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Big Night for Holzken, Schilling and Verhoeven at GLORY 19

  • Published in Glory

(C) Glory Sports International

GLORY 19 was an interesting night that was full of some truly tremendous action that had a bit of an underwhelming finish. 

The show's big draw, the Welterweight Contender's tournament, delivered in every fight. Raymond Daniels kicked off the night by absolutely demolishing Jonatan Oliveira with his fancy, traditional martial arts moves. Oliveira was able to cut off the ring and keep Daniels on the defensive, but Daniels found the openings for some truly highlight reel kicks throughout, making for an entertaining start to the evening. 

On the other end of the tournament we saw Nieky Holzken face the tough-as-nails Alexander Stetsurenko. Stetsurenko was a game opponent but Holzken was simply able to outperform against him. Many were looking for Holzken to make a big impression to start the night but Stetsurenko is simply too tough for that. 

Joe Schilling made his return to the GLORY ring against Robert Thomas. Many expected Schilling to steamroll through the young Canadian but Thomas was crafty and proved himself to be incredibly tough when being assaulted by Schilling's heavy hands. Thomas landed a few of his signature spinning back fists, but it was a spinning back fist by Joe late in the fight that sent Thomas crashing to the ropes and a few more punches that put him down in what would have knocked out anyone else. Thomas is tough, though, so he fought back up to his feet and was able to finish out the fight, but he clearly was outclassed by Schilling. 

Nieky Holzken and Raymond Daniels met in the tournament finals and there was a feeling that Daniels might actually have a chance against Holzken after the tremendous performance earlier on. What transpired in the ring though was completely according to the script with Holzken bullying him around the ring and utilizing his hands to hurt Daniels. He dropped Daniels with a liver punch early and continued to batter the karateka throughout the fight, dropping him a total of three more times before the fight was called in the third round. That isn't to say that there wasn't heart from Daniels, because there was. Daniels landed a huge spinning back kick that put Holzken onto his butt, the ref scoring it a knockdown, but definitely a questionable knockdown at that. It was Holzken's hands that sealed the deal and put Daniels down in the third, though. Holzken goes on to fight Valtellini in one has to be the most anticipated bout of the year.

Speaking of anticipated bouts, Rico Verhoeven and Errol Zimmerman fought for a third time with Mike Tyson at ringside to give in-between round analysis with Luke Thomas and sadly the fight ended after Zimmerman tweaked his knee in the second round. The first round was chaotic, though, with Rico scoring against Zimmerman in the first round and having him wobbled but not quite sure how to get him onto his back. Zimmerman was able to get Verhoeven wobbly as well, leaving both of them dazed and winging shots at each other. Needless to say they both looked mighty upset.

 

The fight took a turn in the second round, though, when Zimmerman when for a spinning back kick and landed on his right leg at an awkward angle, immediately falling into the corner and shrieking out in pain. The ref began counting him down, then for some reason called a time out and brought the doctor in. The doctor ruled Zimmerman unable to continue and that was the end of the fight. The Heavyweight division is kind of in chaos right now considering Verhoeven's little indiscretion in China last month, but such is life.

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Joe Schilling vs. Simon Marcus III Booked for GLORY Last Man Standing

  • Published in Glory

Wow. I'm not sure that there is anything else to say about GLORY booking Joe Schilling vs. Simon Marcus III outside of just that; wow. Joe Schilling and Simon Marcus not only have a history, they have a crazy history between them and it was one of the biggest Muay Thai feuds in North American history, period. Simon Marcus currently holds two wins over Joe Schilling, being the only fighter to be able to say that.

The first time they met was at Lion Fight V and the fight was being controlled by Schilling up until they were clinched up and Marcus landed what was a controversial sweep on Schilling that is still debated to this day in Muay Thai circles, where Marcus went down with Schilling causing Joe's head to get driven into the mat, which essentially knocked him out. Joe stood up without the ref counting and Marcus landed a simple punch that essentially just pushed Schilling back to the mat for good.

The second fight went the full five rounds, with it being an incredibly close fight and Marcus walking away with a Majority Decision. For Schilling, this has always been a rematch that he's wanted and he'll get it, this time in Kickboxing rules. The two meeting in Kickboxing rules evens things out a lot more and it should be an explosive fight, especially for the opening round of the GLORY Last Man Standing PPV. 

