Nieky Holzken closed out the trilogy against Murthel Groenhart at GLORY 34: Denver, taking a unanimous decision victory at the 1stBank Center in Denver, Colorado.
After the controversial result from their clash at GLORY 26 in Amsterdam, the two Dutch kickboxing icons faced off one more time to conclude their rivalry.
In round one, it was definitely a more cautious Holzken than we are used to seeing, but still precise with his movement. Groenhart; feeling cheated after their last meeting in December 2015, piled the pressure on, proving the aggressor in the opening encounter.
The 30-year-old Groenhart continued to show his dynamic striking in the second round, with Holzken opting for the more contrived approach with single strikes. “The Natural” began punishing the lead leg of Groenhart with his rapid leg kicks and by the end of round two, the challenger was visibly damaged as he limped to his corner.
As the bout continued to play-out, it became more evident that the shadows cast by their rematch at GLORY 26 had strongly faded this fateful night in Denver.
Groenhart amped up the pressure in the final two rounds, further proving that his gas tank can never be questioned, as he threw fury in flurries at the 32-year-old former reality TV star. The post event stats told the true story of the divisive styles on offer, with Groenhart landing 77 of his 195 punches, with Holzken succeeding 74 of his 94 kicks.
All three judges scored the bout 48-47, Holzken had done enough – specifically early on in the fight – to defend his title. Now, the biggest question remains over Holzken’s future and whether or not he will soon make the full time jump into professional boxing.
Meanwhile, in the co-headline bout of GLORY 34, Simon Marcus made his first appearance since losing his Middleweight title to Jason Wilnis, but it was a less than emphatic return for the Canadian. After a back-and-forth first round between Marcus and opponent Dustin Jacoby, it looked like the perfect start for a potential fight of the night between the 85kg rivals.
However, a high-leg kick by Marcus to the left arm of Jacoby, seemingly broke his arm. There was a bit of confusion between round’s one and two, with the referee commencing the round before immediately pausing the action. The doctor then checked Jacoby’s arm, deeming him unfit to continue.
Elsewhere, Israel Adesanya bested both Robert Thomas and Yousri Belgaroui to win the Middleweight Contender Tournament.
GLORY 34 Results
GLORY Welterweight Title: Nieky Holzken (C) def. Murthel Groenhart via Decision (Unanimous) (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
Middleweight Tournament Final: Israel Adesanya def. Yousri Belgaroui via Decision (Split) (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
Middleweight Co-Headline: Simon Marcus def. Dustin Jacoby via TKO (Broken Arm) (0:01 – Round 2)
Middleweight Contender Tournament Semi-Final #2: Israel Adesanya def. Robert Thomas via Decision (Unanimous) (30-25, 29-26, 30-25)
Middleweight Contender Tournament Semi-Final #1: Yousri Belgaroui def. Ariel Machado via Decision (Unanimous) (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)