Displays of heart and courage come as standard in GLORY Kickboxing, but it takes a special kind of spirit to come back from the brink of defeat and force a path to victory.
There were numerous displays of superhuman fortitude in 2017, but these four examples particularly stood out. Which one is your Comeback of the Year?
Robert Thomas vs. Warren Thompson
GLORY 44 CHICAGO, August
Both fighters rode a losing streak into this summer showdown and that made for an intense encounter in which neither wanted to take a backwards step.
A highly-motivated Thompson pushed the pace with a career-best performance and was ahead on the cards going into the third round, only for Thomas to mount a counter-offensive which ended with him knocking Thompson out and taking the win by force.
Rico Verhoeven vs. Jamal Ben Saddik
GLORY REDEMPTION, DECEMBER
This was billed as the biggest fight of the year, and rightfully so. A huge amount of hype and anticipation preceded the year-ending encounter between heavyweight champion Verhoeven and his rival Ben Saddik.
Verhoeven, one of the pound-for-pound best in the sport, was the heavy favorite going into the bout but Ben Saddik looked close to securing one of the upsets of the year when he had the champion in big trouble in the very first round.
His fans held their breath as Verhoeven clung on and survived the storm before taking over the fight in the later rounds and ending it in explosive fashion late in the fifth round.
Kevin VanNostrand vs. Anvar Boynazarov
GLORY 48 NEW YORK, DECEMBER
One of the shortest fights in GLORY history was also one of the most dramatic. Adding an extra layer of intensity to proceedings, the world interim featherweight championship was on the line in the main event.
Boynazarov almost won the fight in just over half a minute when he floored VanNostraand with the same left hook which he stopped Fabio Pinca with in his previous outing.
But then VanNostrand beat the count, got back into the fight and ended Boynazarov’s night with a lazer-precise knee to the midsection which dropped him to the canvas and left him there in agony. The whole thing took less than ninety seconds.
Tyjani Beztati vs. Youseff Assouik
GLORY 41 HOLLAND, May
Lots of people in the know have tipped Beztati as a future championship prospect. He’s been on a steady rise through the ranks and is currently 5-1 in GLORY.
Going into the GLORY 41 fight with Assouik, Beztati had already demonstrated his offense skills numerous times.
But after being knocked down by a spinning backfist in this fight he demonstrated other attributes: toughness, to come back from the knockdown, and intelligence, as he effortlessly read and avoided Assouik’s attempt to use the same trick later in the fight.