News: Vakhitov Willing to Face Verhoeven, World Lethwei Championship, Petchpanomrung

GLORY 54 poster

Vakhitov Willing to Face Verhoeven
GLORY Kickboxing’s YouTube channel visited the training camp of Aleksei Ulianov to chat with the Russian featherweight heading into his showdown with Bailey Sugden this Saturday at the GLORY 54 Superfight Series. Ulianov is 0-2 in GLORY. He lost a unanimous decision to current top contender Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao in his GLORY debut, and then dropped a split decision to Giga Chikadze last July. With an 0-2 record with the promotion, Ulianov sees the fight with Sugden as a fight he can’t afford to lose. “There is no way out. I have to win this one,” he said.

GLORY Light Heavyweight Champion Artem Vakhitov was also interviewed during the segment, and is looking to return to the ring in the summer. Vakhitov has been inactive since defeating Ariel Machado by unanimous decision at GLORY 47 last October. The Russian fighter suffered a hand injury that led to surgery and the layoff, and now Vakhitov says he is ready to return. The light heavyweight king is also willing to to move up in weight and challenge longtime heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven.

“I’m fine. I feel good, and my hand is also good,” Vakhitov said. “It feels really good again.”

“I’m ready to fight again, maybe in July or August, he said. “Zhuravlev. (Interim light heavyweight titlist Pavel Zhuravlev). Rico (GLORY Heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven).”

“Yes, I want.,” he said when asked if he’s willing to face Verhoeven. “I feel good. And I know I will beat him. I’m fast. Rico only big.”

Verhoeven is scheduled to defend his title against Mladen Brestovac in the GLORY 54 main event this Saturday. Number one ranked contender Bennie Adegbuyi should be next in line for the winner after earning another shot by winning the four man tournament at GLORY 50. If Vakhitov comes back and vanquishes Zhuravlev to unify the light heavyweight title, it will be six straight wins for the hard hitting Russian since his sole loss in GLORY. He’ll definitely have an argument to get a shot at the heavyweight title.

World Lethwei Championship Looking to Grow Globally
Most kickboxings fans are probably familiar with Lethwei, the Burmese fighting sport that is similar in many ways to Muay Thai. Lethwei fighters are also proficient with elbows, knees, and clinching. Unlike in Muay Thai bouts however, headbutts are allowed in Lethwei, and fighters must win by knockout or stoppage. There are no judges decisions in traditional Lethwei bouts, and another difference is that a fighter who is knocked out or injured can use one two minute “timeout” per fight to recover and resume fighting.

A new promotional group is looking to grow the sport of Lethwei globally. The World Lethwei Championship is attempting to make the sport more attractive to a global audience by shortening the bouts from five rounds to three rounds, eliminating the injury timeout, and also using judges to decide a winner if there is no knockout during the bout.

The Myanmar Times has an informative article on the WLC and their growth thus far. Already, the WLC is shown in 40 countries, according to the story and has signed a number of foreign fighters to learn Lethwei and compete for the organization.

You can find the story here on the Myanmar Times website.

Petchpanomrung Wins Performance of the Night Award
GLORY announced top featherweight contender Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao won the Performance of the Night Award for his high kick knockout of Abdellah Ezbiri at GLORY 53 earlier this month. It was the second straight knockout win for the Thai, who faces featherweight king Robin van Roosmalen at GLORY 55 on July 20 in New York. Petchpanonmrung receives $5000 USD for winning the award.

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