Saturday, July 17, 2010

SPORTS>>IKF umbrella harbors amateurs

Bring it on!

It’s a simple, yet catchy motto for what has become one of the largest martial arts sanctioning bodies in the world, particularly for amateurs.

The International Kickboxing Federation was founded by Dan Stell and Steve Fossum in summer 1992 and expanded into Europe by 1998. Stell left the organization in the mid 1990s. Fossum later went on to form the International Sport Combat Federation or ISCF, which became the first sanctioning body for Mixed Martial Arts.

Many of the top names in the world of MMA got started in the IKF, including Ultimate Fighting Championship legend Chuck
“The Iceman” Liddell, who won the IKF heavyweight title in 1996.

The IKF also hosts amateur kickboxing’s crown jewel event, the World Classic. The annual World Classic amateur kickboxing and Muay Thai championships will take place July 23-25 in Orlando, Fla., at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort.

The event field has grown to over 300 fighters projected for this year’s event, and is all-inclusive with divisions for children and adults, male and female.

Barata MMA fighter Eli McGlothlin is a five-time champion of the World Classic and is going back to try and capture an unprecedented sixth title belt.

“This is definitely the hardest I’ve ever trained for a fight,” McGlothlin said.

Other local ties to IKF include Jacksonville’s Kayla Oudthone, who won the IKF junior amateur girls Central Regional Bantamweight title in March 2005 fighting out of her father’s Prathet Thai training dojo and held the belt until December 2008 when she retired from the amateur ranks.

There are six different styles of fighting under the IKF banner, including American, International, Muay Thai, San Shou, semi-contact and gladiator-style MMA.

IKF’s website encourages persistence by competitors and cites the life story of President Abraham Lincoln as an example of success through perseverance.

The five-star mission of the IKF is credibility through legitimate titles and rankings, fairness in the rules, recognition, support and assistance to IKF event promoters and unity throughout the kickboxing community.