Kongolo KO's Benmansour to win Welterweight Contender Tournament

Kongolo KO's Benmansour to win Welterweight Contender Tournament

Wednesday, Jul 12 2017

Centerpiece of the GLORY 37 LOS ANGELES card was a four-man Welterweight Contender tournament which would send the winner forward to challenge Cedric Doumbé for his welterweight title later this year.

Tournament favorite Kongolo (64-8-0) met Russian debutant Konstantin Khuzin (7-3-0) in the first of the evening's semi-final matches. Khuzin fights out of Kuzbass Muay Thai, also the home of Artem Vakhitov and Artem Levin, but he is younger in his career than both fighters and far less experienced as a professional.

At times he gave Kongolo some problems due to his significant reach advantage, but overall the impression was that Kongolo was handling him comfortably and was doing what he could to conserve energy for the final.

Benmansour (48-7-2) fought Argentinian debutant Alan Scheinson (48-4-0) in the second of the evening's semi-finals and went the distance in what was a close but scrappy affair. Scheinson's clean style struggled to find momentum against Benmansour's unorthodoxy and the Frenchman was able to convince two of the judges that he had done enough to win the fight.

When the tournament final got underway there was nothing initially to show that Benmansour had been through a harder semi-final than Kongolo. Both seemed fresh and had plenty of gas in the tank. Kongolo's power advantage was clear though and the more he was able to close Benmansour down and land on him, the more Benmansour slowed.

Benmansour's tricky style is complemented by a tightness of defense which makes him hard to land cleanly on. Kongolo's early efforts were frustrated but he began finding his mark in the second round. Right at the end of the round he folded Benmansour in half with a body shot that left him on his knees and with his head hanging outside the ropes.

Once Benmansour beat the count the round immediately ended, buying him a valuable minute in which to recover. But Kongolo was straight back on him as soon as the third round started. Benmansour fought a rearguard action in the face of Kongolo's pressure and managed to avoid what would have been some damaging blows.

But the last ten seconds were his undoing once again. Kongolo unloaded with a ferocious combination which went high, low and then high again, finishing in a short overhand right hand which dropped Benmansour in the corner. This time there would be no beating the count – Benmansour was done and Kongolo took the win – and the title shot - by knockout.