Davit Kiria (22-9, 7 KO’s) holds the GLORY World Lightweight Championship, so Robin van Roosmalen (32-6, 19 KO’s) is eager to face him again as soon as possible.
The two have fought twice before and Van Roosmalen won decisions in both fights. Fight-math would favor him winning the third, but the Dutchman doesn’t see it like that.
“The thing with Davit is he always improves. And past victories don’t make it certain that you will win the next encounter,” he says.
“I still have things to improve, there are things which I can do better and that is what I am working on right now.
“I like fighters like Kiria, fighters who come to fight and not just to make points or keep distance. I think Kiria is the ideal kind of opponent for me.
“I think I’m going to be fighting Kiria in September, that seems to be the latest plan. We don’t have any bout agreement yet but I know Mayweather fights September 13 so I don’t think it will be that weekend. I hope it’s not!”
Kiria won the lightweight title at GLORY 14 ZAGREB earlier this year. He and Andy Ristie (42-4-1, 20 KO’s) faced off for the vacant belt, Kiria taking one of the contender spots because Ristie had KO’d both Van Roosmalen and Giorgio Petrosyan in his previous two fights.
The fight between Kiria and Ristie was an instant classic, one of the best ever staged in GLORY. At first it looked like Ristie was going to take Kiria out early, but the Georgian karate fighter is as tough as they come.
He absorbed Ristie’s punishment for round after round. By the fourth, Ristie was fading. By the fifth, he was burned out. Kiria was able to turn the tables and pile pressure on him before landing a knockout blow and winning the title.
“I think Kiria did a great job, too bad for Ristie. These things happen; if Ristie had just made points and outlasted Kiria in the last two rounds he would have won,” says Van Roosmalen.
“But Kiria is one of those guys who is dangerous to the very last minute. He is very tough, he has a really big heart. He doesn’t give up and he keeps coming back.”
Ristie remains a top contender so a rematch with Van Roosmalen is inevitable at some point. The two are likely to cross paths more than a few times as the lightweight title story plays out.
“I think Ristie is the type of guy where you never know what he is going to throw,” Van Roosmalen says. “But when we get the rematch it will be a whole different fight.”
Aside from Kiria and Ristie, Van Roosmalen also has another future challenge in mind. He’s heard rumors that with GLORY and Bellator MMA both being on SPIKE TV, some sort of talent crossover may be possible.
Fans had hoped for such a thing when GLORY joined the Spike TV stable but ex-Bellator promoter Bjorn Rebney was said to be against it, seeing GLORY as a threat. Coker, a former kickboxing promoter himself, is a much more astute operator and thought to be more open to collaborations which would interest fans.
“I’ve trained MMA, I have a black belt in judo also, so that would be interesting, especially if they made an arrangement where we would fight twice, once under MMA rules and once under kickboxing rules,” he says.
“I trained a lot with Eddie Alvarez at Blackzilians in Florida, I was there for two months, so I don’t think I would fight him. But there would be some other interesting matches at lightweight.
“My takedown defense? It’s OK. It was OK anyway and after two months at Blackzilians it was a lot better. And I like the small gloves. It mean there are more gaps in your defense but at the same time if I hit somebody when I have a small glove on, I think they have a problem.
“But it is interesting to me, if GLORY and BELLATOR can work something out then I am very open to it. I hope they can work it out, I want to do it. It would be great for both sports. I saw something on Twitter about Joe Schilling wanting to try some MMA fights, so maybe he could take part as well.”
About the author