GLORY 17 : results and videos
By Julien LANCHAS , Monday June 23, 2014
Artem LEVIN, the Russian maestro claimed the vacant title with a masterful performance in the eight-man tournament at GLORY LAST MAN STANDING, beating three world-class opponents and taking hardly a scratch.
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“I am very happy that I won the tournament. Some people thought that even though I'm ranked number one, I wouldn't win,” he said afterwards.
“The tournament was really tough and all of the opponents were tough, so I'm really happy to win and I have nothing but respect for all the opponents.”
In his first fight of the night he faced the rising Brazilian contender Alex Pereira, winner of the GLORY 14 ZAGREB Middleweignt Contender Tournament.
Pereira, who also boxes professionally, demonstrated plenty of knockout power in that tournament but couldn’t use his reach to land any on Levin, who out-pointed him with ease on the way to a clear unanimous decision.
“I would have to say the first fight was more challenging because I didn't know how the night was going to go so it was a lot of pressure in the first fight. I wanted the first fight to go well,” said Levin.
“All of the fights were really tough, all of the opponents were tough… [it was hard] physically and mentally.”
Levin limped into the post-fight press conference (“My legs are hurting really bad”) but was otherwise unscathed. In the semi-finals Filip Verlinden couldn’t find a way to land on him, Levin’s elusive shucking and jiving keeping him out of harm’s way while he racked the points up.
“He is really frustrating to fight against,” Verlinden said afterwards. “He comes in and you go to hit him but then he just isn’t there. It is really annoying.”
Verlinden had come through a risky fight with Melvin Manhoef to make it to the semi-final. His tactics centered on keeping range and using kicks to counter him as he came in looking to land his power-shots.
When Manhoef was able to get his range things got risky for Verlinden, who was forced to eat some big shots before getting the fight back where he wanted it.
The most memorable moment came at the end of the first round. Manhoef went for a big overhand right in an attempt to knock Verlinden out and ended up leaning right into a head kick which knocked him down and nearly finished his own night for him instead.
Levin’s toughest fight of the evening came in the tournament final. He faced Joe Schilling, who beat him in the final of the GLORY 10 LOS ANGELES tournament and in the process became the first fighter to knock Levin down in a fight since around 2008.
“This was the most pressure, mentally, because it was a rematch with Schilling,” Levin confirmed afterwards.
Schilling’s route to the final was the opposite of Levin’s. He had been through an absolute war with Simon Marcus and traded shots with arch-rival Wayne Barrett. He was already marked on his face and body when he arrived in the ring for the fight with Levin.
The fight with Marcus will certainly make the Fight of the Year nominations for the end of the year. Marcus has two wins over Schilling under Muay Thai rules and went into this fight undefeated, but Schilling is experienced under kickboxing rules, which limit the clinch and disallow elbows.
These two were also among the favorites to win the tournament tonight, which added another layer to the clash.
It resulted in this being the hardest-fought bout of the quarter-finals. It is impossible to fully recount the pace and brutality of it. They didn’t come to score points or even to score a knockout; they came to destroy each other.
Schilling came out of the gate so fast in round one that it looked like a quick finish might be on the cards. Marcus was initially caught out, used to the slower start of Muay Thai fights, but weathered the storm and got into the right gear.
From then on it was just all-out war, punishment being traded back and forth as if this were the only fight these two were having this night. Schilling was on absolute peak form, displaying power, technique, strategy and intelligence in one formidable package.
Marcus was undefeated going into this fight and for good reason. He had to dig deep into his reserves of warrior spirit and fighting knowledge as the fight went on, Schilling rising to the occasion in front of a passionate home crowd.
Schilling’s fire eventually burned Marcus out. Veteran referee John McCarthy felt that Marcus was losing his mouthpiece on purpose in the final round and docked him a point. It proved pivotal - when the bell rang on the final round, the scores resulted in a draw, taking the fight to an extra round.
Momentum favored Schilling, with Marcus bleeding heavily from what seemed to be a broken nose. He went after it with everything he had.
Marcus responded; the dogfight only ended when Marcus walked forward and was met with a Schilling right hook which knocked him out… and knocked the mouthpiece out of his mouth once more.
