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GLORY Helps New Divisions to Shine in Kickboxing

  • Published in Glory

Kickboxing has had a long history throughout Europe and Asia, but it really got bigger in the 90’s when K-1 started up in Japan. K-1 was aimed at an audience in Japan that was obsessed with Heavyweights, mainly from professional wrestling. Pro wrestling in Japan was all about Heavyweights, with the prestige of being called “Heavyweight Champion” holding a ton of weight with the local culture. So when K-1 got off the ground, of course Heavyweights were the primary focus.

It wasn’t until 2002 when K-1 started to take another weight class seriously -- 70kg MAX -- mostly because of the young, handsome and talented Masato. Masato was a star in the making, but was at least 30kg less than most of K-1’s big stars, so they needed to create a new division. That division was the MAX division and since then has been one of the best divisions in the Kickboxing world.

Part of the problem, though, is that for many years fighters had to aspire to be either a Heavyweight or a MAX fighter, with there being no in between. For a lot of fighters who were too small to be Heavyweights and too big to be MAX fighters that left them to work the minor circuits in Europe and Japan without any hopes of the bright lights and world titles being in their possession. That has changed in the past few years, with It’s Showtime really making a name for themselves with expanded weight classes that highlighted more talent. Everyone followed suit and now with GLORY we finally get the realization of this.

If you don’t believe me, look no further than GLORY’s GLORY 17 and Last Man Standing events on June 21st. Sure, on GLORY 17 the big feature bouts are Heavyweight and Lightweight (70kg/MAX) between Cro Cop and Jarrell Miller and Ky Hollenbeck and Andy Ristie, but the card also features a Featherweight Contender’s Tournament. Then while Last Man Standing will crown a GLORY Heavyweight Champion in the main event between Daniel Ghita and Rico Verhoeven, the GLORY Welterweight Championship is on the line between Joe Valtellini and Marc de Bonte and the Last Man Standing tournament will crown a Middleweight Champion.

Even a few years ago the idea of a major Kickboxing event, probably the biggest of the  year, being headlined by a weight class that isn’t Heavyweight or Lightweight seemed like insanity, yet here we are. 

GLORY still recognizes the importance of Heavyweight and Lightweight, but are willing to feature some of these other weight classes as just as important, which has helped to create new stars. Joe Valtellini was a virtual unknown to the world just over a year ago, now not only Kickboxing fans know who he is, but combat sports fans in general. Someone like Nieky Holzken was always toiling away in Europe as one of the best in the world, but was virtually unchallenged with nowhere to house his talents and bring in opponents. 

There is a brave new world in Kickboxing right now and you don’t need to be in one of two categories to become a star anymore. You just need to be good.

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Where Does Glory Go From Here?

  • Published in News

I made a pretty big deal about PPV buyrates and their impact on the future direction of Glory, but in fact, I didn’t have lofty expectations as to how the Last Man Standing tournament would perform. Modest results were anticipated, although putting a number on that and interpreting its significance is hard to do. This event was a picture-perfect example of a combat sports PPV done right, but some might be wondering: in light of the projected numbers, where does Glory stand? I would argue that Glory stands on perfectly solid ground and in arguably a position better suited to take on the American combat sports market.

We’ve learned a number of important things from following the TV ratings and watching the fight cards themselves: 1) Glory is a consistent performer on SpikeTV, generating ratings on par with or slightly below Bellator and better than WSOF. 2) Glory has found a consistent formula for their 2-hour time slot, staging 4-man contender tournaments, co-main title fights, and a main event SuperFight--that’s a lot of quality kickboxing in one night. 3) Glory has developed a stable of marketable talent that could headline future events. Joe Schilling and Joseph Valtellini are superstars tailor made for SpikeTV with the skills to sell a fight and the exciting styles to deliver on fight night.

