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GLORY 23 on August 7th to Feature Daniels vs. Holzken for GLORY Welterweight Title

  • Published in Glory

After the staggering news of Joseph Valtellini relinquishing his GLORY Welterweight Championship it was announced today via John Joe O'Regan at Sherdog that the title won't be vacant for long. On August 7th in Las Vegas Nieky Holzken will vie for the championship against Raymond Daniels in a rematch from the GLORY contender tournament that Holzken won. 

The event is GLORY 23 and is set for August 7th at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas and will be airing live on Spike TV. Raymond Daniels has had some solid exposure on Spike TV and it should make for an interesting bout for the ever-evolving Daniels against the consensus top dog in the division in Holzken. 


GLORY 16: Raymond Daniels Goes Viral

  • Published in Glory


Tonight at GLORY 16 something kind of magical happened. What was that? Was it Errol Zimmerman once again dusting himself off and picking up some huge knockout wins to place him back into title contention? Was it Marc de Bonte's technical victory over Karapet Karapetyan for the GLORY Welterweight Title? Hell, was it Pat Barry getting laid out by Zack Mwekassa? It was none of those, instead, it was Raymond Daniels, buried deep on the GLORY SuperFight Series undercard who pulled off a move that looked like it was out a film.

"I visualized that win, I visualized that kick against that opponent and that finish," he explained at the post-fight press conference at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colorado. "When I was standing up on those steps before I walked out to the ring I told my coach that I was going to finish with that kick. When I set it up my corner was shouting for me to take my time, to set it up, so I slowed down, I set it up, then it landed."

It was an amazing sight. For the rest of the evening Raymond Daniels received the star treatment no matter where he went in the arena. Fans were stopping him for photos, local fighters asking him for tips, all without Daniels knowing that GLORY had released the video of his Knockout to the world and that fans were already sharing it. GLORY originally distributed a lower resolution video, but now they've released a full resolution version of it in all of its glory (no pun intended), so check it out.

GLORY CEO Andrew Whitaker also announced tonight that GLORY SuperFight Series will be airing on CBS Sports Network on Sunday evening at 9pm eastern time, so watch the whole fight as well as the rest of the undercard (hint: it was great).


Glory 21 Full Fight Card and Breakdown

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Glory 21 will be taking place in just 2 weeks time and the full card including super fights has now been announced. So what better time is there to breakdown some of fights?

Apart from the middleweight title fight it seems that Glory has brought in lots of new fighters for this show to test themselves in the Glory ring and hope a new North American star will emerge. Its really great they are giving opportunities for people to fight on a big promotion and on Live TV considering how hard it is to get noticed in Kickboxing.

Anyway on to the fights, lets start with the middleweight title fight between the champ Artem Levin and the challenger Simon Marcus. They have already fought each other once in 2009 at Lion Fight 9 with Muay Thai rules and Marcus won a very close fight with I'd say at least 70% of the fight taking in the clinch. After watching this fight again recently I really felt that Artem did not look himself at all, now this could very well be due to Simon's style in which case he will give him just as much trouble again. The Glory rules will not allow clinching for such extended periods of time but in their first fight Levin was initiating the clinch just as much as Marcus was and was even winning the clinch early in the fight, but what Artem stopped doing was moving. Simon Marcus is always going to move forward and if Levin moves straight back and doesn't fight like his usual self where he uses lots of angles he will risk losing a decision again. I am certain that Artem Levin has wanted this rematch with Kickboxing rules for some time, he has probably watched the first fight 100 times and knows exactly where he went wrong, now if he can overcome Simon's pressure and fight like he has been recently I am fairly confident he will remain the champion... But Simon Marcus ALWAYS seems to prove me wrong.

On to the Co-main event Ramond Daniels vs Justin Baesman, we won't spend too much time on this fight. Baesman has an MMA record of 16 wins and 7 losses with 4 wins by KO, according to the Glory site he is 17-6-1 in kickboxing but I can't seem to find any of his kickboxing fights. Pretty sure we can expect another wicked highlight reel KO from Mr. Daniels.

Now the heavyweight tournament which was supposed to be an all American affair with Xavier Vigney, Maurice Jackson, and Everett Sims but it seems that the big Englishman "Chopper" Chi Lewis-Parry has infiltrated the tournament after his 15 second KO at Glory 20.