Schilling then went into his second rematch of the evening, facing Wayne Barrett in the semi-finals. Barrett had beaten newcomer Bogdan Stocia in the quarter-finals, stopping him in the second round as Stoica came in with a flying knee attempt and ate a punch instead.
Schilling and Barrett developed a bitter rivalry over the course of 2013, exacerbated by Los Angeles-based Schilling losing to Barrett in the latter’s native New York at GLORY 12.
No fighter wants a loss but for these two a loss to the other is particularly unbearable. The tension both felt was immediately apparent in the first round. Their footwork was nervous, their attacks hesitant.
Schilling was the first to break the hesitancy of the first round and open the fight up a little, but even then the precision both are known for was little to be found. Scrappy exchanges were the order of the day.
Nerves burned off more in the second round and allowed the two to start finding their shots and setups, though there was still a rushed element to a lot of their work.
Schilling’s forward aggression was sometimes careless, leaving himself open to be scored on. At the same time, he was doing well with timing Barrett’s attacks and finding ways to land counters.
It was a close fight and it went the distance with neither looking particularly close to scoring a definitive finish.
The closeness of the fight was reflected in the judges’ scoring. They returned a split-decision. One had it 29-28 for Barrett, another had it 29-28 for Schilling and the third had it 30-27 for Schilling to send the LA man to the final - and a rematch with Artem Levin.
Joe Schilling vs. Artem Levin
When he entered the ring Schilling was already covered in welts and bruises from his first two fights of the night. Levin, pale and unmarked, did his trademark dance down the catwalk to the ring.
There was more dancing to come. As in his previous fights he shucked and jived his way out of trouble by minute amounts and with inhuman timing. It is worth noting though that Schilling is one of the few fighters who really seems capable of landing on Levin with frequency.
One reason fans love Levin is his unpredictably. He is so unorthodox and his timing is so good that literally anything can happen at any moment. Ninety seconds into the first round Schilling dropped low for a hard straight right to the body; Levin took it and hit a spinning back-fist which dropped Schilling.
That kind of move, akin to something from a movie or video game, is exactly what makes Levin as great as he is. On the flipside, Levin does have a tendency to push his luck with the rules that limit the clinch, much to Schilling’s frustration.
Levin was eventually docked a point for excessive holding and Schilling did his best to capitalize. But with Levin so far ahead on points there was little he could do. In the third he needed the knockout but couldn’t find it; the seconds slipped away and so did Schilling’s chances of a win.
There were tears in the Russian’s eyes when he was announced as the winner and world champion. Schilling too had some emotion going on as the loss sank in. If there is can be any consolation for him, he can at least reflect on the KO of Simon Marcus and the fact that he has proved himself to be beyond doubt a world-class kickboxer.
- Artem Levin defeats Alex Pereira by unanimous decision
- Joe Schilling defeats Simon Marcus by KO round 4
- Wayne Barret defeats Bogdan Stoica by KO round 3
- Filip Verlinden defeats Melvin Manhoef by majority decision
- Artem Levin defeats Filip Verlinden by unanimous decision
- Joe Schilling defeats Wayne Barrett by split decision
- Artem Levin defeats Joe Schilling by unanimous decision
- Joseph Valtellini defeats Marc de Bonte by split decision
- Rico Verhoeven defeats Daniel Ghita by unanimous decision
Andy ‘The Machine’ Ristie is back on the world title trail.
The lightweight contender came close to capturing the vacant belt at GLORY 14 ZAGREB but fell short, losing by way of knockout to Davit Kiria in the fifth round of the fight.
Kiria’s win will almost certainly turn out to be the Comeback of the Year 2014; Ristie had been all over him in the first three rounds. Afterwards, a rueful Ristie said he had learned “an expensive lesson”.
That lesson related to cardiovascular endurance for when fights go into the later rounds. We didn’t find out tonight whether it had been learned or not, because Ristie ended the fight with Ky Hollenbeck in just 35 seconds.
“I saw when I was hitting the jab that he was kind of lowering his hand to parry it,” Ristie said afterwards.