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GLORY 19 Scores Second Highest Spike TV Ratings For GLORY

  • Published in Glory

(C) Glory Sports International

There was some initial skepticism after GLORY 19 was postponed to February, but the reality was that some of the reshuffling of the GLORY 19 card was exactly what the promotion needed to return interest to the product. GLORY 18 under-performed, to say the least, scoring the promotion's lowest ratings to date on Spike TV, so GLORY came back with a vengeance with GLORY 19 and the numbers have come in and they are promising.

The initial, live broadcast numbers were 528,000 and the live+DVR numbers place GLORY 19 at a staggering 542,000, which is well over a 50% increase from GLORY 18 and makes GLORY 19 the second-most watched GLORY event on Spike TV. The first being GLORY 13 Tokyo that scored 659,000 viewers. GLORY 19 had a peak of 825,000 viewers, which is the third highest behind GLORY 17 and GLORY 13. 

It's unclear how much of this is from Mike Tyson or not, but an interesting tidbit of information is that Nieky Holzken was involved with a tournament on both GLORY 13 and GLORY 19, making Nieky Holzken one of the most-watched GLORY athletes in their history. The addition of American Joe Schilling and the Heavyweight Championship most definitely had their own impacts on the ratings.

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Glory 27 and Superfights Live Results

  • Published in Americas

Glory 27 Superfight series will begin at 4:30pm PST/7:30pm EST and is live on UFC Fight pass. Then the Glory 27 main card will begin at 7:00pm PST/ 10:00pm EST live on ESPN3 and Eversport.tv (for certain countries).

Should be an exciting card, finally Levin and Marcus get to settle the score with their last fight being a draw. Also the 4 man tournament should have very competitive fights as all the fighters are well matched. 

Glory 27

Middleweight Title: Simon Marcus (R3 - Disqualification) Artem Levin -- What. The. FUCK?! This was insanity. I've never seen something like this before. Artem Levin was pushed out of the ring in round one and referee Al Wichgers called it a down and did a standing 8-count. If you know these two you know that they both are heavy fighters. Al Wichgers deducted a point from Levin in R2 for clinching, while ignoring the fact that both men were doing equal amounts of clinching. Then in R3 he took ANOTHER point and threatened to DQ Levin. 

If you understand how fights are scored, Levin had just about no chance outside of a KO to win this fight now, and in such a tightly-contested bout between two talented fighters such as this that was remote, at best. So Levin quit, him and his corner storming off and Marcus crowned the new champion. Al Wichgers absolutely decided the winner of this fight.

Tournament Final: Dustin Jacoby (R2 - KO) Wayne Barrett -- What else is there to say? The problems in Barrett's game are all mental at this point, his self doubt is evident at times, especially for a guy as skilled as he is. Jacoby has done it again and has earned himself a shot at the title. Quite a climb to the top for this guy. 

Featherweight: Giga Chikadze (R3 - Unanimous Decision) Kevin VanNostrand -- VanNostrand started off strong, but Giga's experience edge came out as the fight wore on, with Giga having a much better second round where he had VanNostrand in a lot of trouble. Really fun fight by both guys.

Tournament Semifinal: Dustin Jacoby (R3 - TKO) Karl Roberson -- Man. Dustin Jacoby keeps improving and Roberson is absolutely legitimate competition and Jacoby was patient, waited for the openings and flattened him multiple times near the end of the fight, Jacoby stopping Roberson in the third after two knockdowns.

Tournament Semifinal: Wayne Barrett  (R3 - Unanimous Decision) Robert Thomas -- Thomas was easily the favorite going into this tournament and many had written Barrett off thanks to what seemed to be a losing streak that began in his mind. Barrett came ready to fight and brought it to Thomas all fight.

Glory 27 Superfights

Middleweight: Joe Schilling (188 lb / 85.3 kg) (R3 - Unanimous Decision) Mike Lemaire (188 lb / 85.3 kg) -- Early on this was all Schilling, with us getting a glimpse into the uber-aggressive Schilling that we've seen before. They stood and traded and it was a fun fight. Joe started to tire in R2 but still did enough to push the pace and hurt Lemaire.

