Enfusion 3: "Trial of the Gladiators" takes place this Sunday, December 2 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The event features the end of the third season of the Enfusion reality show, ending in a one night, four man tournament at 85kg.
85kg is not a very established weight class in kickboxing. It's Showtime had utilized it a bit, with Sahak Parparyan being their last champion at the weight, along with Jason Wilnis. Overall though, the division lacks the uniformity of fights and fighters being all in one place that help to evaluate the landscape of it. Many fans don't even follow this division or know many of the fighters in it. We don't really have a grasp on who the top ten are or maybe even who the top fighter is. Generally, we think of Sahak Parparyan as the premier fighter when we think of this division due to his features on It's Showtime.
The Enfusion tournament this weekend will help us further get a grasp on the standings of the 85kg division. Among the tournament participants is Sahak Parparyan himself. On the other side of the bracket is former opponent of Sahak and potential star Andrew Tate. The rest of the tournament is rounded out by Ritchie Hocking of Scotland and Franci Grajs of Slovenia, who are both not very well known but definitely highly capable fighters. Hocking and Grajs are the interesting variables of the tournament, as they have not been featured amongst the likes of those who are considered to be some of the best in the division like Sahak and Tate.
The tournament also has the potential for a big rematch, between Sahak Parparyan and Andrew Tate. Their first fight was very close, with Sahak taking a decision win over five rounds. However, Grajs and Hocking should not be overlooked based on what I've seen of them. Tate fights Hocking and Grajs fights Sahak, so an upset in the semi finals would immediately add a new name into the fray of the 85kg division. Even impressive performances in defeat can advance fighters' careers.
It's always good for kickboxing when lesser known fighters like Ritchie Hocking and Franci Grajs are thrown right into the mix. Any time new talent that can hang with the best are discovered, it only adds depth and creates a better division. Think of Sanny Dahlbeck or Davit Kiria, who before being featured in Glory this year were not very well known and now have built fanbases and hype based off of their performances. Even Andrew Tate was not very well known coming into his fight with Sahak Parparyan, and now I would consider him one of the best fighters in the division.
Enfusion 3: "Trial of the Gladiators" will be live on Fight Network in North America and on Orange Sport in Europe. Full fight card here.