This Friday May 17th King of Kings kickboxing comes to Helsinki, Finland for the first time. KOK will explode onto the Finnish fight scene with an incredible card featuring an -85 kg Middleweight Title fight. The championship is currently vacant and it has been a long time since there has been a proper champion.
The fight will be a rematch between Daniel Forsberg and Raimonds Aukstikalnis. These two top-ranked KOK middleweights met last October in a very competitive and hard-hitting fight that saw Forsberg eking out a split decision victory in Aukstikalnis’ home country of Latvia. This time it will be different. The added pressure of a title fight, a new location and a full five rounds, if needed, should determine who in fact is the true King of Kings in the middleweight division.
Forsberg vs. Aukstikalnis I
The first encounter between Daniel Forsberg and Raimonds Aukstikalnis took place on the 27th of October last year in Arena Riga. The Latvian fighter was undefeated up to that point in his homeland with a record of 6 – 0 including wins over Mike Sprangh, Valdemar Kulda and other top KOK fighters. All that changed though, when he suffered his first loss in Riga at the hands of Forsberg.
The first round was brutal, with Forsberg dropping heavy body kicks and punches throughout the round. The Finnish fighter was controlling the pace and moving forward very aggressively. Aukstikalnis hit the canvas several times that round, which can be very energy-draining. However, he did manage to bust Forsberg’s nose open, drawing first blood in the fight.
>>> watch the full fight here <<<
The second round saw a slower pace from Forsberg. Aukstikalnis worked much better at this tempo. He seemed to have figured out his opponent a little better by this time and looked more aggressive as well. The third round saw more power shots from Forsberg. It was quite an even round, but Forsberg seemed to be landing more. In the end, the judges gave the Finn the victory by split decision.
I had a chance to talk to both fighters before the fight and this is what they had to say.
“Raimonds is a very good and strong opponent. I haven’t thought too much about the first fight. I’m only focused on this one. We will see the differences inside the ring. For me it’s great to see this kind of event here in Finland. As for Raimonds, I don’t have anything to say to him before the fight. I will only give him a cold, empty stare.”
“This is a very important fight for me. I’ve been waiting for this for a very long time. Daniel is a good fighter with hard punches. The last time we fought, I lost the fight. I was so stressed on this day and my preparation was bad. Sometimes you need to lose to become a better fighter. This fight will definitely be different. I have not been this hungry for a long time.”
OK President Donatas Simanaitis
KOK President Donatas Simanaitis has been keeping a very close eye on the middleweight division recently and is excited for the possibilities it holds. This past February Jurij Orlov defeated Mike Sprangh to become the KOK European Champion at -85 kilos. On Friday we will have a new World Champion. I spoke to Donatas recently about this division and the upcoming title fight.
I’m very excited to bring King of Kings to Finland. Finland always has very strong fighters so I think that it has very big potential. I think we will have this tournament every year there. -85 kg weight category fights are the most interesting because there is everything in one fight – strength, speed and you can see the best KO’s in this weight category. The first time these two fighters met, Daniel had very strong punches and kicks, but I think Raimonds learned a valuable lesson. So I think the chances are 50-50.
Where to Watch
In addition to the Middleweight Title Fight, there will also be a four-man Featherweight WGP Tournament. Janis Freimanis, Pok Biil, Dariusz Skoczek and Lauri Suomela will battle to decide the one-night WGP champion. Both parts of the event, the FightBox Hero’s Series and also the World Grand Prix will be shown live on FightBox this Friday May 17th 2019 starting at 6:15 pm CEST. You can watch on the FightBox HD TV channel or online at www.filmboxlive.com. For more information and to see the full fight card, click here.
– Daniel Austin