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GLORY 27 Announced for Chicago on February 26: Levin vs. Marcus Rematch

Artem Levin and Simon Marcus have been locked into a battle for what seems like forever, two of the biggest names in their weight class, always vying for that top position. Their last meeting was a controversial draw at GLORY 21 San Diego, which left fans frothing over an immediate rematch. Joe Schilling was in that mix as well, initially getting a shot at Levin again, only for Levin to fall prey to an injury and for Schilling to close out his GLORY contract in a fight with Jason Wilnis before taking departing the company to focus on Bellator.

On top of this, GLORY has promised a one-night tournament at middleweight containing North American fighters, the winner gaining a shot at the champion in the future. No names have been announced yet, but a cursory glance at their rankings would hint at Dustin Jacoby, Wayne Barrett, Robert Thomas and, well, I don't know. This is, of course conjecture on our part, but logical conjecture at that.

The show will be at the Sears Centre, much like their last trip to Chicago, which means Hoffman Estates, and also note the ESPN logo in the corner. So never fear, it seems that GLORY and ESPN will continue their relationship moving forward. 

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'The Godfather of Kickboxing' Thom Harinck Back Into the Mix

In 1972, director Francis Ford Coppola breathed life into Mario Puzo's most famous crime drama, The Godfather. The story and its subsequent sequels chronicled the story of the Corleone family from their origins in Sicily, rise to power and finally the efforts of the family to legitimize the family's name and fortune. One of the best scenes in trilogy is when an exasperated Michael Corleone exclaims, "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!"

Why even bring up The Godfather on a kickboxing site?

Why, because sometimes the truth can be stranger than fiction. On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, something else big was happening in 1972, the founding of Chakuriki Gym in Amsterdam by Thom Harinck. The 'Chakuriki' style which represents a fusion of techniques from boxing, Kyokushin karate, judo, jujitsu wrestling, Muay Thai and Savate for over forty years became a dominant influence on the fighting styles of many of the biggest names in kickboxing. Among his many talented pupils standouts such as Peter Aerts, Andy Hug, Badr Hari, Melvin Manhoef, Branko Cikatic, Hesdy Gerges, Pedro Rizzo, Jerome LeBanner and countless others have had their careers and fighting style shaped by Harinck's Chakuriki philosophy. In 2013, however, one of the most influential men in the sport decided to retire. At that time Harinck stated that he would continue to support the sport from the sidelines focusing his energy on the completion of a book about his life, spending time with his family, participating in European forums regarding kickboxing, and of course doing seminars all over the world.

During his first year of retirement, Thom Harinck was still one of the busiest retirees I had ever met. In 2015, one of his former pupils, current Glory light heavyweight champion, Saulo Cavalari reached out to him for management services. Always one to support the sport and his former pupils, Harinck agreed. With one foot already back in the game, 2016, Thom Harinck has decided to take Chakuriki full throttle again, coaching a small number of his former pupils including Saulo Cavalari, Hesdy Gerges and Amir Zeyada. Just when he thought he was out, they pulled him back in. His comeback has not been unconditional. While Harinck has sold his old gym in Amsterdam, he has found another place to train and it, like before, is under the Chakuriki system: hard training, no talking, no drugs. The Chakuriki style according to Harinck is not just a fight style, it's a lifestyle and in 2016 it begins again. For forty years Thom Harinck dedicated his life to training boys to be the best men in the ring and as long as he has his health, he's dedicated to training for many more. Watch out Glory, K-1, SuperKombat......Harinck's back.

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Robin van Roosmalen Signs with FFC for Upcoming MMA Debut

GLORY Lightweight Champion Robin van Roosmalen has been training to make his MMA debut for a while now. He's been one of those names that has come up as training with high profile UFC fighters, sparring with big names and has been one of the few kickboxers that many fans see having potential to be a big crossover star. That MMA debut will happen in 2016 and the promotion that it will happen in with be FFC.

FFC, Final Fight Championship, based out of Croatia, blend together MMA and kickboxing on their shows, booking some higher profile stars across both sports in Europe over the past few years. Van Roosmalen signing with them allows him the flexibility to compete in MMA for them while still remaining the GLORY Lightweight Champion.

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Robin van Roosmalen, Benjamin Adegbuyi, Alex Pereira and More Reflect on 2015 and Look forward to 2016

Goodbye 2015, hello 2016! This article has to be one of my favorites to write each year. Every year I try to evaluate my progress towards my goals or lack thereof. It was hit and miss for me this year, but I'm always going to keep trying. But, should I subject only myself to this sometimes angst filled exercise? As usual I've invited some people from the combat sports community to share with the fans at Liverkick an assessment of the year that was and give us a sneak peek of what's to come in 2016.

