Forty-Three Showcases New GLORY Talent
A closely contended interim championship battle capped off a stellar evening of fights that put GLORY’s new acquisitions front and center.
Friday night in New York City, in the famed Madison Square Garden, featured fast-paced, highly technical kickboxing, delivering the kind of action-packed evening GLORY has become renowned for.
Check out the highlights of the night:
Featherweight: Li vs. Hill
The card kicked off its Super Fight Series with a featherweight bout, pairing the first of many newcomers to GLORY together.
China’s Chenchen Li took out the American Terrence Hill, who accepted the fight on short notice, with a first-round knockout via smooth overhand right.
His celebratory dance afterwards was also a sight to see for fans of avant-garde art or interpretive dance.
Lightweight: Gershon vs. Dudek
By the second round of the match between Itay Gershon, the promotion’s first Israeli signed fighter, and Poland’s Rafal Dudek, the latter’s right side was bright red with pre-bruising, thanks to the high pace of combos and spinning kicks coming from Gershon.
Although he came into the third round with confidence, Gershon couldn’t seem to find the highlight reel knockout he was searching for. The unrelenting pace he put on, however, showed just how exciting this prospect is to watch. I don’t think I’m the only one who’s eager to see more of him, as there wasn’t a dull moment the whole fight, despite being mostly one-sided for the last two rounds. Gershon earned the UD from the judges.
Bantamweight: Meksen vs. Menezes
The highly favored French femme fatale, Anissa Meksen, performed as expected against fellow GLORY debutante, the very game Brazilian, Jady Menezes.
Although Menezes showed incredible endurance, played a smart game, and applied as much pressure as possible by instigating inside brawls, the skill level, constant tiptoe bouncing, and furious swarm of combos from the veteran Meksen simply outclassed the Brazillian. She earned the UD from the judges.
Middleweight: Taylor vs. Sepulveda
Joe “Son of a Legend” Taylor’s second round TKO of Ariel Sepulveda was the highlight of the night.
The only fight of the evening that had fellow countrymen facing off got even more specific by pitting two New Yorkers against one another on the state’s biggest stage.
Although the early minutes had both fighters respecting each other’s skills, the first round foreshadowed the raging fury fueling Taylor’s coming onslaught.
Right after suffering his third low blow in the second round, Taylor scored his first knockdown. The second one had Sepulveda’s legs wobbling in the few seconds before the third one that finished the fight.
Taylor’s victory was compounded by the fact that his father fought on this very stage in the 1970s as a prize fighter.
Featherweight: Sorsor vs. Sugden
Not quite as razor-thin a decision as in the main event to follow, this was a closely contested battle between Arthur ‘Black Dragon’ Sorsor, who currently fights out of Phuket, against the nineteen year-old UK phenom Bailey ‘The Bad Boy’ Sugden.
Both fighters put on a good show, but what one takes away from this particular bout is how well Sugden drags opponents into dogfights. The fight went longer than early predictions, but it was by no means a disappointment, as it was a showcase for the current skill level and promising potential of the young Brit. Sugden was awarded the UD by the judges.
Light Heavyweight: Zhuravlev vs. Cavalari
An interim title fight in the light heavyweight division between #2 Pavel Zhuravlev and #3 Saulo Cavalari finally took the stage. It also doubled as a rematch, the first bout going to Zhuravlev in the 2012 K-1 Grand Prix.
Much in the same way as that previous fight, it went the distance and Zhuravlev took it by unanimous decision. All three rounds were a low kick and power swinging slugfest, which easily won the award for loudest, most resounding, and most frequent slaps and claps of the evening.
Right before the final minute mark of the final round, a little blip of uncertainty occurred. Referee Chris Wagner stopped the action to warn Cavalari about low blows. Cavalari nodded and returned immediately to fighting, kicking the chin of Zhuravlev. The Ukranian, who seemed to be reaching for a touch of the gloves before action continued, was unfazed and appeared equal parts offended and annoyed by the kick. It was a confusing moment that was oddly (but thankfully not too) reminiscent of GLORY 42’s controversy.
The swift rekindling of battle kicked off the most exciting minute of the whole fight. Zhuravlev landed two quick and clean headshots with his fists, while Cavalari landed a good one with his foot. The knockdown scored by Zhuravlev in the final seconds of the bout is what cemented his win in this too-close-to-call rematch.
The takeaway from tonight’s main card was the tremendous output from GLORY’s new signees.
Although kickboxing, unlike a lot of other sports, doesn’t have the easy name recognition resulting from a constantly recurring weekly schedule, the match-ups that one comes to expect from a GLORY show puts these new and exciting fighters in the best possible positions to make names for themselves.
The next time I see any of the fighters mentioned from this event, I’ll definitely not only remember them, but I’ll be anticipating greatness from the forthcoming match. This evening’s set of fights may not have been the best GLORY card, but it was still solid, and we’ve come to expect no less from the organization.