing a popular sport. The talent is there.”


Watch the entire episode in the video embedded above or listen on Spotify.

Broad Horizon Ep. 32 Audio – Japanese version below:

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