Jamal Ben Saddik put himself back in the GLORY heavyweight title picture Saturday in Rotterdam, Netherlands with an impressive victory in the GLORY 62 heavyweight tournament.
After stopping Junior Tafa in the first round, Ben Saddik fought a smart fight to defeat Guto Inocente by decision before blasting out top rated Benjamin Adegbuyi to win the tournament belt and $100,000 prize money.
Jamal Ben Saddik (MAR) def. Benjamin Adegbuyi (ROU)-KO Round 1 (Wins GLORY Heavyweight Tournament and $100,000 Prize)
Ben Saddik took little damage and fought less rounds heading into the final, while Benny had a hard fight in the semifinals. The “Goliath” came out and cracked a couple of high kicks and then a sharp punch combo. Benny landed a low blow and time was called. Ben Saddik fought from the southpaw stance and connected with a couple of left hands and Benny rubbed his nose. Ben Saddik found a home for the left again and again. Adegbuyi threw a shot and Ben Saddik slipped and countered with another left and Adegbuyi went down dazed. The fight was stopped, giving Ben Saddik the tournament championship.
“I hurt my left hand. That was not so important,” Ben Saddik said, when asked by commentator Todd Grisham about his hand injury in the post fight interview. (During the broadcast, it was mentioned Ben Saddik injured his hand during the semifinal against Guto Inocente)
Ben Saddik thanked the fans, saying “This title for you guys.”
Ben Saddik said he wants to fight a rematch with GLORY heavyweight champ Rico Verhoeven, who defeated him by stoppage last year. Ben Saddik previously beat Rico, so it would be a rubber match between the two fighters.
-Light Heavyweight (95 kg) Luis Tavares (NLD) def. Artur Gorlov (LVA)-Split Decision
Very close fight. Tavares was the busier fighter, but Gorlov was more accurate and the one coming forward late in the fight. Gorlov landed a number of body kicks and caught Tavares with a good left hook to the head near the end of round one. Tavares outscored Gorlov in round two, and the third round was very close. Both men landed some good strikes, with Gorlov the one coming forward. Three judges favored hometown fighter Tavares, while two had it for Gorlov. This was Tavares’s first fight since vacating the Enfusion heavyweight belt and returning to GLORY. Tavares is now 60-0-7 (22 KOs). Gorlov is 23-0-7 (10 KOs).
Jamal Ben Saddik (MAR) def. Guto Inocente (BRA)-Unanimous Decision (Heavyweight Tournament Semifinal 2/2)
Ben Saddik’s size and power were obstacles the tough Inocente could not overcome. Inocente got caught throwing a punch from too far outside in round one, and was stunned by a right punch moments later. Ben Saddik landed a knee that cut Inocente’s nose. Ben Saddik controlled the bout, stepping back and keeping distance. He landed a couple of good body kicks, along with some good punches. Inocente had trouble getting inside. The Brazilian landed a couple of low kicks but nothing heavy on the big Moroccan. Clear decision for “The Goliath”.
Benjamin Adegbuyi (ROU) def. Jahfarr Wilnis (NLD)-KO Round 3 (High Kick) (Heavyweight Tournament Semifinal 1/2)
Adegbuyi scored a thrilling knockout of sometime training partner Wilnis in a crowd pleasing war. Wilnis came forward and outscored Benny in round one, but Adegbuyi rocked Wilnis in round two but couldn’t put him down. Wilnis seemed tired in round two but dug down and continued to pressure in round three. He landed a couple of good right hands early. Late in the round, Benny landed the big high kick and the fight was over. It was Benny’s third win against Wilnis.
Guto Inocente (BRA) def. Mohamed Abdallah (DEU)-Split Decision (Heavyweight Tournament 4/4)
In the last quarterfinal, Inocente got the better of Abdallah in a bout that featured a lot of clinching. Abdallah’s come forward style made it difficult for Inocente to land his spinning techniques. Inocente had a better round two, and even landed with a spinning kick near the end of the round. Inocente had a clear edge in round three as the busier fighter and he landed a few good shots. Abdallah faded late in the fight and was warned for holding. Both men were warned earlier. Scores: 29-28 four times for Inocente and one 28-29 tally for Abdallah.
Jahfarr Wilnis (NLD) def. Tomas Mozny (SVK)-Split Decision (Heavyweight Tournament 3/4)
Wilnis’s aggression and more damaging blows earned him a close decision over “The Slovakian Giant”. Wilnis came forward, but was outworked by Mozny in round one, who mixed his shots nicely. Wilnis picked up his work rate in round two and had a clear edge as Mozny was less active. The third round was close, but Wilnis was the fighter coming forward and landed the harder shots. Scores were 29-28 Wilnis (four times), and 28-29 for Mozny.
