GLORY Collision

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

Fabio Pinca in ongoing negotiations with Enfusion Live but focused on fighting Manowan Sitsongpeenong

Fabio Pinca was reportedly set to compete in the 67kg Enfusion League in February 2017, according to Enfusion’s two-weight champion, Ibrahim El Boustati, who made the revelation prior to defeating Andrew Tate for the, 90kg world championship at Enfusion Live 44.

However, Pinca has now confirmed that he hasn’t yet agreed final terms with Enfusion Live and that talks are still ongoing with the Dutch based promotion who, had recently announced, exclusive European fight deals with Buakaw and Yodsanklai.

“I don’t know for the moment you know. I’m ongoing negotiation so I can not tell you anything about that. Everything, I don’t know for the moment. I can not tell you anything but soon you’re gonna know.”

It’s sounding promising that we will have an update soon enough on a possible deal between Enfusion and Pinca being confirmed in the early part of the new year. The Striking Corner will be monitoring how the situation unfolds and reporting again in due course.

Pinca

Peters vs Pinca – Photo credit: Bennie E Palmer II, Lion Fight Promotions

Interestingly, Charlie Peters who, Pinca defeated by decision at Lion Fight 27, recently qualified for next year’s 67kg Enfusion League, by winning the 8-man qualifying tournament in Abu Dhabi at Enfusion Live 45. Since Peters qualified, strong rumours have emerged of a possible rematch between Peters and Pinca but separate from the league concept; and that this proposed matchup under Enfusion rules, could be one of the talking points between Pinca and Enfusion.

The current year has been a very active one for Pinca and 2017 is looking to be another busy year for the Muay Thai maestro who, has fought seven times this year. One of those being his recent decision victory at GLORY 36 against, Mosab Amrani which, was a also rematch between the two but under GLORY Kickboxing rules; whereas the first fight (and decision win for Pinca) was in a 2011 tournament final on Thai Fight.

Nevertheless, Pinca is focused on his next opponent, Manowan Sitsongpeenong, in what will be a 67kg title fight at the Sanam Muay Rajadamnern (Rajadamnern Boxing Stadium) on February 23, 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand.

“First focus is Rajadamnern title on February  23. So I got to Thailand, Bangkok and take the, to the take the belt, Rajadamnern versus Manowan Sitsongpeenong. That’s the first focus for 2017. 67 kilos.“

“And the second focus is the GLORY belt at 65 kilo. At the moment that’s the two focus I have on my mind. It’s Robin [van Roosmalen] if he defend his belt. I know he’s putting his title on January so maybe its him, maybe its another, I don’t know.”

Click here to watch the full video podcast with Fabio Pinca giving the rundown on his recent victory over Mosab Amrani which, was on the undercard to GLORY Collision: Rico vs. Badr and some interesting things he had to say about: Saenchai, Liam Harrison and Giorgio Petrosyan.

Episode 42 – Anoop Hothi aka K1Anoop

In this episode of the podcast Vinny & Eric are joined by Kickboxing journalist Anoop Hothi, also known as K1Anoop. A blogger, writer, journalist, and avid Twitter user, K1Anoop has been covering the Muay Thai and Kickboxing scene in the UK and in Europe for quite some time. A huge fan of K1/Glory rules Kickboxing, we talk to Anoop about the recent Glory Collision card, Enfusion, how promotions can better broadcast their product, and so much more! We also talk a bit about how screwdrivers seem to be the weapon of choice in street fights in the UK, how Eric has never been to a strip club, and other such nonsense. We had fun with this one and lost track of time a bit! Enjoy!

Rico Verhoeven: ‘I’m on a different level of fighting’ and thinking five steps ahead

Rico Verhoeven collides with arch rival, Badr Hari in Oberhausen, Germany on December 10 in what is undoubtedly the one super fight that has single handily reignited worldwide interest in kickboxing since the “Golden era” of the sport. Verhoeven has reigned as the undisputed GLORY champion since 2014 when he defeated Daniel Ghita via unanimous decision at GLORY 17: Los Angeles.

However, the heavyweight division has been going through a transition period during Verhoeven’s dominance so far and Hari who, is widely acknowledged as the greatest heavyweight kickboxer of his generation, had been semi-dormant due to his well reported issues away from the sport.

Speaking last night about his technical kickboxing ability and the run of form he’s been on, Verhoeven gave a good insight into his overall approach to the sport and his mindset which, quite clearly sets him apart, from any other champion before him.

“I’m on a different level of fighting, I’m using all the tools in the box.”

“Sometimes some tools you can’t use for all the jobs. So, there’s no point in using the tools then. Of course you’re looking at a fight and a certain fighter and how he moves and what he does and stuff like that but in the end it just has to show in the fight. In the fight you feel the distance and you feel the things that could work and that might work and you just try them.”

