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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.



Nieky Holzken issues challenge to Paul Daley

  • Published in Glory

Glory Welterweight champion Nieky Holzken has today challenged to Paul "Semtex" Daley to a fight at 77kg on the Bellator: Dynamite card in September. 

Holzken, the consensus #1 welterweight on the planet, is currently scheduled to defend his strap in a rematch with karate extraordinaire Raymond Daniels at Glory 23 on August 7th, but that hasn't stopped him from looking for additional opponents. 

Paul Daley is recognised by most combat sports fans for his achievements in mixed martial arts, however Daley has also found success in kickboxing too. The 32-year old from Nottingham fought six times last year inside the ring, earning five stoppage victories including one over the ranked #8 Alexander Stetsurenko. 

Soon after the video was posted by Holzken, Daley was quick to respond via his Facebook page:

"The best 77kg kickboxer Nieky Holzken has called me out to fight him on glory/Bellator dynamite. Very surreal. I'm a massive fan of Holzken, but I am a fighter that won't back down. If he wants it, it's the motivation I need. Let's make it happen, and if he wins in Vegas for the GLORY, let's make it for the GLORY CHAMPIONSHIP BELT. Ok Nieky?......." 

Whilst it would be a huge step-up in competition for "Semtex", a championship bout between these two would gain some serious attention, as well as undoubtedly providing fireworks. 


One Shot World Series 4 Results and Videos

  • Published in Europe

One Shot World Series decided to do a show on Christmas day in Antalaya, Turkey. It was great to see Nieky Holzken back to kickboxing after his car accident. He had 2 pro boxing fights which he won by KO, and squeezed in this kickboxing fight before the end of 2014. Patrice Quarteron got to actually fight this time and even though he got a point deduction from the ref he managed to win the decision.


Nieky Holzken (Holland) def. Yusuf Karakaya (Turkey) By TKO in Round 1

Patrice Quarteron (France) def. Zamiq Atakisiyev (Azerbaijan) By Decision

Erkan Varol (Turkey) def. Reyad Hamza (Egypt) By Decision

Adem Bozkart (Turkey) def. William Diender (Holland) By Decision

Mecit Can Sormaz (Turkey) def. Faith Aydin (Turkey) By Decision

Yahya Alemdach (Turkey) Marouan Toutouh (Morocco) By Decision


Yokkao-Sponsored Nieky Holzken Successful in Boxing Ring

  • Published in Europe

Nieky Holzken, sporting Yokkao trunks, made his successful return to the boxing ring yesterday after about a year away. Holzken stepped into the ring in the Netherlands at Golden Glory Helmond against Ismael Altintas, whom he made short work of in round two. Holzken was proudly sporting his Yokkao trunks in the ring as he moved on to 5-0 as a professional with Yokkao promoter Stefania Picelli and BeNeLux Yokkao distributor Peter Wetzer at ringside to provide support. 

It looks like Holzken is over that injury from the car accident and might be back in kickboxing action in the very near future as well, with us knowing that he has his eyes on Joseph Valtellini and that GLORY Welterweight Championship. Yokkao's next event is a double-header, Yokkao 10 and 11 on October 11th. Expect to see Liam Harrison, Kongsak, Pakorm, Jordan Watson, Piscitello, Crice and more in action on October 11th.


LiverKick Best of 2013: Fight of the Year

  • Published in News

Photo (C) GLORY

The year 2013 was a tremendous year for the sport of Kickboxing as we saw GLORY take aim at America as one of its home bases and really made some strides that I honestly thought we’d never see for the sport here. GLORY not only ran shows, but they ran a bunch of shows and those shows were attended by a good number of paying customers. Then, to top it off, GLORY moved from CBS Sports Network and internet PPVs to Spike TV, picking up steam and viewers with every show. That was a big deal.

GLORY wasn’t the only organization to make moves, either, as we saw another season of the SuperKombat World Grand Prix, the birth of LEGEND in Russia and K-1 starting to get the gears in motion by running both a Heavyweight World Grand Prix and a World MAX tournament within the same year. But which company did what doesn’t really matter, what matters are the fights and the fighters.

Throughout the coming week we’ll be looking at the best of 2013 throughout multiple categories, with yesterday being the Fighter of the Year and today instead turning to the fights themselves. There were a lot of great fights this year, but only one of them could be the Fight of the Year. Surprisingly enough, the Fight of the Year happened near the tail-end of 2013 in the GLORY 13 Welterweight tournament.

LiverKick 2013 Fight of the Year: Nieky Holzken vs. Joe Valtellini

This was a fight that had everything going for it. Throughout the year there were a lot of upsets in the major GLORY tournaments and fans didn’t always get what they wanted to see, but going into GLORY 13 the fans wanted to see Nieky Holzken square off against Canadian fighter Joe Valtellini and they got just that. Valtellini moved on to the finals after a beautiful headkick KO on Raymond Daniels while Holzken picked up a decision over Karapet Karapetyan, leading into what was the fight that the fans wanted to see.