The Surinamese man then drew a laugh as he got his English-language animal metaphor slightly confused.
“So I made him parry the jab again and then I hit him with a pussycat… no, wait - a tiger-swipe? Yeah, a tiger-swipe. The left hand.”
Press conference attendees erupted and Ristie beamed that wide smile of his. He smiled even wider when the subject of title shots came up.
Kiria’s first defense of the belt will likely be made against Robin Van Roosmalen. That pleases Ristie because he knocked Van Roosmalen out at GLORY 12 NEW YORK last year and came close to doing the same against Kiria in March.
“Yeah I am ready to fight for the belt again. That is my belt, I am coming for it, I don’t care who has it, Kiria or Van Roosmalen. I am taking the belt, it belongs to me,” he said.
On tonight’s evidence, he has a solid argument. Ky Hollenbeck is a tough Muay Thai stylist who can take big shots and has one-punch finishing power of his own.
He didn’t get a chance to land one though. Hollenbeck backed up as Ristie came forward, wanting to take a look at him, then found himself on the ropes. They got into an exchange and then Ristie’s infamous left hand landed on Hollenbeck’s jaw.
Coming up at a weird angle which makes it a cross between a hook and an uppercut, it was the punch which finished Giorgio Petrosyan and Van Roosmalen at GLORY 12 NEW YORK and now Hollenbeck joins its list of victims.
The San Francisco fighter’s legs bucked as the punch sat him down. He didn’t go completely unconscious but he was out of it for a good few moments and clearly wasn’t going to beat the ten-count.
‘The Machine’ is becoming a Terminator, an opponent to give his fellow lightweights nightmares.
“CroCop” silences Miller
Mirko “CroCop” Filipovic got a hero’s welcome when he entered The Forum arena for his rematch with Jarrell Miller.
The fight headlined the GLORY 17 LOS ANGELES and had Filipovic, surprisingly given his long career, making his US kickboxing debut.
Miller and “CroCop” fought under the K-1 banner in early 2013. The fight took place in Croatia and ended with a controversial decision for Filipovic. A furious Miller swore revenge, setting up tonight’s bout.
As it turned out, Miller’s vow went unfulfilled. “CroCop” used his experience and his power to keep the boxing stylist at bay in between meaty exchanges. Miller was the younger fighter by 15 years but wasn’t able to use that youth to his advantage - “CroCop” actually out-boxed him.
He also landed his famous left kick several times, drawing a lot of appreciation from the crowd. One left head kick in particular rocked Miller and brought “CroCop” closer than ever in recent years to scoring one of the knockouts which made his name in his Japanese days.
“I feel very good about the fight. I am happy to have beaten Jarrell Miller after all his trash talk, although I don’t take that kind of thing personally,” he said after winning a unanimous decision, 30-27 on two cards and 29-28 on the other.
“To be honest I very nearly pulled out of the fight, I have a bad infection in my elbow and I was lucky the athletic commission didn’t see it when they were doing the medicals.”
A two-sport athlete, “CroCop” will next find himself fighting when he heads to Japan in a few weeks to compete in an MMA bout. He also has an MMA fight booked for a New Year’s Eve event in Tokyo.
But he says he is happy fighting for GLORY and is open to more fights in the future.
Miller will return to professional boxing after this fight, which he took just for the chance to try and avenge last year’s loss to “CroCop”. After the fight he paid respects to the veteran kickboxer and said that, despite the loss, he had enjoyed fighting for GLORY and would be open to offers down the line.
VARGA SHINES IN FEATHER CONTENDER TOURNAMENT
“It feels like every event produces at least one new contender for the Fight of the Year 2014 nominations list,” said Cor Hemmers, GLORY matchmaker and Head of Talent
“In this tournament alone we got two nominees I think.”
In the final of the Featherweight Contender Tournament, Gabriel Varga and Shane Oblonsky staked their claim with a three-round war which had to be seen to be believed.
Both had gotten past difficult opponents in the semi-finals to take their spot in the tournament grand final, so they were both simultaneously warmed-up and carrying a few dents into battle.