Xavier Vigney vs. Maurice Jackson is a bit of a strange situation, at this point most kickboxing fans have seen or at least head of Vigney especially in America, he has solid boxing basics and of course he is a big dude so has KO power in both hands. Maurice Jackson also is a huge man at 6"9 and 275lbs his record on the Glory site is 31-0 with 23 ko's but once again I can only find one of his MMA fights online so they must be amateur. His MMA record is 2 wins 1 loss and 3 no contests, which leads me to believe we may see something strange during this fight. I'm going to go with Vigney by KO or DQ for this one.

Everett Sims vs "Chopper" Chi Lewis-Parry is interesting since we have a fresh image of both fighters from 2 previous Glory events. Sims who fought Vigney on Glory 19 didn't look too bad until Vigney started to swarm him and then he just started to turtle up. As for Chopper he just swarmed his opponent instantly and KO'd him in 15 seconds at Glory 20, just looking at these two variables it seems like a pretty rough match up for Sims, I'm going to predict an Xavier Vigney vs Chi Lewis-Parry final.

As for the super fights, Benjamin Adegbuyi vs. Anderson "Braddock" Silva could easily be the fight of the night. Both guys always bring everything they have to the ring, and never have boring fights. I'm pretty sure a win for Adegbuyi should put him very close if not inline for a shot at Rico Verhoeven's belt. Both of these guys are very technical heavyweights with knockout power and great combos, I would personally lean towards a decision win for Benny just because he is the younger, Hungrier fighter.

Full card

Main Card on Spike TV

Middleweight Title Fight: Artem Levin vs. Simon Marcus

Welterweight Co-Headline Bout: Raymond Daniels vs. Justin Baesman

Heavyweight Tournament Semi-Final: Chi Lewis-Parry vs. Everett Sims

Heavyweight Tournament Semi-Final: Xavier Vigney vs. Maurice Jackson

Middleweight Armed Forces Bout: Devin Goodale vs. Kyle Stewart

Super Fights

Heavyweight: Benjamin Adegbuyi vs. Anderson "Braddock" Silva

Welterweight: Omari Boyd vs. James Steelesmith

Lightweight: Luis Castaneda vs. Ken Tran

Middleweight: Mike Lemaire vs. Armin Mrkanovic



GLORY 23 Card Finalized for August 7th

  • Published in Glory

GLORY 23 will take place on August 7th live from the Hard Rock in Las Vegas, featuring a bout for the GLORY Welterweight Championship between Nieky Holzken and Raymond Daniels in a rematch from earlier this year. The title was vacated by Joseph Valtellini recently when it was revealed that he had suffered a concussion and was still dealing with the after effects of said concussion and wasn't sure when he'd be able to return to the ring. 

GLORY today released the finalized card (of course subject to change due to injuries, medical or visa issues as are prone to happen in this sport), which mostly just solidifies the fighters involved in the Qualifying tournament at Middleweight. Dustin Jacoby is the big name in this tournament with Casey Greene as the other GLORY veteran. The other two names are Quinton O'Brien and Ariel Sepuvelda.


GLORY Welterweight Championship: Nieky Holzken vs. Raymond Daniels
Xavier Vigney vs. Daniel Sam
GLORY Middleweight Contender Tournament: Casey Greene vs. Quinton O'Brien
GLORY Middleweight Contender Tournament: Dustin Jacoby vs. Ariel Sepuvelda

GLORY SuperFight Series

Anderson "Braddock" Silva vs. Jamal Ben Saddik
Murthel Groenhart vs. Chad Sugden
Matt Baker vs. Edward Hyman
Giga Chikadze vs. Anvar Boynazarav

Best Of Glory On Spike TV, Tell Your Friends!

  • Published in Glory

Spike TV will be showing a one hour long segment on the best of Glory at 11pm ET/8pm PT right after Bellator's live show. For people who are already Glory Kickboxing fans this is a good time to watch some of the most exciting fights and hardest knockouts to excite you for their next event. It's also a good time to invite your die hard UFC fan boy friends to come and watch real excitement. There is no way that a fan of any combat sports will not enjoy one hour of Glory's best moments, from five round wars, to first round jumping, spinning heel kick knock outs Glory has it all.

