GLORY Kickboxing returned to the UK for the first of two planned events in 2018. It was a solid night of fights. Champions Rico Verhoeven and Harut Grigorian successfully defended their titles, while Danyo Ilunga showed he’s still a force and Josh Jauncey gained revenge over lightweight rival Chris Baya.
Rico Verhoeven UD5 Mladen Brestovac-Retains GLORY Heavyweight Championship
Verhoeven retained his heavyweight honors with a unanimous decision win. The champion pressured the Croatian and landed some solid punches and low kicks. Brestovac landed some good shots here and there, but Verhoeven was clearly the winner with his work rate and shots landed. The scores were 50-45 on all three scorecards. Verhoeven improves to 54-10 with the win. The Dutch champion has not lost in GLORY since December 2013 and won 16 straight for the organization. Verhoeven is scheduled to compete on GLORY’s late September event in Amsterdam at the Johan Crujff Arena.
Harut Grigorian UD5 Alim Nabiyev- Retains GLORY Welterweight Championship (77kg)
In a much-anticipated welterweight showdown, Grigorian built an early lead and outpointed Nabiyev to successfully defend his title for the first time. The two fighters felt each other out in the first round, with Grigorian’s punches giving him a slight edge. Grigorian hurt Nabiyev in the second, and his heavier shots gave him the advantage when the two fighters exchanged. Nabiyev looked to land knees to the body and head, and switched between orthodox and southpaw. It seemed Nabiyev was trying to wear down Harut. Harut was tiring in the late rounds but still landed some good punches. Nabiyev pressed the action and looked for knees to the body and upstairs, but wasn’t able to land anything to seriously hurt Harut. Scores were 50-45 (twice), 49-46 (twice), and 48-47. Grigorian improves to 48-11(33). Nabiyev dips to 49-7(21).
Bailey Sugden No Contest Aleksei Ulianov-65kg (Featherweights)
Sugden outlanded Ulianov in the first round to have an edge on the judges’ scorecards heading into round two. In the second, an unintentional headbutt from Sugden cut Ulianov above the eye. Ulianov wanted to continue, telling the official “please don’t stop”. The bout was halted and declared a no contest because it wasn’t halfway completed. Official time of the stoppage was 1:10 of round two. Both fighters said they are willing to rematch after the fight. Sugden is now 11-2(2) with one no contest. Ulianov 23-1-5(7) with one no contest.
Chenglong Zhang UD3 Adrian Maxim-65kg (Featherweights)
Chinese southpaw Zhang knocked down Maxim late en route to a slow unanimous decision win to kick off the GLORY 54 main card. Zhang used a hit and move approach against the hard-hitting Romanian, and landed some solid low kicks. Maxim landed a good punch in the first round and picked up the pace in the last round. Maxim complained a few times to the referee about low blows from Zhang. Zhang, 20, improves to 46-6. Maxim slips to 33-10.
Danyo Ilunga UD3 Fraser Weightman-95kg (Light Heavyweights)
Weightman couldn’t deal with “Dibuba’s” pressure, as the German-Congolese veteran wore down the Brit newcomer to win a unanimous decision win in the GLORY 54 Superfight Series headline bout. Ilunga pressed the musclebound Brit, mixing hooks, uppercuts, body shots, knees, and low kicks. Weightman would fire shots to fend off Ilunga but he was visibly gassed in the third round. Four judges scored the bout 30-27 for Ilunga. The third had it 29-28. Ilunga improves to 60-13 with the win while Weightman is now 22-2. The loss snapped a seven fight win streak for the young British fighter.
Josh Jauncey SD3 Chris Baya-70kg (Lightweights)
Baya and Jauncey picked up where they left off in their long anticipated rematch. Baya had previously won a decision over Jauncey in 2016. Jauncey used a hit and move strategy while Baya patiently applied pressure. Jauncey landed some good low kicks and showed improved boxing. Baya landed some good shots to the body with his hands and feet. In this fight, Jauncey didn’t sit in the pocket too long and get caught. Jauncey landed a knee that appeared to stun Baya late in the third round. Scores were 29-28 four times for Jauncey, while one judge dissented with 29-28 Baya.
“He’s a great fighter. He’s so technical. He’s so sharp. He brings out the best in me,” Jauncey said after the fight to interviewer Whitney Miller. Jauncey was born in the UK and this was his first fight in his country of birth. He mentioned some of the UK’s kickboxing legends including his dad in his postfight interview.
