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Joe Valtellini: GLORY's Own GSP in the Making

  • Published in Glory

When it comes to conventional wisdom how to make Kickboxing take off in the United States everyone always says the same thing; you need an American star. You need an American star, that is what everyone thinks, so therefore that is what it needs. That is sound logic, but the only thing is, when we look at the recent history of breakthrough stars in combat sports, we don’t see just Americans. Sure, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is American and Oscar De La Hoya is American (but he associates as Mexican for many), but Manny Pacquiao is definitely not American, nor were many of the big UFC Champions.

So of course, you can’t talk UFC champions without talking about Georges St-Pierre, the Canadian former Welterweight Champion who was one of the UFC’s few “big” stars. Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz and a few others were important, sure, but GSP proved to be a real, tangible draw for the company and he wasn’t American. GSP was from Canada, he was also responsible for their biggest live gate in history.

GLORY continues its search for their breakthrough star and the feeling that I’ve been getting over the past few months is that as much as conventional wisdom tells me that it’ll be Joe Schilling or Wayne Barrett, the evidence has been pouring in that Canada’s Joseph Valtellini might indeed be that guy. Joe Valtellini might be the guy to break through and become a big star. 

It’s difficult not to make parallels to the UFC’s own Georges St-Pierre, the humble Canadian fighter who was educated, well-spoken, personable, marketable as well as incredibly talented. If you were to tick off boxes in favor of Valtellini you’d be able to tick off every single one of those boxes. It isn’t crazy to think that GLORY’s big breakthrough star could be a Canadian fighter who is marketable, talented, educated and everything that you’d want in a fighter.

While speaking to Valtellini this week we even discussed how he’s never fought in his home country of Canada as a professional, in part due to that the Toronto area has yet to legalize professional Kickboxing. They were late to the game with legalizing MMA, but when they did and promoted a GSP fight they found themselves packing 55,000 fans into the Roger’s Centre in the UFC’s biggest gate to date, with it looking like the record won’t be broken for a very long time. Valtellini wants to be not only important to the sport of Kickboxing, but to his home of Canada as well. One would have to think that Canada could potentially be for GLORY what it has been for MMA in creating stars and passionate fight fans.

I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, but Joseph Valtellini is popping up everywhere. Interviews, television shows, all over social media and is being discussed by not only fans of Kickboxing, but fight fans everywhere. There is a general feeling that he’s going to take off and very soon. GLORY definitely needs that sharp, articulate fighter to present to the world and if Joseph Valtellini can do the work in the ring against Marc de Bonte on June 21st it’ll be interesting to see what the response is, because he hasn’t fought in a few months, but everyone is still talking about him already. If he becomes champion I only imagine it’ll be intensified. 

It’s not a far stretch to imagine that Joseph Valtellini could be for GLORY what GSP was for the UFC.

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Joseph Valtellini Talks Career Growth and Learning From Losses

  • Published in Interviews

Over the past few weeks I’ve been noticing a trend, this trend is that while GLORY’s fighters are popular and all have their own followings, there has been one fighter that has seemed to move a bit beyond just the Kickboxing fan bubble, that fighter is Joseph Valtellini. His last fight was in December in the GLORY 13 Welterweight Tournament where he fought an amazing fight against Nieky Holzken, a fight that was almost across the board voted as the fight of the year for last year. So it should be considered surprising that he hasn’t fought in six months now yet I’m seeing his name everywhere. 

Then again, it’s not that surprising, considering the man himself. Valtellini comes from humble beginnings, there were no high hopes of a nation pinned upon his shoulders, he wasn’t being trained by world renowned Dutch trainers and when he made his GLORY debut at GLORY 6 he was well-buried in the undercard. He was just a kid from Canada who had built up a decent following for himself in New York, then he stopped the warhorse that is Murat Direkci, which wasn’t something that many saw coming. 