There is a stereotype that exist about the ‘Dutch style’ of kickboxing especially when it comes to kickboxers who don’t possess the kind of skill set that the likes of Verhoeven (and his former foe, Ghita) have displayed in years gone by.

What is that stereotype? Two fighters standing toe-to-toe, throwing basic combinations starting with a few powerful punches and finishing with a low kick; not too much head movement, or, ring craft either; basically, just a war of attrition and not technically advanced.

“In every fight I go into, my opponent is like a book and I want to read that book in like a minute or a minute and a half, in a round max. After that I want to know everything that’s coming.”

Rico Verhoeven

Rico Verhoeven teeps Daniel Ghita – Image: GLORY Sports Intl

“You can see the way things are coming by, the way that someone moves and that’s just a totally a different approach of going towards fight than a lot of people do. They only think about ‘he’s going to throw this and I’m going to throw that back’ but I’m thinking about step five.”

Listening to Verhoeven explain his championship mindset in more detail was even more fascinating, seriously. Due to his politeness and overall conduct, Rico has become a role model for world kickboxing, something that Badr Hari is the complete opposite of in the eyes of most fans. Why? His bad boy image, getting into fights at past press conferences and not forgetting all the reported street violence over the years too which, was probably worse than Mike Tyson in his heyday (and that’s saying something!).

However, Badr’s antics in the buildup to GLORY Collision have not gone down too well with Verhoeven. Hari had mockingly predicted at the Collision press conference that Rico would get knocked out in one round when they collide in Oberhausen:

“He talks so much sh-t. He just talks a lot and I just laugh at it. I hope you trained that hard as you ran your mouth because that’s crazy.”

Ognjen Topic reflects on Saenchai and the ‘mentality of fighting’ for success

Ognjen Topic recently fought Muay Thai legend, Saenchai, last month at Yokkao 22 in Honk Kong and unfortunately, lost by decision. There aren’t many Farangs that are given much of a chance in the minds of Thai boxing fans when matched-up against the +400 fight veteran but then again, Topic is regarded as ‘one of the best technically gifted Thai fighters’ of the current crop (by none other than Damien Trainor who, was coaching at CSA Gym during November).

However, Topic himself was the first to admit that the fight didn’t unfold anywhere as what he would’ve liked or had planned:

“I’m not happy at all about the fight but we’re talking about a guy that’s been doing it for a very long time and he has quite a bit more experience than I do so, I’m trying to stay positive. It’s difficult especially when you’re competitive individual.”

“Before the fight and during the fight I felt great mentally, physically you know. I didn’t look at him as some, some god of Muay Thai. I just looked at him as an opponent and I prepared myself as I always do. I went into the fight with the mentality of winning and even when I was in the fight, you know it was difficult, I still wanted to beat him so, that’s that.”

It’s interesting that Topic mentioned the ‘mentality of fighting’ because not only is it fair to say that fighting is 99% in the mind but so is having the self-belief and aptitude in achieving our life goals and dreams too. Self doubt can really cripple fighters mentality; a good example of this would be the way how pro boxer, Nicholas Walters surrendered after six rounds against Vasyl Lomachenko, over the weekend in Las Vegas. Topic explained what he does away from the gym in his spare time to help him mentally with moving forward in his fighting career.

“Another thing I like to do is sometime if I have some downtime is I go on YouTube and look up documentaries on any businessman. You know I like I’m into cars so I’ll go look up the guy that started the company Koenigsegg, you know an exotic car company or Pagani. So, you kinda just listen to how they talk and how they began these things, their story and their dreams and how everything came to fruition. Then it kinda you know puts things into perspective you can follow this steps as well from other people and then you can learn from them.”

“So it really doesn’t matter what profession it is, you can always take something away from any I guess, elite person, on that high level that has that mentality to be persistent and dedicated to their craft.”

Simon Marcus vs Joe Schilling

Simon Marcus vs Joe Schilling

Muay Thai is one of the oldest forms of fighting and as a professional sport, doesn’t gain the high levels of mainstream media coverage compared to pro boxing. The likes of Joe Schilling and Kevin Ross have both previously voiced the difficulties that they’ve faced in their careers before the emergence of GLORY, Lion Fight, Bellator Kickboxing and Muay Thai Grand Prix in recent years. Even kickboxing has struggled especially since the “Golden era” of the ‘old skool’ K-1 days in Japan.

However the tide would seem to be turning for both Muay Thai and kickboxing especially now that the UFC have, for the first time ever, partnered with another sporting promotion i.e. GLORY Kickboxing to be their PPV online media partner via UFC Fight Pass for streaming, GLORY Collision: Rico Verhoeven vs Badr Hari.

