Local Events

Imperial Kickboxing Ready for Round Two


Imperial Kickboxing: Chand Tubio vs. Billy Rose

by Matt Lo Cascio

Five years ago, Imperial Fight Challenge put on a kickboxing event that featured some of the top local gyms in action. The event sold out the Pyramid Club in Addison and it looked like a great start for the new promotion. But the encore never came.

Now known as Imperial Kickboxing, the promotion returns Saturday night with Resurgence at BaseCamp Pub in Lisle.

“I’m excited to be bringing back the promotion,” said owner Mark Imperial. “The only reasons we hadn’t done a show since then was because Illinois regulations became more daunting for a sport in which it was already economically challenging. As a lifelong martial artist, I started this promotion purely from my passion for the sport, however it had to make economic sense.”

Imperial picked a good time for a reboot. Chicago has seen an increase in Muay Thai and Kickboxing gyms over the past few years. GLORY, the top kickboxing promotion in America, has become a frequent visitor to the area. People are training a lot at home using a boxing dummy bag.

“Martial arts is in my blood, and the mission of elevating the sport and helping gyms and fighters kept calling me, so I decided to commit by rebooting the promotion. I want to create a platform that will allow gyms and fighters to showcase their talent, and compete in an organized, regulated and exciting environment, giving fight fans an atmosphere that is electric and action-packed.”

Kickboxing has a way to do that. Head kicks, slashing elbows, and knees to the face have a way of getting a crowd out of their seats. There isn’t a lot of downtime in kickboxing. Is it more exciting than MMA? Is it more violent and punishing than MMA? That case could be made. Imperial directly points out that his events are “striking only” on ticket sites and other promotional material.

“I grew up attending the ‘Weekend Wars’ in Chicago throughout the 80s, before UFC — and kickboxing was always bubbling under, as John Cusack called it, ‘The Sport of the Future,’ so I’ve always been a huge fan,” Imperial said. “Five years ago, I was inspired to start Imperial Fighting Challenge to spotlight strictly standup kickboxing and Muay Thai. This year, I rebranded IFC to Imperial Kickboxing to directly telegraph that we are all about striking.”

Imperial has put together an electric main event featuring Chand Tubio and Rose Muay Thai’s Billy Rose. Tubio recently claimed a kickboxing title with the XFO.

“I am thrilled and honored beyond words to have Chand Tubio and Billy Rose as our Main Event! That match will be fireworks, and they are both pumped, had great camps, and most importantly, they’re healthy. Chand is on his game with a record of 22-8, and Billy with a record of 13-4, coming back, is stronger than I’ve ever seen him. This is a true fight for the fans — I’m sure the fans and the fighters will be on the edge of their seats for this one.”

The co-main event pits Chicago Muay Thai’s Robert Lee (12-6) against No Joke fighter Jason Davis, and the rest of the card features fighters from Team Top Notch, Hybrid MMA, Second City MMA, Prime Muay Thai, Mission MMA and more.

Imperial is also very excited about the female fighters on the card. “Debuts from Sandy Sze (Team Top Notch) vs. Melissa Hamblin (Perfect Moves) at 130 are bringing lots of fans, as is the fight featuring Lexxie Werkau (Rose Muay Thai) against Jessica Beltran, coached by Josh Bulak of Hybrid MMA. These women will bring it.”

Imperial also said there will be no lengthy layoff between events this time around. “After making the investment in registering with the state, I’m fully committed to producing four to six events per year in new venues such as BaseCamp in Lisle, where we plan on doing some summer outdoor events,” Imperial said. “I’m dedicated to delivering what you want, bringing together fight fans, gyms and fighters for amazing, electric, action-packed events.

Check out fighter videos and buy tickets at ImperialKickboxing.com.


About Matt Lo Cascio

Matt Lo Cascio is the co-founder and editor of Chicago's MMA. He is the former play-by-play announcer for the XFO and other organizations, and he has been published by ESPN.com, DraftKings, The Comeback, FanSided, and more.

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