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GLORY Helps New Divisions to Shine in Kickboxing

Kickboxing has had a long history throughout Europe and Asia, but it really got bigger in the 90’s when K-1 started up in Japan. K-1 was aimed at an audience in Japan that was obsessed with Heavyweights, mainly from professional wrestling. Pro wrestling in Japan was all about Heavyweights, with the prestige of being called “Heavyweight Champion” holding a ton of weight with the local culture. So when K-1 got off the ground, of course Heavyweights were the primary focus.

It wasn’t until 2002 when K-1 started to take another weight class seriously -- 70kg MAX -- mostly because of the young, handsome and talented Masato. Masato was a star in the making, but was at least 30kg less than most of K-1’s big stars, so they needed to create a new division. That division was the MAX division and since then has been one of the best divisions in the Kickboxing world.

Part of the problem, though, is that for many years fighters had to aspire to be either a Heavyweight or a MAX fighter, with there being no in between. For a lot of fighters who were too small to be Heavyweights and too big to be MAX fighters that left them to work the minor circuits in Europe and Japan without any hopes of the bright lights and world titles being in their possession. That has changed in the past few years, with It’s Showtime really making a name for themselves with expanded weight classes that highlighted more talent. Everyone followed suit and now with GLORY we finally get the realization of this.

If you don’t believe me, look no further than GLORY’s GLORY 17 and Last Man Standing events on June 21st. Sure, on GLORY 17 the big feature bouts are Heavyweight and Lightweight (70kg/MAX) between Cro Cop and Jarrell Miller and Ky Hollenbeck and Andy Ristie, but the card also features a Featherweight Contender’s Tournament. Then while Last Man Standing will crown a GLORY Heavyweight Champion in the main event between Daniel Ghita and Rico Verhoeven, the GLORY Welterweight Championship is on the line between Joe Valtellini and Marc de Bonte and the Last Man Standing tournament will crown a Middleweight Champion.

Even a few years ago the idea of a major Kickboxing event, probably the biggest of the  year, being headlined by a weight class that isn’t Heavyweight or Lightweight seemed like insanity, yet here we are. 

GLORY still recognizes the importance of Heavyweight and Lightweight, but are willing to feature some of these other weight classes as just as important, which has helped to create new stars. Joe Valtellini was a virtual unknown to the world just over a year ago, now not only Kickboxing fans know who he is, but combat sports fans in general. Someone like Nieky Holzken was always toiling away in Europe as one of the best in the world, but was virtually unchallenged with nowhere to house his talents and bring in opponents. 

There is a brave new world in Kickboxing right now and you don’t need to be in one of two categories to become a star anymore. You just need to be good.

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Last Man Standing Hype Videos for Joe Valtellini and Marc De Bonte

On June 21st the GLORY Welterweight Championship will be on the line as Canada's Joe Valtellini will challenge the Champion, Marc de Bonte for the title. De Bonte recently won the title at GLORY 16 over friend and former training partner Karapet Karapetyan in a technical battle that left many fans wondering if de Bonte can hang with the likes of Valtellini and Holzken. This is definitely his chance to prove that he is a worthy champion (note: we already know that he is, or should know). 

Check out this interview package that GLORY put together for Joe Valtellini on his road to the GLORY Welterweight Championship, as well as Marc de Bonte talking about his huge win over Karapetyan.

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LiverKick Throwback: Melvin Manhoef Destroys Paul Slowinski

The world of kickboxing has a rich history to fall back upon so we here at LiverKick figure, why not? Why not give a glimpse into some of the fights from the past that have made up this wonderful sport and tie it all in to the present. The kids on the Instagram and Twitter like to call Thursdays "Throwback Thursdays," I'm just going to say that this is a LiverKick Throwback.

Melvin Manhoef will be fighting in the Last Man Standing tournament on June 21st in Los Angeles for GLORY, meeting Filip Verlinden in the first round of the tournament. To say that Melvin Manhoef at Middleweight will be a force to be reckoned with is putting it lightly; Melvin Manhoef was a force to be reckoned with at Heavyweight. If you need proof of that, look no further than December 6th, 2012, when Melvin Manhoef fought in the Reserve bout for the K-1 World Grand Prix 2008 against tough Australian slugger Paul Slowinski. 

Paul Slowinski is a legitimate 6'3" 240lbs while Manhoef is 5'8" and has fought as low at 170lbs in the past. This is just so you understand the size difference going into this fight and why Melvin Manhoef is so impressive. Melvin Manhoef was never the best Heavyweight Kickboxer in the world, but he was able to knock out some of the best and make it look easy. That's incredible. 

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GLORY 17: Yodkhunpon Sitmonchai Hype Video

In Muay Thai circles the Sitmonchai camp is incredibly well known and it is an honor to carry that name. GLORY 17 competitor Yodkhunpon Sitmonchai carries that name going into the GLORY 17 Featherweight Tournament. We've seen him fight once before in GLORY, so we know that he's comfortable in GLORY rules, just like we know that he'll have a challenge ahead of him in Gabriel Varga. 

GLORY sent a team to interview Yodkhunpon and here is the video of that very interview. 

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