Gabriel Varga

GLORY 37 Los Angeles – Results: Jason Wilnis retains middleweight title with controversial decision

Jason Wilnis retained his GLORY middleweight title against Israel Adesanya at GLORY 37 Los Angeles but the decision left countless kickboxing fans on social media at loggerheads as to how a unanimous decision was awarded to the defending champion. If anything, there was nothing unanimous about the controversial decision awarded to Willis who, in typical fashion, fought with a tight high guard and kept coming forward with venomous low kicks and aiming punches for Adesanya’s head.

The skilful “Stylebender” was was more varied with his striking output (even throwing Saenchai style cartwheel kicks and some nifty spinning kicks into the mix) with plenty of strikes aimed to the body and head of Wilnis whilst displaying his confident ring-craft and not being a sitting target despite, being in a much smaller ring than usual compared to GLORY Kickboxing events in recent years.

If the early rounds might have been slightly in favour of Wilnis, the same cannot be said for the reminder of the fight as the rounds progressed. The champion was lacking the effective high volume of output that was being more obviously applied by Adesanya. Although the continuous forward pressure and counter attacks from Wilnis were always present, it was Wilnis who was starting to fade in the latter rounds and the challenger who, remained composed, slick and actively efficient enough to have edged the decision in his favour and be crowned the new middleweight champion.

However, when the official decision was announced confirming Wilnis as the defending champion, two of the judges had scored the fight as 48-47 for the champion but bizarrely one judge had scored it as 49-46 for Wilnis. An immediate rematch might be the most obvious thing to call for as a result of the controversial decision, however, it was announced by the commentary team that former middleweight champion, Simon Marcus, was set to face the winner of the main event of the night; and later confirmed by Marcus himself to Michael Steczkowski.

Kongolo

Image via GLORY Sports Int’l

Yoann Kongolo won the 4-man welterweight tournament to set himself for a second rematch with the new GLORY welterweight champion, Cedric Doumbe who, had recently defeated Nieky Holzken by decision at GLORY Collision. Although Kongolo was the obvious favourite to win the contender tournament, his emphatic performance in the final with a brutal body shot to drop Karim Benmansour will send a firm warning to Doumbe who, he has twice defeated before by decision.

Zoila Frausto won her GLORY debut by decision in a slug-fest with Daniela Graf and although both ladies might have got a bit punch drunk in their fight, neither was willing to back down and both were fully committed to punching the other’s lights out. Frausto who, is a Muay Thai champion and MMA fighter, certainly is the calibre of fighter that looks set to make a bigger impact in the women’s super bantamweight division this year.

Also, Tiffany van Soest was re-presented with her super bantamweight belt in-front of her fellow South Californians. It might seem as if GLORY are being smart with their selection of American female fighters but so far, both van Soest and Frausto are two female fighters that no kickboxing promotion can go wrong with at this early stage of developing their women’s roster.

Frausto

Image via Glory Sports Int’l

Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for Matt Embree who, lost by TKO in the fourth round against former featherweight champion, Robin van Roosmalen. Yes, former champion – van Rosmalen had missed weight by under one kilogram at the weigh-ins the day before and refused the opportunity to try again when a time extension offered. As a direct result, GLORY immediately decided to strip their champion before he even made his first title defence. However, had Embree won he would’ve been awarded the title but since he didn’t, van Roosmalen has now secured his number one contender status and will now fight again for the title in the near future against an opponent yet to be confirmed.

Could a rematch between Robin van Roosmalen and Gabriel Varga be in the pipeline anytime soon? Only time will tell especially as Varga had confirmed last year that he’d been informed by GLORY that the promotion were planning on hosting future events in Canada come 2017.

Image via GLORY Sports Int’l

GLORY 37 Los Angeles – Results:
Jason Wilnis (c) def. Israel Adesayna via UD – retains middleweight title
Yoann Kongolo def. Karim Benmansour via Rd3 TKO – wins welterweight tournament final
Guto Inocente def. D’Angelo Marshall via majority draw, extra round – heavyweight
Karim Benmansour def. Alan Scheinson via split decision – welterweight tournament semi-final
Yoann Kongolo def. Konstantin Khuzin via UD – welterweight tournament semi-final

GLORY SuperFight Series – Results:
Robin van Roosmalen def. Matt Embree via Rd4 TKO – featherweight title bout (but van Roosmalen stripped off title for missing weight; title was available for Embree to win though)
Jhonata Diniz def. Tomas Mozny via UD – heavyweight
Warren Thompson def. Mike Lemaire via UD – middleweight
Zoila Frausto def. Daniela Graf via UD – Women’s super bantamweight
Giga Chikadze def. Victor Pinto via Rd1 KO (liver kick) – featherweight

Thai sensations, Thongchai Sitsongpeenong and Petpanomrung Kiatmoo9 sign for GLORY

GLORY Kickboxing continue to add strength to their roster of world class kickboxing talent, by signing up two of Thailand’s most talented young fighters: Thongchai Sitsongpeenong and Petpanomrung Kiatmoo9 – exclusively reported by Anoop Hothi.

The addition of two more Thais reinforces GLORY’s intention to establish themselves in both Thailand and Southeast Asia (with Saenchai and Sittichai Sitsongpeenong having already fought for the promotion) as they look to expand their brand of kickboxing across new TV markets in different continents as they had outlined in their post press conference at GLORY 31.