Even UFC colour commentator, Joe Rogan has been voicing his support and love for K1/Thai rules and recently had Kevin Ross, Gaston Bolanos and their coach (CSA Gym owner), Kieran Fitzpatrick on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast which, Topic was delighted about for the long term benefit of the sport.

tsc-ep-39-gaston-bolanos“It was great. I really hope that a lot of people tuned in. Kevin Ross really gave a really good explanation on you know, Muay Thai and the difference between the striking between Muay Thai and MMA and it pretty much how all of us Muay Thai fighters feel you know but we never really have a stage to say that; and I think he kinda opened up Joe Rogan’s eyes as well, you know with clinch and things like that because it doesn’t seem like a lot of those guys understand and know the difference between the two, the two sports. So its great that they were on the show and they were able to kind of give that differentiation.”

 

GLORY Collision: Rico Verhoeven vs. Badr Hari preview – ‘Old skool vs. new school’

Rico Verhoeven vs Badr Hari is set to make kickboxing history on December 10 in Oberhausen, Germany where GLORY Collision takes centre stage at the, König Pilsener Arena. World kickboxing will excitedly tune in for what will certainly be a violent night of, ‘old skool vs. new school’ beef between, the “prince of kickboxing” and the “Golden Boy”; and the level of hostility between them has been on the ante since the infamous press conference at the, Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Despite his inactivity over the last couple of years, Badr Hari has been involved in some (if not most) of the biggest blockbuster fights in kickboxing so far, in a professional fighting career that is currently four years shy of two decades.

Two of the most explosive collisions from the past that instantly come to mind involving the Dutch born Moroccon are: his bitter feud with former K-1 World Grand Prix, Strikeforce and DREAM champion (now UFC heavyweight contender), Alistair Overeem; and more impressively, his emphatic first round KO of Semmy Schilt who, is a four time K-1 World GP champion and former King of Pancrase open weight champion (now retired) at It’s Showtime in 2009.

Standing at almost seven feet tall, Schilt is widely regarded as the greatest super heavyweight kickboxer of all time with an impressive list of success, titles and honours that no other has yet come close to competing with. He even managed to win the K-1 World GP three times in a row which, reinforces his dominance, during the peak of what was then the “Golden era”, or, as Rico Verhoeven puts it, ‘old skool’ kickboxing in Japan.

Rico Verhoeven has also fought Semmy Schilt back in 2012 in what was the GLORY Heavyweight Grand Slam a one-off event event of its type for the promotion (and a throwback to the 8-man tournaments of the K-1 days) at GLORY 4 in Tokyo, Japan. However, Schilt was too good on the night for Rico who, lost via unanimous decision at the quarter final stage. The “Hightower” would go on to secure his final trophy before later retiring from the sport as a legend.

Badr Hari was 24 years of age and had a fight record at the time of 101 fights (93 wins and eight defeats) when he shocked the world and knocked out Schilt in 2009. Whereas Verhoeven was 22 when he lost to the Dutch kickboxing legend and had a fight record then of 47 wins, nine loses and one draw. However, over the last five years a lot has happened in the lives and careers of both men especially for Hari who, has been subject to, a variety of alleged and or reported criminal  cases; and has reportedly been held on remand too.

Whilst Badr Hari had more than his fair share of reported personal issues over the last half-a-decade, Rico Verhoeven has grown as both a man and as a professional fighter since his defeat to Schilt and carries himself as a role model of the sport. Ever since that defeat, he has been on a great run of form with 11 wins (since 2012) and only one decision loss to, Andrey Gerasimchuk at Kunlun Fight 15 in 2015. Rico also won his MMA debut which, prompted even stronger rumours, that he would be making the transition from kickboxing to MMA in 2017; and that the UFC were allegedly monitoring the situation.

Many including Rico Verhoeven, have cast serious doubt over Badr Hari being physically sharp enough come December 10, compared to how he use to be in years gone by i.e. before all the reported troubles and Badr’s overlapping period of inactivity. However, Hari last fought in August 2015 and won by third round TKO against GLORY heavyweight, Ismael Londt in a right rollercoaster of a fight at, Akhmat Fight Show in Grozny, Russia.

Legendary kickboxing coach, Mike Passenier coaches Badr Hari and is confident that the “Golden Boy” will be in the best shape possible for Rico Verhoeven; especially with sufficient time and efficient preparation being implemented since ‘Collision’ was confirmed during the summer. Without a shadow of a doubt, both heavyweights will have the ‘bit between their teeth’ to give their all in the ring (and in their respective fight camps) to be the victor in Oberhausen in kickboxing’s very own, ‘good guy vs. bad guy’.