For the two and a half years that Glory has spent trying to establish an identity and a consistent product to deliver to American audiences, it seems like the end result has finally been achieved, and it is 100% solid. Each card features a couple of well-known headliners and a contender tournament with prospects who are still making their name. This keeps costs low by not breaking bank on a mega card full of 6-figure talent, and it allows Glory to book and sell-out smaller venues that it can continually revisit. This model has been successfully followed by Strikeforce, It’s Showtime, and now Lion Fight.

Does this mean that Glory won’t stage big PPV shows anymore? No, but it does mean that Glory will need to be strategic and creative in how it plans future events. The SpikeTV formula will work well in the United States when Glory must necessarily operate in 2,000 to 3,000 person venues, but if places like Istanbul can really put more than 10,000 butts in seats, then there are greater possibilities. Co-promotion with Bellator would also be a major boon to Glory. While Glory may not have the muscle right now to be a PPV success, it could easily enhance the marketability of a Bellator PPV. Bellator/Glory Dynamite 2014 on PPV, anyone? Bellator and Glory could not be in a better position to attempt something like this, especially with Scott Coker in the driver’s seat clearing the way to stable co-promotion. Having multiple smaller shows with only a couple of big shows per year is the right step to sustainability long-term.

Finally, let’s remind ourselves of where Glory truly stands. In terms of its success, Glory is nowhere close to being the UFC, and neither is it close to being Bellator. It is a big, international organization that does slightly better than or about the same as a regional fight promotion. It has shouldered substantial loss to get to where it is now. However, it is unequivocally gaining momentum. The combat sports community is interested in Glory and wants to see more, and every event is gaining more traction in the hearts of fight fans. The ratings, while not a skyrocketing success, are stable. The stage is set for Glory to have its breakthrough moment with the right talent, the right broadcast deals, and the right formula in place. Glory needs to keep putting itself on TV with more small shows while waiting for the right moment to bring out the big guns. It may not happen this year, but that moment will come eventually. Until then, it’s up to us to keep tuning in, to keep supporting the sport, and to keep spreading the word. Kickboxing is alive, and it is finally here.

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Glory 17 Featherweight Contender Tournament: Shane Oblonsky Hype Video

  • Published in Glory

Shane Oblonksy will be entering the Glory ring for the first time on June 21st to fight for the the featherweight contender belt. Not only will this be Oblonsky's first time in the Glory ring, but also his first tournament. He is coming into this four man tournament as one of the least experienced with 8 wins and 2 losses as a professional. He did beat Malaipet Sasiprapa who has over 179 fights in March of this year, which shows he can deal with crafty veterans. Oblonsky's first fight will be against the Brazilian Marcus Vinicius. Their professional records are almost identical but Vinicius has been on the Glory stage before against the very dangerous and #1 ranked Mosab Amrani where he lost by decision.

Oblonsky has shown he has big power for this weight class, so aslong as the Californian does not let the pressure of the big stage get to him and does not get too wild, i feel he can give any of Glory's featherweights a great fight.

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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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The Last Chance at Glory for Melvin Manhoef?

  • Published in Glory

Knockout artist and perennial fan favourite Melvin Manhoef makes his long-awaited Glory debut this Saturday in Los Angeles, but is this weekend’s tournament the last straw for the Dutchman?

Melvin Manhoef has been competing in professional combat sports for nearly as long as I have been alive. At 38 years of age and with nearly 90 professional bouts to his name, Manhoef is no spring chicken. He enters this Saturday’s Glory event as the oldest competitor in the tournament field; coincidently the next oldest competitor is his quarterfinal opponent, the 31-year-old Belgian Filip Verlinden.  

Despite having a highly successful career in both kickboxing and mixed martial arts, Manhoef has never won a ‘major’ title. I use that term loosely, as Manhoef has held belts in both kickboxing and in MMA. Manhoef was at one time the light-heavyweight champion of former British MMA promotion Cage Rage; he recently won the Gringo Super Fight welterweight championship after finishing long time rival Evangelista Santos in less than a minute and once held the Showtime 85kg title back in 2009. Whilst these achievements should not be undermined, Manhoef has yet to taste gold in the upper echelons of both kickboxing and MMA. 

