This Friday, French welterweight Karim Benmansour (48-7-2, 22 KO’s) will take part in the four-man Welterweight Contender Tournament at GLORY 44 CHICAGO. Currently ranked at #5, he’s looking for a title shot if he wins.
“I am very confident to take the title. My time has come,” he says. “[My coaches] have murdered me with boxing training. The workload has been focused on quality and quantity. Now it’s nearly time to put it all into practice.”
Most of GLORY’s fighters have a background either in kickboxing or Muay Thai, but Benmansour’s background is in karate and the native French art of Savate (the name translates as ‘Old Shoe’), which is characterized by its reliance on kicks.
The result is that Benmansour has a fighting style which is noticeably different to most of his peers. He places reliance on evasiveness and getting in and out to score while avoiding taking damage himself,
“It’s true,” he says. “Many times people have said that I have a unique style, very different from the other fighters. My style is based on movement, displacement and using angles.”
This Friday, his semi-final opponent is Harut Grigorian (44-11, 32 KO’s). The two couldn’t have more opposite styles. Grigorian’s whole game is to get right in front of his adversary and throw bombs constantly.
“When it comes to this fight, I know only one thing: I have no right to lose. He is very generous in his output and he is very aggressive, always on the attack. But I am trained like never before, I am ready,” says Benmansour.
In the other bracket, Antoine Pinto (132-36-1, 77 KO’s) faces newcomer Zach Bunnell (5-2), who stepped in last week to replace an injured Casey Greene. Pinto, already favored to beat Greene, remains favorite to form one half of the tournament final.
Pinto himself says that he expects Benmansour to beat Grigorian, making for an All-French final to the tournament.
“It's very nice of him to see me win against Harut but, as my coach would say, ‘You only pay the musicians at the end of the dance’ - it is dangerous to make assumptions until a thing is over.”
GLORY 44 Chicago will be carried live on ESPN3 at 11 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. PT on Friday, Aug. 25.
Tickets for GLORY 44 Chicago and GLORY 44 SuperFight Series are on sale now, available for online purchase at searscentre.com and at the Sears Centre Arena box office.