Gokhan Saki

GLORY Collision: The great hype that stumbled on a night of great expectations

The most anticipated event in the modern era of kickboxing didn’t quite live up to everyone’s great expectations. After half a year of buildup to Rico vs Badr, come fight night, not only did we have an overly drawn out online viewing experience split into two or three different online streams (depending where in the world you were); Tiffany van Soest made history winning the the inaugural women’s straw-weight championship in a borefest of a tournament; Badr Hari’s arm got broken just as his ‘Collision’ with Rico Verhoeven got exciting; and Sittichai vs. Marat Grigorian and Pinca vs Amrani were overshadowed by the sheer volume of fights from having three overall fight cards.

Cedric Doumbe

Cedric Doumbe – Photo credit: James Law, GLORY Sports Int’l

However, Nieky Holzken was finally dethroned as GLORY welterweight champion by Cedric Doumbe, in what was a damn good fight to watch and witness how to unlock the four year puzzle that is the “The Natural”. Ismael Londt lost a thrilling decision to Moroccan-Dutch juggernaut, Jamal Ben Saddik and Michael Duut returned in spectacular fashion to GLORY Kickboxing with an enthralling decision win over Danyo Ilunga. Both Duut’s and Ben Saddik’s victories were crowd pleasers and will undoubtedly be YouTube favourites for the next couple of weeks or longer; and attract more casual fight fans to kickboxing.

GLORY Collision – Summary: 

  • Rico breaks Badr’s arm up against the rope with powerful clinch knees before the referee could pull them apart.
  • Doumbe dethrones Holzken with an excellent performance showcasing: speed, confidence and a highly efficient game plan being executed.
  • Ben Saddik pulled off an amazing result against Ismael Londt and had “Mr Pain” in all sorts of problems.
  • Tiffany van Soest won the inaugural women’s straw-weight tournament (but the Iman Barlow question will continue to linger).
Tiffany van Soest

Tiffany van Soest – Photo credit: James Law, GLORY Sports Int’l

Unfortunately, GLORY seem to have a habit of learning things the hard way since they have existed. We all remember the consequences of airing a free undercard event (GLORY 17, headlined by Mirko Cro Cop vs. Jarrell Miller) immediately before the PPV for GLORY Last Man Standing which is, probably, their best event to-date. The promotion were well reported to have had their own recession after the PPV figures in 2014 were a failure, leading to the likes of Tyrone Spong and Gökhan Saki not returning to GLORY due to big name fighters allegedly having to take major pay cuts; As well as other contract negotiations and issues.

Schilling

Schilling KOs Marcus, GLORY Last Man Standing – Image: Glory Sports Int’l

The UFC Fight Pass deal announced earlier this year was always good news for both GLORY and kickboxing. Although, it would seem that GLORY still need to smarten up their approach to broadcasting their events to the widest possible audience and fixing the overall structure of the fight cards; Hopefully, they will in the new year. Otherwise, they are going to risk losing out on attracting, potentially, hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of new fight fans to the GLORY brand of technical violence and exciting KOs.

Why? Online (or ideally TV) access to watch such grand events needs to be made much easier i.e. on one channel / portal with the fights altogether and not on a multitude of different platforms). Listen to episode 42 of The Striking Corner podcast this week because this is one of the many interesting talking points we dig into.

Overall verdict on GLORY Collision (plus, GLORY 36 and the SuperFight Series)?

Badr Hari

Badr and Rico after their Collision – Photo credit: James Law, GLORY Sports Int’l

Disappointing. However, it’s not all doom and gloom.

There’s very promising and achievable room for improvement that could, ‘blow all the fish out of the water’ (i.e. their promotional rivals) in 2017. Most importantly, GLORY are on the verge of elevating mainstream media coverage to a whole new level for kickboxing on a long term basis, which the sport has been struggling with for decades. The knock-on effect of GLORY’s potential to boost the profile of the sport on a global scale will enhance the potential revenue streams for everyone involved in kickboxing, making the sport more of a commercially viable profession and industry too.

GLORY Collision – Results:

Rico Verhoeven def. Badr Hari via Rd2 TKO (injury)

Cedric Doumbe def. Nieky Holzken by split decision (SD) – new welterweight champion

Jamal Ben Saddik def. Ismael Londt via UD

Tiffany van Soest def. Amel Dehby via UD – Women’s straw-weight tournament final

Glory 36 – Results:

Sittichai Sitsongpeenong def. Marat Grigorian by SD, retains lightweight title

Dylan Salvador def. Hysni Beqiri, UD – Lightweight tournament final

Fabio Pinca def. Mosab Amrani, SD

Hysni Beqiri def. Antonio Gomez, UD – Lightweight semi-final

Dylan Salvador def. Anatoly Moiseev, MD – Lightweight semi-final

SuperFight Series – Results:

Michael Duut def. Danyo Ilunga via UD (extra round)

Harut Grigorian def. Danijel Solaja by Rd1 KO

Amel Dehby def. Isis Verbeek, UD – Women’s straw-weight semi-final

Tiffany van Soest def. Jessica Gladstone, UD – Women’s straw-weight semi-final

Tyjani Beztati def. Andrej Bruhl, UD

Glory 11 – Results, Reactions, and Pics!