It’s been two years since that happened, with the Kickboxing world taking notice of Valtellini and while he has done his best to keep his life “normal,” it’s clear that things are trending upwards. “It’s been crazy. Well, I still have my full-time job teaching, then I come home quickly, then I have 4-5 to kind of make my dinner, pack for training, head for training at 5.Tonight I actually have one of the local newspapers is coming to my training at 5, then I have a local TV network that I have to head to, I’m getting on the local news tonight at 8, then tomorrow I’ll have to do it all over again. It’s crazy, you know?”

Valtellini is at the point in his career where things are taking off for him, but he thrives on being busy sometimes and wouldn’t know what to do without it. Over the past few months he’s been getting more and more attention after his fight with Holzken, including being flown down to Miami to appear as a guest trainer on the reality television series Combates America. Joe is in demand.

With the biggest fight of his career upon him, though, Joe knows that his popularity and fanbase helps him to get to where he is; “I’m very thankful to the people on social media because when that Marc de Bonte/Karapetyan fight was going on people were tweeting that, you know, I was the one that deserved that spot and so forth. I really have to thank people for being educated on the sport and for believing that I’m worthy of that title.

“It is absolutely where I belong, though,” he is quick to add. “Whether or not Holzken is in the equation, that is a fight that we’ll see again I’m sure and I’ve learned so much since that fight and from that fight, but no matter it being Holzken or De Bonte with that title, this is where I belong right now and I’m going to win that title.”

The Holzken fight has done a lot for Joe’s career, as he can probably attest to for being so busy, even though it was a loss. “Even though it was a loss everyone saw that I was willing to put it all on the line and that my drive and will to win is number one. Also, if you put on an exciting fight, it’s a sport that I love so much that I feel that I want that sport to grow -- especially in North America -- the more GLORY grows the more that I grow. I want for people when they turn the TV on instead of seeing Mixed Martial Arts there to be Kickboxing and GLORY on TV. So yeah, I’m very motivated, this is an exciting time in my career and for Kickboxing. 

“Spike TV has been huge for us Kickboxers across the world because it’s given us the opportunity to be seen. Now there is PPV on top of Spike TV, things are growing and people are jumping on board,” he laughs. “I’m very active on my social media, I like to interact with my fans and supporters so they back me, support me and it fuels me. On June 21st that will be part of what pushes me to the title.”

His last fight may have been in December, but he’s spent the entire time between then and now building himself up and learning more; “I was in the gym the next week after the Holzken fight, doing strength and conditioning, I’ve actually started Boxing a little bit more and working with other Boxers from Canada. I’ve been adding different dimensions to my game. I’ve been looking at my career as a journey, because as a Martial Artist your journey never ends and no matter where I am I will want to learn. No matter what I want to keep improving, keep learning and always be the best. I think that people are going to see a more complete fighter that came out of that fight learning a lot.”

As for if the downtime will affect him; “Nah, it was the right amount of time. I had a very active 2013. It was nice to go to the gym when you don’t have to worry about fighting or weight cutting. That’s the time when you actually do your homework, your studying. It’s like preparing, sharpening yourself. Putting your bag work in, sparring, always learning, adapting and trying new things. I think that time off has put me in a great place and this weight cut has been the best that I’ve ever had. This time off has been great for me, letting me heal, learn, prepare smarter. I’m ready.” 

On June 21st Joe Valtellini will get his shot at greatness at GLORY Last Man Standing on PPV where he’ll fight Marc de Bonte for the GLORY Welterweight Championship. For more information on GLORY Last Man Standing check http://www.gloryppv.com

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Joe Valtellini to Appear on Combate Americas, New MMA Reality Series

  • Published in Kickboxing

Valtellini

If you follow MMA you know just how difficult it has been to create new stars in the MMA world in the past few years. It looks like someone finally has a new idea and that new idea comes from one of the UFC's co-creators, Campbell McLaren along with reality television show pioneers Bunim/Murray productions for Combate Americas. Combate Americas is a new reality television show to air on mun2 which is aimed at the Hispanic audience. The show will pit eight Hispanic American fighters and various others against each other in a reality show format.