Heavyweight: Anderson Silva (246 lb / 111.6 kg) (R3 - Unanimous Decision) Maurice Greene (250 lb / 113.4 kg) -- Braddock took this one, which shouldn't be a surprise. Braddock is a legitimate top level contender and Maurice Greene is still pretty new to this game. Braddock went to town on Greene's legs, scoring a few downs in the second round, but man, did he lack killer instinct here. For the last round and a half it looked like Silva could have put Greene away, but he simply wasn't aggressive enough. Credit to Greene for still fighting on.

Heavyweight: Guto Inocente (244 lb / 110.7 kg) (R1 - KO) Demoreo Dennis (245 lb / 111.1 kg) -- My god. This was BRUTAL.

Welterweight: Richard Abraham (171 lb / 77.6 kg) (R3 - Unanimous Decision) Pawel Jedrzejczyk (168 lb / 76.2 kg) -- This was a brutal, one-sided beatdown on the part of the hometown favorite Richard Abraham. 

Welterweight: Casey Greene (170 lb / 77.1 kg) (R3 - Unanimous Decision) Daniel Morales (170 lb / 77.1 kg) -- This was a close fight. Greene, for the most part, controlled where the action tookplace inside of the ring, but Morales was landing a ton while keeping distance from Morales. Morales actually showed a ton here and was moderately impressive for a guy new to kickboxing. The decision probably should have gone to Morales for landing more, cleaner shots, but hey.

 

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Glory 19: A New Way Forward?

  • Published in Glory

(C) Glory Sports International

What I love most about the kickboxing community—and what I think redeems us regardless of what happens in the industry—is that we are all diehard fans of the sport who share a strong sense of ownership of it as well as a desire to see it succeed. This comes across very clearly in Joe Schilling’s recent appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast as well as Glory bigwig Ivan Farneti’s tweets and interviews—and hopefully, our work here at LiverKick. As writers, we’ve seen the sport go through challenging times and make many a false comeback, which poses great difficulty from an editorial standpoint. On the one hand, we feel obligated and committed to supporting the sport especially when it’s struggling to survive, which in the past—speaking for myself—has led me to cheerlead at the expense of my own personal doubts. 2011 was a particularly tumultuous year; I remember arguing passionately on the dark corners of the Internet that It’s Showtime would save kickboxing even when it became increasingly clear that the Dutch organization didn’t have the resources to do so. To this day I’m not entirely sure if I really believed it could, but at the time, when kickboxing seemed to be losing its last hope for legitimacy, it seemed like the right thing to believe. On the other hand, I think that willfully overlooking blatant problems and trying to paint a falsely optimistic picture of reality is dishonest. If these seem like conflicting motives, it’s because they are, and it’s why I support Glory today while still joining in the fandom’s shared confusion and doubt when it breaks its promises and disappears for three months.

Having said all of that, I believe Glory deserves all the credit in the world for what it accomplished in Virginia Beach at Glory 19. Something just felt right this time. The product finally showed signs of maturity, of beginning to break through its veil of obscurity into the peripheral consciousness of mainstream sports. For once, there was talk of Glory on combat sports blogs that was spontaneous and organic rather than forced—and genuine interest in fighters like Joe Schilling, Raymond Daniels, and Nieky Holzken. Glory turned in its second-highest ratings of all time—coming off of a 3 month hiatus! The Virginia Beach audience seemed energized and alive as if they actually knew what they had come to see. The fights and fighters delivered on every level, showcasing the intensity and technique of kickboxing to viewers tuning in for the first time. Even Mike Tyson seemed genuinely impressed, more so than he was probably paid to be.

Glory 19 set the tone of how it should conduct itself in 2015. If excess was the fault of Glory in its first two years of operations, then new CEO Jon Franklin is to be commended for making strategic and calculated decision-making Glory’s new credo. First, let’s talk Glory’s choice of venues. Since its return in October of 2014, Glory has targeted smaller, affordable venues in cheaper domestic markets over more prestigious venues in expensive locales such as Madison Square Garden. In addition to the cost of the venues themselves, touring through smaller communities has likely saved on lodging expenses and is likely a boon from a promotional standpoint through low cost grassroots partnerships with local gyms and media outlets. This is the model that regional pro wrestling has followed for decades and seems like the appropriate strategy for Glory at this point.

