SuperFight Series

GLORY 38 Chicago and SuperFight Series preview and fight card

GLORY 38 takes place at the Sears Center, Chicago on February 24, 2017 with a stacked line-up of fights on both the main event and SuperFight Series sections; headlined by, a rematch between defending light-heavyweight champion, Artem Vakhitov, making his first defence against, Saulo Cavalari, in what will be the pair’s second rematch (both have a win over each other).

As always with a night of GLORY Kickboxing, there is also a 4-man light-heavyweight tournament featuring, GLORY‘s former (interim) light-heavyweight champion, Zack Mwekassa; a Muay Thai vs. Muay Thai clash in Richard Abraham vs. Antoine Pinto; and Romanian kickboxing politician, Cătălin Moroșanu making his GLORY debut against US kickboxer, Maurice Greene.

GLORY 38 Chicago – Fight card:

Artem Vakhitov (c) vs. Saulo Cavalari – Light-heavyweight title defence for Vakhitov

Richard Abraham vs. Antoine Pinto – Welterweight

Light Heavyweight Tournament:

Final: Winner of semi-final A vs. winner of semi-final B

Semi-final A: Zack Mwekassa vs. Zinedine Hamuer-Lain

Semi-final B: Danyo Illunga vs. Ariel Machado

Niclas Larsen returns to GLORY Kickboxing after almost three years away, due to serious ill-health and the reoccurrence of a major staph infection (three separate times) that almost resulted in the, 70kg WKU world Muay Thai champion, having to have a leg amputated. Larsen has had an incredibly tough time in recent years but after learning to walk again and being cared for by his wife (and mother to their two young children), is more than ready to return to the biggest stage for kickboxing and resume his promising career against Polish kickboxer, Łukasz Pławecki.

Murthel Groenhart is also back in action since losing to former GLORY welterweight champion, Nieky Holzken at, GLORY 34. “The Predator” will face former Lumpinee stadium champion, Thongchai Sitsongpeenong who, is coming off a very impressive KO win over Casey Greene on the same night Groenhart last fought too.

GLORY 38 SuperFight Series – Fight card:

Benjamin Adegbuyi vs. Anderson Silva – Heavyweight

Cătălin Moroșanu vs. Maurice Greene – Heavyweight

Murthel Groenhart vs. Thongchai Sitsongpeenong – Welterweight

Paweł Jędrzejczyk vs. Daniel Morales – Welterweight

Łukasz Pławecki vs. Niclas Larsen – Lightweight

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