Marc De Bonte (87-11-1, 28 KO) has been the GLORY welterweight champion for less than 72 hours yet already he has his first title defense booked in.
The quick turnaround is a surprise, but is natural in light of the themes which ran through the GLORY 16 DENVER post-fight press conference on Saturday night.
Sitting on the dais with the belt in front of him, the first questions for De Bonte were not about the challenges he faced in overcoming Karapet Karapetyan but rather requests for his thoughts on facing the #1-ranked Nieky Holzken or the #2-ranked Valtellini.
Both had been lined up to face De Bonte at GLORY 16 for the vacant title. Holzken pulled out with an injury and Valtellini then had to decline the spot as he was also recovering from injury at the time the offer came through.
“Valtellini is a worthy challenger. He came second in the welterweight tournament and he is #2 in the world rankings,” said De Bonte, who by coincidence should have been in that December tournament but was forced to pull out with an injury.
“If he’s the first challenger yeah, I’m fine with that. Bring it on.”
De Bonte escaped injury in the five-round split-decision win over Karapetyan on Saturday night and so GLORY matchmakers have heeded his words. The fight with Valtellini will take place just seven weeks after his title win.
Valtellini debuted at GLORY 6 ISTANBUL in April with a TKO of the veteran Murat Direkci then followed that with stoppage wins over ‘Road to Glory’ tournament winner Francois Ambang and the French champion Karim Ghajji.
He last fought in the GLORY 13 TOKYO welterweight tournament. After dispatching karate champion Raymond Daniels in the third-round by way of head-kick KO he faced Holzken, who has ruled this division with rapid-fire iron fists for several years.
It was Holzken’s night. His skill and experience shone through as he slowed Valtellini with body shots then took him out in the third round. It brought Valtellini’s four-fight win streak to an end but his performance established him as a prospect and moved him to #2 in the rankings.
With Holzken still on the injury list that #2 ranking spot puts Valtellini into title contention. “Well it’s official! June 21st Glory17 I will be fighting to realize my childhood dream,” he tweeted as the news broke today.
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