This was a fight that had it all; drama, technique, momentum shifts and even ended with a knockout. If you are a Kickboxing fan this is the kind of fight that gets you excited and makes you want to share it with non-Kickboxing fan friends in an attempt to turn them. In this fight Valtellini showed any of the remaining doubters that he belongs in the top of the Welterweight division and can not only hang with the likes of Nieky Holzken, but get within a breath of taking Holzken out. Without a doubt a possible rematch is something to look out for in the future.


Aleksandr Stetcurenko Replaces Murthel Groenhart in GLORY 19 Tournament

  • Published in Glory

It looks like Nieky Holzken has a new opponent after Murthel Groenhart was stopped just this past weekend at the Kunlun event in China. That new opponent in the GLORY Welterweight Contender's tournament will be none other than Aleksandr Stetcurenko. Stetcurenko is 1-1 in GLORY, with a loss to Karapet Karapetyan and a win over Kharim Ghajji from GLORY 13 Tokyo. 

Stetcurenko remained active last year going 1-1 outside of GLORY, picking up a win over Sergey Parchinsky in Moscow back in September. 

This is a tough break for Murthel, who took the fight in China to remain active, but was knocked out and became an issue for him moving forward with the GLORY event next month. It should be noted that headliner Rico Verhoeven was on the same card and did lose his fight, being dropped twice, but was not knocked out like Murthel was.


Crowdsourcing Questions for Nieky Holzken

  • Published in Interviews


This time around we are trying something new, as we are teaming up with to co-op an interview with GLORY 13 Welterweight Champion Nieky Holzken by crowdsourcing the questions. So leave your questions in the comments, on Facebook or Twitter and we'll pass them along.

"As part of an international partnership with and we will visit and interview GLORY's brand new welterweight champion Nieky Holzken. We will ask Nieky about his preparation regarding his last tournament, winning the title and the celebration ceremony that followed, but we will also ask how his schedule will look like this year.

As usual we will give the fans the opportunity to ask questions. If you got any questions just ask them here and Nieky will answer your questions the interview will be published on and"


The LiverKick/ Nieky Holzken Interview

  • Published in Interviews


As part of an international partnership, and have teamed up for a series of interviews with top fighters. We have visited and interviewed GLORY's brand new Welterweight champion, Nieky Holzken. We have given the fans all over the world the opportunity to ask questions and now Nieky has answers for his fans around the world.

What is your favourite memory with or of Ramon Dekkers?

“My best memory of Ramon Dekkers is winning the K-1 MAX Qualifier in Sweden. We did it as a team. Ramon and me have a similar fighting style and I was very happy to be able to win the K-1 MAX with him in my corner. I miss my friend. Ramon established a foundation (“The Diamond Dekkers Foundation) in order to help orphanages in Pattaya, Thailand. This foundation awarded me the Diamond Fighter of the year Award in January this year. That was nice.“

If you could choose your opponent, who would it be and why?

“I never choose my opponents, I just let the organization choose fighters to fight me. If you ask me who I would like to fight I would have to say Kyshenko, but in the weightclass I am fighting in nowadays (77kg), otherwise I would have to cut weight too much. That wouldn’t be healthy and would have a bad influence on my performance.”


Check Out LiverKick's Post Fight Interviews with Verhoeven, Ristie, Jauncey, Holzken and More

  • Published in Video

(C) Glory Sports International

On Friday night GLORY 19 went down, where we saw Nieky Holzken run the gauntlet and walk away as the number one contender for the GLORY Welterweight Championship and Rico Verhoeven retained his GLORY Heavyweight Championship after Errol Zimmerman went down to a knee injury in the second round. It was one of the more exciting kickboxing events that we've had recently and will stick in people's memories for a while, that's for sure.

Our bud Carlo was there with his camera and he caught up with some of the fighters post-fight to get their thoughts.

Nieky Holzken

Rico Verhoeven

Josh Jauncey

Andy Ristie

Brian Collette

Francois Ambang

Xavier Vigney


Nieky Holzken vs. Marc De Bonte Set for GLORY 16 Denver

  • Published in Glory


On May 3rd in Denver, Colorado the stage has been set for GLORY 16 Denver. We already know that it will feature a Heavyweight contender tournament on the card, now we also know that there will be a GLORY World Championship fight on the card as well. Nikey Holzken vs. Marc de Bonte is set for May 3rd according to Holzken. This fight was originally slated for GLORY 14 Zagreb but was pulled and replaced by the GLORY Lightweight Championship fight.

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