Semi-final 1: Joseph Valtellini (10-1) vs Karapet Karapetyan (42-8-2)
Semi-final 2: Nieky Holzken (82-11) vs Marc de Bonte (86-11-1)
Reserve: Aleksandr Stetcurenko (48-8) vs Karim Ghajji (92-9-1)
Nieky ‘The Natural’ Holzken
82-11, 43 KO’s
Nieky ‘The Natural’ Holzken is ranked #1 in the world for good reason. A long time student of Ramon Dekkers, in an 11-year career Holzken has stopped more than half of the opposition put in front of him. The few losses on his record are all to elite opposition.
Holzken is a very well-rounded fighter with good hands, knees and kicks. He is also one of the few kickboxers who focus heavily on body shots. His left hook to the body has been a real killer for him and has sent plenty of opponents to the canvas.
Since joining GLORY, Holzken is 3-0 with stoppage wins over all three opponents. He also holds a decision win over Karapet Karapetyan from early 2012, shortly before they both signed with GLORY. Holzken also compiled an 8-0 record in professional boxing before joining the ranks of the Glory World Series.
‘Bazooka’ Joe Valtellini
10-1, 9 KO’s
Valtellini’s rise through the GLORY ranks has been nothing short of incredible. From being a complete unknown for his GLORY 6 debut, Valtellini is now on everybody’s list of top prospects in the sport. The 29-year-old Canadian-Italian is one of the most exciting talents to emerge from the Canadian fight scene in years.
He trains with Paul Minhas, former coach to PRIDE FC veteran Gary Goodridge, at the Ultimate Martial Arts facility in Toronto. Valtellini has inherited Minhas’ obsession with the low-kick and this has become his core weapon. Most of his opponents have suffered a lot of leg damage in fighting him and a large proportion have actually been stopped by it.
Valtellini is very fit and very fast, technically sound with a good defense and a clever attacking game. From being unranked, he has won all three of his GLORY fights inside the distance to now sit at #2 in the rankings. He is second only to Holzken and he badly wants to test himself against the Dutch standout. This tournament could be the time.
Marc De Bonte
86-11-1, 28 KO’s
Fighting out of Belgium, De Bonte is the tournament dark horse. He has had less international exposure than the other three fighters in the line-up but is no less skilled. De Bonte wanted to be a kickboxer from childhood, ever since he first saw the movies of fellow Belgian martial artist Jean Claude Van Damme.
De Bonte is a full-time university student, studying Physical Fitness and Education. He says he finds exams harder than fighting. Perhaps that is why he has an intelligent approach to the game, favoring timing and slick counters over mindless forward pressure.
His background is in Muay Thai. De Bonte started training at six years old and has fought more than one hundred times under Muay Thai rules, including fights in Bangkok, Thailand. He has also made a successful venture into professional boxing and sometimes travels to Germany to train with former world champion Arthur Abraham.
42-8-2, 4 KO’s
Armenians have a large and successful presence in combat sports. Karo Parisyan is one of many who achieved success in MMA, Vic Darchinyan is one of several Armenians who won world titles in professional boxing. Now Karapet Karapetyan is looking to add his name to the honor roll of Armenian fighters.
Having moved to Holland in his teens, Karapetyan learned kickboxing there. He fights in the classic Dutch style of constant combinations which work the opponent high and low. Most notable about Karapetyan is his speed and work ethic – he is absolutely relentless, almost mechanical in his output, though with enough flair to use some creative shots and angles.
Outside the ring, Karapetyan is a quiet and cultured man. He holds a master’s degree in law and put his legal career on hold in order to pursue his dream of achieving success in the GLORY World Series. This tournament is the biggest fight of his career and a chance to achieve that dream.