Glory Kickboxing is back with a bang in 2022 with their first event of the year going down in Hasselt, Belgium on March 19th. The main event features Badr Hari and Arek Wrzosek in a rematch of one of the best comebacks of 2021, when Arek recovered from being dropped three times before knocking Badr out. Another feature match on the Glory 80 card will be between Glory super bantamweight champion Tiffany Van Soest taking on Rise champion Manazo Kobayashi. Bloody Elbow caught up with Tiffany to get her thoughts on her fight with Kobyashi, the new Glory Rivals initiative, the growth of women’s combat sports, and much more.
Nearly one year ago to the day, Tiffany Van Soest earned a decision victory over Aline Pereira at Glory 77. Since then she’s made the move to Amsterdam to train full time with Lucien Carbin, a former world champion in Kyokushin karate, kickboxing, and Muay Thai.
“I’ve been living in Amsterdam training with him full time and evolving my style and getting better,” Van Soest said. “It’s been nice to have time to slow down and focus on new things. When you’re in training camp for a fight it’s kind of like the equivalent of cramming for a test. I feel like I’m evolving, like I’m adding new tools to my toolbox, and I feel renewed.”
Perhaps contributing to her renewed feeling is the Glory Rivals initiative. Announced in early January, the global initiative aims to showcase the best strikers in the world by partnering with other leading organizations, and it’s a movement Tiffany fully supports.
“I think there’s strength in numbers,” Van Soest said. “Kickboxing is not really considered a mainstream sport. You’ve got these great organizations, like Glory, Rise, and Enfusion with great athletes and they have talented fighters in each promotion. Diehard fans know who all the top guys are in each organization but I think by combining you’re sharing demographics, you’re sharing audiences. It’s bringing their fighters to the Glory audience and it’s bringing Glory fighters to their audience. When I was talking to Glory earlier last year I mentioned this. I said I want to fight the best from all over. I’ve cleaned out the division here and I need more girls to fight, so let’s fight the best from other organizations and see who really is the best.”
In 2016, Van Soest tested herself in the mixed martial arts arena. Her professional record stands at 1-1, with both fights being under the Invicta banner. Although she’s no longer competing in the sport, she’s not ruling out another bout in the cage.
“My involvement with MMA currently is just sparring with some of the girls in the UFC. I haven’t done any jiu-jitsu or wrestling in a long time just because I’ve been so focused on evolving my standup game. As long as I’m valued as an athlete, as a fighter, as a woman, and the price is right and everything lines up, I’d be open to doing MMA again. It seems like it’s the only option if you really want to make big money, because MMA is mainstream. I’m not completely closed to the idea but my main focus is my striking.”
Although women’s kickboxing and boxing isn’t currently as mainstream as MMA, it is definitely making significant strides. Last week it was announced that Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano will be headlining a boxing card on April 30th at Madison Square Garden in what is widely considered the biggest fight in women’s boxing history.
“It’s about time,” Van Soest said. “Those girls are phenomenal. The level in the last ten years, five years of women in combat sports in general has increased significantly. It’s been slow, slow, slow, but steady progress. Hopefully this showcases the skills of these women and opens the door for a lot of other female main events. When there’s the argument that no one wants to see women fight, they’re not entertaining, they don’t sell tickets, they don’t move the needle, that’s bullsh-t.”
In addition to honing her striking skills, Tiffany has also spent the last two years working on her art.
“When the pandemic happened and we had no fights, it forced me to find other opportunities to generate income. I’m a pretty expressive person and I was keeping it a secret for a while but I’ve been making paintings by wrapping a canvas around my heavy bag and putting paint on my knuckles and on my shins and hitting the heavy bag and creating paintings around that. I’ve been able to find a new passion. I’m an athlete but I’m also an artist. I’m really grateful for it and I’m really excited about it and you guys are going to be hearing about it a lot.”
To keep up with Tiffany and learn more about her artwork, be sure to follow her on Instagram at @tiffanytimebomb and at @tiffanytimebomb_art.
You can watch the full video of the interview at the top of the page.
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