Danyo “Dibuba” Ilunga, the longtime GLORY light heavyweight (95 kg) contender and former It’s Showtime champion, has been released from his fighter contract by GLORY Kickboxing. A promotion representative confirmed the fighter’s release in an email received Wednesday morning.
Dutch writer Stefan Van Erp of MMA DNA first reported Ilunga was sacked by the organization. The article was then picked up by other media outlets.
Ilunga, 31, recently competed in a bout in the heavyweight division against Britain’s James McSweeney at Mix Fight Championship 25 in Germany. The Congolese-German fighter was stopped by the bigger McSweeney in round three.
According to Mr. Van Erp’s article, Ilunga did not consult with GLORY before accepting the match with McSweeney and wasn’t interested in fighting Luis Tavares, who GLORY wanted to match him with. After Ilunga was beaten, GLORY decided to release him from his contract, the article states.
GLORY did not make any comment on the article or give a reason for the release, but did confirm Ilunga was let go, as Mr. Van Erp reported.
Where Ilunga goes from here remains to be seen. He remains a notable name in the sport, and showed in his August title fight loss to champion Artem Vakhitov he can still compete on a high level.
Meanwhile, GLORY’S light heavyweight title picture looks a bit murky. Pavel Zhuravlev was the interim champion and expected to be the next challenger for Vakhitov. Zhuravlev is no longer listed as interim champion or ranked in the top 10 in GLORY’s light heavyweight rankings.
Ariel Machado, who Vakhitov defeated in 2017, is the top contender with Michael Duut in the number two position.
(Ilunga photo courtesy of James Law/GLORY Sports International)