By Jay Rosquites
EBC Florida Bureau
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (Eagle News Service) – Glory, the world-renowned kickboxing promotion, continued to make its benchmark in the U.S. by descending upon Florida’s soil, giving long awaiting fans a taste of elite kickboxing. The event, Glory 67 Orlando, marks the first time that the organization hosted an event in the state of Florida. Held at Silver Spurs Arena, Glory 67 pitted some of the best fighters in the world against each other. Here’s the recap:
– PRELIMS –
The prelims had two bouts, with one ending in a Technical Knockout (TKO).
Local Floridian fighter, Javanis Ross, who was on his Glory debut, suffered a leg injury against the experienced, Nick Chasteen, in the second round, resulting in a TKO.
In the second bout, Taylor Krahl defeated Paul Banasiak via judges’ decision. Both victors, Chasteen and Krahl, said in their post-fight interview that they wished for a victory by way of knockout, but they would settle for a win.
– SUPER SERIES –
Glory’s super series consisted of five bouts – two in the lightweight division, one in the welterweight, one in the featherweight, and one in the female category for super bantamweight. Of the five bouts, four went to unanimous decisions.
Two Floridian fighters were pitted against each other, in which Keemaan Diop defeated John Morehouse. Serhiy Adamchuk, out of Ukraine, lost against Kevin Vannostrand. Vince McGuinness lost to Peter Stanonik, who remains undefeated.
Rebekah Irwin, the female fighting prodigy out of Texas, won her second Glory bout over Taylor Jenkins by also way of unanimous decision. Being only 18 years old, Irwin moved up in rankings and in popularity. When asked what her advice would be to younger girls who look up to her and want to pursue a fighting career, she replied, “Just work hard. Make sure you’re getting all your runs [cardio] in. Because if you miss runs, there’s no way you can do the sport even if you have the skill.”
The first knockout of the night came in at the 43-second mark of the first round, when Ross Levine landed a head kick on Thomas Diagne. Levine’s victory marked his third straight for the former 12-time world sport karate champion.
– MAIN CARD –
The main card consisted of five bouts, in which four of them resulted in unanimous decisions. The second knockout of the night, which also came in the first round, belonged to Elvis Gashi, who landed a brutal body kick on Justin Houghton. Gashi’s 23-second KO marks a milestone in what could possibly be the fastest KO in Glory history.
In the last fight before the championship bout, Asa Ten Pow, emerged victorious over Moroccan, Houssam El Kasri. After the event, Ten Pow acknowledged the support of the crowd in the fight that marked his homecoming to Florida.
“It definitely gave me a boost, definitely. The crowd support in there got me going and I wanted to showcase everything that I learned”, said the Florida native.
Most likely moving up in rankings, Ten Pow believes that everyone in the top 10 deserves a shot at the title. But for him, he said, “I’d rather fight for the belt because I know I’m going to get everybody that’s the best when I have that belt.”
Though undefeated, Ten Pow plans to travel to Thailand for a month for more training and to sharpen up his performance.
“The training’s always got to change around. I always got to do new things. You can’t fight the same fight all the time, or you’re going to get picked apart,” said the West Palm Beach local.
– FEATHERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT –
In the featherweight championship bout, anticipation grew as Thailand’s Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao would defend his title against Uzbekistan’s Anvar Boynazarov.
Petchpanomrung, “Petch”, landed his signature thrust kicks, along with some devastating lower body kicks on Boynazarov. In the fifth and final round, Petch landed a beautiful sweep on Boynazarov. Eventually, Petch became too much to handle for “the Uzbek”, successfully defending the featherweight title for the second time.
In the post-fight ring interview, Petch was asked if the fight was as easy as it looked.
“Before the fight, we all know Anvar’s got really heavy hands but he trained for the fight really hard and you see from the results,” said the champ (through his interpreter).
Petch now improves to 162 career wins with 10 of those in Glory kickboxing, arguably becoming the best pound-for-pound champion in the sport.
– TAKEAWAYS –
Glory 67 was an eyeopener for kickboxing fans in Florida. Fans witnessed fights that went the distance to fights that ended with fast knockouts. As for the fighters, their mission in this sport continue to live on through the support of the fans and their training camps. However, fighters like Ten Pow drew some awareness about the sport.
“Being a fighter from Florida is very hard to get high profile fights. You definitely have to travel, especially as an amateur,” said Ten Pow. He also described how the professional scene in mixed martial arts and jiu jitsu outweighs kickboxing in his home state.
“So, for us, it’s very hard. We have a couple [of] amateur tournaments that come through,” said Ten Pow. “But, it’s very difficult for the fighters here. You definitely have to hustle and you definitely have to get your name out there to get the fights.”