One of the most exciting things about GLORY World Series fights is the fact that one punch or kick can end them at any second. And it happened a lot last year – some of the biggest knockouts in kickboxing history took place in 2013.
In fact, we had so many that rather than do a simple ‘Best of…’ for the year, we’ve had to divide ‘Best Knockouts’ into two sections.
The first part looked at the knockouts which happened in the three lighter divisions. This second part looks at knockouts from the heavier weight classes – middleweight, light-heavyweight and heavyweight.
The knockouts are presented in chronological order. We’ll leave it up to you the fans to decide which you think was the Knockout of the Year. Let us know via Twitter @Glory_WS and Facebook.
- GLORY 5 LONDON: Tyrone Spong vs. Remy Bonjasky
2013 was huge for Tyrone Spong. He has competed at heavyweight and light-heavyweight for GLORY and has enjoyed success at both weights. At GLORY 5 LONDON in March he met the highly-decorated Remy Bonjasky, winner of three K-1 World Grand Prix tournaments.
Bonjasky has always been famous for speed but Spong clicked into a higher gear, beating Bonjasky to the punch and sealing his fate with a right hook which put Bonjasky down for the first clean knockout loss of his long and distinguished career.
- GLORY 5 LONDON: Danyo Ilunga vs. Stephane Susperregui
Stephane Susperregui earned a GLORY call-up due to being #1 in the French light-heavyweight scene. He made his debut at GLORY 5 LONDON against Danyo Ilunga, at that point ranked #1 in the world.
The fight demonstrated just how much of a difference there is between ruling a domestic scene and fighting on an international one.
Ilunga dominated the fight and had Susperregui on the defensive for most of it, though the Frenchman did show some flashes of brilliance.
Remy Bonjasky is one of Ilunga’s trainers and is famous for his knee strikes. Ilunga has learned a few things from the veteran master, as he demonstrated by using a vicious knee of his own, knocking Susperregui out and breaking his nose in the process.
- GLORY 6 ISTANBUL: Gokhan Saki vs. Daniel Ghita
These two first met in 2010 and Ghita dominated Saki before losing steam and letting his Dutch-Turkish opponent take over the fight. There were words between the pair afterwards and plenty of bitterness before their April 2013 rematch.
Ghita went to Istanbul for the fight, facing a hostile crowd, and suffered probably the most one-sided defeat of his career. Saki scored an impressive finish – one knockdown was the result of a 12-hit combination.
Ghita suffered some serious issues in his personal life going into the bout and is very eager for a rematch and a chance to start balancing the 2-0 score against Saki. Look out for another encounter in 2014.
- GLORY 9 NEW YORK: Tyrone Spong vs. Michael Duut
Tyrone Spong entered the eight-man light-heavyweight tournament at GLORY 9 NEW YORK as the favorite. But he faced ‘The Dreamcrusher’ Michael Duut in the quarter-finals and very nearly suffered a first-round KO loss thanks to a huge Duut right hand.
But kickboxing is famous for being a sport where fortunes can change in an instant. The warlike Duut rushed Spong to finish the fight – and walked straight onto a Spong right cross which knocked him down and out.
It was one of 2013’s most significant knockouts – Duut was unable to beat the count and Spong went on to win the tournament.
- GLORY 9 NEW YORK: Daniel Ghita vs. Brice Guidon
Top contender Ghita went into this fight off the back of consecutive losses and had some question marks hanging over him.
Critics wondered if he still had the power and killer-instinct to be a top contender following losses to Semmy Schilt and Gokhan Saki.
He answered them with one of the most brutal knockouts of the year, effortlessly dispatching Guidon and demonstrating his increasingly dangerous hands in the process.
- GLORY 9 NEW YORK: Artem Vakithov vs. Luis Tavares
Tavares carries the nickname ‘Muhammed Ali’ but it was Vakhitov who laid on the boxing clinic in this quick encounter.
A forward barrage and a clever setup led to Vakhitov landing his trademark left body-shot early in the fight, dropping Tavares to the canvas and ending the bout in the very first round.
Vakhitov is one of the few kickboxers who makes body-shots a key part of his game. His left hand is lethal; look out for it doing more damage across the 2014 season.
- GLORY 10 LOS ANGELES: Wayne Barrett vs. Robby Plotkin
Wayne Barrett came into GLORY with a solid amateur record and a reputation as a hard-hitting technician. All of his performances thus far have underlined that assessment, with his finish of Robby Plotkin being a perfect example.
Plotkin comes from the famed Serra-Longo team in New York, home of Chris Weidman among others.
And while he did take this Middleweight Championship Tournament Reserve Fight on very late notice, he is a tough and game opponent who went in looking to win the fight inside the distance.
As it happened, this New York derby did end inside the distance – but it was Barrett who scored it. Having dominated the fight to that point, he took Plotkin out in style.
- GLORY 11 CHICAGO: Tyrone Spong vs. Nathan Corbett
This rematch was several years in the making and was one of the most anticipated encounters of 2013.
When these two first met back in 2006, Corbett knocked Spong down and the referee had actually waved off the fight. But Corbett thought he was being waved on to continue and so he went after Spong again, with the fight eventually being recorded as a No Contest because of that.
Corbett had the power and size advantage in the first encounter but the 2013 Spong was a completely different animal. To his credit, Spong has always said he considers the fight to be a legitimate KO loss.
He used the rematch to even the score by stopping Corbett with devastatingly fast and powerful left hooks. Spong’s timing and distancing were impeccable in the evening’s headline fight, creating one of the best finishes of 2013.
- GLORY 12 NEW YORK: Saulo Cavalari vs. Mourad Bouzidi
Bouzidi is well-known to kickboxing fans, a veteran of more than 100 fights in the heavyweight category. Always small for that division, he recently made the decision to drop to light-heavyweight. Speed and size advantages awaited him, but what he couldn’t have predicted was Saulo Cavalari.
Having won his debut at GLORY 11 CHICAGO, the Curitiba, Brazil native was still an unknown quantity going into this fight. He emerged from the depths of the lower rankings like a monster from the deep, flat lining Bouzidi in the first round for one of the scariest knockouts of the year.
Bouzidi went down off a right hand and was out for a long time. Saulo might be a GLORY newcomer, but nobody is queuing up to fight him.
- GLORY 13 TOKYO: Daniel Ghita vs. Errol Zimmerman
The first half of 2013 didn’t go well for Ghita, a combination of personal issues and hard losses in the ring.
He channeled all of that negativity into a stunning resurgence across the second half of 2013, producing some of the best performances of his career.
This fight with Zimmerman ranks as one of Ghita’s all-time best both in terms of physical performance and tactical approach.
Zimmerman likes a war and Ghita is known as a smart fighter. Zimmerman was therefore likely expecting a slow start with Ghita looking to feel him out.
Ghita flipped the script completely. As soon as the fight started he charged into Zimmerman and started doing heavy damage. Caught unawares, Zimmerman had no chance to recover.
Ghita battered him mercilessly against the ropes and then landed his killer left hook, which has become one of the most dangerous weapons in all of kickboxing.
It was a huge knockout. Zimmerman went down hard and he stayed down. Before the fight, Ghita had said he would be taking the #1 spot in 2014. This performance sent a message to the rest of the heavyweight division’s top players: Ghita is coming for you.