This a perfect time for all the Kickboxing fans to support kickboxing and spread the word about Glory, it's free, one hour long and just enough time to get everyone hooked.

Check out Spike TV's Glory Page for extra information.



Let's Relive Nieky Holzken vs. Raymond Daniels II

  • Published in Video

To many this fight was a forgone conclusion. Of course Nieky Holzken was going to win and finally capture the GLORY Welterweight Championship. Why wouldn't he? After a defeat of Raymond Daniels at GLORY 19 it all seemed academic. Holzken, who is a notoriously slow starter at times, was going into this fight with all of the momentum in the world it seemed. In his post-fight interview he talked about how his game plan revolved around letting Daniels do his thing early on and tire himself out.

Of course, what's interesting here is that Daniels didn't care about the ongoing narrative and he didn't care about Holzken's plan, he had one of his own. This was an almost entirely different Raymond Daniels than we've seen in the past who was keeping out of corners, mixing his kicks with his punches, piecing together combinations with his hands and actually scoring on Holzken, which was obviously not a part of Holzken's game plan.

Holzken of course looked great when he turned up the heat, but damn, this is quite a fight. So let's watch it again, shall we?


Check Out GLORY 23's Nieky Holzken Preparing for War

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While there are some grumbles about the card for GLORY 23, the price of admission is easily paid for by getting to see Nieky Holzken in action. Holzken is one of the top kickboxers in the world pound-for-pound and on August 7th he finally gets a chance to compete for the vacant GLORY Welterweight championship against co-contender Raymond Daniels. Daniels and Holzken met before in a contender tournament which saw Holzken pick up the win. Will he be able to repeat that win? He sure looks ready.


Raymond Daniels is Out to Prove Himself Against Nieky Holzken at GLORY 23

  • Published in Interviews

At GLORY 23 Las Vegas there is a tall task laid out for Raymond Daniels, one that many fans and insiders have proclaimed to be impossible: defeat Nieky Holzken and take the GLORY Welterweight Championship home with him. Back at GLORY 19 during a contender’s tournament the two men met for the first time in a fight that Holzken largely dominated with his smart cutting off of the ring and use of his experienced hands to keep Daniels from getting comfortable and doing what he does best, which is kicking from a distance. Since then the champion Joseph Valtellini was forced to vacate the championship due to complications from a concussion and GLORY has placed Holzken against Daniels in a rematch, the winner taking home the title.

Many see it as a foregone conclusion for Holzken. To them he’ll clearly be walking away with the championship, but there is just one thing that they are forgetting in this equation: Raymond Daniels. Daniels is known throughout martial arts circles as one of the best competitive martial artists of all time. That isn’t an exaggeration, if you look through the worlds of sport martial arts you won’t find anyone quite like Daniels. His record is immaculate, his accolades could fill a warehouse, yet he still looks for further challenges and his ultimate challenge is in the GLORY ring right now, his ultimate challenge is taking on Nieky Holzken. 

Their first fight was a tough loss for Daniels, but he reflects on the fight as a positive learning experience for him. “It was a learning experience for sure,” he explained. “I get to watch that fight and see what I need to do to fix the holes in my game and to make myself a better fighter. That’s how you improve as a fighter and a person, by learning from your mistakes.”

When analyzing Daniels as a fighter and his game, it’s difficult not to see where his weaknesses lie. His background in Karate meant less of a focus on using his hands, but since turning professional in kickboxing there has been a marked improvement. “There’s always a learning curve, there’s always something that you can do better. I’ll never be perfect, even if I strive for perfection. You can see the maturity of myself as a fighter, you can see the evolution of my style over my last few fights. It’s a great feeling, I’m just so much more comfortable, so much more calm and collected in that ring now. I used to be really excited, hopping around a lot and trying to get things over quickly. Now I’m able to get my energy out in spurts.”

Daniels is a living legend in the world of sport karate, so the question has to be raised why he would even make such a transition to professional kickboxing. “I’ve been very fortunate in my sport. I’ve traveled the world, I’ve met great people but I’ve accomplished everything that I possibly could a few times over. The next realm with a similar system is kickboxing and GLORY is that vehicle that gets me out there, just like the World Combat League did before. Now GLORY is the biggest league on the planet, so they give me the opportunity to use my skillset. Everyone looks at my sport and says ‘oh it’s pitter patter, it’s Karate Kid, it’s Best of the Best’ or something. This gives me a chance to go out there and show that just because my sport is about control and technique, that I’m able to translate that technique into kickboxing and add speed and power to it. That’s what I love about this, I get to test my skills against guys with different skill sets and style and show them what my sport is capable of doing.”

