Saturday night’s GLORY 29 COPENHAGEN main event between Nieky Holzken and Yoann Kongolo was instantly hailed as a contender for “Fight of the Year” honors. Both fighters are professional boxers as well as kickboxers (by coincidence, both train at Mayweather’s gym in Las Vegas on occasion). The pace was frenetic and the skill-level was high.
Holzken took the first two rounds quite comfortably but the third and fourth saw Kongolo pile the pressure on and experience considerable success. The fifth round was decisive and Holzken drew on all of his experience to make sure he out-scored Kongolo to secure the eventual unanimous decision win.
Having beaten Murthel Groenhart and Kongolo in back to back fights, Holzken now looks forward to his next challenger. One name which might be in the mix is former GLORY champion, Marc de Bonte. He has been concentrating on his professional boxing career over the past two years but has lately been making noise about a return to GLORY’s welterweight division.
He and Holzken have been rivals for a long time. They were matched twice in the past, but both fights fell through when Holzken pulled out because of injury. But De Bonte sees it differently and has been relentless in claiming Holzken is ducking him.
“If he wants to fight me I would fight him right now, today,” Holzken said in a GLORY post-fight interview at the weekend. “I don’t know what it is today with the fighters, they all have big mouth.
“He said I cancelled two times, that I don’t want to fight him. No. I had an injury, I am a smart guy, if I fight with an injury I can lose. I am 11-0 in GLORY. He lost to Valtellini. If he wants to fight me let him go and fight Valtellini first. You hear me, Marc de Bonte?”
Holzken says that GLORY have indicated to him that his next fight will take in Las Vegas, which would place it on the GLORY 33 LAS VEGAS card scheduled for September. It’s a city Holzken has a connection with; he is also a professional boxer and has trained at Mayweather’s gym there.
By coincidence, Yoann Kongolo is also a professional boxer and kickboxer who also trains his boxing at Mayweather’s gym in Las Vegas. Saturday night’s fight matched two of the sharpest strikers on the roster and the results were spectacular.
“The fight went really good. I was really sharp, I blocked everything in the beginning. Kongolo also strong but it think I was stronger on the counter [attack] with the left hook,” Holzken said. “I made good low kicks and it was a good performance… [Kongolo] did a good job but like I said before the fight I am a better fighter and the sharper fighter.”
It was the 100th fight of Holzken’s career, but he took the occasion in his typically understated fashion.
“Ah, it’s nothing special… yeah, I have had a long career, but let’s go for 150 fights,” he joked.
Holzken’s in-ring post-fight interview on Saturday night was conducted by his rival ‘Bazooka’ Joe Valtellini. The Canadian is sidelined with a health issue – lingering effects of a concussion – and is working in the broadcast booth while he awaits the all-clear to return to competition.
When Valtellini asked who he wanted next, Holzken replied, “You” and told the former champion to “start training.” Valtellini’s face suddenly went stone cold.
“I’m always training, don’t worry about that,” he replied.
“Yeah it was just my little joke.. but I meant it,” Holzken explained afterwards. “I think our fight [at GLORY 13 TOKYO] was one of the best ever in GLORY, people would love to see a rematch.”
About the author