Let me start this article by saying a few things. First, you may not agree with this list, in fact, I know you won’t. Instead think of these men as five OF the best.
Second, I chose to exclude some kick boxers, particularly of the strict Muay Thai variation. I opted to select five men who represent the highest level of talent and who have become synonymous with talent in the kickboxing community.
5. Badr Hari (102-12, 88 KO’s)
Hari may not have the best reputation as of late, but the Dutch-Moroccan has a truly reputable record. At almost a 10:1 ratio, Hari has done well to extend the usually high amount of wins for a contemporary kickboxer far beyond the losses. Schilt, Overeem, Zimmerman and Aerts are among a few of those who he has dispatched over the years.
His motivation and training has come under fire as of late but the 29-year-old is still ripe with talent.
4. Ramon Dekkers (186-35-2, 95 KO’s)
The Turbine from Hell.
The late Ramon Dekkers is more often than not mentioned in P4P talks in kickboxing. Dekkers is one of those ‘been there, done that’ fighters who has stepped in the ring time and time again against whoever was unfortunate to be standing across from him. He was one of those high-level fighters who moved from promotion to promotion, often fighting around once a month
Dekkers initially retired in 2001 after a 16 year career. He returned for a single fight in 2006 but the loss wouldn’t tarnish a legacy that runs over a decade of dominance around the world. If you’re looking for some fantastic fights from Dekkers career, watch his four-fight series with Coban Lookchaomaesaitong. The two battle to a 2-2 series draw.
3. Peter Aerts (105-32-1, 79 KO’s)
If you call yourself a fan of combat sports yet missed the retirement fight of Peter Aerts, shame on you. The 43-year-old former world champion battled the young and hungry Rico Verhoeven. Verhoeven recently won the GLORY 13 heavyweight tournament championship with wins over Gokhan Saki and Daniel Ghita yet his decision over Aerts was the most controversial. Aerts stated in a pre-fight interview that he would make his last fight a street fight to please fans and that’s exactly what he did.
Watch his bout with Jamal Ben Saddik to see what heart is as Aerts, who had been down several times, rose to the occasion and made the fight in to a slugfest. He TKO’d Ben Saddik in the second round. Though he holds a 2-4 record as of late 2010, he was long regarded the best in the sport and has notable wins over Schilt, Saki, Le Banner and Hoost. There is no questioning the fan favorite as the ‘Dutch Lumberjack’s’ legacy doesn’t end with his career.
2. Semmy Schilt (43-6-1, 20 KO’s)
Although Schilt has the least amount of fights on this list, his dominance is not under consideration, it is confirmed. Schilt was regrettably forced to retire after news broke of a heart condition diagnosed to the 6’11” fighter.
His record truly speaks for itself. Schilt is known for being a handful for any man as his height advantage was accented by his power, strength and tenacity.
Reflecting on his career since his first fight with Daniel Ghita in 2009, Schilt has defeated top-tier fighters including Hari, Saki, Verhoeven, Bonjasky, Le Banner, Zimmerman and Ghita all within that three year span. Schilt retired as the 2012 GLORY heavyweight champion and a six-time K-1 champion.
Note: Schilt also made a successful jump to MMA amassing a 26-14-1with 14 KO’s and 10 submissions because he’s Semmy Schilt.
1. Giorgio Petrosyan (76-2-2, 1 NC, 35 KO’s)
Two months ago, his name was synonymous with sheer perfection. A piston cross and unmatched elusiveness struck fear in to his opponent’s minds before they ever stepped foot in the ring with him. The first man to break Petrosyan without controversy was Andy Ristie who shocked the kickboxing world this past November, knocking Petrosyan out in the third round of their GLORY semifinal tournament bout.
Petrosyan will be back, I fear, better than ever. My fear is placed for the men he will face in the future, namely his next opponent who may have to bear the wrath of the scariest Petrosyan in years.