Adam Hadfield SD3 Richard Abraham-70kg (Lightweights)
Hadfield’s third round pressure was the difference in an entertaining 70kg match up. Both guys landed with some good techniques, and three judges had the bout even after two rounds. Hadfield continue to apply pressure in the third. The Brit connected with a couple of good right uppercuts, and also a couple of good body shots and knees downstairs. Scores were 30-27, 29-28 (three times), and 28-29 for Abraham. Abraham slips to 13-6(4).
Marat Grigorian UD3 Liu Xu-70kg (Lightweights)
2017 World Super Max champion Grigorian cruised to a unanimous points win over the courageous Xu. Xu started the bout throwing combinations and moving, but Grigorian started to land later in the round. Grigorian continued to come forward behind crisp punches and low kicks. Xu’s face started to show the effects of the battle. Grigorian landed some more goods punches in the last round and knocked out Xu’s mouthpiece. Xu hung in there until the final bell. Grigorian improves to 59-1-10(35). Xu is now 17-4(6). After the fight, Grigorian told interviewer Whitney Miller that he wants to fight lightweight champion Sitthichai next.
Elvis Gashi UD3 William Goldie-Galloway-70kg (Lightweights)
Southpaw Gashi got off to a good start. The New Yorker landed a couple of solid low kicks and a left that could have been called a knockdown. Goldie-Galloway had success later in the round, landing some good right hands on Gashii. Gashi mixed up punches and low kicks nicely in the second. Goldie-Galloway was not blocking the low kicks to his rear leg. A tiring Goldie-Galloway landed a good right here and there in the third, but Gashii pushed the action and was outlanding him. Scores were 30-27 across the board.
Mark Timms UD3 Dawid Blaszke-Welterweight Tournament Semifinal 2
Timms outboxed Blaszke in the first two rounds, mixing his punches and kicks nicely. Blaszke pressured Timms behind a high guard, and got there occasionally with good right hands. Blaszke picked up his work rate in round three-and landed a good left hook to the body and left hook upstairs late on a tiring Timms. Timms absorbed the punches and fired back. Three judges scored the bout 30-27 for Timms. The other two had it 29-28 for the local lad. Timms improves to 24-2-9. Blaszke dips to 17-5(11).
Jamie Bates UD3 Tommy King-Welterweight Tournament Semifinal 1
Bates pitched a shutout win over King to earn a place in the welterweight tournament final, to be held later in the year. Bates jabbed and circled to keep distance, and also landed some nice low kicks. King looked to load up on big punches but seemed a step slow. Bates landed a good back fist in the second and high kick in the third, but the sturdy King wasn’t hurt. Scores of 30-27 across the board. Bates improves to 25-7(3). King slips to 19-7.
Kevin Ward SD3 Wilker Barros-Welterweight Tournament Reserve Bout (77kg)
Ward was the fresher fighter late and came forward and appeared to hurt a tiring Barros with a body shot. Barros had started the third round well. Barros had a good second round, clipping Ward with a good right hand over the top after Ward had won the first round. Four judges voted for Ward by the score of 29-28, while one judge had the bout for Barros by the same score. Ward improves to 42 wins, one draw, ten losses. Barros is now 15-2-6.
Christi Brereton UD3 Nicola Kaye-55kg
Kaye is the top ranked UK female fighter at 52.5kg while Brereton is number one at 55kg. Kaye moved up in weight to take the fight with Brereton. The bout was a hard-fought, good action fight. Kaye was the fighter coming forward while Brereton looked to catch her on the way in. Both landed some good shots and the bout was very close. Brereton landed the better shots and won by scores of 30-27 and 29-28 on four scorecards. Brereton improves to 20-1-6. Kaye drops to 14-2-3.
Vinny Church SD3 Ben Woolliss-70kg (Lightweights)
Church used his height and reach advantages over Woolliss to bang out a split decision. The shorter Woolliss, five inches lesser in height and ten inches in reach according to commentators, had to try and get inside on Church. Church looked to counter Woolliss’s low kicks with his punches. Woolliss landed some good low kicks and a few good punches, but Church connected with the better shots. Church improves to 13-3(4). Woolliss is 4-3(1).