Jamal Ben Saddik (MAR) def. Junior Tafa (AUS)-TKO Round 1 (2 Knockdown Rule) (Heavyweight Tournament 2/4)
In a bizarre fight, Tafa was defeated by the Moroccan Goliath in one round. A Ben Saddik kick actually knocked off Tafa’s protective cup. His corner tried to reattach it, but it fell out again. The referee warned Tafa if the cup fell out again, the fight would be over. Distracted by the cup and warned of disqualification, Tafa became more aggressive. Ben Saddik was getting the better of the action. The “Goliath” then landed a body kick that dropped Tafa. Tafa got up and went down again from another body kick. Tafa complained of a low blow, and his corner had some choice words for the referee. Tafa’s corner had a valid point-if the cup was in fact dislodged by a Ben Saddik low blow, then time should have been given to correctly put it back in place. Regardless, Ben Saddik advanced without taking a lot of punishment or spending a lot of energy.
Benjamin Adegbuyi (ROU) def. Arkadiusz Wrzosek (POL)-Unanimous Decision (Heavyweight Tournament 1/4)
Adegbuyi pressured the Polish fighter, who was slightly taller but nearly 10 kg lighter. Adegbuyi hurt Wrzosek with a left hook to the body in round two, dropping him moments later with another left hook to the midsection. Wrzosek survived the round, but was dropped with another body shot in round three. Adegbuyi patiently followed up but seemed stunned after a Wrzosek high kick late in the round. Adegbuyi advanced with scores of 30-25 on all scorecards.
GLORY 62 Superfight Series
-Lightweights (70 kg): Marat Grigorian (ARM) def. Chris Baya (AGO)- Split Decision
Grigorian’s pressure and output led him to a points victory over Baya in a battle of lightweight contenders. Baya had a good first round, scoring with some punches and low kicks. Grigorian had the advantage in round two, and connected with some good left uppercuts. The bout was a split draw heading into the final round: three judges had it even with the other two split between Grigorian and Baya. Grigorian kept up the pressure and outlanded a tiring Baya in round three to earn the win. Scores were 30-27, 29-28 (three times), and 28-29.
-Lighweights (70 kg): Tyjani Beztati (MAR) def. Stoyan Koprivlenski (BGR)-Unanimous Decision
Beztati looked sharp in picking up a unanimous points win over Koprivlenski. The Moroccan-Dutch fighter was particularly sharp with his hands. Koprivlenski looked for a big technique to turn the flow of the fight in round three, but didn’t land anything big. Beztati avenged a previous decision loss to Koprivlenski. Beztati improves to 18-0-3(6). It was the third loss for Koprivlenski, who is now 10-0-3.
-Welterweights (77 kg) Dmitrii Menshikov (RUS) def. Robbie Hageman (NLD)-TKO Round 1 (Punches)
Young Russian power puncher Menshikov stopped Dutch veteran Hageman in less than a round. Hageman scored with a couple of inside low kicks early, and looked to move and counter. Menshikov stunned Hageman, and then a right hand dropped “The Rabbit” face-first toward the canvas. Hageman beat the count but the fight was waved off by the ref. Menshikov improves to 21-0-2 (17 KOs). Hageman is now 53-1-10(9).
-Welterweights (77 kg) Hamicha (MAR) def. Miles Simson (SUR)-KO Round 1 (High Kick)
The bout started, and Simson landed a couple of hard low kicks. Hamicha started to let his hands go, and Simson seemed stunned and was on the ropes. Hamicha landed a hard left hook to the body. Moments later, Hamicha went upstairs with a left high kick that dropped Simson for the knockout win. Official time was 1:53. An impressive debut for the Moroccan-Dutch fighter, who improves to 37-0-2(27). Simson is now 65-0-14(26).
HW: Roel Mannaart (NLD) def. Kirill Kornilov (RUS)-Unanimous Decision
Dutch prospect Mannaart used a hit and move strategy against the bigger Russian, who outweighed the Dutchman by 15 kg. Kirill became more aggressive after round one, but ate some good low kicks and walked into a couple of good punch combos. Mannaart, who is the son of the great Dutch trainer Andre Mannaart, improves to 2-0 in GLORY and 25-0-2(12 KOs) overall. Kornilov had a three fight win streak snapped, and suffered his third loss to slip to 14-0-3 (5 KOs). 30-27 scores on three cards and 29-28 twice.
GLORY 62 Prelims
-Middleweight/85 kg: Ertugrul Bayrak (TUR) def. Donovan Wisse (SUR)-Split Decision
Tough Turk Bayrak pulled off a minor upset in the card’s sole prelim. It was a give and take battle, with Bayrak backing up the previously unbeaten Wisse. In round three, Bayrak hurt Wisse to the body with a series of knees. Wisse battled back and the fighters both landed some hard shots late in the round. Official scores were 30-27 and 29-28 for Bayrak (twice), while the two other judges favored Wisse by the score of 29-28. Bayrak improves to 17-0-6. Wisse is now 11-0-1.