Glory 16 Denver : results and videos
By Glory , Sunday May 4, 2014
Putting four of the world’s hardest-hitting fighters into one tournament was only ever going to mean one thing: action. That’s exactly how it turned out as the Heavyweight Contender Tournament played out at GLORY 16 DENVER. It aired across the US on SPIKE TV; two of the three fights ended in knockouts.
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Errol Zimmerman was responsible for both of them. First he dispatched the Australian power-puncher Ben Edwards in the semi-finals, then did the same for Anderson ‘Braddock’ Silva in the final.
His efforts won him the tournament prize - a slot in the Heavyweight Championship Tournament later this year - but what really mattered to Zimmerman was the trophy.
Winners of Contender tournaments are awarded a replica of a trophy which was awarded to the legendary Ramon Dekkers in Thailand twenty years ago.
Zimmerman was coached by Dekkers from around 16 years of age, nearly half his life ago. Dekkers’ sudden death last year badly affected Zimmerman. He still trains in the same gym that Dekkers trained him in.
“This was so emotional for me. I had to win this tournament and bring this trophy home to our gym where it belongs,” Zimmerman said afterwards.
“I could not imagine allowing this trophy to go to Russia or Brazil, you know? It had to come home with me and I was going to do anything I could do. I even said that if I did not win the cup I would have to quit fighting, you know? It meant everything to me.
“The spirit of Ramon was with me there tonight, I could feel it. All the time coming up to this tournament I could feel him with me. After I stopped Edwards, he told me he was happy for me that I got the win and was able to honor Ramon that way.
“That set me off, I was crying in the ring. I went back to the dressing room and I was emotional but I composed myself. I felt great coming out for the final with Anderson. I knew it was my fight, tonight was my night.”
With the win Zimmerman finds himself entering the Heavyweight Championship Tournament later this year. That line-up will include both Rico Verhoeven and Daniel Ghita, both of whom have recently inflicted losses on Zimmerman.
“I want rematches with them both, I am ready. There is a score to settle so I advise them both to be careful,” he smiled.
The semi-final win over Edwards came after the pair of them dispensed with any sort of tactical approach and went at it the way they do best. Heavy shots were given and accepted, both sides of the dispute taking blows which would have felled lesser men.
Zimmerman had his chin tested solidly at least once but powered through it to pile destruction on Edwards and send him crashing to the canvas. Once that first knockdown was scored a finish seemed inevitable.
Edwards nearly scored it, rocking Zimmerman, but then the Curacao fighter hit two big right hands which dropped Edwards and put the fight to a finish under the two-knockdown rule which applies to GLORY tournament fights (except the final).
The tournament’s other semi-final was an instant classic, a contender for Fight of the Year and Comeback of the Year.
Anderson ‘Braddock’ Silva has had enough of being the division’s nearly-man. He consistently comes close to establishing himself as one of the division’s apex predators but he never seems to be able to secure that status.
He said he trained hard for this tournament and the match with Russian bear Sergey Kharitonov and he wasn’t lying. Silva’s boxing looked light years ahead of what it has in the past; in the first round he gave Kharitonov the worst mauling he has had since the loss to Ghita in 2009.
In particular Silva’s right uppercut looked to be a killer blow and any fighter other than Kharitonov would surely have been taken out by the way it landed flush repeatedly. Kharitonov is extremely tough and he proved that by getting back into the fight after nearly being blown away.
Silva had to dig deep to halt Kharitonov’s resurgence; it took everything he had to keep control of the fight and even the latter half of the third round had the Russian in the driving seat and piling on the pressure.
He won the fight but it was a hard battle and that surely won’t have helped him when it came to facing Zimmerman in the final.
Six fights took place on Saturday’s Superfight Series card at GLORY 16 DENVER, three of which ended inside the distance.
One of those finishes was spectacular and looks set to be the Knockout of the Year 2014 and also a contender for Knockout of the Decade.
Benjamin Adegbuyi vs. Daniel Sam
Daniel Sam didn’t get a chance to get into the fight with Benjamin Adegbuyi.
The Romanian heavyweight let Sam feel his power early on and that was enough to shut his British counterpart down almost entirely. Apart from the occasional jab and rare left hook effort, Sam did little but move backwards under a tight guard.
Adegbuyi chased after him, finding it difficult to get combinations off against a constantly retreating opponent. With Sam protecting his head so tightly, Adegbuyi went after his legs and body with hard kicks and punches, looking for Sam to start dropping his hands as they took effect.
It did the trick; Sam started to lose steam under the punishment and in the second round he ended up pressed against the ropes with Adegbuyi teeing off. A jab put Sam in place for an Adegbuyi right hand, which landed with force.
Sam bounced forward off the ropes and fell sideways. The referee counted, Sam didn’t get up, and the fight was over - Adegbuyi is now 2-0 in GLORY with both wins by stoppage.
“I was happy enough with my performance. It is always nice to get the KO but I wanted more of a fight,” he said afterwards.
“Now I am ready to fight anybody GLORY wants to put in front of me. I am here to do big things so let’s see who comes next.”