Manhoef’s best opportunities have come primarily within the sport of MMA. He was a finalist in the former Japanese promotion Hero’s light-heavyweight tournament and was also a semi-finalist in DREAM’s middleweight tournament, losing by submission in both instances to Yoshihiro Akiyama and Gegard Mousasi respectively. He unfortunately hasn’t been quite as lucky in kickboxing, as after having successful quarterfinals in both the 2006 K-1 Grand Prix in Amsterdam and the 2008 K-1 Grand Prix in Tokyo, he had to bow out early due to injury, however his tournament experience could definitely play a factor come Saturday night.

Manhoef enters this Saturday’s Glory middleweight tournament in a somewhat difficult position. Manhoef has lost his last four in kickboxing (albeit against Samedov, Spong, Saki and Bonjasky) and his hopes of finally earning a UFC contract went out the window with his losses to Brock Larson and Mamed Khalidov last year, meaning Glory 17 this weekend might provide the last chance Manhoef will ever have at winning a major title. It may also be the most ideal stage in which to do it on; Glory’s middleweight tournament presents a unique challenge in his more natural weight class of 185lbs and on fast-rising Glory’s biggest event to date, which will also be the first time the promotion has ventured into the PPV market. 

Whilst the challenge is most certainly enticing and one that I’m sure Manhoef is incredibly excited to start, it is also highly formidable, even for someone like Manhoef who has fought a who’s who of fighters throughout his career. Glory have forged a tournament that features arguably the eight best middleweight kickboxers on the planet and if Manhoef wants the gold at the end of the rainbow, he’s going to have to beat at least three of them all within the space of a few hours.  

Whilst a devastating loss this weekend might signal the end for Manhoef’s hopes of becoming a champion and perhaps one of the last times we see him step in to battle with the elite of either sport, it most certainly will not tarnish his legacy. From his electrifying walk-outs to his apocalyptic punching and devastating leg-kicks, Melvin Manhoef has wow’d endless audiences for nearly 20 years and even as he enters into the twilight stage of his career, he is still one of the most terrifying fighters on this planet and will without a doubt go down in kickboxing and MMA history as one of the most exciting fighters of our generation.

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Glory Last Man Standing: Alex "Po Atan" Pereira Hype Video

  • Published in Glory

Alex Pereira burst on to the kickboxing scene at Glory 14 in Zagreb, Croatia by first knocking out Dustin Jacoby in amazing fashion, then moving on to the finals against Sahak Parparyan and beating him by majority decision. He took the middleweight contender tournament belt back to Brazil and looked very impressive considering this was the first time most of us had seen him.

Now the question is, how will Pereira do with #1 ranked Artem Levin? This will no doubt be the biggest name, probably the best fighter he has ever fought, and tournament favourite. Levin has shown in some of his previous fights that his slippery style with his hands down by his waist can sometimes leave him vulnerable for long straight punches, and this is what Po Atan does best. There is also the factor of Levin looking past Pereira because he has unfinished business with others in the tournament. This would be dangerous for Levin as Pereira has very a long reach, with hard straight punches,if just one lands, it could make for a great night for the Brazilian.

 

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In the Gym with Wayne Barrett Video

  • Published in Glory

On June 21st Wayne Barrett will do battle in the GLORY Last Man Standing tournament live on PPV. Barrett will be fighting Romanian sensation Bogdan Stoica in the first round of the Last Man Standing tournament, taking on the winner of Joe Schilling vs. Simon Marcus later that evening. Needless to say, this is the biggest night of Wayne Barrett's Kickboxing career by a long stretch. Phoenix Carnevale of Everything Martial Arts hit the gym with Wayne Barrett where he gives some insight into his training and mindset.

