In two week’s time, GLORY Kickboxing promote their biggest fight card of the year at Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. With such a notable occasion looming, though, GLORY’s preceding event, GLORY 58, suffers from a lack of attention; a feat which it certainly does not deserve.
GLORY Kickboxing return to Chicago, Illinois on Friday, September 14, with a middleweight world title fight set to top the bill at Sears Centre. GLORY’s first-ever Brazilian born champion, Alex Pereira, defends his championship against perennial standout, Simon Marcus.
Simon Marcus seeks to reclaim the crown at GLORY 58
When Pereira and Marcus fought in October 2017, it was expected to be a filler contest leading to an intended showdown between Marcus and Middleweight Contender Tournament winner, Yousri Belgaroui. Kickboxing just isn’t that predictable, though, and Pereira instead shocked the system with a decision win in Guangzhou, China.
That fight was an antithesis of expectation, as the Brazilian easily out-smarted, out-struck and out-scored his opponent over five rounds. It was a resounding victory for “Po Atan” and the judges awarded him two 48-46 scores, two 49-45 splits, as well as a 50-44 verdict.
At the same time, that was only Marcus’s fourth defeat inside the ring, and even though it was an uninspiring performance, it didn’t necessarily cause concern, especially with the lack of depth in GLORY’s middleweight roster.
Alas, after two wins — including one over long-time rival Jason Wilnis at GLORY 56 — Marcus is now back in contention.
Marcus proclaims himself as the greatest middleweight kickboxer of all time, and his credentials certainly go a long way to back that up, with wins over greats like Artem Levin, Joe Schilling and Artem Vakhitov. He must remain focused, though, as anything less than his best and the un-orthodox Pereira has the tools to keep hold of his GLORY gold belt and disprove Marcus’s self-evaluation.
Jahfarr Wilnis must finally showcase his potential inside a GLORY ring
Jahfarr Wilnis has a momentous opportunity to prove that he deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as GLORY’s top heavyweights when he fights No.1 ranked Benjamin Adegbuyi in Chi-town.
It’s fair to say that Wilnis hasn’t performed as expected throughout his GLORY career. With an average record of 6-4, he has failed to create any momentum, despite glimpses of brilliance.
Coincidently, Jahfarr has actually performed better outside of the promotion, going unbeaten in five fights under the Kunlun banner in 2015.
Benny was the man to snap that streak, when the pair first fought in October 2015 during the finals of the Heavyweight Contender Tournament. Wilnis was no slouch that time, in fairness, and frankly, Adegbuyi was lucky to come out on top with a split decision win.
Off the back of that, Adegbuyi fought Rico Verhoeven in Amsterdam, where the Romanian suffered a brutal knockout to the GLORY champion.
Since then, however, Adegbuyi has done well to rebuild his impetus, with eights wins from nine fights. With a win at GLORY 58, Adegbuyi can claim a heavyweight title shot against now-teammate Verhoeven, and put to bed any doubt once and for all that he is superior to Wilnis.
Wilnis recently revealed to GLORYKickboxing.com that a pulmonary embolism (as a result of deep vein thrombosis) nearly ended his career.
Things seem to be on the up, though, as the Dutch kickboxer confirmed his return to full-health earlier this year with a shutout win over Jamal Ben Saddik at GLORY 53. Now Wilnis is looking for payback against Benny, and he wants to do it by knocking him out.
Bailey Sugden looking to put tough 2018 behind him
It’s been a bit of frustrating 2018 for “Bad Boy” Bailey Sugden, so far. After picking up two wins from two last year inside GLORY, the young Brit has been met with a few hurdles which have halted his progress. The first of which came in the shape of his first GLORY defeat.
This happened in March against Zakaria Zouggary, a fight which was much closer than the scorecards indicated, as a controversial knockdown in the third round sealed Sugden’s fate.
BBB was then scheduled to meet GLORY 58 opponent, Anvar Boynazarov in June, when GLORY returned to the UK for the first time in five years. That fight ultimately failed to transpire, and Bailey instead fought against Aleksei Ulianov.
Once again, Sugden was forced to deal with hardship, with the fight called off in round two after Ulianov suffered a deep gash following an accidental clash of heads.
Both Bailey and his father Dean Sugden were incensed by the decision, seeing as Ulianov had seemingly caused this with an illegal sweep.
Nonetheless, Bailey will be looking to put his torrid 2018 behind him when he finally gets his crack at flashy-kicker, Boynazarov. But the No.6 ranked featherweight will certainly provide a stern challenge for the less experienced fighter from Newark, England.
Sugden may be catching the once highly touted Uzbek at the right time, though, as Boynazarov has lost his last three under GLORY. A win for No.12 ranked Sugden will go a long way to erasing his difficult year and put him in prime position for a slot in an upcoming contender tournament.
GLORY 58 will be broadcast live on GLORY InPlayer at 3:30 BST on Saturday, September 15. The GLORY 58 SuperFight Series will be shown live on UFC Fight Pass from 1:30.
Photo Credits: James Law, GLORY Sports International