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.
December's fight between Michael Duut and Danyo Ilunga has been declared the 2016 GLORY Fight of the Year following an international fan vote.
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Rico Verhoeven is the 2016 GLORY Kickboxing Fighter of the Year. Congratulations to the heavyweight "King of Kickboxing"
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IT'S FIGHT WEEK! We introduce the four fighters who will battle it out at #GLORY38 Chicago for a future opportunity at the GLORY light heavyweight title.
It's official! We return to Copenhagen for #GLORY40 on April 29th featuring Jason Psycho Wilnis vs. Simon The ONE Marcus! Tickets on sale now: http://bit.ly/GLORY40tix
Only 5 days left until Saulo Cavalari returns at #GLORY38 Chicago to challenge Artem Vakhitov for the light-heavyweight title!
We followed Richard Maximus Abraham from before sunrise until after sunset. Watch and follow along a typical day of the full time fighter and father. Buy tickets ➡️➡️ http://bit.ly/GLORY38tix
Who else is excited to see Zack The black Warrior Mwekassa at #GLORY38 Chicago on February 24th?
Artem Vakhitov getting in a quick round on the bag ahead of his light-heavyweight title defense at #GLORY38 Chicago next Friday February 24th!
Guto Inocente replaces Jahfarr Wilnis | The participants for the featherweight contender tournament are announced | Two more bouts added to the SuperFight Series.
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In this video, we talk with Mike Passenier and Murthel Groenhart. They speak on the current landscape of the welterweight division and the historic accomplishment Murthel is striving to achieve.
We are only ONE week away from #GLORY38 Chicago on February 24th! Who can we expect to see there? Tickets 👉🏼 http://bit.ly/GLORY38tix
"It's very important to have fighters who put on a show – and I am one of them!” - Catalin Morosanu
⬇️ Introducing: Catalin Morosanu⬇️
GLORY Kickboxing with Hayabusa and Simon The ONE Marcus.
Reigning super bantamweight champ Tiffany TimeBomb Van Soest reflects on her lifelong journey as a martial artist and on winning the title.
"It's too soon for Thongchai to fight a guy like me" - Murthel Groenhart
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Step outside the ring and into the life of welterweight fighter Richard Maximus Abraham ahead of his bout at #GLORY38 Chicago on February 24th!
Before we arrive in Chicago for #GLORY38, relive the best moments from #GLORY37 Los Angeles from the pre-fight drama up to fight night and everything in-between.
It will be a clash of styles when Murthel Groenhart puts his Dutch kickboxing to the test against Thongchai Sitsongpeenong and his traditional muay-thai at #GLORY38 Chicago on February 24th!
Tickets available 👉🏼 http://bit.ly/GLORY38tix
Can't get a date? Get in shape! Use code "VAL10" at checkout for 10% off ALL items here ➡️➡️➡️ http://bit.ly/GLORYSHOP
GLORY Kickboxing with Saulo Cavalari and 2 others.
Two dangerous fighters will go toe-to-toe when Zack The black Warrior Mwekassa meets Zine Eddine Hameur Lain in the light heavyweight contender tournament at #GLORY38 Chicago on February 24th!
Maurice "The Pirate " Greene welcomes Romanian kickboxing veteran Catalin Morosanu to GLORY on February 24th at #GLORY38 Chicago! One thing is certain someone is going down!