Artem Levin vs. Robert Thomas
Artem Levin had a gameplan in place for his encounter with Canadian debutant Robert Thomas, but the referee wasn’t a fan of it.
GLORY rules allow fighters to clinch for several seconds, and referees have some discretion to allow a clinch situation to continue if it is an active one in which damage is being done. But the referee in this fight didn’t want to see any clinching at all, and split them as soon as they occurred.
Levin, facing a rangy fighter and already booked for the GLORY LAST MAN STANDING tournament next month, had a plan that centered on coming in, landing his strikes and then entering the clinch to land knees.
He received a warning from the referee in the first round and in the third the referee stopped the fight to deduct a point from Levin. It was a dubious decision which overshadowed Levin’s competent, if win.
“This was not correct. You are allowed to clinch for several seconds under GLORY rules and so I was surprised when the referee was telling me otherwise. Then he took a point away, it wasn’t right,” he said afterwards.
“But anyway. I invite everyone to watch me next month in Los Angeles, the GLORY LAST MAN STANDING tournament.”
Nicolas Wamba vs. Jamal Ben Saddik
This was Wamba’s debut for GLORY and it was not an auspicious one. He came in as the holder of a minor world title but it quickly became clear that the elite heavyweights of GLORY were another level.
Ben Saddik became frustrated as Wamba continually retreated from the fight. When Ben Saddik was able to land cleanly and put his shots together Wamba seemed uncomfortable. Whether big-show nerves or Ben Saddik’s sheer size, it looked like he was not enjoying himself one bit.
There were several occasions when Wamba went down and took a referee’s count, possibly going down easier than he should have. Two such knockdowns came in the second round before a third sealed the deal. Wamba returned to the floor and the referee waved the fight off.
Ben Saddik briefly celebrated the win but quickly turned furious, kicking the ropes and kicking his mouth guard out of the ring into the crowd. Afterwards he expressed his frustrations.
“I don’t want to say anything too bad but I don’t feel like Wamba really came to fight. I think after the first good punch I put on him, he felt the power and it looked like he didn’t want to fight any more,” he said.
“So it was hard to fight like that. But I am happy I got the win. I was on a three-fight losing streak going into it so I needed this win. Now I’m going back to the gym and ready to fight again.”
Artem Vakhitov vs. Igor Jurkovic
Artem Vakhitov has emerged as one of the light-heavyweight division’s rising contenders, now riding a 3-0 run in GLORY after outclassing Igor Jurkovic over three rounds in their GLORY Superfight Series 16 showdown.
Jurkovic came into this fight with some momentum. The Croatian former heavyweight made his light-heavyweight debut at GLORY 14 ZAGREB in march with a first-round knockout of the top ten-ranked Michael Duut.
He was confident he could do the same against Vakhitov. In pre-fight interviews he commended Vakhitov’s amateur record but said the Russian lacked enough experience in the professional ranks to provide a threat to him.
Jurkovic was wrong. As a southpaw, it is usually him who is the tricky one in a fight against an orthodox opponent. But he quickly found that Vakhitov’s boxing ability and sense of timing were tailor-made to provide a nightmare for him.
Like his team mate and training partner Artem Levin, Vakhitov has a somewhat twitchy, movement-heavy style which serves to unsettle their opponents and disrupt their offensive output. He is also good at setups, throwing long combinations in which the initial blows are intended only to steer the recipient onto those which will do the real damage.
As an example, in the first round he guided Jurkovic’s hands into a defensive posture with light hooks then smashed a hard right hand straight down the middle of the gap between Jurkovic’s gloves. Jurkovic went down and for a moment it looked like the fight might be over, but he managed to get back up and back into it.
Intense frustration was the story of the fight for Jurkovic as Vakhitov confounded him with distance and evasion. Jurkovic frequently found himself swinging at air while Vakhitov was able to get in and out to land his shots. A broken nose only added to Jurkovic’s woes in the second and third rounds.
Only in the third, as Vakhitov tired and slowed, did Jurkovic have some moments which he could look back on with any fondness. But it was too little too late, and Vakhitov won a clear decision as the final bell rang on the fight.
“The first round I did what I wanted to do, I had it all planned out,” he said afterwards. “Only in the third round I was losing my breath a little bit, because of the high altitude, but I pushed through it.
“Who do I want to fight next? It doesn’t matter to me, anybody they want to match me with I will fight.”
Raymond Daniels vs. Francois Ambang
Words will struggle to do justice to what he pulled off in this GLORY Superfight Series bout with Francois Ambang. ‘Amazing’ ‘Incredible’ and ‘Unbelievable’ are just a few of them.
The fight started with a bit of feeling out, Daniels playing his trademark erratic movement and kicking game while Ambang walked him down. An early axe-kick effort from Daniels was ambitious but ineffective.
Daniels took some criticism after his GLORY 13 TOKYO loss to ‘Bazooka’ Joe Valtellini. His boxing skills and his low-kick defense both came under fire. In this fight tonight he showed he had worked hard on those areas, checking almost all of Ambang’s low-kick efforts.