However, Petpanomrung had been tipped for great things especially earlier this year, following a decision victory in May at the Rajadamnern stadium, over Phetmorakot Wor Sungprapai – full fight video below:

The transition from Thai rules to kickboxing shouldn’t pose too much of a problem for Petpanomrung who, has a fighting style that is technically proficient but capable of coming forward aggressively (so hopefully there won’t be any ISKA judging or refereeing controversies on his GLORY debut).

As for Thongchai who, fights out of the same gym as GLORY’s world lightweight champion, Sitthichai (hence, Sitsongpeenong is their second name and is quite common for Thais to publicise their gym affiliation in this manner), he is only 20 years of age; whereas Petpanomrung is apparently 22/23 years old.

Thai boxing purists will know too well that Thongchai became a Lumpinee stadium champion at the age of 18 and one month later would knock out Khayal Dzhaniev (one of only a few men in the world to have defeated Buakaw); and if that wasn’t enough for any ‘noob’ of a kickboxing fan to take him seriously, Thongchai would then go on to defeat French-Italian Muay Thai legend, Fabio Pinca, a year later too.

Below is a recent fight of Thongchai vs Adrien Rubis (at Topking World Series – TK7):

Both of the above Thais will undoubtedly raise the bar of competition within GLORY who, have have been strongly criticised by fans in recent years, for the questionable ways in which some but not all of their kickboxers (lack much or any professional kickboxing experience), have managed to develop a career on the ‘world’s number one’ kickboxing promotion.

Petpanomrung is expected to fight at featherweight where, Gabriel Varga is the current GLORY featherweight champion (having regained the title from Serhiy Adamchuck at GLORY 32). Whereas Thongchai is expected to fight at welterweight and it will be very interesting to see if and when he can secure a title fight with GLORY’s undisputed welterweight champion, Neiky Holzken.

Two other fighters that have also been newly signed-up by GLORY (but are not Thais) are: Adel Ekvall Halila from Sweden and Konstantin Khuzin from Russia.

Adel Ekvall Halila v Abdou Karim Chorr 2

Adel Ekvall Halila v Abdou Karim Chorr 2

An interesting fact about Adel Ekvall Halila (apart from being technically good in all departments and competent in both orthodox and southpaw stances) is that in 2015, he was runner-up to another kickboxing Swede in the GLORY lightweight division, Abdou Karim Chorr. The two had previously met in the WKN Scandinavian (4-man tournament) final last year and Chorr who, won his GLORY Kickboxing debut at GLORY 29 in April, hasn’t fought since then. So, perhaps a (second) rematch between the two Swedes (they are 1-1 against each other) in the near future (on a European card) could be in the works as a potential decider between the two – similar to Murthel Groenhart and Nieky Holzken who fight again in December?

As for Konstantin Khuzin, the Russian is expected to fight at welterweight; and comes from a strong Thai boxing background like fellow countrymen, Artem Vahitov (GLORY’s current light-heavyweight champion) and former GLORY middleweight champion, Artem Levin who, no longer fights for the promotion after one of the most controversial rematches in recent times, forfeited the rematch with Simon Marcus at GLORY 27.

Khuzin had recently fought (but lost a decision) on the Tatneft Cup show against Nikolay Lushin:

Do you think GLORY are improving the overall level of competition by signing up more Thais or do they need to a lot more then this, especially in appealing to new fans in the North Americas? Let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to subscribe to K1ANOOP on YouTube for exclusive interviews from the world of kickboxing too).

Watch Gabriel Varga claim Hero Legends 64kg Title

Hero Legends took place this past weekend in China and once again showcased that China is rapidly becoming a major destination for quality kickboxing events and is developing world class talent. The event had a total of 13 fights including a 70 kg tournament which was eventually won by Wen Jindu with a first round KO over Xu Tiehan after defeating Liu Weiquan by Decision. The event showcased a large contingent of Chinese talent as well as foreign talent such as Lerdsila and Saenchai. The entire event was headlined by a 64kg title fight between former Glory Featherweight World Champion, Gabriel Varga and Liu Wei. Gabriel Varga has been a friend of The Striking Corner and has appeared on our podcast on two occasions, the most recent being after he won the Glory Featherweight Title with a great performance against Mosab Amrani, so we have to say we were happy to hear of his recent victory at Hero Legends. You can check out the entire fight between Gabriel Varga and Liu Wei for the Hero Legends 64kg Title by clicking on the play button above.

Profiles in Muay Thai: Global Edition – Vol. 1 – Gabriel Varga

– by Eric Rivera –

There is a pretty common saying in sporting circles that states that “champions are not born, they are made.” While this is certainly the case the majority of the time, sometimes you come across athletes that seem to have both talent and a unique trait of being able to motivate themselves to work harder than anyone, training to exhaustion without anyone pushing them. Another saying tells us that, “when no one is watching, live as if someone is.” True champions and world class athletes follow a modified version of that quote which instead reads, “when no one is watching, TRAIN as if someone is.” Very few athletes can push themselves passed their limits without a coach, trainer, friend, or fans egging them on. Fighting is an individual sport. While all fighters need someone to hold pads or mitts for them, fighting is very much a sport where the fighter is required to push himself. Outside of the training sessions on pads, the fighter has to spend countless hours doing road work, running for miles on end, or sprinting up hills and inclines to build his or her conditioning.

There may also be days where a fighters coach or teammates may not be able to hold pads for them. On those days, a fighter has to will himself, no matter how exhausted, to jump rope, shadow box, and hit heavy bags or do their own strength and conditioning to the point of failure. And when they reach failure, they have to pick themselves up, on their own, and do just one more round. The difference between champions and the rest is that most champions will work incredibly hard even when they are not under the watchful eye of their trainers.

Gabriel Varga is exactly that type of champion. Read More