A new vision for combat sports is looking to make waves across the world in the Professional Kickboxing Association. Headed by a man known as the “Founding Father of MMA” Joe Corley, and combat veteran Jeff Smith, the PKA is looking to enhance the viewership of kickboxing.
“The remarkable growth of MMA and other combat sports for the past 20 years has convinced us that now is the perfect time to re-introduce professional kickboxing to fill a niche in the combat sports landscape,” said Corley in a release. “The exciting striking aspect of kickboxing gives fans the elements of the sport they most want to watch — punching and kicking. Our PKA mantra is simple: Punch … Kick … Repeat. It’s what our fighters do best”
Corley is a three-time National Karate Grand Champion and became a partner in the Professional Karate Association in 1979. Appearing with the likes of Chuck Norris on major sports networks like ESPN and Showtime over the years, Corley promotes karate and continues to look for ways to innovate combat sports in the U.S.
Founder of the annual Battle of Atlanta karate event, Corley is joined by Smith, a seven-time PKA World Light Heavyweight Karate Champion. A 10th-degree black belt, Smith defended his title on the undercard of the “Thrilla in Manila” in 1975. He will be in charge of fighter recruitment and training, as well as fighter rankings.
Who will compete in the Professional Kickboxing Association?
Corley’s goal is to provide an emphasis on striking. The PKA is looking for the greatest strikers on the planet. Through a Striker Searches series, that is how they plan on doing that. Think of it as the Challenger Series that the Professional Fighters League produced this past year, where “American Idol” meets MMA and fighters from various backgrounds showcase their skills.
“The organization has begun a national and international search to identify and sign the greatest strikers on the planet,” Corley went on to say. “PKA will finally give the millions of strikers trained in kickboxing and other martial arts their own platform to fight. As a result, kickboxers who have had to compete in hybrid versions of their skillset will now have a sport of their own to exclusively showcase their punching and kicking skills on the sport’s biggest stage – the PKA Striking Cage.”
Striker Searches have resulted in interest from former kickboxing and boxing champions Chris Algieri and Heather Hardy. Algieri is a former World Kickboxing Association super-welterweight champion. He has also held the WBO junior-welterweight title in boxing. A multiple-time contender, Algieri has fought the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan, Errol Spence Jr., and Conor Benn.
Hardy made history by having her 2016 fight against Shelly Vincent land on NBCSN. A WBC International bantamweight and WBO featherweight champion, Hardy has primarily fought in New York. She has also competed in MMA in the past.
Another name that showed interest that can be a major force is Randy Blake. “Boom Boom” started karate at the age of seven. Blake, who is six feet tall, is a former XFL light heavyweight kickboxing champion and an ISKA World Heavyweight Muay Thai Champion. The 35-year-old has over 39 wins in the kickboxing world.
What are the rules of the Professional Kickboxing Association?
Corley compared the action of the PKA to the one-on-one drama of boxing, the stamina of a marathon, and the grace of ballet. Athletes are expected to show off their skills right from the gate.
There is no holding in the ring within the PKA. Regarding how long the action is, there are twelve two-minute rounds, with one minute rest periods. Fighters are expected to land a certain amount of kicks during a round, but no kicks to the leg. It is similar to karate rules compared to any form of combat sport.
How to watch the Professional Kickboxing Association
Fans can watch the action from the PKA through its website.
Corley has been in talks about providing a platform similar to how the PFL works with ESPN programming.