GLORY returns to Rotterdam this Saturday after the promotion has been silent since GLORY 86 in May. GLORY 87 is set to be a magnificent card to capped off with a massive title fight.
GLORY 87 Fight Card Preview
Tyjani Beztati has ruled as the king of GLORY’s lightweight division since winning the belt in 2021 back at GLORY 78 with a win over Elvis Gashi. Since then Beztati has gone on to make three successful defences of the belt against stellar competition.
The likes of Josh Jauncey, Stoyan Koprivlenski, and Petchpanomrung have all attempted and failed to defeat Beztati and take the crown for themselves. Beztati can use his height and reach to great effect and standing at 6ft 3” he is among the tallest lightweights in the world and is an expert at striking without being hit. Only losing 5 times in his career, Beztati has remained undefeated for the last 4 years with his last loss coming to Marat Grigorian who has established himself as one of the best fighters on the planet. Beztati was only 21 at the time of the loss. Now just at the young age of 25, Beztati will be hoping to successfully make a 4th defense of the belt in what will be his 30th pro fight and continue a title reign that people will be talking about for a long time to come.
Kaito Ono will be making his debut in GLORY yet his CV speaks for itself. The Japanese fighter has fought in various promotions across the world and most recently won the RISE Middleweight championship earlier this year. Ono like Beztati, is still at the young age of 25 yet despite this has fought almost 60 times.
52 wins and only 6 defeats with one no-contest tells us that this is an extremely skillful fighter who is more than capable of competing with the very best in the world. Ono is not small for the weight class either, standing at 5ft 11”, and will not be at the same size disadvantage as previous opponents of Beztati, such as Petch. Alongside this Ono possesses a win over previous title contender Stoyan Koprivlenski which he secured just last year. He represents an extremely tough challenge and Beztati will have to be on his best form if he has any chance of stopping the Japanese sensation.
Heavyweight Tournament Fights: Uku Jurjendal vs Martin Terpstra
Heavyweight Tournaments are always an excellent way to generate hype for a card, with a place at the December Grand Prix on the line and the chance to win $500,000 everything is at stake for these fighters. Uku Jurjendal will be looking to put on a statement and cement his place at this December Grand Prix. Coming off a first-round KO in his last GLORY outing, Jurjendal is riding a serious wave of momentum. Possessing devastating KO power as seen in his last fight, Jurjendal possesses 18 wins on his record, 14 of these coming by knockout. The Estonian Heavyweight stands at 6ft 3” and weighs around 113 kg or 250 lbs. Currently sitting at number 10 in the Heavyweight rankings the Estonian Powerhouse will be looking to secure another first-round KO this Saturday night, 2 of them if possible.
Martin Terpstra will be making his GLORY debut and possesses a clear advantage over Jurjendal in one particular aspect. The impressive height of 6ft 9” means that Terpstra is among the tallest fighters in kickboxing today and grants him a reach and height advantage in almost every contest he is in. While reach advantages mean nothing if a fighter doesn’t have the skill to go along with it Terpstra certainly does with him being a 2-time Enfusion champion. Having made his debut in GLORY last year picking up a KO victory Terpstra will be looking to make a name for himself and book a place at this year’s Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Bahram Rajabzadeh vs Mohamed Amine
This is a hotly anticipated matchup, two light heavyweights by nature, Bahram Rajabzadeh and Mohamed Amine have shown that they are among the most technical fighters in the division. Rajabzadeh captivated minds in his last performance which resulted in an immaculate head kick knockout victory for him over an always-game Luis Tavares. A physical specimen Rajabzadeh possesses huge amounts of power as is evidenced by his incredible record, possibly the most impressive record in kickboxing today. The Azerbaijani has fought 63 times, losing just one bout. This was his GLORY debut back at GLORY 69. Of his 62 victories 56 have ended via KO. That is staggering. While many may have thought that his record was misleading given that he lost his first outing in GLORY, a loss to former GLORY Light Heavyweight champion Sergej Maslobojev is nothing to be sniffed at and the win against Tavares showed the GLORY fans what Rajabzadeh is all about and the skills that he has.