Definitely worth the watch.

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Melvin Manhoef Pre-GLORY Last Man Standing Interview

  • Published in Interviews

(C) Esther Linn/MMAFighting.com

They call him “No Mercy” and that is exactly what you will get in the ring.  Melvin Manhoef, a man whose professional career has spanned nearly two decades takes the stage at Glory’s inaugural PPV event, The Last Man Standing on Saturday, June 21, 2014 at The Forum.  Since 1995, Melvin Manhoef has delivered brutal blows in both MMA and kickboxing also showing the world that he is dangerous in nearly every weight class.  Who has he fought? A better question probably would be who hasn’t he fought?  In the kickboxing ring he has faced the likes of Spong, Bonjasky, Leko, Karaev and Slowinksi.  Although in all of these match-ups he has not been the victor, one thing is certain, a match involving Melvin promises to bring heavy hits and hardcore action.  It is well and widely known that Manhoef is a knockout artist and does it very well.  For those who know Melvin Manhoef, they are well aware that he is dangerous from all angles, having brutalized his opponents with left hooks, right hooks and knees.  He is legend.  In anticipation of his debut with Glory I had the opportunity to talk to Melvin about his past, present and his vision for the future. 

SW: Melvin, you made it here to Glory and this very exciting event.  How do you feel?

MM: I think I am ready.  I had very good training and I am prepared.

SW: Is there anyone in particular that you would like to fight?

MM: No, I’m a fighter and I will fight whoever they put in front of me.  All of the guys are dangerous in the tournament but I feel prepared to fight any of them. 

SW: You are known for having a very aggressive style and have had some brutal knockouts in kickboxing and MMA. Do you have any prediction about how your fight with Verlindin will end?

MM: I like the knock out, but we will just see, but of course I like the knockout!  My goal is to be the champion. 

SW: For your training, you were training at Mike’s Gym or somewhere else?

MM: Well I train at Mike’s Gym sometimes but I also have my own gym.

SW: Many fighters have their own gym is this your eventual plan to do as maybe you move away from fighting in the ring, spending more time as a coach?

MM: Well I do that now in my gym and I won’t be fighting until the point that I can’t see.  Right now, I feel good and don’t think it’s any problem for me to fight. No injuries right now, so I’m ready. 

SW: Kickboxing or MMA, which do you prefer?

MM: I have a lot of experience in both.  With kickboxing, it’s very fast and there’s a lot of action.  I like MMA too, it’s just a different style of fighting.

SW: Glory is doing some very exciting things, revitalizing kickboxing in America. 

MM: Yes, and I am happy to be a part of this.  I thank Glory for having me at this event, it is very big.  June 21st will be very good for the fans.

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Marc De Bonte vs. Joseph Valtellini Added to Last Man Standing PPV

  • Published in Glory

Last Man Standing

We already knew that Daniel Ghita and Rico Verhoeven would battle it out at GLORY 17's Last Man Standing PPV event for the GLORY Heavyweight Championship, but now it looks like there will be three titles decided on the Last Man Standing PPV. Sure, we'll have a Middleweight and a Heavyweight Champion crowned, but it looks like Marc De Bonte gets what he asked for in getting to defend his GLORY Welterweight Championship against Joseph Valtellini at the Last Man Standing PPV.

Add in a Featherweight Championship tournament on the GLORY 17 Spike TV card, as well as Andy Ristie vs. Ky Hollenbeck and Cro Cop on the card and you have a ton of reasons to be watching on June 21st.

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New Trailer for GLORY Last Man Standing on Spike TV

  • Published in Glory

We just don't want you to forget is all, neither does GLORY, but this Friday night GLORY's Last Man Standing event will be airing for free on Spike TV. Yes. Free. So you can relive (or see for the first time) the amazing event that was Last Man Standing. So check out the new trailer for it below.

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