On 23 November 2013, one of the most remarkable performances in Glory Kickboxing’s short history took place. Suriname slugger Andy Ristie did the seemingly unthinkable, knocking out future legends Giorgio Petrosyan and Robin van Roosmalen in the same night to win the Glory 12 Lightweight Tournament.
Ristie had established himself as a lightweight (70 kg/154 lbs) to be reckoned with prior to Glory 12 with wins over legend Albert Kraus, Hinata, and also Gago Drago in K-1 Max. His tournament win at Glory was still a surprise. Ristie had always shown power, strength, and toughness, but many thought his style was too crude for the likes of a master tactician like Petrosyan or the tank-like van Roosmalen.
His tenure at the top of the sport would be short-lived.
Fall From Grace
In his next bout after winning the tournament, Ristie faced Davit Kiria. Ristie started the bout well, and scored with heavy blows on the tough Georgian, but punched himself out. Kiria stopped him in the fifth and final round to lift the Glory lightweight belt.
After a couple of wins against lesser fighters, Ristie was given an opportunity to challenge van Roosmalen, who defeated Kiria for the title. van Roosmalen avenged his prior defeat with a clear decision victory at Glory 20 in April 2015.
In the aftermath of the loss, Ristie’s then-trainer Robert Flamingo was banned from Glory events over allegations of glove tampering. Ristie sided with his trainer in the dispute. In the statement, he made it known “Roberto Flamingo is and remains my trainer.”
The Invisible Man
After the loss to van Roosmalen, Ristie disappeared from the sport. He hasn’t stepped into the ring for GLORY, K-1, or any other major promotion. Fighters with Ristie’s unique blend of toughness, power, and ferocity are rare, and fans naturally wondered if and when he was coming back. I emailed Glory earlier this year to ask about his status, and was informed by the representative his contract ended in 2016.
Yesterday, Dutch equipment manufacturer Atila NL posted Ristie is in training and planning a comeback in 2019.
There has been talk of Ristie coming back in the past, but nothing materialized. If Ristie is indeed coming back this time, it’s great for the sport that a special talent is returning. How well Ristie, now 36, will fare at the top level remains to be seen.