Next, let’s talk about the match-ups. What started out as a decent fight card with Rico Verhoeven, Errol Zimmerman, and Nieky Holzken turned into an event that was stacked from top to bottom, with later additions Joe Schilling and Andy Ristie considerably elevating the profile of Glory’s return to SpikeTV. Adding Schilling in particular was a smart move, capitalizing on his highly publicized knockout of Melvin Manhoef in MMA. It seems that Glory has finally realized the value of keeping its exciting fighters in the limelight and that it can put together a stacked fight card and deliver top tier entertainment without having to shell out for big ticket fighters like Gokhan Saki and Tyrone Spong, something which Jon Franklin indicated as a shift in strategy last year. The new approach is more economical and still effective, and while it may indicate an end to huge fighter paydays for now, it will help provide Glory with the staying power to find prosperity in the future.

Glory 19 also signaled a shift in Glory’s efforts to expand its fanbase, including new gimmicks like adding Mike Tyson as an “analyst” and featuring an amateur fight between two active military servicemen. While people may have mixed feelings about this, I interpret it as Glory seizing opportunities for self-promotion. The aggressiveness of these tactics is a welcome change, and as a fledgling promotion, it is precisely the style of marketing that it should have adopted from the start. Glory made a strong play to associate its brand with familiar things that people take seriously, from Iron Mike to the welfare of military veterans, and in both instances Glory put its fighters front and center. The veteran commercials in particular were a brilliant touch because they asserted that Glory exists in the real world rather than the void of late-night television. From this perspective, booking Goldberg could turn out to be a savvy move.

This is encouraging stuff from Glory, and the fact that Glory is still being talked about on the web demonstrates that its new strategies are working. The ratings are also encouraging, and with rumors circulating of SpikeTV planning a stronger push back into combat sports, the future may begin to look up for kickboxing. That said, it is up to Glory to keep the momentum going; it has had promising starts in the past only for long hiatuses to kill the hype. Dubai is an interesting destination for Glory in April, perhaps representing increased international interest and investment in the brand. That said, given Glory’s astute move to Friday nights, it will be interesting to see how the significant time zone difference between the United States and the Middle East will be negotiated.

 

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Schilling vs. Kato II Headlining Bellator's Second Kickboxing Card

When Joe Schilling initially made the move to Bellator MMA's middleweight division many saw this as his opportunity to break out and really make a name for himself. His debut came against Melvin Manhoef in what was a crazy brawl of a fight that ended with Schilling knocking Manhoef out in spectacular fashion. Joe Schilling had arrived. His next fight against Rafael Carvalho saw Schilling demonstrate some of the grappling that he had been working on to spruce up his MMA game, but ultimately the judges gave the fight to Carvalho, which was not without some controversy. 

His next fight was against Hisaki Kato in Kato's Bellator debut in a fight that many saw as a foregone conclusion. The only problem was that no one told Kato that. Kato scored a rather crazy superman punch against Schilling, putting Schilling down and out. Interestingly enough, the superman punch has been one of Schilling's signature moves in the kickboxing realm, it being the punch that put down Artem Levin in their first meeting back at GLORY 10, leading to Schilling's big tournament victory. Since the June loss to Kato Schilling has been competing in kickboxing, working his way through the remainder of his GLORY contract with wins over Jason Wilnis and Mike Lemaire followed by a loss to Wilnis at the recent GLORY 30.

This past weekend it was announced that Bellator was setting up Hisaki Kato vs. Joe Schilling II, but that interestingly enough, it would headline Bellator's second kickboxing event. That event is set to take place directly following Bellator MMA: Dynamite 2 on June 24th. 

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Joe Schilling Talks About GLORY 10 Win and Bronchitis

  • Published in Kickboxing

Joe Schilling

There isn't much in the world I hate as much as I hate bronchitis. I used to get bronchitis a lot when I was younger, and if you've somehow gotten by in life without being afflicted by it, consider yourself lucky. Imagine having the flu but also coughing a ton, like real loud, awful coughs. That is bronchitis, which only makes Joe Schilling's performance this weekend all the more amazing, as he was recovering from a bout of bronchitis going into this weekend's GLORY 10.