Mike Lemaire:

2015 was a successful year for me going 4-0 and improving my record to 17-2. The last two fights were absolute wars and both fights of the night. My goal for 2016 is to get some big fights and go undefeated.

Frank Mach:

2015: On a personal level, it was in some cases a disappointing year. I had to deal with a lot of setbacks like health issues, cancellation of K1 Royal and the workshop with Remy, Ernesto and Peter. On the other hand, I made a successful transition into the soccer business by accompanying approximately 15 young talents as well as continuing to manage known top fighters. I also look back on good points like the last Glory event in Amsterdam which was amazing. I don' t mean Danyo' s result, its more the atmosphere and to see that big events are back in Europe. All in all 2015 was a more than grateful year. I learned from my personal defeats and setbacks and will come out stronger in 2016. In 2016, I am really looking forward to placing my fighters at big events all over the world and soccer players into clubs in higher leagues. Especially I am looking forward to work with Danyo Ilunga, Janosch Nietlispach, Bilal Messoudi and my teammates Asmir Burgic and Remy Bonjasky. I personally have a good feeling about big events and challenges coming for the three fighters. I am very confident with Stefan Leko, and will be placing him in events in 2016. I am really proud of working with these people and look forward to the Glory events as well., but also other big promotions are in my focus. For our Rough Diamonds League it looks as though we have already fixed the first two dates of 2016. Besides the sports business I run a small consulting business specializing on small startups. I hope to help lots of people to realize their goals and dreams regarding entrepreneurship. My message for not only the readers of Liverkick is to follow your dreams, work hard and be patient when you fail. Always stand up one more time. Wishing all the fight sports fans a merry Christmas time and happy new year 2016.

Robin van Roosmalen:

2015 was a difficult year for me, in my personal life but also in sports. I fought 3 fights, won them all, but they didn't go how I wanted. I think my career has just started and there is still a lot to come. I'm not close to my prime yet. 2016 I will stay the champion , and I will make my name in MMA.

Birol Topuz:

In 2015 we at Topuz Sports Management mainly concentrated on Boxing and Kickboxing. In Kickboxing our athletes competed in Glory, W5 and SuperKombat. In Boxing we worked as a consultant and as a reporter for the Amateur Boxing Associations AIBA. We helped them organize the APB Pro Boxing organizations in Turkey with upmost effort and devotion. In 2016 we will organize our brand organization called Ring Masters Olympia in the International Boxing and the Kickboxing arena. We also decided to invest in Professional Boxing together with our Heavy weight and Middle weight boxers by finding the best possible sponsors in Turkey. Turkey is a very strategic area close to Europe, Asia and Middle East and we can use this to our advantage by being a fast acting mobile company. We feel that Topuz Sports Management Company is the best candidate in Turkey to contribute and fulfill the sports organizations plans and needs for 2016 due to the fact that we have the best local and international connections. Best regards, Birol Topuz and Topuz Sports Management

Alex Pereira:

Hi, I am Alex Pereira, currently 5th on Glory’s middleweight division. And current WGP (biggest kickboxing event on Latin America) champion. This year I’ve had good fights, here in Brazil everything went as expected, I’ve waged fierce battles and achieved satisfying results. In Glory I’ve had a chance to rematch against Jason Wilnis, unfortunately I couldn’t get the victory even having made a great fight. My expectation was to be able to have more fights on Glory, however I didn’t have the opportunity to display my work. A very important happening on 2015 was to have my first MMA fight and I intend to continue in those two modalities as other fighters have. My plans for 2016 is to chase Glory champion belt and honor my people and ancestors, even with the possibility to move to EUA and be nearer to my dream, which is to be the best middleweight in the world.

Tim Hughes:

As 2015 comes to a close we finally have a chance to catch our breath and look back on the year that was for Glory kickboxing. Virginia, Dubai, San Diego, Las Vegas, Lille France, San Jose, Denver, Milan and Amsterdam. It has been an extreme privilege to stand center ring for these great athletes and for all of these hard working and dedicated GSI staff and production members behind the scenes who do what they do every day to accomplish one goal, to shine a spotlight on the most exciting combat sport on the planet. After years of sitting ringside for MMA both in the ring and in the cage, there is no comparison to the speed, power and accuracy of top level kickboxing talent! All we can hope for in 2016 is that more fans will embrace the sport and that with the ESPN platform to showcase these talents, more fans will have the opportunity to see what Glory is all about! The return to kickboxing's spiritual home of Amsterdam was the icing on the 2015 cake and I know that the Glory staff and these amazing athletes have a real Sweet Tooth for what's to come in the New Year!