The World Combat League, organized by Chuck Norris, was dismissed at the time for it’s relatively strange rules and team format, but it’s undeniable that they produced a ton of talent. WCL’s roster included not only Daniels but Uriah Hall, Jarrell Miller, Pat Barry, Anthony Njokuani, Lyman Good, Carlos Brooks, Rick Cheek, Felice Herrig and more.

“What was great was that my sport was dismissed in combat sports, written off as impractical or too old fashioned, but then you look at the WCL and some of the fighters that came from there,” Daniels said. “But you got to see the athletes from the WCL start to blossom afterwards.”

This quickly brought us to the topic of being dismissed and how Daniels has been dismissed by kickboxing fans and pundits almost across the board. “You know, I find it kind of comical in a way. I look at it like; the people that don’t understand a burning desire couldn’t understand what it is, what I want and how I feel. Just because you fail or you fall short on something that you want to accomplish doesn’t necessarily mean that your life is defined by those moments. I lost a fight, but that doesn’t define me. I see people who have that outlook as very close-minded individuals. Everybody has a setback in life. If this wasn’t challenging to me, why would I do it? If I wasn’t fighting world class athletes like Nieky why would I be doing this?

“This gives me an opportunity to grow,” he continued. “Not just as a fight, but as a person. It allows me to step outside of my comfort zone. It allows me to strive to be better, to learn more about myself. I see people who will dismiss a fighter as people that would probably give up as soon as they have a setback in life as opposed to finding a way to make it work, finding a way through and to persevere. I have a fire underneath me and am more motivated than ever. I have an opportunity to go out there and fight someone who has beaten me before, there aren’t a lot of people that can say that they’ve beaten me before in my career. With that being said, people that are overlooking me, I have that knock-it-out-of-the-park ability with every move that I throw. So I always find it funny. Don’t get me wrong, Nieky himself is a great fighter, but he’s a flawed fighter. He’s lost before and he has holes in his game -- just like I do -- that I can exploit. Nobody's perfect. I’m looking forward to going in there and being able to silence people. If you don’t believe, just watch. I want to show people what it is to have faith in myself, in my skillset and to prove these people wrong.”

There is another side to GLORY’s push of Raymond Daniels, though, one that is hard to explain. Daniels possesses a magnetism that many fighters don’t. His ability to do things in the ring that no one thought was practical and not only land, but score crazy knockouts with has earned him a reputation among fans as a can’t miss fighter. I got to see this first hand live at GLORY 16 where fighters like Rico Verhoeven, Errol Zimmerman, Andy Souwer and Ben Edwards were walking around throughout the night and went relatively undisturbed, but Daniels was a different story. He was being stopped for selfies, autographs and high fives throughout the night. He’s fought on some of the most-viewed GLORY cards of all-time on Spike TV and has been one of their featured attractions. 

“That’s my whole goal at the end of the day, outside of fighting, I want to give fans something to talk about. I want to be able to give back to them,” he explained. “I want them to look at something that I did and say ‘my god, I saw that in a movie last week and he did it,’ you know what I mean? I also want the die hard fans to say ‘that stuff doesn’t work in a fight, Nieky has this Dutch style that’s gonna light him up’ and say, okay, come watch. As long as people want to come to watch, that’s cool. At the end of the day I don’t believe my own hype. You know, that’s not who I am. I have a Martial Arts school and I don’t even advertise what I do. Most of my students don’t even know that I’m going to fight for the world title right now.

“Some of my students will see some of my fights later,” he jokes, “and they’ll be like ‘oh my gosh that’s my sensei in there? He’s not like that when he’s in the karate school.’ It’s a different persona, you know, like wrestling. Wrestling isn’t real, but how many people follow that, watch it -- I mean people have tattoos of it. People watch it because they put on a show.  What I’m doing is real, but it’s still entertainment. If I go out there and I can knock a guy out with a kick that you’d only see in the movies, how much entertainment value does that bring? That’s how I look at my fighting.”

