London, England (February 13) – Elite superstar kickboxers Remy Bonjasky, Gokhan Saki, Liam Harrison, Jordan Watson and Albert Kraus arrive in London this weekend for an exclusive Glory World Series UK debut ahead of next month’s GLORY 5 LONDON event at the Excel Arena.
The Michael Jordan of Kickboxing
A living legend in the world of kickboxing Remy Bonjasky is one of the finest athletes ever to step into the ring. Bonjasky’s trademark flying knees and flying kicks have become one of the most enduring images of the sport. The only heavyweight who can achieve real airtime with flying attacks, Bonjasky has been declared ‘the Michael Jordan of kickboxing’ in reference to the basketball icon’s similar propensity for enormous leaps.
A three-time winner of the K-1 Grand Prix and other prestigious titles, Bonjasky underwent a near three year layoff from fighting due to a recurring eye injury. But he returned in October 2012 with a win over the top Brazilian heavyweight Anderson ‘Braddock’ Silva, showing his would-be rivals that he is still very much a force to be reckoned with.
“I never wanted to end my career with an injury,” Bonjasky says. “Now the eye is better at last, I am on a mission. I am going to fight my way back to the number one spot and I am going to end my career the way that I want, and go out at the top. Trust me, you’ve seen nothing yet.”
The King of the Ring
Bonjasky shares some similarities with his opponent, Tyrone ‘The King of the Ring’ Spong. Like Bonjasky, Spong was born in the former Dutch colony of Suriname and moved to Amsterdam with his family at a young age. Like Bonjasky, Spong took up training as a teenager and, like Bonjasky, emerged as one of the most natural athletes the sport has seen.
Their lives and careers having mirrored each other so closely, there is almost an air of destiny to their meeting in the ring at last. Spong has climbed the weight classes as he has grown and now, age 27, he is a fully-fledged heavyweight. Last year he stopped Peter Aerts to take his first big-name heavyweight win and Bonjasky is next in his sights.
“Bonjasky is a legend but for me, his time is passed. I’m looking to build my legacy. It’s my time now. It’s going to be a big year for me. 2013 – you hear that, thirteen? That’s a bad number, which means it’s a good year for the bad guy”
The Turkish Tyson
Gokhan Saki is perhaps the most explosive fighter in fight sports today. Saki’s knack for knockouts is such that even his fellow fighters rush to watch him fight. Small for heavyweight at 5’11”, he makes up for it in speed and raw power. Saki’s left hand is a near-unstoppable force which has ended many a fight inside the distance.
This has drawn comparison with Mike Tyson and Saki has found himself labelled ‘The Turkish Tyson’ as a result. He considers ‘Iron Mike’ one of his fighting idols, and is flattered by the comparison. “I watched Tyson a lot, I like his fighting style and he inspires me. If people see something of Tyson in me then I’m very happy. I promise them a lot more knockouts to come,” he says.
Saki is fighting in the main event of GLORY 6 in Istanbul, Turkey on April 6. His opponent is world number-two ranked Daniel Ghita, former bodyguard to the president of Romania. With Saki at number three in the world rankings, the fight is a contender elimination bout which will see the winner go forward to a heavyweight title shot.
Like Saki, Ghita is a fighter who regularly produces show-stopping finishes. He has been on a tear over the last two years and has blasted his way to the upper end of the world rankings. His trademark leg kicks inspire the same fear in opponents that Saki’s left hand does and on April 6, Istanbul will host a clash of styles and cultures with a world heavyweight title shot on the line.
Liam Harrison has been tearing up the international circuit for the last few years and is one of the few Europeans to have enjoyed success in the infamously tough fighting rings of Thailand. Having now signed a multi-fight deal with GLORY, Harrison has set his sights on taking the featherweight title and becoming the organization’s first British champion.
First he must deal with Mosab Amrani, nicknamed ‘The Jaguar’. The Dutch-Moroccan fighter has a pedigree as distinguished as Harrison’s and brings the power and explosiveness his big-cat namesake is renowned for. Amrani and Harrison both have wins over the Thai fighting legend Anuwat and fans have wanted to see them fight for years. They are now on collision course and only one of them can emerge victorious.
Muay Thai Powerhouse
From Bad Company to international kickboxing success Jordan Watson, is a much lauded talent, who has won world championships of his own (ISKA 70kg). With a CV boasting K-1 Max UK and Challenger ASIA finals, as well as a Contender UK Championship, Liam is a big draw for British kickboxing fans.
One of England’s top Muay Thai fighters, Jordan Watson, has fought for Thailand’s flagship organization Thai Fight and was a finalist on the most recent ‘Challengers’ TV series.
He is a team mate of Liam Harrison’s and divides his time between training at Bad Company in his native Leeds and Jitti Gym in Bangkok. He has faced a number of top Thai fighters including Buakaw Por Pramuk, Yodsaenklai Fairtex and Saiyok Pumpanmuang.
Albert Kraus won the first-ever K-1 MAX tournament and has beaten a Who’s Who of top names. Among his career victories are wins over Buakaw Por Pramuk, Andy Souwer, Mike Zambidis and UFC lightweight Duane Ludwig.
At 32 years old, his younger rivals are hoping to see him fade. But on New Year’s Eve he sent them all a message by knocking out three opponents in one night during an eight-man tournament in Beijing, China. Hungrier than ever, Kraus wants to be back in the number one spot currently held by Italy’s Giorgio Petrosyan, and if he can beat rising star Andy Ristie in the GLORY 5 co-main event, a lightweight title shot awaits.
The full fight card is as follows. All fights are three rounds of three minutes duration fought under Glory World Series rules:
Tyrone Spong (Suriname) vs. Remy Bonjasky (Netherlands)
Andy Ristie (Suriname) vs. Albert Kraus (Netherlands)
Stephane Susperregui (France) vs. Danyo Ilunga (Congo)
Liam Harrison (UK) vs. Mosab Armani (Morocco)
Jordan Watson (UK) vs. Steve Moxon (Australia)
Raymond Daniels (USA) vs. TBC
Singh Jaideep (UK/India) vs. Yong Soo Park (South Korea)
Steve Wakeling (UK) vs. Simon Marcus (Canada)
Maxim Vyrovski (Russia) vs. Duoli Chen (China)
Johann Fauveau (France) vs. Warren Stevelmans (South Africa)
Reece McAllister (UK) vs. Tim Thomas (UK)
GLORY World Series (www.gloryworldseries.com) is the world’s new premier kickboxing league, producing live events across the globe and offering up to $1,000,000 in prize money to the winners of one-night, 16-man ‘Grand Slam’ tournaments, which are open to only the best fighters in each weight class. The fight series also includes 8-man ‘Slam’ tournaments and events with traditional, single bouts.
With television deals spanning every continent, online live video streaming of all shows and the world’s largest online martial arts library, GLORY is one of the world’s most widely distributed sporting organizations.
Owned and operated by Glory Sports International (GSI), the organization has offices in the UK, Holland, Tokyo, Malaysia, Singapore and soon in the USA. Its personnel include an unprecedented mix of accomplished entrepreneurs and senior level executives from the diverse worlds of finance, sports marketing, television and martial arts fighting.