6 Matchups confirmed for GLORY 2 BRUSSELS
Six new, star-studded matchups, including a heavyweight collision between Gokhan Saki (76-15, 53 KO’s), who is of Turkish origin fighting for the Netherlands, and Mourad Bouzidi (65-18-2, 33 KO’s) of Tunisia have been confirmed for the GLORY 2 Brussels world-class kickboxing event at Vorst Nationaal Arena in Brussels, Belgium on Saturday, Oct. 6.
Last week, GLORY announced the long-awaited return of all-time great, heavyweight Remy “The Flying Gentleman” Bonjasky (75-14, 40 KO’s) of Amsterdam, Netherlands, who will face off with rising star and Brazil native Anderson ‘Braddock’ Silva (32-7, 22 KO’s), in the main event. The matchup brings to a close a three-year hiatus that the dynamic Bonjasky, a three-time World Grand Prix Champion of the old K-1 tournament series, took due to an old eye injury.
“The upcoming event in Brussels is stacked with both world championship level fighters as well as several of kickboxing’s brightest, young, up-and-coming stars who have the talent to evolve into GLORY world champions and carry the torch that will eventually be passed on by the reigning kings of the sport,” said GLORY Managing Director, Marcus Luer.
Also confirmed for the GLORY 2 Brussels main card is a 79 kilogram/175 pound matchup between emerging forces Marc de Bonte (78-9-2, 18 KO’s) of Belgium and Murthel Groenhart (49-14-3, 25 KO’s) who hails from Surinam and is based in Holland.
A classic Benelux showdown will see Murat Direkci (69-15, 58 KO’s) of Belgium and Nieky Holzken (77-10, 4 KO’s) of the Netherlands face off at 78 kilograms/172 pounds.
Heavyweight prospect Jamal Ben-Saddik (21-0, 19 KO’s) of Antwerp will clash with Jahffar Wilnis (15-3-1, 3 KO’s) of Utrecht for another Benelux clash.
Vengeance-minded Belgium native Marat Grigorian (32-4-1,17 KO), fighting out of Yerevan, Armenia, will take on technical wizard Mohammed Khamal (43-5-3, 9 KO’s) of Morocco in a 71 kilogram/157 pound battle.
In yet a fourth heavyweight affair on the main card, It’s Showtime champion Danyo Ilunga (39-4, 33 KO’s) of Germany will challenge promising upstart Ali Cenik (16-3-2, 9 KO’s) of Belgium.
Additional bouts, including a complete preliminary card, will be announced soon.
Tickets for GLORY 2 Brussels, priced from € 50, can be purchased online at www.Sherpa.be and www.SeeTickets.nl as well as at retailers Primera Stores, Aiki Budo Sport and Nikko Sports.
Doors at Vorst Nationaal Arena will open at 16:00 local time and the undercard fights will commence with MMA rules bouts at 16:30. The main card will begin at 19:00 local time.
Gokhan Saki vs. Mourad Bouzidi
Saki’s explosive style and high work rate have helped catapult the 28-year-old to superstardom. His ferocious left hook, which has left numerous foes flat on their backs, was the weapon behind his first round (2:00) KO of American Carter Williams in Saki’s last start on May 26.
Bouzidi has competed since his teenage years, a factor that has helped the 27-year-old, known for having power in both hands, reach his advanced skill level. In his last effort on June 30, Bouzidi stopped Rustemi Kreshnik in the second round (2:45) of their matchup after an injury sustained in battle prevented Kreshnik from being able to continue the bout.
Marc de Bonte vs. Murthel Groenhart
People in the European scene have been talking about De Bonte’s strong timing and counterattack skills for some time and now he’s getting a chance to debut in the world’s number one kickboxing organisation. His background is in Muay Thai and he recently fought in the USA.
Groenhart fights out of the famous Mike’s Gym, home to Badr Hari among others. Like teammates, he has an aggressive style; he throws his hands a lot, and with bad intentions. Groenhart likes to use knees to the body to sap his opponent’s will but a technician like De Bonte may have an answer for that.
There is an interesting clash of styles in this fight. Groenhart knocks a lot of his opponents out while De Bonte dismantles them piece by piece.
Murat Direkci vs. Nieky Holzken
The 28-year-old Holzken had a tremendous performance at the GLORY event in Stockholm, Sweden earlier this year. He picked Alex Harris apart with tricky combinations that constantly forced the Swede to leave openings in his defense. Holzken capitalised by punishing him with body shots and eventually stopping him with a left hand to the body.
The 32-year-old Direkci brings more experience to the table than does Holzken. Direkci has long been at the upper-end of the European middleweight scene and he has had several notable wins, including a first-round KO of Albert Kraus in 2008. In January 2009 he won the Its Showtime middleweight title and successfully defended it until December 2010.
Direkci lost to young Dutch prospect Robin Van Roosmalen at the start of this year and has been absent from the ring since.
Jamal Ben Saddik vs. Jaffar Wilnis
Ben-Saddik is a heavyweight prospect from the Golden Glory stable. Behind the scenes he has been referred to as the Moroccan version of kickboxing’s No. 1 heavyweight, Semmy Schilt because of his tremendous height (2.12 m / 6 foot 9 ½). Stylistically Ben-Saddik differs from Schilt, coming from a kickboxing rather than karate background, but he demonstrated an understanding of how to use his height to his advantage and he keeps opponents at range where he can hurt them without threat.
Wilnis is a fighter from the European regional circuit, who is looking to try and break out into a higher level of competition. He is good with his hands and is fitter and faster than Ben-Saddik, although he is at a range disadvantage and has to be careful of the young Moroccan’s power. This fight will be a valuable experience for both of them and may see the birth of a new star.
Mohammed Khamal vs. Marat Grigorian
Khamal is an outstanding technician. His level of technical proficiency is very impressive considering he is just 22 years old. He has competed in Muay Thai as well as kickboxing and he has fought some big names from that world; earlier this year he took a second-round win over the legendary Saiyok and then retired from Muay Thai to concentrate solely on kickboxing.
This match has a vendetta aspect to it. Although not related biologically, Grigorian fights out of the same training camp as Harut Grigorian, a highly-regarded kickboxer who competes at the elite level. Two years ago, Khamal and Harut collided in the ring, culminating in a KO win for Khamal. Grigorian will be out to avenge the camp’s loss.
Marat is a technical fighter like Khamal. History dictates that this will be a fast-paced bout that could finish inside the distance.
Danyo Ilunga vs. Ali Cenik
Prior to winning the Its Showtime 95 kilogram (209 pound) title in March last year, Ilunga was a virtual unknown and was perhaps most famous for being a sparring partner for Bonjasky. The win brought him a lot of attention and since then his fan base has grown continuously thanks to his high knockout rate and his elusive, technical fighting style.
Cenik has just 21 fights under his belt, making him relatively inexperienced for an international professional fighting at an elite level such. Nine of his sixteen wins have come by KO and he hopes to replace Saki as Turkey’s favourite fighting son, although that is going to be a tough task.
He goes into the fight off the back of a decision win over Alexey Ignashov in May. At his peak, Ignashov was considered to be perhaps the most technical fighter there had ever been in kickboxing and while he is not as sharp as he once was, it is very impressive for Cenik that he managed to beat Ignashov. Both Cenik and Ilunga are very confident right now and this fight should be a war.