Vakhitov, GLORY 35
Photo credit: Ben Pontier, GLORY Sports International

GLORY 35 in Nice, France proved to be an eventful night for the Heavyweight and Light-Heavyweight divisions, as the contenders continue to stack up in both.

Benjamin Adegbuyi won the 4-man Heavyweight tournament at GLORY 35 Nice in dominant fashion, defeating Hesdy Gerges in the semi-final via unanimous decision (UD). Adegbuyi would then display his superior skill set; compared to the majority of the heavyweight division, with an even more powerful victory via UD against Mladen Brestovac in the final.

These 4-man contender tournaments usually secure the winner with a title shot but things are looking rather uncertain in the GLORY Heavyweight division. The worst kept secret in kickboxing are the strong rumours that current Heavyweight champion, Rico Verhoeven, is seriously considering a career move into MMA after his GLORY Collision with Badr Hari in December. Also, Ismael Londt is long overdue his opportunity to fight for the title since winning the 4-man heavyweight tournament at GLORY 29 back in April.

Artem Vakhitov outclassed the charismatic and determined Zack Mwekessa who, was stopped via second round TKO. Shortly beforehand, Mwekessa had been knockdown by the well rounded Russian champion and unfortunately, the “Black Warrior” couldn’t restabilise himself on his own two feet and the fight ended swiftly thereafter, along with his interim-championship.

This convincing victory will hopefully catapult Vakhitov’s profile with GLORY’s wider audience which, can arguably be more attracted to hype over skill (especially in recent years). For those that don’t know, Vakhitov has a highly decorated amateur background in Muay Thai and used to train with former GLORY Middleweight champion, Artem Levin (and even fought him when they were much younger but Levin won that contest).

However, the influence that former Light-Heavyweight champion Gökhan Saki, still has on the division could not be ignored last night when his number two ranking was televised after Vakhitov’s victory over Mwekessa. It will be interesting to see when (not if) “The Rebel” will return to GLORY Kickboxing in the new year.

Pavel Zhuravlev reminded the GLORY hierarchy – and any fight fans new to GLORY – that he is a serious force to reckon with in the Light-Heavyweight division, with an emphatic first round KO of Zinedine Hameur-Lain.

Could Saki make a return in a possible title eliminator against Zhuravlev who, has a past decision win over Saki? 2017 is potentially looking to be the year that the Light-Heavyweight division explodes back into life again, hopefully.

British Canadian kickboxer, Josh Jauncey (born in the UK but residing in Canada) lost by decision against, Christian Baya on the SuperFight Series undercard; in a technical kickboxing bout resulting in both men being hospitalised together. This was Jauncey’s last fight on his current GLORY contract and hopefully they will retain his services next year. Jauncey might have had mixed results over the last couple of years but has also shown moments of his exciting true potential as well.

GLORY 35 Nice – Results:

Artem Vakhitov def. Zack Mwekassa by Rd2 TKO – retains GLORY Light-Heavyweight Championship

Benjamin Adegbuyi def.  Mladen Brestovac via UD – 4-man Heavyweight tournament final

Pavel Zhuravlev def. Zinedine Hameur Lain via Rd1 TKO

Benjamin Adegbuyi def. Hesdy Gerges via UD – 4-man Heavyweight Tournament Semi-Final

Mladen Brestovac def. Jahfarr Wilnis via Rd1 KO – 4-man Heavyweight Tournament Semi-Final

GLORY 35 SuperFight Series – Results:

Nicolas Wamba def. Nordine Mahieddine via UD

Karim Benmansour def. Eyevan Danenberg via split decision

Amel Dehby def. Jiwaen Lee via UD

Christian Baya def. Josh Jauncey via UD

Petpanomrung Kiatmookao def. Stanislav Renita via UD

Cedric Castaigna def. Vang Moua via UD