LiverKick

Switch to desktop Register Login

LiverKick - LiverKick

Glory

Glory (404)

Glory 21 Announcement

Glory 21 has officially been announced for May 8th at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego. Wikipedia tells us that the arena holds 16, 100 people for mixed martial arts events if the whole arena is used, so this could be a huge show.

Artem Levin will be defending his title against the winner of the tournament at Glory 20 in Dubai. So it could be Jason Wilnis, Alex Pereira, Wayne Barrett or Simon Marcus anyone one of them against Levin will be an exciting fight as they all bring something different to the ring.

There is also an all American heavyweight tournament which will grant the winner entry into the Glory heavyweight contender tournament where the winner will fight Rico Verhoeven for the belt. The American heavyweights have yet to be announced.

Of course this will all be Live on Spike TV on Friday, May 8th. I'm so happy to see Glory announcing events more than a month before the show now and giving us all a chance to get excited and also more time to buy tickets.  [source]

 

Read more...

Glory 19: A New Way Forward?

(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.

 

Read more...

Bill Goldberg in Talks with GLORY. Why Not?

If you grew up in the 90's at all there is a good chance that you know who Bill Goldberg is. If not, or if you were professional wrestling-adverse, Bill Goldberg was a muscle-bound ex-football player that WCW scooped up in the mid-90's, loosely trained how to be a pro wrestler and tossed him into the ring. He studied a lot of pro wrestling styles and the one that stuck out to him the most was shoot-style, funny enough, which led to him taking on a character that was sort of a "shoot fighter" and he did a quasi-UFC thing.

They treated him like a prized fighter, showing his entrances where he came from the backstage area with a full security detail like a professional boxer. He wore MMA gloves and was all about intensity and, well, crushing jobbers. He was best known for his "streak" where WCW brass booked him to crush enhancement talent (read: guys so low on the totem pole that they are paid to show up, make a guy look good and to lose). WCW was a complicated promotion, though, and eventually ruined the good thing that they had with Goldberg. 

Goldberg went on to WWE after WCW folded into the WWE, but he had no passion for professional wrestling and it showed throughout his run, culminating in a match with Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania where both men were booed out of the arena because the fans knew that both men were leaving after that night. Brock went on to become UFC Heavyweight Champion, Goldberg went on to have some involvement in calling MMA and being a personality, but since then has been a bit under the radar. 

He mentioned how excited that he was watching GLORY 19 last week on social media, which led to GLORY's team to reach out to him and apparently they are in talks now for Goldberg to appear in a fight on GLORY programming, but of course, Goldberg states that it's "just for fun" seeing as though he is 48. 

No word as to who a potential opponent might be, but the wrestling fan in me would like to see Norman Smiley, Barry Horowitz or "Lightning Foot" Jerry Flynn at least considered. We do know, of course, that GLORY has been in talks with Alberto Del Rio/El Patron (Jose Alberto Rodriguez/Dos Caras Jr.) about a potential fight in GLORY, so they have pro wrestling on the mind. [source]

Read more...

GLORY 19 Scores Second Highest Spike TV Ratings For 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.

Read more...

It's Time For Another GLORY Heavyweight Tournament

(C) Glory Sports International

Friday night in Virginia live on Spike TV Rico Verhoeven defended his GLORY Heavyweight Championship against Errol Zimmerman. Of course Zimmerman went down to a knee injury in the second round and not to the fists of Verhoeven, but that's another story for another day. The story right now is that Rico Verhoeven is still the Heavyweight Champion and that when you look out over the rest of the division things are a bit muddled at the moment. 

If you look around it will be clear that the guy next in line should be Daniel Ghita, but of course, the only problem with that is that we've seen Daniel Ghita challenge for the GLORY Heavyweight title already within the last year. At this point Daniel Ghita is 0-2 against Verhoeven and it's not clear if a third bout would really be a smart move so soon after the last bout between the two.

Looking down through GLORY's rankings we see, well, a mess of a division. GLORY's rankings never did make much sense to me, but they are especially strange considering Sergei Kharitonov is in the #2 spot behind Ghita considering Anderson "Braddock" Silva defeated him last year at GLORY 16. While you might be able to make a case for Braddock, for Adegbuyi or maybe even Gerges in the future, I think that it is high time that we are returned to our kickboxing roots and get an old-fashioned Heavyweight tournament.