It was an epic night for Muay Thai and Kickboxing fans worldwide and especially in America. GLORY, the cream of the crop when it comes to Kickboxing aired on American TV, nationwide for the first time in history. And the fighters, no doubt aware that they were on national television, did not fail to deliver. Out of the 17 fights on the card, 6 aired on television. And all 6 that did air were absolutely jaw dropping in their excitment. Probably one of the biggest stories of the night were that 24 year old Dutchman Rico Verhoeven stunned the world by defeating fan favorties Gokhan Saki and Daniel Ghita en route to the Glory Heavyweight Tournament Championship and a $250,000 grand prize. When discussing his win, Rico Verhoeven had this to say:

“I said I was going to do it and I did it. I have been dreaming of this since I was six years old and I always believed it would come true. I told myself every day since I was six years old that I would be a champion and today it came true. I always believed in myself. I did it for my daughter. She’s nearly three years old so she understands some things which are said to her. I promised her I was going to come back with the title and the prize money. I was thinking about that promise; that’s what kept me going in the final minutes and gave me the power to win the tournament. I’m really happy we were able to have such exciting fights for the SPIKE TV debut. I think we showed all the US fight fans what kickboxing is all about. This is our time now. GLORY is here to stay.”

In the other big news of the night Tyrone Spong defeated Nathan Corbett, got his revenge over the Australian, and further demonstrated that he deserves his nickname of “King of the Ring”.

“Everything went according to plan. I am very happy with the outcome; it all went exactly as planned. There was a lot of talk about the rematch and settling scores but there was no pressure for me. There is some bad blood but that’s in the past now after this fight. I think I played my part tonight for SPIKE and for the organization and for the sport. More and more I am becoming the face of GLORY and I deliver. I put in a lot of hard work to live up to this role as an ambassador for the sport and the organization here in the United States. I will keep working hard and I will continue to deliver.”

And Joseph Valtellini put on a masterful performance against Kharim Ghajji en route to Glory’s #2 spot and no doubt a shot at the Glory Welterweight title currently held by Nieky “The Natural” Holzken.

“Ghajii was really tough. He’s had over 100 fights and you could feel that in his quality and the way he responded to things. I hit him with some really hard shots, some big head kicks and I was like damn, how are you still standing up? It was one of the toughest fights of my career without a doubt. I move to number two in the rankings now and I’ve booked my spot in the welterweight tournament taking place in Tokyo this November. I can’t wait for that. I am coming for that number one spot that Nieky Holzken is in right now. I am going to be number one. I’ve always said it and now I am going to do it.”

It was definitely a historic night for Kickboxing in America, and if the turnout shown at Chicago’s Sears Centre Arena is any indication of the following GLORY can muster, than there is no doubt that next month’s event in New York and any subsequent events, will only continue to showcase that Kickboxing in America and especially GLORY, is the evolution of combat sports. Muay Thai and Kickboxing are here to stay!

GLORY 11 FULL RESULTS:

Glory 4-Man Heavyweight Tournament Semi-Final
Rico Verhoeven def. Gokhan Saki by Majority Decision
Daniel Ghita def. Anderson Silva by KO in Rd. 1

Glory 4-Man Heavyweight Tournament Final
Rico Verhoeven def. Daniel Ghita by Unanimous Decision

Glory 4-Man Heavyweight Tournament Reserve Bout
Errol Zimmerman def. Hesdy Gerges by TKO in Rd. 3

Super Fights
Tyrone Spong def. Nathan Corbett by KO in Rd. 2
Joseph Valtellini def. Karim Ghajji by TKO in Rd. 3

Under Card
Sergei Kharitonov def. Daniel Sam by Unanimous Decision
Danyo Ilunga def. Michael Duut by TKO in Rd. 1
Saulo Cavalair def. Filip Verlinden by Unanimous Decision
Steve Moxon def. Reece McAllister by KO in Rd. 3
Gabriel Varga def. Jose Palacios by Unanimous Decision
Troy Sheridan def. Michael Mananquil by Unanimous Decision
Maurice Greene def. Yang Rae Yoo by Unanimous Decision
Aaron Swenson def. Billy Rose by KO in Rd. 2
Kyle Weickhardt def. Quartus Stitt by Unanimous Decision
Ian Alexander def. Austin Lewis by Split Decision
Axel Mendez def. Jordan Weiland by Unanimous Decision