Daniel Ghiţă, Errol Zimmerman, Glory, Glory 13 Tokyo, Glory Welterweight World Championship Tournament, Jamal Ben Saddik, Japan, Joe Valtellini, Nieky Holzken, Peter Aerts, Rico Verhoeven, Tokyo, Tyrone Spong
Glory World Series are riding the crest of a wave at the moment. A moderate wave for sure, but a wave nonetheless. Glory is now two fights deep into a deal with American cable TV company Spike. Both those shows, Glory 11 and Glory 12, were received extremely well by those in attendance and those who watched the shows on TV. While the TV ratings of those two events, pulled less than 500,000 viewers on Spike, there has been growth in the viewership between the two events and this will be the key to Glory’s long term success.
Is kickboxing about to return to the level of prestige it attained during the golden years of K-1? Or can can Glory push the sport even further and achieve something close to the success that MMA has enjoyed in recent years? These are certainly exciting times for kickboxing fans, both old and new.
To cap off what can only be described as amazing second year of operation for Glory World Series, Glory will hold the the final event of the year, Glory 13 Tokyo, in Japan. There is something nicely encompassing about this. In the year that Glory has made considerable efforts to hold events in America and to get onto American TV, Glory will also return to Japan where kickboxing was once king not so long ago.
Glory 13 Tokyo takes place at the Ariake Coliseum, in Koto, Tokyo Japan, on the 21st December. That’s 17 days from now. Mark it in your calender, write on your hand, whatever, just don’t miss this event. Glory’s events have been amazing this year and have provided many upsets along the way and Glory 13 Tokyo is likely to be more great action.
The headlining fight is the retirement bout for kickboxing legend Peter “the Dutch Lumberjack” or “Mr K-1” Aerts (103-30-1). There is plenty written about the greats of boxing, plenty being written about the greats of MMA, but not enough has been written about the greats of kickboxing. Peter Aerts is one of those greats. Aerts has competed in all but one of the K-1 Grand Prix events since it’s inception back in 1993. In that time time Aerts won the title of Grand Prix champion three times and faced practically all the greatest heavyweight kickboxers to step into the ring. There in nothing left for Peter Aerts to do or prove in kickboxing, yet he’s hardly taken it easy over the last couple of years, facing top talent such as Tyrone Spong and Alistair Overeem.
Peter Aerts has decided to retire in much the same way he has fought in his whole career, by facing the very best. Aerts retirement fight is against Rico Verhoeven, currently the best heavyweight in the world.
I want to say thank you to my Japanese fans from the bottom of my heart, for supporting me for such a long time. And I promise from the bottom of my heart that my last fight for them will be a real fight.
“There’s no question this great retirement match on December 21 could be the toughest fight I’ve ever had. GLORY is serious about raising up young fighters – they brought me Rico Verhoeven, the heavyweight tournament champion as my opponent.
“Normally if you say ‘retirement match’ it’s an easy fight, right? But I don’t mind and I am not intending to lose the match. I would tell Verhoeven, ‘Listen, it’s not an easy job to knock me down
While Aerts best days are behind him, the man is still capable of surprises and you need look no further than his last fight, against Jamal Ben Saddik, for an example of the fire that still burns in Aerts (you can watch that fight here).
The co-main event will see Daniel Ghita (49-10-0) face Errol Zimmerman (101-10-1) in another heavyweight battle. Ghita is one of the top heavyweight kickboxers in the world, yet 2013 has had it’s highs and lows for the Romanian fighter and he hasn’t looked consistent this year. There are rumours of a relationship break-up and a split with former trainer Anil Dunbar as being the reason for Ghita dropping down a gear from his form in 2012. Whatever the reasons, Ghita will need to be on point to face Errol Zimmerman, who is coming off a good win over Hesdy Gerges back at Glory 11. While Zimmerman has struggled to defeat top 10 fighters, he packs brutal power in is hands that can and will change the fight in his favour very quickly.
The remaining three fights on the main card are filled up by the Glory Welterweight World Championship Tournament, a four man tournament featuring the some of the best welterweights in kickboxing. The star attraction here, at least in the promotion of the event, is Nieky “The Natural” Holzken (82-11-0) from the Netherlands. However Glory has unearthed a real talent in Canadian fighter “Bazooka” Joe Valtellini (10-1), a fighter whose relatively slim record belies a quality fighter who has only recently through Glory found the opportunity to compete against the best. Meanwhile, Armenian fighter Karapet Karapetyan (42-8-2) will also be looking to upset the apple cart. Karapetyan, who holds a masters degree in law, is an intelligent fighter that wins decisions rather than stopping his opponents.
The Press & Media and Weigh In events take place on the 20th December. I will do my best to post these as soon as they are available. Be sure to check back for updates leading into the event.