Daniels brings all of this and more to the table, also bringing with him one of the gaping holes in the combat sports world of late by the way of traditional martial arts. Martial Arts are indeed about self-defense and technique, but are centered around improving the self and becoming a better person. “I feel that is missing from sports right now. The focus isn’t on that, the focus is on who is the best, who is the flashiest and who is making the most money. It’s absolutely missing from combat sports right now and I’m just glad that I can help bring some of those values with me into the ring.”

It is a monumental task for Raymond Daniels at GLORY 23 against Nieky Holzken, but Daniels seems ready for whatever might come his way. Tune in this Friday at 11pm Eastern time on Spike TV to witness Raymond Daniels vs. Nieky Holzken vying for the GLORY Welterweight Championship and see for yourself who comes out victorious. 


New Promo Video Goes Inside the Life of GLORY 23's Raymond Daniels

  • Published in Glory

On August 7th at GLORY 23 Raymond Daniels and Nieky Holzken are set to clash in a rematch from GLORY 19, only this time the vacant GLORY Welterweight Championship is on the line. There is a lot riding on this fight for both men, with Holzken looking to cement his legacy as the best at this weight and Daniels looking to prove that his success in martial arts can span over into kickboxing in a big way. 

We've already seen how Nieky Holzken is preparing for GLORY 23, now it's time to look at Raymond Daniels.


Nieky Holzken Prepared for GLORY 23 and Raymond Daniels

  • Published in Glory

If you've watched kickboxing for any length of time, you've undoubtedly heard the name Nieky Holzken.  With in mind, it would be pretty condescending of me to tell you that he's fast, strong, extremely agile or that his boxing skills are absolutely sick.  Those in the know are also well aware that he's Glory's former welterweight champion (2013) and he's been back with a vengeance to claim the title again. Friday, August 8th, he'll have that opportunity as he is poised to face Raymond "The Human Highlight Reel" Daniels at Glory 23 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  What you may not know is that at 31 years of age Holzken sees the value of regaining and maintaining champion status, but also that there is life beyond the ring and that it's probably a good idea to have other plans for his future.   Holzken understands the value of family, friends and simply living.  Following open workouts I had an opportunity to speak to Holzken about life, his philosophy and the challenge he faces as he prepares to meet Raymond Daniels at Glory 23.  

With a record of 93-11 and 54 of his wins by KO, a dance with Holzken is by no means a walk in the park for anyone.  Holzken additionally see a few mire years ahead of him in the ring.  When it's all said and done Holzken hopes to open his own gym and continue to inspire participants in the sport as well as to be a positive role model for children. But again, that's later, possibly even five years down the line.  

Holzken 's match against Daniels came about in unexpected fashion following Valtellini's relinquishment of the  title. It had long been anticipated within the fight community that an eventual face off would occur between he and Valtellini and his dominance either would or would not be established based on the outcome of that bout.  Unforseen circumstances,  however, changed the hands of fate and brought him face to face with an opponent over whom he ha a recent win.  If you recall, Holzken faced Daniels in February of this year at Glory 19 in a bout that finished with a TO victory for him. Don't get it twisted though as Holzken has also KO'd Valtellini in the past.  By his own admission, things just got real as Friday night it's not just for another win on his record, it's for the thing he's worked his life for, a chance to be crowned champion albeit for a second time.  Once in his hands again, Holzken has every intention of riding it until the wheels fall off. He wants his belt back!   In preparation for this match-up, Holzken states he has continued to improve upon his boxing skills.   Since he last faced Daniels he has actually had three boxing matches all of which he won.  Holzken also reports improvement in his hand speed.  When asked what he though was his best skill, Holzken sees himself as a well rounded fighter while he views Daniels' best skills as kicking, jumping around and running. Holzken also isn't particularly impressed by Daniels' boxing skills.

If there was ever a fight that he has regrets about, Holzken cites his bout with Artur Kyshenko in, which suffered a decision loss following an accidental eye poke that left him unable to see clearly for the majority of the match.  

No matter the outcome of Friday's match, Holzken is definitely excited to be fighting, for the opportunity to have his family in Las Vegas to support him, for the support of his fans and definitely for the welterweight championship belt to be within his grasp. When asked what he's see for Friday, he simply stated, "action!" He feels that he has trained hard, he's ready and that his time has come again.   

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