Man, if you are like me, you are kind of dying at this dry spell that we are going through with kickboxing right now. There is still stuff going down, but there is a decided lack of big events to get worked up over right now. So it’s time to start taking a long, hard look at the best fighters in the business today and if we think that they can hold onto their top spots.
First up: Davit Kiria, GLORY Lightweight Champion
GLORY’s Lightweight division is probably one of the most stacked divisions in the world today. The 70kg range has always been talent-rich, thanks in part to K-1 relying upon the K-1 MAX division for years. But right now especially, it feels like as good as any one fighter is in the division, there is a line-up of guys that could probably defeat him.
Davit Kiria was never a guy that we would have pegged to become GLORY’s Lightweight Champion. That’s not a knock against him as much as it is indicative of how deep the division really is. Kiria is a skilled guy, but his losses to both Giorgio Petrosyan and Robin van Roosmalen led to many doubting him. So when he went into GLORY 14 against Andy Ristie, the guy who knocked both of those men out in one night, not many expected him to walk out as the champion.
Then kickboxing magic happened and Kiria shocked the world, knocking out Andy Ristie in the fifth round. It was insanity and we had an unlikely champion of a guy who was considered “fourth best” to RvR, Petrosyan and Ristie. That is how stacked this division is. We have a good feeling that Robin van Roosmalen will get a shot at Kiria’s title soon (it was originally slated for August, actually), so the question is: Can Davit Kiria hold onto the GLORY Lightweight Championship.
The answer is: yes, but not for long. That title is going to be a hot potato for a while unless Petrosyan can stop injuring his hand. I think that Kiria has the skills to defeat Robin van Roosmalen, but it also goes the other way just as easily. In a five round fight we’ve seen that Kiria’s slow-starting style is perhaps best-served under these conditions and he’ll potentially be able to shine against Robin van Roosmalen.
But then when you have to face down a murderer’s row in Lightweight, it seems inevitable that someone will defeat him at some point. Whomever that is will also face the same exact challenges that Kiria faces now, knowing that the title probably won’t be secure for long. That makes GLORY’s Lightweight division so exciting right now; you don’t know who will end up on top.
Dave Walsh has been covering MMA and Kickboxing since 2007 before changing his focus solely to Kickboxing in 2009, launching what was the only English-language site dedicated to giving Kickboxing similar coverage to what MMA receives. He was the co-founder of HeadKickLegend and now LiverKick. He resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he works as a writer of all trades.
His second novel, Terminus Cycle, launches on March 24th.