This new interview with Joe Schilling from Marcus Kowal provides some insight into where Schilling was before this event, which was borrowing money from his manager for gas and medicals, to being the GLORY Middleweight Champion with a huge win over Artem Levin. Joe also has the realization during this that he doesn't have to do the chasing anymore, that guys have to chase him to get a shot at the belt and it is a pretty cool moment.

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Bellator MMA Dynamite and Bellator Kickboxing 2 See Bump In Numbers

(C) Bellator

On Friday evening Spike TV and Bellator presented Bellator MMA: Dynamite 2 as well as Bellator Kickboxing 2. Dynamite saw a number of kickboxing bouts, including Denise Kielholtz against Gloria Peritore and Kevin Ross against Justin Houghton. Bellator Kickboxing 2 started with a bang as Joe Schilling fought Hisaki Kato in a rematch and Raymond Daniels did what Raymond Daniels does best. 

After slightly disappointing numbers for the debut Bellator Kickboxing event, Bellator Kickboxing 2 with a strong Bellator Dynamite lead-in pulled in solid numbers. While Bellator itself did 601,000 viewers, Bellator Kickboxing 2 did 418,000. The Kimbo Slice special aired earlier in the evening did 416,000.

[source]

UPDATE: Spike TV have reached out with peak numbers and DVR figures. Rampage Jackson vs. Satoshi Ishii peaked at 1,140,000 viewers, with the show averaging 675,000 viewers. Joe Schilling vs. Hisaki Kato drew 624,000 viewers, the Kickboxing show pulling a 642,000 peak and average of 439,000.

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Post-Glory 17 Matchmaking - Rematches galore

  • Published in Glory

As the dust settles after Glory's inaugural pay-per view event, I play role as matchmaker for the winners from this weekend’s epic night of fights.

Artem Levin vs. Joe Schilling III

Who honestly wouldn't want to see a third fight between these two? Levin was clearly the better man on Saturday however it was evident that Schilling was most definitely the most battle-worn going into the tournament final, after avenging previous losses over Wayne Barrett and Simon Marcus earlier in the night. A 5 round title fight later this year for the Glory Middleweight title seems like the perfect way to separate these two and would be a fitting end to a memorable trilogy for Glory. Expect to see it before the year is out.

Rico Verhoeven vs. Errol Zimmerman III

Verhoeven and Ghita’s rematch this weekend may not have been as exciting as the first meeting between the two, it finally cleared the air on who the number 1 heavyweight is as Verhoeven outpointed Ghita for a second time by Unanimous decision. Whilst many would argue that a third encounter between Verhoeven and Zimmerman would most likely play out similarly to their last fight, Zimmerman has since earned his right to fight for the belt by knocking out both Ben Edwards and Anderson Silva earlier this year to win the Glory Heavyweight contender tournament. It’s also worth noting that besides the champion Verhoeven and up and coming Romanian starlet Benjamin Adegbuyi, Zimmerman is the only other top 10 Heavyweight who is currently on a win streak. Zimmerman is owner of perhaps the most decisive loss of Verhoeven’s career, as he knocked out the champion in less than a minute back in 2012.

Joseph Valtellini vs. Nieky Holzken II

Whilst a few have disagreed with the decision, Joseph Valtellini became Glory's Welterweight champion this past Saturday with a split decision victory over now former champ Marc de Bonte. Valtellini controlled the first half of the fight by being the more active of the two fighters, with his best moment coming in the third as he sent De Bonte crashing to the mat courtesy of a right-high kick. De Bonte came alive after the knockdown though as the tide began to turn. De Bonte utilized his superb technical skills to pick away at Valtellini before an incredibly well timed step-in knee nearly separated Valtellini from consciousness. Although Valtellini recovered, it was clear he didn’t have much left in the tank, as de Bonte clearly won the last two rounds. Had it not been for Joe Schilling and Simon Marcus contributing a Fight of the Year candidate, the fight between De Bonte and Valtellini would probably have been most peoples pick for Fight of the Night. Although 'Bazooka' Joe will currently sit atop of Glory's stacked Welterweight division, most would argue that Dutchman Nieky Holzken is still guy to beat at 77kg. Holzken and Valtellini previously met last December, with Holzken finishing Valtellini with a crushing right-hook in the dying seconds of the fight.

