As 2016 draws to a close we look back at what was a huge year for GLORY Kickboxing, with continued global expansion, audience growth and the creation of key partnerships. Underlying it all is the thing which makes GLORY Kickboxing the most exciting sport in the world: great fights.
As usual it was hard to produce a shortlist for the year's best fights, given that there were so many wars over the past twelve months. The four below really stood out – which was your Fight of the Year 2016?
Jason Wilnis vs. Filip Verlinden, GLORY 28 PARIS (SUPERFIGHT SERIES)
Wilnis and Verlinden are two of the middleweight division's leading exponents of the classic Dutch style and when they clashed in Paris the clash was explosive. They met in the middle of the ring and stayed nose to nose for much of the bout as they traded constant combinations back and forth.
Wilnis emerged with a decision win after a close, hard-fought fight and went on to capture the middleweight championship later in the year with a stoppage of Canada's Simon Marcus at GLORY 33 NEW JERSEY.
Nieky Holzken vs. Yoann Kongolo, GLORY 29 COPENHAGEN
Nieky Holzken and Yoann Kongolo are both professional boxers as well as kickboxers and both of them have trained regularly at the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas. But in kickboxing terms Kongolo is newer and less accomplished than Holzken, which meant that a lot of people did not rate his chances of success highly in this fight.
He very nearly made them eat their words. Kongolo brought the fight to Holzken from the outset and required the champion to bring his best over five thrilling rounds. The advantage flowed back and forth and Kongolo actually won the early portion of the fight. Holzken surged back in the later rounds to take control and secure victory, but it was a close-run thing and Kongolo earned a lot of new fans.
Michael Duut vs. Danyo Ilunga, GLORY COLLISION: PRELIMS
These two first met way back at GLORY 11 CHICAGO. Their first fight ended with Dutt suffering an arm injury in the first round, which meant there was unfinished business between them. They would settle it at GLORY COLLISION in spectacular fashion.
Massive blows were exchanged early and that set the tone for a fight which went on to encompass a total of five knockdowns. Four of them came in the first three rounds – they scored two a piece – before the judges ordered an extra round, the winner of which would be the winner of the fight.
Three more insane minutes of action followed. It looked to be going to the judges again before Duut found space for an overhand right just ten seconds before the end of the round, knocking Ilunga down and securing the win.
Sittichai vs. Marat Grigorian GLORY 28 PARIS, LIGHTWEIGHT CONTENDER TOURNAMENT FINAL
There was a lot on the line in this fight. Both competitors had faced Robin van Roosmalen in the past and felt they had been robbed of a win by the judges, so they were anxious to win the tournament and secure themselves another meeting with the then-lightweight champion.
Both fighters had first of all come through semi-final bouts earlier in the evening, but that was not evident in their performances during the finale. Grigorian brought his trademark forward pressure and relentless output and Sittichai, usually rather cool, gradually responded in kind, resulting in a high-paced technical fight.
Grigorian gave it his all but Sittichai was always just a step ahead of him and that earned him the victory and the title shot, which he went on to win at GLORY 31 AMSTERDAM.
GLORY brought back its elite strikers to The Netherlands on May 20th. The Den Bosch crowd roared all night cheering on their fellow countrymen. Relive the exciting night that was #GLORY41!
GLORY CEO Jon Franklin addresses the controversy in the Van Roosmalen/Petchpanomrung fight and looks ahead to GLORY's upcoming New York event as well assessing the possibility of UFC cross over matches.
Robin van Roosmalen: "Chikadze has a big mouth, he should be careful what he wishes for"
Vote Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao for #GLORY41 fighter of the night by liking this post!
Vote Tyjani Beztati for #GLORY41 fighter of the night by liking this post!
Vote Zakaria Zouggary for #GLORY41 fighter of the night by liking this post!
Vote Chenglong Zhang for #GLORY41 fighter of the night by liking this post!
Vote Anderson Bradock Silva for #GLORY41 KO of the night by liking this video!
Vote Dangelo marshall for #GLORY41 KO of the Night by liking this video!
Dangelo marshall triumphs in #GLORY41 heavyweight contender tournament. ⬇️ FULL ARTICLE ⬇️
GLORY Kickboxing shared their album.
Wondering what songs the #GLORY41 fighters walked out to?
⬇️ Playlist available below! ⬇️
GLORY Kickboxing with Kevin "The Aniyah-Lator" VanNostrand and 2 others.
Rico Verhoeven says that January wasn't an option for him after fighting Badr Hari in December but tells Gokhan Saki that if he really wants a fight, he should get on the phone and ask for it to be made.
GLORY Kickboxing added an event.
GLORY Kickboxing updated their cover photo.
BREAKING - 'The King of Kickboxing' Rico Verhoeven Signs to Remain with GLORY Kickboxing! ⬇️
Zougarry shines in #GLORY41 debut! ⬇️ RECAP ⬇️
That's a wrap for GLORY 41! We return on June 10th with #GLORY42 Paris featuring Doumced vs. Nieky Holzken 2!