Oblonsky’s fight in the semis was a scrappy affair while Varga’s was pure technical domination, and it looked like Varga was going to repeat that in the first half of round one with Oblonsky; he was sharp.
Then he got caught with an Oblonsky power-punch and suddenly the fight was on. Oblonsky pressed his advantage and had Varga backing up, then walked onto a shot from the Canadian and the tide turned again.
The speed and savagery of the fight did nothing to detract from the technicality of it. On the contrary, it was as if both knew they were part of something epic and they wanted their performance to live up to that. This is a fight they will look back on with pride for decades to come.
Oblonsky was making his GLORY debut in this tournament and he rose to the occasion. But the skill and experience of Varga began to tell.
The Canadian got into his flow and started racking points up, but then Oblonsky would rally and force him either onto the defensive or into furious gritty exchanges which looked like they might end the fight.
Things went at a frantic pace until the very final bell. Oblonsky had given a good account of himself but the result seemed obvious. The judges agreed; two had it 30-27 for the Canadian while the other had it 29-28 for him, having given one round to Oblonsky.
Oblonksy found himself in the final after a war with the incredibly game Marcus ‘Baiano’ Vinicius of Brazil.
Vinicius looked undersized next to Oblonsky, one of the division’s taller fighters. But as the saying goes, it is not the size of the dog in the fight which counts, rather the size of the fight of the dog.
Oblonsky’s own fighting style played right into Vinicius’ hands. In his pre-fight interviews he revealed how he likes to “get in there and just bang” and he quickly proved that wasn’t an exaggeration.
His reach advantage hardly came into play. This was a phone-booth fight which could have taken place in a ring a quarter of the size. Oblonsky’s hit power 1-2 combinations while Vinicius ducked and rolled and came up looking to take his head off with explosive hooks.
The crowd were on the edge of their seats as the fight looked like it could end at either moment. Oblonsky scored a knockdown in the first, though Vinicius disputed the call, but in the second they were trading massive blows with abandon, giving and taking power-strikes which would have felled lesser fighters.
When Oblonsky dropped Vinicius again in the third it only made the Brazilian redouble his efforts to take the Californian out. What was already a thrilling war clicked up a gear, Oblonsky looking to seal the deal with a finish and Vinicius knowing he needed a KO in order not to lose on points.
Oblonsky got there first; a second knockdown put the win in the bag and set the crowd - many of them his friends, family and training partners - on fire.
Both fighters brought everything they had to this encounter and the usual feeling-out process was dispensed with in favor of immediate engagement in the middle of the ring.
Sitmonchai is a bright young talent with a wealth of tricks at his disposal but, following initial hard exchanges to set the tone of the fight, he ended up receiving hard lessons from Varga over the course of nine minutes.
Varga’s use of his reach advantage was pure mastery; he would dart in, pressure Yodkhunpon then take a slight step back and leave the Thai swinging at air as he attempted to counter.
Often, as he stepped back, Varga would flick his left leg up in a ‘fade-away’ head kick, landing while keeping his own head safely out of trouble.
Varga’s trickiness didn’t end there. Misdirection, huge body shots and chain-hitting came in an endless flow. He hit several spinning heel kicks and went for the spinning back-fist a few times, though Yodkhunpon read those latter efforts and prevented them landing.
Yodkhunpon’s own combination work was nice when he could solve the distance problem. The Sitmonchai team style includes a lot of low kicks - rare for Thai fighters - and Varga’s lead leg was a nice shade of purple by round two.
Frustration was etched all over Yodkhunpon’s face in the third as Varga hit near-perfect rhythm in his work. Brief successes of his own aside, Yodkhunpon mostly found himself covering up and taking punishment as Varga cruised to a solid decision win and booked himself a place in the final.
- Gabriel Varga defeats Yodkhunpon Sitmonchai by unanimous decision
- Shane Oblonsky defeats Marcus Vinicius by unanimous decision
- Gabriel Varga defeats Shane Oblonsky by unanimous decision
- Mirko Filipovic defeats Jarell Miller by unanimous decision
- Andy Ristie defeats Ky Hollenbeck by KO round 1