Mirko Filipovic vs. Sergei Kharitonov

Kharitonov is still somewhat finding his feet in the Glory ring and has done relatively well in his short-stint thus far. Whilst a win over a 2014 Cro Cop doesn't do as much for Kharitonov's career as much as it would have a decade ago, Cro Cop is still 7-1 since returning to kickboxing in 2012 with the only loss coming consequence of controversial decision to the recently retired Remy Bonjasky. A victory for either guy will not likely propel them into title contention, it still allows to veterans of combat sports to finally do battle after years of competing on the same cards as each other.

Andy Ristie vs. Davit Kiria II

Like the other rematches I've listed above, this bout seems like a given. Ristie was cruising in their first bout before Kiria pulled off one of the upsets of 2014 with an incredible come from behind KO in the final round of their fight for the inaugural Glory Lightweight championship. Ristie put away No. 4 ranked Ky Hollenbeck, whom many thought would provide Ristie with one of the toughest tests of his career. Ristie passed the test with flying colors, destroying the American with a devastating left-hook a mere 30 seconds into the bout. Ristie seems as motivated as ever and will likely go into his rematch with Kiria as a substantial favorite.

Gabriel Varga vs. Mosab Amrani

Top Canadian featherweight Gabriel Varga cruised through his tournament field on Saturday night by handily beating Californian Shane Oblonsky and 19 year-old Yodkhunpon Sitmonchai, both by clear-cut Unanimous decision. Varga seemed to be in a league of his own at Glory 17, only losing a single round on one of the judge’s scorecards. Despite only being 5-5 in his last 10 kickboxing bouts, Moroccan Mosab Amrani has impressed greatly since signing with Glory last year, picking up victories over notables Liam Harrison, Marcos Vinicius and Yuta Kubo with his lone lose coming via a close decision to Masaaki Noiri in Tokyo last year. Not only does this bout make sense in terms of ranking and form, but also stylistically this bout would be a treat for the fans, as Varga would aim to utilize his speed and high output attack vs. Amrani's heavy-handed Muay Thai. This would be the ideal fight to crown Glory’s first ever Featherweight champion.

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For Joe Schilling Last Man Standing is About His Legacy

  • Published in Interviews

This weekend at GLORY Last Man Standing Joe Schilling has a date with a second GLORY tournament. The first one was a victory for Schilling at GLORY 10, putting him atop of the heap of GLORY’s stacked Middleweight division. At least for that night. We can easily say that GLORY 10 was a great night for Schilling, but GLORY 12 was not a great night for Schilling, although he’ll be the first one to tell you that it wasn’t his best night.

Heading into GLORY’s Last Man Standing tournament Joe is faced with three past opponents in Wayne Barrett, Artem Levin and Simon Marcus, each of which are involved in the tournament in different parts of the bracket, with there being a chance of him meeting each one on Saturday if things turn out that way. Revenge doesn’t seem to be on the mind of Schilling this time, though, nor does calling out a round for a knockout. Instead, he seems refocused.

At Last Man Standing Joe Schilling’s night starts off with not only a rematch, but a third meeting with an old adversary in Simon Marcus, but that is the furthest thing from his mind right now; “You know, everyone is asking me about rematches, they are all really excited about that. I guess there is more of an emotional connection to the previous fights than even I do. Rematch with Simon, rematch with Barrett, rematch with Levin, and I’m not thinking about that at all. It doesn’t even cross my mind, I’m a different fighter and I don’t expect them to be the same fighter. I’m really just focused on winning the tournament.

“Gotta go through Simon Marcus first, then I gotta go through Barrett, but if it’s Barrett I’ll beat Barrett, if it’s Stoica then I’ll be Stoica. Who even knows who comes through that other bracket. It’s crazy. I’m really focused I’m being the best Joe Schilling that I can be that night. I’ve made some changes in my game, in my lifestyle and the mental side of it. I feel like I’ll really be able to express what I’m capable of on the 21st. I’m really excited to show everybody what I’m capable of, but also show myself what I’m capable of. The rematches, though? They really mean nothing to me. At the end of the night, when I’m holding my belt, I’ll probably be laughing like, ‘Oh I knocked out Simon,’ but it’s not what I’m focused on right now.”

