Newcomer of the Year: Tiffany van Soest
Published on Mar 7, 2017
Having gone from debutante to world champion in the space of three fights, it is no wonder that fans have voted Tiffany van Soest the GLORY Newcomer of the Year 2016.
Van Soest first stepped into the GLORY ring in May last year to take part in the first quarter-final bout of the Women's Super-Bantamweight Grand Prix, an eight-woman competition which would play out across 2016 with the goal of crowning the inaugural women's champion.
She handily beat the young Esma HassHass of the Netherlands to take a comfortable decision win and progress to the semi-final stage of the competiion. In the meantime, quarter-final bouts took place at GLORY 31 AMSTERDAM, GLORY 33 NEW JERSEY and GLORY 35 NICE and saw Isis Verbeek, Jessica Gladstone and Amel Dehby respectively book their own semi-final slots.
The semi-finals and the tournament final would take place in December courtesy of a one-night, four-woman tournament on the year-ending GLORY: COLLISION card, which was headlined by Rico Verhoeven and Badr Hari.
Van Soest's semi-final opponent was Gladstone. The Canadian gave a good account of herself but Van Soest was in the zone and was not to be denied a win. She scored a unanimous decision victory to progress to the final.
Meeting her there was Dehby. The French national was undefeated when she entered the Super-Bantamweight Grand Prix and remained that way up to and including her semi-final win over Verbeek.
And so, when the final took place, Van Soest was tasked not only with winning the belt but also with being the first fighter to put a loss on the record of the highly-decorated Dehby.
It would be the biggest challenge of her life but she rose to the occasion, putting on a career-best performance to take another unanimous decision win and capture the GLORY Women's Super-Bantamweight Championship.
Victory was hugely emotional for Van Soest. It took her several moments to steady herself for her post-fight interview and even then she had to pause on occasion to gather herself, those tears hovering at the edge of her eyes throughout.
“I dreamed it. I dreamed it and I wanted and I visualized it and I knew it would happen! I visualized this on my morning runs. I knew it would come true! I just can't describe the feeling, it's just overwhelming,” she said.
Van Soest has since talked about her hopes that her victory will prove inspirational for young girls and female fighters taking their first steps in the fight game. Her tournament win has certainly resonated with kickboxing fans worldwide. Their votes made her the clear winner of 2016's Newcomer of the Year award.