Chikadze: "If I win this tournament, I'm the real featherweight champion"

Chikadze: "If I win this tournament, I'm the real featherweight champion"

Tuesday, Jul 18 2017 by John O'Regan

Giga Chikadze (37-5, 22 KO’s) has been chasing a title shot in GLORY ever since he arrived in the organization back at GLORY 21 by stopping Ken Tran with his trademark left kick to the body.
 
That kick stopped two more of Chikadze’s opponents since then, adding to a record which now stands 5-2 in GLORY with three wins inside the distance.
 
“I go in with hard punches and then I change the pace, I show high with the kick but I go to the liver. When I touch the liver it just goes pop, like a balloon. It's a very special kick, the GigaKick. Just finishing guys with it,” he smiles.
 
Chikadze, originally from the Georgian Republic but now resident in Los Angeles, USA, thinks he has done enough to warrant a title shot. But his calls have gone unheeded and now he finds himself in another Contender Tournament.
 
This time, he is being philosophical about it. 
 
“Titles are one thing, some guy holding the belt and defending it now and again, but tournaments are the real heart of kickboxing. The sport comes from tournaments and really the guy who is winning the tournaments is the real ‘champion’ of his division,” he explains.
 
“So I win the tournament and I should go #1 in the rankings and then I am the best, right? I know that Robin van Roosmalen is the champion in the featherweight division but he didn’t win any tournaments here so I don’t think he can say he is the best, really. 
 
“I have been asking for the title shot for a long time and they never gave it to me. There’s a whole lot of politics around the title I think. I am going to win the featherweight tournament and then he should ask me to fight, not somebody else. If he really wanted to fight me he could, so I don’t know if he wants that fight.”
 
First things first though, Friday night’s tournament. In the semi-final Chikadze faces Russia’s Alexei Ulianov (21-3-1, 7 KO’s), a stablemate of light-heavyweight champion Artem Vakhitov. In the other semi-final, the UK’s Mo Abdurahman (24-6, 14 KO’s) faces local fighter Kevin Vannonstrand (12-1, 10 KO’s).
 
“Ulianov is a very good fighter, I have seen some of his fights. I like his style, I am comfortable fighting against that,” says Chikadze. 
 
“In the other semi-final, I don’t know. Vannonstrand has a good tricky style but I like what I see from Abdurahman. I didn’t know him until I looked him up, but he’s good. Either one of them can win that fight.
 
“For me the gamplan is not to get crazy, don’t get too emotional. Sometimes when that bell rings and the fight starts, I can get over-emotional. This time I am keeping my emotion for the final. I am going to win the first fight, whichever way it happens, points or KO, then go to the final and give it my all.”
 
GLORY 43 NEW YORK takes place this Friday at Madison Square Garden in New York City and airs across the US on ESPN 2 from 11pm ET (one hour tape delay) or watch live on ESPN 3 from 10pm ET.