With interim light-heavyweight champion Pavel Zhuravlev sidelined by injury and Zinedine Hameur-Lain getting married in mid-August, former It’s Showtime champion Danyo ‘Dibuba’ Ilunga (60-13, 45 KO’s) has found himself the beneficiary of an unexpected title shot.
He will challenge reigning champion Artem Vakhitov (19-5, 8 KO’s) in the main event of GLORY 56 DENVER on Friday, August 10. The former #1 light-heavyweight rides a two-fight win streak into the bout, which is also a rematch.
The two fought back at GLORY 25 MILAN in November 2015, with Vakhitov coming away the winner by unanimous decision after three rounds of fighting.
“He’s a very technical fighter. He’s got really good boxing in particular and he’s very clever, he change his style a lot, depending what he needs to do,” says Ilunga.
“So what I need to do is not give him space to think. With clever fighters, they need time to think, time to look, to make a plan. I will impose a lot of pressure, a lot of work at high tempo, so he doesn’t have that time.
“He’s physically strong but I don’t think he can go five rounds at the pace I can. So I am going to set that pace and then not give him a second to think. My fight, not his.”
Ilunga is not dissuaded by the result of their GLORY 25 meeting.
“Yes, he won a unanimous decision, but I really was not anywhere near 100% for that fight. I had a bad shoulder injury which meant I trained eight weeks without using my left arm at all. I could only spar in the final week of training,” he says.
“So, that was a bit of a problem. But this time round… well, right now I feel great. And I have a lot more experience now, a lot of time has passed since that first fight between us. I am another level now and believe me, I will break every limit in my preparations for this one.”
GLORY 56 DENVER takes place Friday, August 10 at the 1STBANK Center in the Denver suburb of Broomfield, CO. It is part of the 5-event ‘#SummerOfGLORY’ series which was recently announced.