Former GLORY Kickboxing champion, Marc de Bonte’s death shocked the world kickboxing at the start of this week when it was confirmed that his body had been found by police. There had been an ongoing investigation into de Bonte’s disappearance since he was first reported as missing three weeks prior.

Marc de Bonte was only 26-years-old and had an overall fight fight record of 99 kickboxing and pro boxing bouts (and had won all four of his boxing fights). He had a tremendous fighting career which included: 88 victories, 12 loses and one draw. As well as being crowned as the first ever, GLORY Welterweight champion at GLORY 16 in 2014, defeating Karapet Karpetyan by split decision.

Well known kickboxing journalist, John Joe O’Regan who, writes for Bloody Elbow, had known de Bonte reasonably well over the years and had been saddened by his death:

“So so sad for him to pass away at such a young age. Still in his competitive prime. He was in the process of setting down with his fiancé, now, long term girlfriend. They were together from, I think, high school years or thereabouts. Really really sad, really sad.”

Marc de Bonte
Marc de Bonte, GLORY Sports International

Although Marc had been focused on professional boxing in the last two years, his journey in combat sports would change direction once again when unexpectedly, his previous management company were allegedly unable to pay him and secure his pro boxing future. As a result, the most obvious thing for de Bonte to do was to return to both the Netherlands and Belgium and continue his illustrious kickboxing career.

In September, de Bonte powerfully knocked out Artur Gorlov at Kunlun Fight 51, with a performance that in itself was a statement to fellow kickboxing rivals, such as the current GLORY Welterweight champion, Nieky Holzken. Belgium’s prodigal son had returned in devastating manner to the kickboxing ring and was still a force to reckon with.

“I watched your interview with him when he was saying to El Boustati, ‘man up and put the title on the line’. Throughout the interview, typically Marc. Well spoken, polite, you know intelligent.

“He was a good character, good face for the sport.”

“He was interested in maybe coming back to chase the belt again. He always wanted that fight with Nieky Holzken.”

Marc de Bonte
GLORY Sports International

Unfortunately, Holzken vs. de Bonte had been one of the most talked about and proposed match-ups in recent years; and had reportedly fallen through a couple of times due Holzken being injured. The long asked question of who would win if these two greats were to fight will sadly, never be answered.

Following on from his winning return in China, de Bonte was then signed-up by Enfusion Live in a multiple fight contract. Marc was due to make his Enfusion debut against Ibrahim El Boustati, the current 85kg Enfusion champion. Despite being more comfortable resuming his kickboxing career at 85kg (instead of previously 77kg), de Bonte challenged “The Beast” to defend his title when it was then announced that the proposed clash in February, 2017 was not a title defence.

However de Bonte would end-up missing and three weeks later his body would be found in a canal, 2.5km away from where his car had been located at the start of the police investigation. The exact cause and circumstances around his death are still unclear and another update is expected in due course from the police which, MMA Plus will continue to monitor and report on.

Our deepest condolences go out to Marc de Bonte’s family, friends and his partner, Marly de Laat. As well as to everyone else in world kickboxing who knew him too.

Rest in peace Marc de Bonte.