Benny Adegbuyi:

A week ago, after my loss I had the feeling that everything was bad. But looking back over the entire year I could say I had a good year, with some important wins, also with two title shots that I have lost but my motivation is bigger now. I learned from my mistakes and I know what to change for the next year! For 2016 I'm planning to win all the fights and even though I'm not sure if I will attack the title soon and I have a lack of experience comparing to the others top fighters, I still want to be ranked on the highest position possible.

Dan Black:

Where to begin? 2015 was so busy, it seemed to just fly by, honestly it seemed like one event after another. 2015 started off interestingly as we were a big part of Nick Diaz's camp for the Anderson Silva fight and the timeline was perfect for Xavier's Glory fight in Virginia with Everett Simms. Previously, they were supposed to have fought as amateurs, but the fight never happened for whatever reason. Going into the fight everything was going well up until a few days out when Xavier got injured breaking up a fight with his dogs. That was a bit of stress but luckily he was healed up in time and it didn't affect anything with the fight. Next we were supposed to fight Chi in Dubai, but they also wanted him to fight in San Diego, so we decided to pass on Dubai and just focus on the tournament in San Diego. Things were again a bit interesting going into the fights as we didn't know too much about the opponents other than they were really big guys so we couldn't take them lightly. Xavier, however, had been in tournaments before so I was confident he would be ok. Up next was the fight with Daniel Sam which was a true test for him as he had a lot of obstacles outside the ring going into that fight not to mention the fact Sam is a veteran with more than 3x the experience on an international level. Despite all the roadblocks Xavier was able to blast thru them and was able to pull off the fight with Sam despite him being considered the underdog by most of the international kickboxing community. On the same card I had Matt Baker make his Glory debut as a reserve in the middleweight tournament. He won on points. Matt competed recently on the Legacy kickboxing show as the 209 lbs reserve fighter but his opponent stopped the bout after an accidental head-butt in the first round. Nick Pica made his Bellator MMA debut on this historic Glory/Bellator Dynamite card with a convincing win over veteran fighter, Mauricio Alonso. Xavier won another boxing match bringing his record in boxing to 3-0 with 2 KOs and his kickboxing record to 9-1 with 8 KOs.

2016 I see a lot of big things coming up both on the kickboxing and MMA fronts. Xavier is only going to have harder fights so we are trying to stay busy and have been training hard, preparing the team for what's ahead. I also have Carl Sunamanutafa fighting on an upcoming Bellator show in Fresno and Roy Boughton fighting for the heavyweight title on Westcoast Fighting Championship. With fights booked thru half the year so far so 2016 looks like it will be very busy.

Xavier Vigney:

2015! What a year it has been. It all started in February in Virginia. I believe it was Glory 19. I was matched against American amateur national champion Everett Simms. He was not known on the international scene at all, but a big strong athletic guy like him is always dangerous and he had nothing to lose (except maybe his life) when it came to fighting me. We started the fight getting straight to business throwing punches, kicks, and knees. I tested his chin early dropping him with two right hands in the first round. He had enough after I crumbled him with another right hand and the fight was over. I think the most difficult thing about going into this fight was a fact that I had injured my left knee 10 days prior to the match.. I won't get into it too much on how I injured my knee, but my boxer and my pit bull got into a little scuffle and I had to break it up. Next was Glory in San Diego for the heavyweight qualification tournament. In this four man tournament I was matched up against Maurice Jackson. He was an interesting character. On the other end of the bracket was "Chopper" Lewis-Parry from England vs Demario Dennis. Chi had a mouth on him and he liked to run it a lot, whether it be in interviews, Twitter or Instagram he had something to say. It wasn't the first time I had to deal with something like this, my pro debut in 2012 against Seth Petruzelli was very similar. Petruzelli liked to talk and try to be funny. But it didn't work out so well for him. Really Chi was only making it worse for himself. The night of the tournament I made quick work of Maurice Jackson knocking him out in the first round. He came out throwing some pretty hard and athletic high kicks to my head which I defended and countered with hard punches. This caused him to shell up and turn his back. I managed to sneak in another hard right uppercut as he turned away and it landed right on his chin snapping his head back. He went down and the fight was over. Next was Chopper vs. Dennis. As I was backstage watching the fight I was expecting it to be a war. Demario landed a couple decent shots but when Chi returned fire it hurt him and the fight was over in the first round. Chopper Chi won. Now it was time to shut Chopper's mouth for good. When he entered the ring I didn't take my eyes off him. I could see through the man. We had a very entertaining competitive first round we both landed some good shots on each other, but towards the end of the round I could see and feel him starting to break. The second round came and I started just as strong and hard as I did in the first. He too, was still game but eventually he could not stand the pressure and pace. I got him in the corner and rained down hard shots to the head and body. When he bent over in the corner Big John McCarthy had seen enough and stopped the fight. And I won the tournament.