The last large-scale Heavyweight tournament was GLORY 4, which was done via a 16-man field, which might have been too much for one evening. That tournament did, however, set Daniel Ghita apart from the pack as one of the top contenders in the division. The truth of the matter is, while GLORY might be able to turn a blind eye to Verhoeven's fight from January in China, those of us that follow the sport closely are well aware of it and the problems that it creates. Essentially Verhoeven's #1 spot in the Heavyweight division comes with an asterisk at the moment. The best way to alleviate some of that pressure and to make heads or tails of the division is to toss them all into the blender and see who comes up on top.

An eight-man field containing Verhoeven, Ghita, Braddock Silva, Zimmerman (once healed), Gerges, Edwards, Adegbuyi and Kharitonov would remove any doubts or concerns about the division and help to create more excitement around what has proven to be the money division in the sport. It would especially make sense considering how much more sense can be made of the Middleweight division after Last Man Standing last year. Four man tournaments have their place, but at the end of the day pitting the top contenders against each other is what will cause the cream to rise to the top and for the true king of the division to stand at the top.

Read more...

Andy Ristie vs. Robin Van Roosmalen Official For GLORY 20 Dubai

After Andy Ristie's blistered performance last night at GLORY 19 it has become official that Andy Ristie will challenge GLORY Lightweight Champion Robin van Roosmalen on April 3rd in Dubai for the GLORY Lightweight Championship. Ristie made quick work of the tough-as-nails Steve Moxon last night in Virginia at GLORY 19 and Cor Hemmers confirmed at the post-show presser that Andy Ristie will get another chance at the title on April 3rd in Dubai, making two world titles on the line that night, considering the Featherweight Championship is on the line as well.

They last met at GLORY 12 in the Finals of the Lightweight tournament after Ristie had knocked out Giorgio Petrosyan. Ristie walked away victorious that night, but when he would vie for the Championship against Davit Kiria things did not work out as planned. Now after his win last night we will get to see a five-round rematch in Dubai.

Read more...

Big Night for Holzken, Schilling and Verhoeven at GLORY 19

(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.

Read more...

Are We Too Confident Holzken Will Win?

(C) Glory Sports International

There is no reason to doubt Holzken. Since 2010 he has been nearly unstoppable, punishing and brutalizing everyone placed in front of him like a well-groomed, excessively tattooed steamroller. The unfortunate wisdom awaiting his opponents on tape to prepare against him is not if he will knock you out but often when and whether it will arrive via left body hook or driving right cross. However, the surprise of an upset ensures that it will never die in our collective imagination and there have been a lot to relish inside and outside of kickboxing the last few years, and no doubt as they have a place in our memories for their defiance of our expectations, they should also be evoked to inform our interpretations of similarly considered mismatches.

No one, to my knowledge, has faithfully articulated a rationale argument for anyone other than Holzken to prevail tonight at Glory 19. Fraser Coffeen of Bloody Elbow, for example elevated the ability of Holzken’s first round opponent, Alexander Stetsurenko, to the standard of withstanding Holzken’s punishment for the full three rounds, yet did not forward the realistic possibility he would pull out the win.

Understandable.

Predictions are meant to be logical. It is the only way to survive.

And despite the proliferation of upsets recently and within the last few years, they do not become any more logical. Thus the only reasonable conclusion is that Holzken demolishes his opposition tonight per his superior craft and power, for once an expectation becomes reasonable it ceases to be an upset.

Chances are Holzken sends everyone out on stretchers, and then, to the salivating imaginations of fight fans everywhere, turns his attention to his assured rematch against Valtellini, but it should be considered far from a guarantee.

It might be wise for us to learn that by now, even if we’re destined to be wrong. 

Read more...

Glory 19: The State of the Heavyweight Division

It’s been a long time since we’ve talked about the Heavyweight division. Who would imagine that? Less than a year ago, a vibrant Kickboxing scene without the Heavyweight division at its center seemed like an unthinkable notion. For decades, Heavyweight was synonymous with Kickboxing, with names like Ernesto Hoost, Peter Aerts, and Semmy Schilt long overshadowing skilled fighters in other weight classes. Fast forward to 2014, which was undoubtedly the year of Middleweight, producing what I still believe is the most brutal tournament in kickboxing history with legendary clashes between Joe Schilling, Artem Levin, Wayne Barrett, Simon Marcus, and more. Glory knows that its Middleweight division is a murderer’s row and is putting its Middleweight fighters to work with regular frequency. The Lightweight division was also set ablaze when Andy Ristie did the unthinkable and blasted through Giorgio Petrosyan and Robin van Roosmalen in one night. The belt has since changed hands several times but with longtime kingpin Petrosyan out of action. Robin van Roosmalen is currently the champion, but time will tell how long he can hold on to the title, especially with Petrosyan returning to fight and a hungry Andy Ristie waiting for the chance to annihilate Robin again.

