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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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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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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 17: Glory Prepares to Distinguish Itself As a Combat Sports Brand

  • Published in News

Glory 17 is a turning point for Glory in many ways, marking its entry into the American PPV market by staging the largest, most significant kickboxing tournament on American soil in decades. But even more noteworthy than that, this event signifies the opportunity for Glory to truly distinguish itself as a unique combat sports product that is capable of delivering where other brands may falter, particularly the UFC. The UFC’s present difficulties are well known: problems with a ballooning roster, complaints about “boring” fights, and problems marketing fighters have led to great inconsistency in the quality of UFC events. Glory, on the other hand, has experienced few to no difficulties in this regard--and for very interesting reasons. In this article, I will talk about some of the things that I think make Glory a fairly unique entity in the combat sports world.

1. Each Glory weight class has more elite fighters than a single card can accommodate.

The Last Man Standing tournament is essentially a display of the entire Middleweight division, and it is a scary division, featuring Artem Levin, Joe Schilling, Simon Marcus, Wayne Barrett, Filip Verlinden, and Melvin Manhoef as well as dangerous contenders like Alex Pereira--all of these men are either champions, former champions, or fighters who have distinguished themselves against championship-level competition. Whereas some promotions might struggle to fill fight cards with less accomplished talent, Glory has the unique problem of struggling to fill fight cards with overqualified talent, bumping the likes of Levin to the non-televised SuperFight Series. If you ever find yourself wondering why a fighter like Giorgio Petrosyan gets to occupy the fourth slot on the Glory main card, it’s frequently because any Glory card could offer you a choice of several main event fights.

2. Glory has complete control of the rules of the sport.

No matter how many three or four-letter-name sanctioning bodies Glory will claim accountability to, the fact remains that Glory, as an organization in today’s combat sports market, is unique because of the complete control that it has on the rules of the sport. By frequently changing its clinch rules, its knockdown rules, and its 8-count rules, Glory has crafted and refined a viewing experience that is more fast-paced and exciting, producing a high volume of memorable fights and highlight reel moments. This is an ability that neither the UFC nor any other MMA organization possess, and the end result for them is a perpetual struggle to reconcile the Unified Rules of MMA with the type of fights that UFC wants to sell. Glory, by contrast, can eliminate any rule that negatively affects the viewing experience.

The flipside is that we also don’t have to talk about drug testing in the sport of Kickboxing. Glory is in a peculiar position here as well, operating between the lines of an oversight structure that is very dated and arguably unequipped to handle a multimillion dollar professional sport. Indeed, WKA’s official rules, published in 2011, leave drug testing up to the discretion of the “WKA supervisor, tournament promoters, and the official doctor,” who “can and may perform tests” but don’t necessarily have to do so unless directed by local law, making WKA’s actual responsibility very unclear. The procedure, standards, and logistics of testing are either mentioned in vague terms or not outlined at all. Glory, for its part, hasn’t forced the issue, leaving us to enjoy the fruits of ambiguity. In other words: don’t ask, don’t tell, and Pride never die.

3. Glory is learning how to market its fighters.

This is an issue that we’ve discussed several times here on LiverKick and which Dave Walsh expounded on in his excellent piece comparing kickboxing to the history of regional pro wrestling promotion. Behind every fight is an evolving narrative with at least two central characters, and as viewers, we’re interested in not only the fight itself but also in how the fight will determine the next chapter of the story. The promoter’s job is to build anticipation and interest in the fight and to illustrate what it means in the grand scheme of the division. With Glory 17, Glory has been proactive in producing media which tells us the story, including an excellent video on the rivalry between Rico Verhoeven and Daniel Ghita. The authenticity of this rivalry (for the critics’ sake) is as irrelevant as the authenticity of the 2009 rivalry between Badr Hari and Alistair Overeem--it felt real at the time and it electrified the atmosphere at the Saitama Super Arena. As Glory gains screen time on television and PPV, promotional efforts like this will be increasingly vital to its success.

While Glory got off to a rough start, it seems like the organization has found its identity as a kickboxing promotion and major combat sports brand. It is undeniably a unique presence in today’s sports entertainment market. If this event is a success and the Glory audience continues to grow, I think that Glory could become a leading company. Until then, you will have to join me in keeping fingers tightly crossed.

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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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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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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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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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GLORY Last Man Standing Tournament Brackets Announced

  • Published in Glory

Along with the unveil of GLORY's new GLORYPPV.com site came the brackets for GLORY's Last Man Standing Tournament. The tournament pits the eight best Middleweights in the world against each other with the winner emerging as the GLORY Middleweight Champion. Let's have a look at how it breaks down.

Side 1
Artem Levin vs. Alex Peireira
Filip Verlinden vs. Melvin Manhoef
Side 2
Joe Schilling vs. Simon Marcus
Wayne Barrett vs. Bogdan Stoica

So what do you think? It's time to start wondering what the results will be and what further match-ups will arise. Just about any combination of the eight will make for an entertaining fight, though.

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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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