GLORY 12 was a tough night for Joe, but it wasn’t the first time that he’s had to face a loss in his career. “Yeah, when I lose a fight I really get very internal; why I lost the fight, what I was thinking, what I was doing. There are a lot of mistakes that I’ve been making for a long time in my career, stylistically, and we’ve really been focused on changing those things. The sparring has worked out really well and I’m really excited about it. After the Eddie Walker knockout I came back stronger, after I lost to Simon the second time I had to go to Thailand to fight Karapet on short notice, so I really look at my losses as big chunks of experience.

“I mean, look at the records of some of these other guys in the tournament. Sure, I have a much bigger record than Wayne Barrett, but for the most part I have less than everybody else in the tournament. Any and all experience that I can get I gotta take advantage of, but these losses are big for me, they are learning experiences. I’m humbled by my losses and it forces me to take a good look at me and it’s a good thing for my career.”

This brought about the topic of pressure and what kind of pressure that Joe feels going into this tournament. If you remember going into GLORY 10 Joe felt that he had to win the tournament to make a statement about Americans in Kickboxing, but now he sees more and more fighters from America stepping up and this is more about himself and his legacy. Joe is looking for not only a win, but a legacy like that of some of Kickboxing’s legends with back-to-back tournament wins.

“I’ve always put so much pressure on myself that I don’t really see other people’s pressure. I hold myself to a very high standard. In the past I’ve said stuff like, ‘well I’m gonna knock him out in this round’ and put even more pressure on myself, but for me there’s a ton of pressure on this fight for myself. I want to prove and really cement my legacy in Kickboxing. It means the world to me that I was the first American to win a global combat sports tournament like this and it’s really important for me to do it twice in a row. I want to go down in history with like Peter Aerts and Semmy Schilt, that’s the pressure that I feel. I don’t want to be in the back shaking my head and apologizing like I was after the Barrett fight and I have 100% myself to blame for that. I took him too lightly and I just,” Joe paused for a few seconds, searching for the right words. “I screwed up. I didn’t fight my fight, that wasn’t the best Joe Schilling.

“That won’t happen again,” he added, in regards to his frustrations in the fight with Barrett. “I was in there and I was frustrated, not even with Wayne, but I was frustrated with myself. Things picked up in the third round but even then it was sloppy, it was careless, it wasn’t me. So there is a ton of pressure for me not to do that again in this fight, but I feel like with the changes we’ve made there’s no chance of that happening again. There’s a lot less pressure knowing that I’m fighting the best fighters in the world. No one has ever watched a K-1 World Grand Prix and thought, ‘well that guy sucks.’ Everybody in there belongs in there, seven of us, the best Middleweights in the world, are gonna lose on Saturday. It’s gonna be a tough night, I’m not gonna be dancing afterwards. I have the utmost respect for all of the guys in the tournament, but it’s gonna be my night. It’s in my home city in front of my family and my friends, it’s gonna be epic.”

It’s also interesting to note that Schilling does have the homefield advantage going into this tournament, something that he had for the GLORY 10 Middleweight tournament as well. It was something that he was missing at GLORY 12 when he fought Wayne Barrett in New York, though; “Yeah, you know, I walked out and was getting booed. It’s happened twice in my career and both times it’s taken me out of my game. Actually, both times it was on the East coast, maybe I need to not fight on the East coast anymore?” He joked. “But for sure, I’m a lot more comfortable when I fight at home. No one wants to lose in front of their friends.”

So for Joe Schilling at GLORY Last Man Standing there isn’t revenge on his mind, instead it’s his legacy and taking his place as one of the greats in Kickboxing by winning consecutive tournaments. It is without a doubt a tall order considering the talent involved, but Schilling seems just as excited to watch the fights at Last Man Standing and GLORY 17 as he is to compete. He’s a kickboxing fan first and a fighter second and it’s very clear that this Joe Schilling is humbled and mentally prepared for what is before him.

Will it be his night again? Tune in on Saturday night at 10pm Eastern time on PPV for GLORY Last Man Standing, immediately following GLORY 17 on Spike TV at 8pm Eastern time. For more information, head to http://www.gloryppv.com

 

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