Today at GLORY 15 Istanbul the top kickboxers in the world at Light Heavyweight with vie for a chance to be called the first-ever GLORY Light Heavyweight Champion. The one night, four-man tournament features Tyrone Spong, Saulo Cavalari, Gokhan Saki and Nathan Corbett, with only one of them walking out with their hand raised at the end of the night $200,000 richer with a shiny, gold belt. Featured on the undercard will be the promotional debut of Israel Adesanya (31-1-0), the young New Zealander with a lot to prove, squaring off against GLORY veteran Filip Verlinden (41-11-1). The experience edge on the big stage might go towards Verlinden here, who has squared off with some of the top names at both Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight, including Remy Bonjasky, Saulo Cavalari and Tyrone Spong, but the 24-year old Adesanya’s record is nothing to scoff at. His recent fight with Simon Marcus opened up lots of eyes to show that he’s beyond capable — that he’s a serious force to be reckoned with in Kickboxing. The opening round of the GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship tournament features two of the biggest names around in Nathan Corbett (57-4-0) vs. Gokhan Saki (79-16-0). For Gokhan Saki this is his first foray into Light Heavyweight after years of being a top contender within the Heavyweight division. His first test at Light Heavyweight happens to be Australia’s legendary “Carnage” Corbett, known to terrorize the Light Heavyweight Muay Thai world with his elbows and aggression. Both men will have some handicaps in this fight; Saki with his first big weight cut and Carnage without his brutal elbows, making this a compelling match-up. The second fight in the Light Heavyweight tournament features Brazilian up-and-comer Saulo Cavalari (28-2-0) against GLORY’s Light Heavyweight kingpin Tyrone Spong (90-5-0). Saulo fights with a fire and passion, but this is without a doubt his biggest fight and biggest challenge yet. Spong has seen considerable hardships in the past few months with the murder of his good friend, Tarik el Idressi, as well as his uncle, within weeks of each other. That being said, Spong is focused and very much the fan-favorite going into this bout. Also in the Light Heavyweight division, former It’s Showtime 95kg (read: Light Heavyweight) Champion Danyo Ilunga (54-5-0) will take on Romanian fan-favorite Andrei Stoica (32-5-0). This fight is fascinating, because Ilunga, who arguabally belongs in the tournament, was a finalist in the GLORY 9 Light Heavyweight tournament and was atop of the division before the formation of GLORY. Stoica, on the other hand, has mainly kept to Romania under the protective umbrella of his promoter-manager, Eduard Irimia of SuperKombat. For Stoica this is his chance to step out onto his own and prove himself as an international force. The main featured attraction (outside of the tournament finals) is a Lightweight battle between one of the world’s top Lightweights, Robin van Roosmalen (31-6-0), against the youthful contender in Marat Grigorian (35-4-2). Grigorian has nothing to lose and everything to gain from a good performance here, with the skills to neutralize van Roosmalen’s wild, entertaining style. That being said, Robin van Roosmalen’s style has gotten him not only far, but to the top of the division previously. Some might scoff at it his style, calling it reckless, but the results do speak for themselves and Robin van Roosmalen is easily the favorite here. As always, GLORY is bringing the goods with GLORY 15 Istanbul. The Light Heavyweight tournament features the absolute best talents at Light Heavyweight, while even the undercard shows a ton of promise. Bringing in new talents like Israel Adesanya shows them looking to the future, while the featured bouts of Robin vs. Marat and Danyo vs. Stoica is enough to keep the hardcore kickboxing fans happy.
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