Events for the Heavyweight division, on the other hand, have taken a significant downturn. Semmy Schilt is out of the picture. Gokhan Saki has moved down to Light Heavyweight. Rico Verhoeven had a successful 2014 but opened the New Year in China with an embarrassing loss to Andrei Hirasimchuk, a virtual unknown who was able to shut down Rico’s range for two rounds and give Rico’s future opponents a potential blueprint to success. Errol Zimmerman crushed Ben Edwards and Braddock Silva in one night, but Daniel Ghita seems to have always had Zimmerman’s number, stopping him in less than a minute during their last confrontation. Benjamin Adegbuyi appears to be a bright prospect, but he has yet to receive an opportunity to compete for a contender’s spot.

And that leaves us with Daniel Ghita, who had a frustrating 2014 with two losses to Rico Verhoeven. In many ways this is the ongoing story with Daniel Ghita: he’s proved himself capable of crushing nearly every Heavyweight in the world but always comes up short in world title fights. He brutalized his way through the insane 16-man Glory Heavyweight Grand Slam in 2012 but was bullied by Semmy Schilt en route to a stoppage in the final. When he fought Rico Verhoeven, he seemed to have all of the skills needed to beat him but seemed reluctant to pull the trigger on his devastating kicks. Many of us on the twitter sphere also noted some questionable instructions from his corner during those fights. Coaching continues to be an ongoing issue for Ghita as he has changed training camps several times in the last few years, relocating from Romania to the Netherlands. These changes make me wonder where Ghita’s head is at right now. After reaching out to him on twitter, Ghita has assured me that he will be returning to action soon. Let’s hope that he is able to find stability in his training camp in 2015 as well as consistency in his fights. A championship victory seems inevitable for the Romanian, but he will finally have to put it all together if he wants to win the title this year.

As exciting a fight as the upcoming battle at Glory 19 between Verhoeven and Zimmerman will be, it’s also somewhat underwhelming because this is all the Heavyweight division has to offer at the moment. The status quo is a far cry from the massive, star-studded division that inaugurated the Glory brand. If its champion is losing fights against no-name opponents in China, then Glory has a problem. The Heavyweight division needs new talent. It needs new stars. It needs a superstar who can sell a card on his name value alone. Verhoeven and Zimmerman are formidable fighters, but they are also European athletes who haven’t crossed over with American audiences and who were for many years overshadowed by the likes of Alistair Overeem and Badr Hari. If I were Glory, I would look to add new faces this year while seizing the opportunity to add an established star like Overeem—with the help of Bellator—especially if he becomes a free agent again. Heavyweight is in need of new growth and a fresh start. We’ll see in the coming months what Glory plans to do.

 

Read more...

GLORY 19's Open Workouts a Prelude to the Storm

(C) Glory Sports International

Nothing gets the adrenaline flowing and excitement for a combat sports event like open workouts. So on Wednesday, February 4th Olympus Fitness and Martial Arts hosted the guys from Glory prior to their 19th event at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia. On deck for this event were current heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven, his challenger, Errol "Bonecrusher" Zimmerman, and Raymond "The Real Deal" Daniels.

Daniels who faces Jonathan Oliviera in the four man Welterweight tournament is known as "The Human Highlight Reel" a name to which he has lived up to with aggressive and strong showings in Chicago in 2013 as well as Denver last year. At the workouts he demonstrated his usual speed, launching multiple flurries of quick, clean strikes. Will we see any of the devastating kicks that dismantled the defense of Francois Ambang? My guess is yes, but on Friday we will know for sure.

At 103-11-1, Errol Zimmerman, the second fighter to take the stage, has a reputation for power. Physically imposing, Zimmerman's goal is to knock out every opponent and this time his goal is no different. In the workout session, where the rule is to "go lightly" and to just showcase your skills, Zimmerman pounded the pads with conviction. An always unfazed Nicky Hemmers handled the pads with ease, but Errol's power showed that he is definitely in it to win it.

Reigning champ, Rico Verhoeven provided the finale to the open workout session. Initially demonstrating the footwork and shadow boxing that has made him a champ. Rico then donned the gloves and gave the crowd a demonstration of his power and speed .

As everyone in the fight game knows, it's a game where anyone can get caught. The excitement however is undeniable and Glory 19 promises to give the people what they want, ACTION and the fighters, a shot at GLORY.

 

Read more...
Subscribe to this RSS feed

Copyright 2010 - 2014 LiverKick.com. All Rights Reserved.

Top Desktop version