Then, in a wild exchange near one corner of the ring, Daniels knocked Ambang down with an overhand right.
Ambang was wobbly when he got up and that set the stage for the incredible finish - Daniels feinted, Ambang reacted, Daniels moved in with a side kick then turned that into a mid-air spinning heel-kick to the jaw which knocked Ambang out in one of the most incredible finishes in kickboxing history.
Josh Jauncey vs. Warren Stevelmans
The veteran Warren Stevelmans represented the stiffest test of young Jauncey’s fledgling career. Stylistically the two are quite similar. Jauncey is from Canada but has trained extensively in Holland under former world #1 Andy Souwer, while Stevelmans fights out of Amsterdam’s Vos Gym under Ivan Hippolyte.
Any kind of feeling-out process went out the window in the first twenty seconds. Stevelmans put two hard left body kicks on Jauncey and the fight clicked into top gear. They hammered combinations into each other, Jauncey disregarding his reach advantage to stand right in with Stevelmans and exchange power-shots.
It nearly cost him dear; in the latter half of the round Stevelmans was able to put him down hard with a right hand/left hook combination. Jauncey looked to be out for a second but beat the count and was then able to recover his senses, get back into the fight and make it to the end of the round.
Over the next two rounds Jauncey was increasingly able to take control and to find his range and timing, though his corner continually reminded him to keep moving. When he would stand still and exchange he was giving Stevelmans chances to do damage and land another bomb.
Jauncey has a nice kicking game. He battered Stevelman’s with body kicks left and right, turning his mid-torso into an ugly purple, and he also landed with ‘Brazilian kick’ efforts, though not cleanly enough to do proper damage.
By the end of the fight the judges had it a draw, due to the knockdown Jauncey had suffered in the first round. They went to an extra round and Jauncey took over, using his reach to stay out of trouble and sweeping Stevelmans off his feet so hard that the referee, seeing Stevelmans trying to take his time getting up, gave him a ten-count.
That sealed it for Jauncey; the win was in the bag. Stevelmans tried taking his head off with huge hooks but Jauncey was able to stop him coming forward with kicks. The end of the round signaled the end of the fight.
Having passed a big test and taken the first win of his GLORY career, the young Canadian - now 20-4 with 9 KO’s - celebrated with a crowd-pleasing backflip.
Pat Barry vs Zack Mwekassa
Tension was high in the air as Pat ‘HD’ Barry (16-6-1, 10 KO’s) made his entrance at GLORY 16 DENVER to face Zack Mwekassa.
The home fighter and crowd favorite received big cheers on his way to the ring while Mwekassa, who entered first, prowled around waiting for him; it was clear this fight wasn’t going to go the distance.
Mwekassa (11-1, 10 KO’s) having a boxing background meant that kicking seemed a good route to go. Barry planted a few hard ones on Mwekassa’s lead leg but was being very careful about his entries, wary of running into a counter-punch as he delivered the kick.
When the two got into exchanges and Mwekassa did let his hands go, it was clear he had the power to do damage. Barry was forced to take a knee and an eight count after eating a particularly hard uppercut.
However, Barry also looked close to ending the fight in the first round when he landed a big head kick which rocked Mwekassa and staggered him backwards.
Barry rushed him immediately, swarming with punches and looking for the finish. Mwekassa covered up under a heavy barrage and weathered the storm before throwing a counter left hook which landed cleanly and stopped Barry’s forward pressure.
Mwekassa got back into the fight and started piling the pressure on. As Barry retreated Mwekassa bounded forward, throwing a huge left uppercut with his entire bodyweight behind it. That was the end - Barry took the punch full-force and hit the canvas, knocked out.
“I took a few kicks at first, including a head kick, but I was like ‘OK, I can take this,’” Mwekassa said afterwards.
“I could tell I was hurting him with some punches I was landing and then when he had to take a knee and an eight-count, I knew it was time to put the pressure on and take advantage of the opening.”
Barry had gone in as the underdog thanks to his background as a kickboxer, though that perhaps owed something to Mwekassa being rather unknown.
“Mwekassa wasn’t a big name going into this fight but we knew he was dangerous,” said matchmaker Cor Hemmers, GLORY Head of Talent Operations.
“He has some big knockouts on his record and now he has the biggest of his career. It was a good debut for him and we already have some names in mind for his next fight.
“Barry will be out of competition for at least sixty days, medical suspension, but of course he gets another chance in GLORY as well. We will have some news on his next opponent in the near future.”
GLORY Superfight Series 16: Results
- Jamal Ben Saddik def. Niclas Wamba via TKO (three knockdowns) 1:24 R2
- Benjamin Adegbuyi def Daniel Sam via KO, 2:59 R2
- Artem Levin def Robert Thomas via unanimous decision (29-27 x 3)
- Artem Vakhitov def Igor Jurkovic via unanimous decision (30-26, 29-27, 29-27)
- Raymond Daniels def Francois Ambang via KO (spinning heel kick) 1:47 R1
- Josh Jauncey def Warren Stevelmans via unanimous decision, R4 (Sudden Victory Round) (10-8, 10-8, 10-8)