Kickboxing

Top 10 Kickboxers of 2021

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Who are the top ten kickboxers of 2021? Who had the best year in kickboxing and who is the fighter of the year? Despite the ongoing pandemic, Kickboxing had a marquee 2021 with some amazing bouts this year. The list for the Top 10 Kickboxers of 2021 can be found below. For this list, we have mixed Muay Thai and Kickboxing accolades, also male and female.

Top 10 Kickboxers of 2021

10. Rodtang Jitmuangnon

The 24-year-old Muay Thai fighter improved his record to 267 wins in 2021. Rodtang Jitmuangnon The reigning ONE Championship Flyweight Muay Thai World title holder was able to pick up two more wins this year when he won wars against the Russian Tagir Khalilov and Australia’s Danial Williams. Both fights were extremely entertaining.

9. Tenshin Nasukawa (那須川 天心)

The 23-year-old fighting phenom earned two more title defenses in 2021. The Japanese-born Tenshin Nasukawa earned a victory against the RISE 2020 Tournament Champion Shiro and the former RISE Bantamweight Champion Masahiko Suzuki. Nasukawa was able to defeat both by decision. The young Japanese superstar Nasukawa made history earlier this year when he announced he will soon retire from kickboxing to enter the sport of boxing.

8. Sanaejan SorJor Tongprajin

The 17-year-old Thai-born fighter made history this year when she become the first female champion in Lumpinee Stadium. Improving her record to 30 wins the young Sanaejan SorJor Tongprajin becomes the first female to hold a WBC MuayThai Title. In September of this year, she defeated the older and more experienced Buakaw Morkorchor Chaiyaphum to make history.

7. Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong

After a challenging 2019 and 2020, Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong needed a great comeback in 2021, and that’s exactly what he did. The former Muay Thai and Glory Champion earned two victories in 2021 against challenging competition. Earlier this year the Thai-born fighter earned a close victory against Tawanchai P.K.Saenchaimuaythaigym. Then later on he advanced in the ONE Championship Kickboxing Featherweight Grand Prix when he defeated Enfusion Kickboxing champion Tayfun Özcan, of Turkey.

6. Takeru Segawa (世川 武尊)

In 2021 the Kickboxing great added more accolades to his already decorated name. The Japanese-born Takeru Segawa holds many K-1 Kickboxing titles, and in March of this year, he went to war against the KRUSH Super Featherweight champion, Leona Pettas. Takeru and Pettas had an extremely exciting bout which ended with Takeru’s hand getting raised after earning a second-round KO. The Japanese fighter recently requested a fight against the ONE Championship titleholder Rodtang Jitmuangnon.

5. Janet Todd

ONE on TNT II - Janet Todd

The American fighter Janet Todd had a marquee year in kickboxing. In 2020 she avenged a loss and defeated Stamp Fairtex to earn the ONE Championship Atomweight Kickboxing Title, and in 2021 she defended the title twice. She first earned a decision victory against Alma Juniku. Then in April, she defeated the former ISKA World Muay Thai Champion Anne Line Hogstad via TKO.

4. Capitan Petchyindee Academy

Capitan Petchyindee Academy was determined to make 2021 his year. In the calendar year the Thai-born fighter won the ONE Championship Kickboxing Bantamweight title by way of KO against Russian Champion Alaverdi Ramazanov, and later defended this title against French-born Mehdi Zatout. Capitan also fought to a draw against the 2016 Lumpinee Stadium Champion Nuenglanlek Jitmuangnon.

3. Masaaki Noiri (野杁 正明)

Going undefeated in four fights in 2021 Masaaki Noiri had a year for the history books. While earning four wins this year the Japanese fighter had three of these by way of KO/TKO. And to add, these victories earned him the K-1 World GP 2021 giving him the K-1 Welterweight Championship. In the final, he defeated the former champion Anpo Rukiya via TKO.

2. Superbon Banchamek

Photo Courtesy of ONE Championship

Superbon Banchamek launched his name into superstardom this year. The Thai-born Superbon, who is a student of all-time great Buakaw, not only won the inaugural ONE Kickboxing Featherweight Championship, but he did it with a head-kick knockout against a Kickboxing GOAT in Giorgio Petrosyan. Petrosyan, who has been undefeated since 2013, was a favorite to win in this fight and has held titles in ISKA, ONE Championship, K-1, and others. Superbon was able to control a closely contested bout before landing a head-kick KO against the all-time great. While only being 2021 some are already calling this a Knockout of the Decade.

1. Rico Verhoeven

Rico Verhoeven

The Dutch heavyweight continues his path in history with a great year in Kickboxing. Rico Verhoeven first earned a victory against the former It’s Showtime heavyweight champion, Hesdy Gerges. Next, he won the Glory Heavyweight Tournament when he TKO’d Tarik Khbabez in the tournament final. Lastly, he made history, in an exciting war, when he earned his tenth Heavyweight Title defense against the towering Jamal Ben Saddik. This was a trilogy grudge match. Verhoeven struggled early on in the bout but overcame adversity and was able to TKO Ben Saddik. The heavyweight machine Verhoeven has been undefeated since 2015. 

Above are the top 10 Kickboxers of 2021 and below are the honorable mentions for the year. Let us know what your list looks like or if you disagree with which kickboxers were listed.

ARNHEM, NETHERLANDS – OCTOBER 23: Rico Verhoeven of The Netherlands during 2021 Glory Collision 3 Heavyweight World Title Fight on October 23, 2021 in Arnhem, Netherlands (Photo by Broer van den Boom/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

Honorable Mentions

Cédric Doumbé

The French-Cameroonian fighter Cédric Doumbé was able to add a fifth title defense to his Glory Welterweight Title. In January of this year, Doumbé was able to get a second-round knockout against Dutch-born, and former Glory and K-1 Champion, Murthel Groenhart. Doumbé also made a successful debut this year in MMA.

Jackie Buntan

Jackie Buntan made her name known in Kickboxing in 2021. She earned three wins in ONE Championship and impressed crowds with her technical brilliance. She earned victories over Daniela López and Ekaterina Vandaryeva. And in February she put on a Muay Thai clinic dominating the rising star Wondergirl Fairtex.

Riamu Sera (瀬良 璃明武)

Gaining four wins over 2021 Riamu Sera did not have an easy year. He earned three victories, including two in the Krush Tournament, before winning the tournament final via TKO which won him the  vacant Krush Super Bantamweight title.

Tiffany van Soest

The Dutch-Born Tiffany van Soest was able to defend her Glory Women’s Super Bantamweight Championship against Aline Pereira. Pereira was undefeated in Glory and had a TKO victory in her previous bout. van Soest handed Pereira her first loss in Glory and retained her title. 

Featured images courtesy of ONE Championship, Glory Kickboxing, and Rizin FF.

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Tim Wheaton has been with the sport of MMA since 2005. MMA & Boxing training and fight experience. From Canada, now in Scotland.
Check him out here and twitter.com/TimWheatonMMA

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