What does this have to do with Kickboxing? Canadian GLORY star Joseph Valtellini will be a guest on the series, along with Royce Gracie and Bellator's Eddie Alvarez, to help guide the fighters along. This is a pretty big deal for Valtellini who is starting to get some name recognition from being a fighter in GLORY, especially after that fight of the year with Nieky Holzken. The show premieres tonight at 10pm Eastern on mun2 and will be broadcast in Spanish with English subtitles.

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Five Questions With GLORY's Marc de Bonte

  • Published in Interviews

Throughout the history of kickboxing and muay thai, Holland, Thailand and Japan have been the hotspots for stars in the sport. Although there have been numerous practitioners from other countries, rarely did they achieve the level of success or acclaim of their peers in the aforementioned countries. Thanks to organizations like the now defunct, It's Showtime and more recently Glory Sports International, stars from the United States and throughout western Europe and Asia are receiving more attention. Belgium, for instance, internationally known for numerous Tour de France victories as well as strong showings in motor racing and motocross has not been so well known for stars inside the ring, if you don't count 1980's action star Jean-Claude Van Damme. Today, however the land known for its delicious chocolates, fine arts and picturesque beauty is quickly becoming one of the hotspots for future stars in the sport, much due to strong showings over the last few years by Filip Verlinden, Marc DeBonte, Marat Grigorian and Jamal Ben Saddik .

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to ask Marc DeBonte a few questions about his career and goals for the future.

SW: At what age did you begin training?

MD: I started young at 6 years of age and also did my first youth fight at that age.

SW: You are currently ranked number 3 in Glory with a 2-2 record thus far, what is your overall professional record?

MD: My overall professional record is 87 wins-12 loses-1 draw

SW: You are known for your brutal knees, what do you feel are your other strengths as a fighter?

MD: Mostly I feel my boxing and knees are my best points but I am pretty all round and I can adapt pretty fast to any style.

SW: I'm sure one of your goals this year is to regain the belt from Valtellini, any other goals for this year?

MD: Yes to regain the belt and win the tournament at the end of the year, also to get my ranking in professional boxing up. We will see how it goes .

SW: I know you have trained in Hemmers Gym. Where are you currently training?

MD: I train at Tay gym with my trainer Ludo Kaethoven who has been my trainer for the last 8 years now. We work together with Hemmers Gym to get good quality sparring since a lot of high level Glory fighters train there as well.

With the year having reached the 3/4 mark, it is debatable as to whether DeBonte will be rematched with Valtellini by year's end. A rematch, however seems inevitable and the world will see whether improvements in DeBonte's boxing will be sufficient to push him past Valtellini's Tae Kwon Do base and equally powerful legs and low kicks. Whether it's 2014 or 2015, the rematch between DeBonte and Valtellini promises to be explosive.

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Last Man Standing Hype Videos for Joe Valtellini and Marc De Bonte

  • Published in Glory

On June 21st the GLORY Welterweight Championship will be on the line as Canada's Joe Valtellini will challenge the Champion, Marc de Bonte for the title. De Bonte recently won the title at GLORY 16 over friend and former training partner Karapet Karapetyan in a technical battle that left many fans wondering if de Bonte can hang with the likes of Valtellini and Holzken. This is definitely his chance to prove that he is a worthy champion (note: we already know that he is, or should know). 

Check out this interview package that GLORY put together for Joe Valtellini on his road to the GLORY Welterweight Championship, as well as Marc de Bonte talking about his huge win over Karapetyan.

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Watch Combate Americas Episode Two Featuring Joe Valtellini

  • Published in Glory

Combate Americas is a reality TV show based around MMA, but with a Latino twist to it. It makes sense, since nobody within the MMA world has really tapped that market just yet, but it is still a risk for the young Combate Americas. Episode two features GLORY Welterweight Joe Valtellini as a trainer, so watch as they compete on the show, including weird American Gladiators jousting stuff, and get a glimpse of Valtellini in action.

Joe is a rad dude, so I suggest watching to support him.

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