Next was Glory Las Vegas and here I was matched up against veteran fighter Daniel Sam . He is a massive man and has good experience fighting against a number of the best kick boxers in the world. This was a serious fight for me and also it was a test. Come fight night as I stood across the ring from Sam I felt comfortable, confident and ready to fight. We had a good competitive fight and went distance. I clearly landed more shots and had superior boxing but I will give Sam credit where it is due, the man kicks like a horse and he landed some good kicks on my body and legs. I felt those kicks for a few weeks. When it was all said and done I won the match and perhaps a little bit of respect because a lot of people didn't think I was going to win the fight against such an experienced and powerful guy like Daniel Sam. So after I let my leg heal up a little bit it was time to fight yet again this time pro boxing in a what I consider local match taking place at Cache Creek Casino and Resort in the Sacramento area. I was matched up against a guy named Derrick Williams who had experience in pro kickboxing, boxing and also MMA. When I first met him at the weigh ins I looked him in the eye and I could tell he knew he was in over his head. A guy like that is always dangerous though, because he has nothing to lose by losing to me. Come night of the fight as I stood across from Williams I could see that he would be in there fighting for his life. The fight started and he came out pressing forward trying to land something but I caught him with a few hard shots and he went down. He got back up and a few seconds later I caught him with a left hook that landed flush to his temple he went down the fight was over. That fight was October 24th 2015. Now as I sit back and reflect on 2015, I have to be thankful for going 5-0 and for making it out healthy. It was a good year full of good fights and good learning experiences that will prepare me for what is to come in 2016 and beyond. I am in no rush and I will continue to be patient and take it one day at a time, one training session at a time, and one fight at a time (maybe 2 or 3 if it's a tournament haha). I do have goals and one of them for 2016 is to go 6-0 between both kickboxing and boxing. But even without fighting 2016 will be one of the biggest years of my life this much I know.

Michael Duut:

Last year in 2015, I had a lot of injuries. I had a hamstring injury as well as an injury with my bicep which I tore completely. The latter injury occurred two weeks before a Glory event during a sparring session. So it was bad luck. For next year, 2016, my plan is first to recover, only having had surgery a few weeks ago and in January I plan to have physical therapy and also to start training a bit and then we have to see. Of course it is my goal to have the light heavyweight belt, but first I have to be fit. I think in September or October I will be ready to fight again.

Niclas Larson:

Unfortunately, I only had one fight on Danish ground in 2015. I was supposed to fight a four man tournament in Glory with Sittichai, Davit Kiria and Josh Jauncey. I became ill with staphylococcus aureus and needed an operation on my foot. Unfortunately this happened two weeks before the tournament. After three weeks of inactivity in the hospital and month of recovering, I am confident I will comeback at the end of February. This will be a fight on Danish ground and then I will be back fighting in all the big promotions for muay thai, including K-1 and Glory. I can't wait to be back !! Glory is an awesome promotion!

Sheri Ellington:

This year has been has amazing. I've had the opportunity to travel to many new places, including several kickboxing events. I've continued to train in Atlanta with my Coach Manu Ntoh. In October, I fought at my 6th World Championship in Spain representing USA National team. This allowed me pick up my 6th World Championship medal. One of the most important events for me this year as a career change. I accepted a position at a dental practice in a different city. This will allow me to have more opportunities and has been a very positive change. 

2016, I will be very focused on my career. I really enjoy designing custom mouth guards for my friends that fight. So...I'm very excited about starting that again. As far as me fighting, I will continue to train with Coach Manu in Atlanta. If the right opportunity comes along and if Coach Manu agrees then I will. I'm interested in helping my teammates at Team Manu behind the scenes, like finding sponsorships, promotions, & training. I will also be helping my friend set up seminars here in the USA. Of course, I will be traveling as often as possible. I plan on visiting my old teammate George Hickman who is coaching at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket.

It is my hope that everyone has come at least one step closer to their dreams in 2015 and will acheive even more in 2016! Osu!

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