Mohamed Amine unfortunately is not coming off quite as an impressive last performance. Fighting at GLORY Collision 5, Amine would pick up a loss against Tarik Khbabez. Stepping in on short notice Amine had not had the time to prepare for the relentless onslaught that Tarik is noted for always bringing and simply did not have the gas tank to withstand the continuous volume that Khbabez was able to output. Still despite this performance fans are well aware of his true potential and skillset as was evidenced in his extremely impressive win over Michael Duut. A prepared Amine is a fast and agile striker capable of utilizing a variety of strikes and techniques to finish a fight. With 16 KOs out of 29 wins, the Moroccan hits hard, admittedly not as hard as Rajabzadeh yet more than enough to cause damage to anyone he faces. If he arrives to this fight as the same fighter or better than the version who fought Duut we could have a real fight on our hands here.
Main Card: Murthel Groenhart vs Cihad Akipa
Former welterweight champion Murthel Groenhart makes his GLORY return after being defeated by Endy Semeleer in his last outing. Groenhart will be looking to climb his way back up the rankings after being defeated in his last title challenge. Know for his bouts with Cedric Doumbe and his time as GLORY Welterweight champion Groenhart will be looking to show that is still capable o putting on a good performance and able to hang with the best in the business. A win on Saturday leaves him in good standing to make his way back up the Welterweight division and possibly aim for a fight with someone like Jay Overmeer next as he hopes to one day rematch Endy Semeleer to gain the championship that he once held.
His opponent Cihad Akipa will be making his GLORY debut at Welterweight after moving up from Lightweight. Akipa last lost to French Lightweight contender Guerric Billet and has looked to move on to new pastures with a move up a weight class. He could not have hoped for a better first opponent as a fight against Murthel Groenhart represents the opportunity to fight a legend, introduce himself to a much larger fanbase, and ultimately have a win over a former GLORY champion in his record, a very prestigious thing. He will be looking to start his career at Welterweight with a bang and a win over Groenhart would be just the springboard he needs to catapult his way up the rankings at his new weight class.
Michael Boapeah vs Sergej Braun
Fight fans are also blessed with a title eliminator for the middleweight division at GLORY 87. Michael Boapeah has taken the Middleweight division by storm and has established himself as its number one contender since joining GLORY back in 2022 making his debut at GLORY 81. In less than a year he has gone from an unknown commodity to a number one contender in what has truly been a remarkable rise. Going 3-1 in the promotion, the Ghanaian has picked up victories over the likes of Florian Kroger, Ertugrul Bayrak, and most recently against Ulric Bokeme whose teeth he knocked out of his mouth in the very first round. Boapeah will be happy in the knowledge that a win on Saturday night almost guarantees him a title shot against current Middleweight king Donovan Wisse. A fight that Boapeah has called for repeatedly.
Looking to stop him will be Sergej Braun. Braun has only fought twice in GLORY so far going 1-1, yet sits at number 3 in the Middleweight ranks. His loss came at the hands of former title challenger Serkan Ozcaglayan while his lone win came against none other than Michael Boapeah. Yes in Boapeah’s 3-1 record Braun is the 1. The two met at GLORY Collision 4 where Braun was successful in picking up the Majority Decision win. Braun will be looking to replicate this feat come Saturday night and two clear-cut wins over the current number-one contender would surely be more than enough to warrant Braun with a shot at Donovan Wisse’s championship belt.
Jan Kaffa vs Mohamed El Hammouti
Jan Kaffa burst onto the scene at GLORY 85 where he delivered a fight of the night performance against highly rated prospect Berjan Peposhi. Kaffa showcased his ability to utilise a wide variety of strikes and spinning attacks and while many thought he was brought in to simply be added to Peposhi’s highlight reel Kaffa showed that if anything the opposite was true. Spinning elbows and backfists repeatedly found their target and Kaffa looked like the more dynamic and skillful striker between the two men. Now looking to build on that excellent performance Kaffa will be taking on the Moroccan Mohamed El Hammouti in his second outing with GLORY. Now after grabbing himself a ranking in the Featherweight division Kaffa sits at number 7 and knows that one or two similar performances to his fight against Peposhi will surely grant him a shot at the title sooner rather than later.
Mohamed El Hammouti is amazingly even younger than Kaffa. At 22 Hammouti is still very raw with less than ten fights in his career so far. Possessing serious power he has achieved a KO finish in 4 of his 7 wins and his one loss came at GLORY 82 where he took on former Featherweight contender Ahmad Chikh Mousa who himself is one of the top talents in the organization. A win for Hammouti would get the wheels turning on his career in GLORY and allow him to start beginning to assemble his title challenge.