Friday Flurries: Chris Baya, Hesdy Gerges, Enfusion, GLORY U.S. TV Update, Tomasz Sarara

GLORY 54 poster

It’s a busy weekend for kickboxing fans, with Kunlun Fight 75, DSF Kickboxing Challenge 16, and GLORY 54 all taking place. Here’s some news and notes in the kickboxing world to hold you over.

Baya Looking to Bounce Back
GLORY lightweight contender Chris Baya is looking to bounce back from his title fight loss to division king Sitthichai in February. The Dutch-Angolan fighter was soundly outpointed by the Muay Thai maestro in dropping a wide decision loss at GLORY 50 in Chicago.

“I think I got to bounce back because of the loss I had against Sitthichai,” Baya said in an interview with the GLORY Kickboxing YouTube channel. “What I learned from the Sitthichai fight is to believe more in myself and just go for it. No second thoughts.”

“I don’t want people to think they figured me out and he ain’t that good at all,” he said. “That’s not the fact.”

Baya is still ranked number two in the division despite the loss. He’ll have an opportunity to move closer to another shot at Sitthichai if he can get past Canadian Josh Jauncey Saturday at the GLORY 54 Superfight Series. The two fighters are no strangers to one another. Baya and Jauncey fought a spirited battle at GLORY 35, with Baya knocking down Jauncey and surviving a late Jauncey knee to win a close majority decision. Equally impressive was the fact Baya took the fight on only one week’s notice. The first Baya-Jauncey fight earned “Fight of the Night” honors for the skill and fortitude both fighters displayed.

“I had nothing to lose and I wanted to prove myself,” Baya recalled. “I was tired after the first round to be honest. I managed to survive and get the decision.”

“It meant the world to me. Josh went to the hospital as well. He broke his hand and his nose. Apparently I broke my arm. We knocked each other into the hospital.”

With more time to prepare, Baya said he has a strategy in place and “it’s going to be a totally different fight.” The Jauncey rematch is an obstacle in the way of the main goal.

“After winning this fight, I’m looking forward to getting another title shot. I want that belt.”

Hesdy Gerges Signs With Bellator

Former It’s Showtime champion and longtime heavyweight contender Hesdy Gerges announced on social media he’s signed a contract with the Bellator organization. Gerges teased a transition to MMA last week on his social media, with video footage of the Dutch-Egyptian destroyer doing grappling training with former UFC champion and MMA pioneer Royce Gracie. Based on the post, it looks like “Fighterheart” will be competing for Bellator in both MMA and kickboxing. Gerges’ wife Denise Kielholtz is a female kickboxing champion and MMA fighter who competes for Bellator.

Gerges, 34, last competed in kickboxing at the huge GLORY 51 event, losing the long awaited rematch with Badr Hari by decision. After the bout, Gerges asked for a “trilogy” with Hari, but apparently either GLORY, Badr, or both were not interested in the bout at this moment in time. Bellator Kickboxing gains instant credibility with a fighter like Gerges on its roster, and Gerges is a known name in Europe to put on the bill for Bellator Kickboxing or MMA shows.

Enfusion Update
Enfusion representative Julie Kitchen posted that the organization will return to Abu Dhabi on Friday December 7 for another 8 man 72.5kg tournament. The winner will receive 100,000 Euros ($115,727 USD, 87,200 GBP).

Four tournament participants are designated “wild cards”, with the other four combatants fighting their way to Abu Dhabi by winning four man tournaments at other Enfusion events. Previous tournament winner Endy Semeleer and Nordin Ben Moh have already been chosen as wild cards. Youssef Challouki, who won a four man tournament at Enfusion 60 in February, is the first fighter to earn his spot. The fighters who win four man tournaments at Enfusion events in October and November will also compete, and two more wild cards will be chosen.

Enfusion also has a show scheduled for December 15 in The Hague. It will be a busy end to the year for them, with a number of Enfusion shows scheduled late in the year including MMA bouts.

GLORY U.S. TV Update
GLORY Kickboxing announced Thursday that GLORY 54 will be shown live on the ESPNews channel in the United States. Previously, the event was scheduled to only be streamed on the ESPN3 channel, but now the event can be viewed on television as well.

Sarara Wins WKN Super Heavyweight Title
Tomasz Sarara defeated GLORY veteran Tomas Mozny by fourth round TKO last weekend in Poland. The bout was part of a big boxing event that took place at Warsaw’s National Stadium. The smaller Sarara, a K-1 Europe veteran, was the aggressor and looked to be ahead when the fight was stopped because of a cut suffered by Mozny.

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